Ballot Box: Mayor endorses Choi in Council District 13 race while neighborhood leaders favor O’Farrell

Mitch O’Farrell (left) and John Choi

Former Public Works Commissioner John Choi picked up the endorsement of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in his bid to replace termed-out Eric Garcetti as 13th District Councilman.  Meanwhile,  Mitch O’Farrell, Choi’s rival in the upcoming May 21 runoff election, has picked up the support of a long list of neighborhood leaders and business owners, reports the Los Feliz Ledger.

The endorsements highlight the differences between the two candidates. Until he launched his campaign, Choi, had been relatively unknown in Council District 13 and recently moved into the area. Despite a lack of roots in the district, Choi’s has the support of powerful labor unions, which have plowed more than $200,000 into his campaign, as well as established elected leaders, including Villaraigosa, who appointed Choi to the Public Works Commission. In a statement issued by the Choi campaign, Villaraigosa said:

“John Choi is a true leader, able to stand up for what our city and neighborhoods need. As an Economic Development Director and Public Works Commissioner, John has proven to me and those who have worked with him that he will deliver in the fight for better schools, safer communities, and a cleaner more sustainable environment. John Choi is the candidate I trust to continue to move Council District 13 forward into a better, more secure future.”

Meanwhile, O’Farrell, a Garcetti staff member from Glassell Park, lags well behind Choi in fundraising but has won the support of numerous neighborhood activists and business owners who worked with him on projects over the year. With this group of supporters, O’Farrell’s familiarity with district outweigh Choi’s strong political connections. One of O’Farrell’s supporters, Silver Lake Neighborhood Council Co-Chair Clint Lukens, told the Los Feliz Ledger:

“Mitch knows our area like the back of his hand—unlike his opponent who just moved to this district in 2012.”

O’Farrell was the top vote getter of the dozen candidates that ran in the March 5 primary, claiming more than 18% of the vote. Choi came in second with about 16%.

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  1. It’s akin to Clinton endorsing Gruel, and engenders a similar shoulder shrug.

  2. Watchin' Villar Spiral Down

    Thank you Mayor Villar. So many voters hate you and the shallow and selfish life you have led that they will vote in the opposite direction.

    If the community activists want Mitch to win, they have to redouble their efforts to blog, email, phone bank, and get out the vote to bury Choi in the toxic union corruption swamp from which he recently rose to terrorize the public.

  3. I don’t get it. O’Farrell doesn’t live in the district either?

    • Kyle- Mitch has lived in the district for 20+ years. Redistricting cut him out of the 13th, (thanks Eric Garcetti!) and he had to move a from the home he owns in Glassell Park to be back inside the newly drawn district lines. Choi on the other hand is a carpet-bagger. He knows nothing about living in the neighborhoods nor any of the issues.

      • Got it – thank you for the info! I don’t live in your district but used to and have been following the race. Don’t understand why people of your district would have voted for John Choi. That union money sure does talk…

  4. Didn’t Mayor Tony originally endorse Matt Szabo?

  5. The Mitch O’Farrell web site is now set up for the May runoff. For those who want to volunteer or donate to the campaign here’s the address:


  6. just another reason to vote for Farrell.

  7. I AM THRILLED MITCH IS IN THE RUN OFF! Mitch has always been there for the community with strength and humility. They don’t make ’em like Mitch anymore. He’s the real deal. I can’t wait for Mitch to win so we can have REAL neighborhood representation!

  8. I support John Choi, and I have lived in Silver Lake for 35 years. I fit the profile of the longtime community leader that would gravitate toward Mitch O’Farrell. And maybe I would if the 13th District was its own little city and we were not part of a much larger metropolis. But we are. And maybe I would if all I cared about was keeping my neighborhood nice and protecting my property values. But I care more about the poverty and lack of economic development all across LA, because we need to lift all boats.

    We are not electing the mayor of the 13th, but one of 15 councilmembers with regional responsibility and the broad progressive vision required to make our city a better place. We are not an island, and no level of good community services is going to address the regional challenges that LA faces—my neighborhood can be wonderful, but if the rest of the city is screwed up, it is meaningless.

    John Choi is the kind of leader who has a broad perspective and a wealth of relationships that will improve the entire city, and that will help our community. It’s time to go beyond the provincial homeowner perspective.

    • @LKitsch…

      well you got a bit of it right….a wealth of WEALTHY relationships….Choi is bought and paid for! Barlow 900 Condos, done deal. Hollywood Millenium. Done deal. 710 freeway, check…

      He is owned by special interests hell bent on developing this City, and in particular our CD 13…..

      Hell no on Choi, if you live in and love this City…..Choi and Cedillo will greenlight any and all construction projects, in the name of “jobs” and at the expense of communities…….Vote for the real local candidates, not those owned by special interests….


    • Political Watchdog

      LKitsch: Really? Bahahahahahaha! Take your concerns for the city to the Mayors race. You really think John Choi is the savior of the city? What the hell do you think he’s gonna do to improve the “ENTIRE CITY”?! Mr. Revolving door doesn’t even stick around at any job for more than two years before he get’s reassigned… uh, appointed…uh, offered another position, in the revolving door of the LA political power structure. A couple years on the Staff of corrupt and convicted Councilman Martin Ludlow (formally of the LA County Fed of Labor, himself), a couple years as womanizer Villaraigosa’s aide, a couple years with the LA County Federaration of Labor, 11 months on the Board of Public works, where he supposedly worked miracles -I guess your one of his disciples. Insiders like him are the ones that are doing their best to RUIN this city. He’s an Establishment-Insider, why do you think he was chosen to run in CD 13?! Because they don’t want outsiders in their club. They don’t want community activists, they don’t want grass-roots community leaders, they don’t want people with passion and heart and intellect, they want soulless machines like the mechanical-John Choi-on-speed. The man is TOXIC! on May 21, I’ll be celebrating with the District, the people, the residents, the non-profit organizations, the small business owners and with my our new Councilmember, Mitch O’Farrell.

    • i think what you mean to say is that the developers and other contributors to Choi’s campaign, could care less about CD13. they just need him on the city council to help push their agenda throughout the city. you call that a “broad perspective,” I call it cynical and opportunistic.

  9. Choi is sleasey, he is bought and paid for. He will be a disaster for this district. Wake up people

  10. Villar endorsements make me run the other way. Such a lying pig.

  11. Obviously, the vast majority of the readers here are NIMBY’s without any sense of balance. Last time I checked, the hills of Los Feliz, Silver Lake and Echo Park were part of a bigger whole. Broaden your horizons. This is the same crap I hear whenever those of privilege are afraid the huddled masses are taking over. Move to Palm Springs.

    • hahahaha…

      that was the best one ever…..”part of the huddled masses taking over”!! LKitsch is a real comedian…

      John Choi,,,,,huddled with his rich friends? that’s “rich!”


    • I’ve learned over the past year or so of following city politics that the city and the voters actually do seem to treat council members as “mayors” of the relevant districts. But even if that’s right, I don’t understand why the fact that someone hadn’t lived here before is very relevant – in a city like Los Angeles, I would bet that a majority of the people haven’t lived in the district, or even the city, for more than five or ten years, and that some people manage to develop connections to their neighborhoods much more quickly than that. (Never mind the fact that some people can live here decades and never get the right to vote, just because they happen not to be US citizens – I really don’t understand why citizenship should be relevant for a city council election.) I also don’t fully understand the attacks on unions – I would assume that most people voting here generally support Democrats and working people, though I understand that issues are a bit more complex when dealing with public sector unions, where the boss isn’t a profit-seeking corporation, but rather taxpayers.

      Nevertheless, I see a lot of good that Mitch O’Farrell appears to have done for the neighborhood and city, and the fact that he has worked for Eric Garcetti suggests to me that he is motivated by the good of the city and the larger region and world, and not just the neighborhood. I don’t know anything equivalently positive about John Choi – the fact that the attacks on him are clearly irrelevant doesn’t really matter.

  12. @LKitsch, now you’re just being silly. (That’s a polite way of saying “dick.”) But I gotta admit that it’s ballsy to start a pissing contest about NIMBYs considering Choi is such a flagrant carpetbagger. Quite a pair you got there.

    My money’s on you being a Choi flack. Regardless, I’ll play along with your straw man argument for a bit.

    Sure, our communities are part of a larger whole. (I’m something of a systems thinking fan, so this is right up my alley.) And in a system, the input (contributions and actions) of the parts impact the outcome and vitality of the whole.

    So, what kind of input do I want our part to have? What kind of part do I want/need?

    Well, color me pinko, but I’d prefer that my “part” be someone who’s got a proven record of working in the trenches to make our communities safer and solve problems for citizens. That’s the kind of “part” that I’d hope every citizen is lucky enough to have working for them, wherever they are.

    You can choose a sleazy back-room palm greaser if you want. Everybody gets a vote. But don’t expect a lot of sympathy around these parts. This here’s O’Farrell territory.

    • Right on, Max…well said! These are the reasons to vote for O’Farrell. I am not comfortable with demonizing Choi for taking union money–unions are a net benefit to society and union representation and collective bargaining agreements with management should be increased rather than decreased. The problem with Choi is that he’s an opportunist who is looking at our district as a stepping stone to further his political ambitions. He hasn’t done the work in this community as Mitch O’Farrell has.

  13. Interesting typo in 2nd to last paragraph:

    “Meanwhile, O’Farrell, a Garcetti staff member from Glassell Park, lags well behind Choi in fundraising but has won the support of numerous neighborhood activists and business owners who worked with him on projects over the year.”

    The typo is in the singular word “year.” Mitch has been serving the community for many many many years, not just one year. John Choi has been around for the past year (singular) because of the elections.

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