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POLITICS: Wildcard Looming Large in the Race To Replace Wachs

Wildcard Looming Large in the Race To Replace Wachs

POLITICS – Howard Fine

As voters go to the polls on Dec. 11 in the L.A. City Council’s 2nd District to choose a replacement for Joel Wachs, the race between State Assemblyman Tony Cardenas, D-Mission Hills, and DreamWorks SKG executive Wendy Greuel may all come down to a little-known wild card. And that card belongs to James Jaime Cordaro, the third candidate on the ballot

Cordaro, who has raised just $14,000 compared to the $500,000 raised by Cardenas and Greuel combined, is expected to receive only 1,000 votes, give or take a few hundred

But with the City Clerk’s office predicting turnout to be in the high teens, (about 20,000 voters), those votes could be enough to prevent either Cardenas or Greuel from reaching the 50 percent-plus-one threshold to win the election outright

The race is regarded as extremely tight, with Greuel holding a slight edge, thanks to her fundraising advantage and endorsements by the daily newspapers. Should neither candidate get a majority, the runoff wouldn’t be held until March 5, since city officials chose to consolidate it with the statewide primary

That would present a different ballgame because turnout is likely to be much higher. Also, with a tight gubernatorial primary contest at the top of the ticket on the Republican side, more conservative voters could be drawn to the polls, prompting both Democratic candidates to rush to the political center

Rocky Redux

He may be the newly elected L.A. city attorney, but Rocky Delgadillo is beginning to sound like he did in his previous post as former Mayor Richard Riordan’s economic development czar

As part of a larger restructuring of his office late last month, Delgadillo has created a new Real Estate and Economic Development Practice Group. Its purpose is to create a “one-stop” shop for legal issues surrounding major development projects that come before the city

To head the practice group, Delgadillo has tapped Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher associate Cecilia Estolano, who will be in charge of 53 attorneys in four divisions: land use, real property and environment, public finance, and economic and housing development

“This will not only cut red tape for projects like the Staples Phase II (retail and entertainment district), but will also allow us to bring different areas of expertise to bear on a project,” Estolano said

Council Recess

It felt like the holidays around City Hall last week. The City Council was in recess so that several members could attend the annual National League of Cities congress in Atlanta

Not everyone went to Atlanta, however. Newly elected Councilman Tom LaBonge used the recess to meet with constituents in his district. And Councilwoman Ruth Galanter is focusing on matters at LAX, which is in her district

The council should be back this week

Staff Reporter Howard Fine can be contacted by phone at (323) 549-5225, ext. 227, or at


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