March 29, 2007
5th District’s Jews spar over City Councilman Jack Weiss
(Page 2 - Previous Page)"We don't want to wind up like the Westside," the official said. Asked if he would personally support a recall, the official said, "I don't think so, I'm not angry enough."
The high emotions among Weiss' detractors are matched -- in reverse, by his supporters, and it becomes difficult to believe that they are talking about the same person.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, whose Museum of Tolerance lies in Weiss' district, described the councilman as "totally available" and earning "top grades on pothole issues."
Cooper singles out Weiss as the key city official on homeland security issues, responsible for the allocation of funds to upgrade security measures at local synagogues, schools and other Jewish institutions. During a joint mission to endangered northern Israel during the Lebanon War, Cooper found Weiss "modest and courageous" and "one of the few people who fully recognizes the global threat of terrorism."
Asked about complaints regarding Weiss' inactivity on traffic problems, Cooper responded, "Nobody is happy about traffic and there is enough blame to go around for everybody. But this has been building up for decades throughout the city and it's ridiculous to blame one guy.
There is no way to change this magically." Cooper characterized Weiss as "very quick and very bright, with strongly held views," which may offend some people, he suggested.
No one defends Weiss more fervently than Rabbi Daniel N. Korobkin, who is battling the councilman's foes with a stream of e-mails.
Korobkin, who is associated with the Yavneh Hebrew Academy and the West Coast division of the Orthodox Union, praised Weiss as "a man of deep integrity and loyalty, who has always listened patiently and sensitively to neighborhood concerns."
The admiration of Weiss by Korobkin and other Orthodox leaders stems from Weiss' concern and assistance, which extends beyond his own district boundaries. Weiss has aided Yavneh in its disputes with neighboring Hancock Park residents over zoning, parking and Saturday services, pushed security grants for small synagogues and moved against a "terror cell" in Torrance, Korobkin said.
Equally enthusiastic is Orthodox Rabbi Chaim Kolodny, founder of the Los Angeles Council of Jewish Organizations, which, he said, is dedicated to helping needy Jews with food distribution, medical emergencies and safety concerns.
"Weiss' office and his outstanding staff are a 'one-stop shop' in dealing with constituents' concerns, and rather than being in thrall to developers, the developers hate him," Kolodny said.
Weiss himself would not comment for this article, but Lisa Hansen, his deputy chief of staff, responded after The Journal posed a number of questions.
"This is an effort by a small group of people who would spend millions of taxpayer dollars in a special election to disrupt the democratic process," Hansen said.
"Jack has been honored by a huge outpouring of support from the community. No one has done more to mitigate traffic on the Westside than Jack; he's working to bring rail transportation to the Westside, the subway to Century City and millions of dollars are being invested on traffic planning to improve the flow.
"Voters looked at his record on traffic and development and reelected him with 72 percent of the vote in 2005. Jack and his staff regularly attend homeowners' meetings, neighborhood councils and other community events. Jack always brings everyone to the table in public policy matters to determine the best course of action in each case," Hansen concluded.
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