Former City Attorney candidate Greg Smith today announced his candidacy in the race to replace Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, who represents Council District 4. LaBonge will have served on LA's Council for almost 14 years when he is termed out in 2015. He is currently LA's longest serving City Councilmember, having first won a special election in 2001 when CD4's hugely popular Councilmember, John Ferraro, sadly died in office. LaBonge, who had been Ferraro's Chief Deputy, served the balance of Ferraro's term and succeeded in filling "Big John's" shoes so well that he went on to win a further three terms in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
But with term limits now bringing a close to LaBonge's tenure, the race to fill his shoes has thus far only seen a handful of little known 'insiders' vying to represent one of the city's most influential districts. Greg Smith's candidacy now wakes up what was beginning to look like a sleepy race.
This from the Smith campaign:
Los Angeles, October 1st – Today attorney Greg Smith announced his candidacy for the 2015 race to fill the Los Angeles City Council’s 4th District. Currently a public safety attorney in private practice, Greg Smith plans to run a campaign focused on the nuts and bolts of local elected office - good jobs, safe streets and exceptional constituent services. Smith’s previous run for City Attorney was lauded as a campaign based on speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Greg Smith stated, “I’m excited to announce my campaign for City Council. Having dedicated nearly my entire life as a top attorney fighting for others less fortunate I believe I can do more good service as councilman. The 4th district is a wonderful community, but we can do better. I’ll work to make sure everyone’s voice is heard at City Hall.”
“This campaign will represent an opportunity at a fresh start where we can focus on the people’s priorities – good jobs, clean air, safe streets for our families and exceptional constituent services. I have a lifetime of experience standing up for others and I plan to take that same mentality with me to City Hall to ensure our constituents voices are heard,” continued Smith.
“If elected, I will be your tireless advocate at City Hall. You have my word.”
A Los Angeles native, Smith was born and raised in Los Angeles and has strong ties to the district. The mainstay of Greg Smith’s private practice has been representing members of law enforcement and citizens who have been victims of corruption, waste and abuse.
For more information please visit Greg Smith’s official campaign website at www.SmithforCD4.com
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Smith has retained John Thomas as his campaign consultant. Thomas previously masterminded Smith's City Attorney campaign, launching Smith into the arena of city politics and earning Smith a citywide reputation as trusted advocate for victims of corruption, discrimination and retaliation. After garnering almost 18 percent of the popular vote in the 2013 City Attorney primary election, Smith wisely supported City Attorney Mike Feuer in his hugely successful bid to unseat an unpopular incumbent.
Although Smith's entry into the CD4 race will likely be well received amongst voters looking for a proven victor in the fight against corruption in City Hall, something especially close to voters hearts in the light of the scandalous lack of explanation for the D.W.P.'s $40M waste of ratepayer's money on nonsensical 'non-profits,' there others likely less pleased at Smith's candidacy.
Those would be the five other candidates who have their eyes on LaBonge's seat.
Former Villariagosa spokesman, Teddy Davis, was first to file papers to run for CD4. Davis, who describes himself as an "attorney/educator," was born in Los Feliz and grew up there and in Sherman Oaks. In addition to working for Villariagosa, Davis was a Special Assistant for Governor Gray Davis and worked on and off camera for ABC News in public affairs and politics. He is currently a fellow at the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. His website is http://www.teddydavisla.com.
Perhaps Smith's strongest rival in the race is Joan Pelico, currently chief of staff to Los Angeles City Council District 5 representative Paul Kortez. Pelico was previously a field deputy to Los Angeles Councilmember Jack Weiss. Despite Weiss being widely unpopular in CD5, Pelico managed to charm and placate his all to often irate constituents. Joan's campaign website is http://joanpelico.com.
Two other women join Pelico in their bid to bring a female presence back to City Hall's chamber. Carolyn Ramsay, currently LaBonge's Chief of Staff, and Tara Bannister, Vice President for National Apartment Association and former aide to Gray Davis have both announced their candidacies. Neither appear to have campaign websites at this time.
The fifth and thus far final insider is Steve Veres, a Community College District Trustee and a district director for state Sen. Kevin de León. He too does not appear to have a campaign website at this time.
One potential candidate who will not be running for CD4 is former Mayoral candidate Kevin James. James, who looked certain to continue his quest for elected office after a stellar third place finish in the Mayoral race, has told the Dragnet that he "definitely will not run for CD4." James has been appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to the Board of Works, and he says he has his hands full with the job.
With the primary election due to be held on March 3, 2015, there is every likelihood that others may enter the race for CD4, perhaps running 'grass roots' campaigns. However, there is no doubt that Greg Smith's campaign is likely to lead the field given the name recognition he enjoys in the district.