Unlike previous mayoral primaries in which there was a clear business candidate, the major contenders in this primary have split the vote.
"The business community has not rallied around any candidate like they did for Richard Riordan 12 years ago or to a lesser extent Steve Soboroff four years ago," said Richard Lichtenstein, a lobbyist and Democratic political consultant. "They have split their allegiances among several candidates."
As the incumbent, Mayor James Hahn has snagged the most big names. Probably his biggest coup was billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad, who supported Antonio Villaraigosa four years ago.
Among Hahn's other supporters: developers Rick Caruso, Tom Gilmore and Ed Roski, Galpin Ford owner Burt Boeckmann, investor Bill Chadwick, City National Corp. Chief Executive Russell Goldsmith, DreamWorks SKG principal Jeffrey Katzenberg, and attorney and former L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce chairman George Kieffer.
Attorney and former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg also has a substantial roster of big-name business supporters. Among them: Arden Realty Inc. Chief Executive Richard Ziman, Latham & Watkins LLP attorney David Fleming, KB Home Chief Executive Bruce Karatz, former U.S. Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor, outgoing Paramount Chief Executive Sherry Lansing, and Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP partner Lisa Specht.
L.A. City Councilman and former Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa does not list any business groups or businesspeople among his endorsers. However, among his campaign contributors are Bruce Broillet, partner with Green Broillet Parish & Wheeler LLP, Doug Brown, partner with Regent Properties LLC, Henry Cisneros, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary and now chairman of American City Vista, high tech entrepreneur David Bohnett, Westfield Corp. Chief Executive Peter Lowy, Westwood One Inc. Chairman Norman Pattiz, director Rob Reiner and entertainment executive Haim Saban.
Support from major business figures trails off rapidly for the remaining two candidates. City Councilman Bernard Parks has been endorsed by the Apartment Owners Association of Los Angeles and the Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Realtors Association. He also is supported by entertainer Bill Cosby, L.A. Marathon Chairman William Burke and American Tours International LLC Chief Executive Noel Irwin-Henschel.
State Sen. Richard Alarc & #243;n has garnered support from small business owners, primarily in his San Fernando Valley district. Among the most prominent Alarc & #243;n business supporters are: Martha Diaz Aszkenazy, president of Pueblo Contracting Services Inc., who has long been active in local civic affairs, and Bob Robertson, owner of Robertson Honda. Others include Gene Giegoldt, owner of the Canoga Park Bowl, and Alfredo Gonzales, owner of La Sirenita Restaurant in Panorama City. Television star George Lopez also has endorsed Alarc & #243;n.
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