A small group gathered in the sanctuary of Temple Isaiah on April 11 to do what Jews do best: talk about food and then eat some.
Years ago, I was complaining about one of our governors to a colleague, Jack Germond, an experienced and highly respected national political reporter. Germond, who had reported from many states, regarded my analysis with skepticism.
Eden Bennun craved a taste of Israel. Growing up in Kfar Saba and Rishon LeZion as a child gave her a love of Israel’s smells, sounds and foods.
In the first debate between the two remaining Los Angeles mayoral candidates, City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Councilman Eric Garcetti attempted to convince voters there are significant differences between them, even as the two veteran politicians took identical positions on one issue after another.
The political struggle over school governance is now the most significant internal conflict in the Democratic Party, at the city, state and national levels. With gun control, gay marriage and immigration now uniting Democrats as never before, education reform remains a main dividing line.
This year’s Celebrate Israel Independence Day festival will feature plenty of stars when it takes place on April 21, but only one has plans to actually spend time in outer space.
Photographs of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa play on a large screen. In one photograph, he’s with Israeli President Shimon Peres. In others, he is visiting the Western Wall, walking at a kibbutz and greeting Israeli soldiers.
As Holocaust survivor Robert Geminder led a walking tour in Pan Pacific Park on April 7, pre-arranged memory markers — labeled “ghettos,” “camps,” “resistance” and “rescue” — transformed an outdoor path into a historical timeline.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined West Coast Chabad, city officials and community leaders on Friday to usher in the Festival of Lights by illuminating the historic Katowitz Menorah at LA City Hall.
Clearly Measure J is, in reality, a magician’s slight of hand trick. If I remember correctly Measure R, the predessor to Measure J, was a detailed proposition consisting of 34 pages describing the implementation, oversight and accountability procedures of the bill and what it was for?
In an interview with The Journal on Thursday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said that he hasn’t spent much time yet thinking specifically about what he’s going to devote his time and energy to after he leaves public office at the end of his term in 2014, but he said he will continue to work in the areas that have been priorities for him -- especially helping to address the needs of the homeless and providing healthcare to those who cannot afford insurance.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has announced that he will not enter the 2013 L.A. mayoral race, despite having entertained the possibility for many months, and will leave politics altogether once his term with the L.A. Board of Supervisors ends in 2014.
Most people in Los Angeles don’t feel just how serious the city’s water predicament is.
I asked City Council member Jan Perry, a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, if she was on a spiritual quest when she converted to Judaism. “Right,” she replied. “Your question is a good way to put it.”
The members of an interfaith group of clergy who ministered to Occupy Los Angeles protesters throughout the two-month occupation of the lawn around Los Angeles City Hall are objecting to what they call a distressing “level of violence and brutality” used by the 1,400 Los Angeles Police Department officers who cleared the encampment from City Hall Park in the early morning hours of Nov. 30.
On a Shabbat afternoon in February, state Sen. Alex Padilla spoke on a panel at Young Israel of Century City (YICC), a large Modern Orthodox synagogue in Pico-Robertson. The event was co-organized by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and Padilla knew what message he was expected to deliver. The panel’s trilingual title — “Israel at lo levad! Israel ¡No estas solo! Israel, you are not alone!” — made that clear.
The gospel choir sang "God Bless America." If you weren't thinking of the Jewish immigrant Irving Berlin who wrote that song, you couldn't appreciate the beautiful irony of the moment.
The outdoor event, under extensive security, was an old-fashioned lift-your-voices, wave-the-flag celebration, with a little bit of everything. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rang the rafters, pledging his city's unbreakable bond with Israel and ending with a rousing "Am Yisrael Chai."
David Nahai is an environmentalist and an attorney, not an engineer, and his major previous management challenge was running a 15-employee law firm. But he is the man Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa tapped take on the $304,000-a-year job as general manager of the Department of Water and Power, the nation's largest -- and frequently troubled -- public municipal utility. He's also the first ever to helm the DWP without decades of experience in either the utility business or city government.
When Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa held a news conference on Friday, May 18, to announce his decision to end a yearlong legal battle to take control of Los Angeles schools, Board of Education President Marlene Canter was standing by his side.
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Ceremony goes ahead for Beith David.
On Sunday, in the intense heat of a mid-summer day, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, carried a Sephardic Torah for one-half mile along city streets in Tarzana to a new Persian synagogue that had been the victim of an anti-Semitic attack just two days earlier. Police are still investigating the arson attempt, which burned a rear door of Beith David Education Center on Clark Street, as well as anti-Jewish graffiti left at the scene, as a hate crime.
Herman Katz has begun to grow weary of hearing and seeing his own name. A humble 73-year-old who has taught and counseled in Los Angeles public schools since 1957, he has been living in the limelight since one of his former students, Antonio Villaraigosa, became mayor last year.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's recent handling of protests by pro-illegal immigration crowds showed a man awkwardly straddling opposing sides of a political chasm that divides Angelenos who have all supported him. And his lack of deftness leaves doubt about whether he can bridge this gap as well as whether he can keep some of his most fundamental and important promises.
The hopes and expectations carried by Antonio Villaraigosa as he takes the helm of the city could at first appear to be monumentally daunting. After all, the diversity of our population, our geography, our economy seem in so many ways to be unmanageable.
The adoring crowd, a beaming Antonio Villaraigosa, a message of inclusiveness and leadership -- the image could have been from four years ago, when Villaraigosa's campaign for mayor energized much of Los Angeles.
But this time, Villaraigosa also got the more votes than the other guy, and then some, scoring an astounding 59 percent, to make incumbent James K. Hahn a one-term mayor.
Under a clear night sky, framed against a canopy of downtown skyscrapers, Villaraigosa projected energy and hope amid cheers that drowned out question marks and rumblings of unease in his very different, second-time run for mayor.
With his election as mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa now has the chance to deliver on the coalition approach he offered to the voters in the recent campaign. If he succeeds, Los Angeles government may start to find solutions to problems that have previously seemed intractable. If he fails, he will leave a city more balkanized than before, and one that will have a harder time than ever solving its problems.
Men slowly arrange scattered clothes into a makeshift tent on the front steps of 126 N. St. Louis St. A few windows in the building's powder-blue facade are broken; an old chimney stains a sliver of the north wall black.
Today, the anonymous building is one among thousands that dot the Los Angeles cityscape, but in the 1930s and 1940s, the Vladeck Center was the secular heart of Jewish Boyle Heights. The building was a base for the Workmen's Circle and the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, as well as the founding location of the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC).
The Vladek Center's history was unearthed last year, half a century after most of Los Angeles' Jewish community moved west, when the city began moving forward with plans to demolish the building for an expanded Hollenbeck Police Station. Getting the city to alter course seems a tall order, but the planned demolition has attracted critical attention.
Until last week, Los Angeles mayoral challenger Antonio Villaraigosa had received unchallenged campaign mileage from touting his role in Proposition 1A, the $9.2 billion school bond that voters approved in November 1998. Villaraigosa had been state Assembly speaker when the Legislature put it on the ballot.
The final act of Hertzberg-for-Mayor played out last week, with Bob Hertzberg endorsing challenger Antonio Villaraigosa. And although there was some unexpected drama, the endorsement itself proved anticlimactic: Villaraigosa already had surged to a comfortable double-digit lead in two polls.
As Antonio Villaraigosa campaigns for mayor in the Jewish community, he will face the same big question asked by all non-Latino voters: Are you too Mexican?
The question is especially important to Jews, because our community's long-time relationship with Latino and African American Los Angeles has been a powerful force in the city's history.
The race for Los Angeles mayor features two consummate insiders who are close to one another ideologically and disagree on few issues, posing a question: With Sacramento politics offering a clash of political tectonic plates and big, competing reforms, why is the mayor's race lacking in big ideas?
Just about everything went wrong and ugly for Jim Hahn leading into this week's city primary -- except the outcome. The result itself wasn't exactly a winner either, but it was close enough. The incumbent mayor barely scraped past energetic third-place finisher Bob Hertzberg, making it into a May runoff to keep his job.
First place went to Eastside City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa --just as pre-election polls predicted. Without a Villaraigosa collapse, the drama centered on the joust between Hahn and Hertzberg, the former state Assembly speaker who'd risen in recent weeks to a virtual tie with Hahn in some polls. Hahn's second-place finish means that he and Villaraigosa will face off just as they did when Hahn bested Villaraigosa in 2001.
"He's a soul mate in terms of environmental sensitivity and good government," said Dave Freeman, about mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa. Freeman, former head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP), paused for just a moment, then continued in his Southern accent, "I just think he has the ability to advance an agenda more focused on what I consider Jewish values."