L.A. Councilman Dennis Zine to run for city controller's post
A former police officer who has represented a swath of the San Fernando Valley on the council since 2001, Zine is the first person to publicly position himself in the race for controller, an office that has historically been a steppingstone for higher office.
A longtime Republican, Zine laid the groundwork to run several months ago when he changed his party affiliation on voter registration rolls to “decline to state.” He said he did so because he’s tired of the “gridlock” of partisan politics, and because his liberal views on gay marriage and other social issues are out of line with traditional Republican views.
But, he acknowledged, his new identity as an independent may also make him more attractive to L.A. voters, most of whom are Democrats.
In an interview Wednesday shortly after he filed paperwork to form a campaign fundraising committee, Zine said he was well suited to be the watchdog for taxpayers because of his experience as chairman of the council's Audits and Governmental Efficiency Committee.
“It has groomed me for that position,” Zine said.
In recent months the committee has called on the Department of Transportation to report on parking tickets dismissed by a little-known and controversial review service known as the Gold Card Desk. And it demanded that the head of the Building and Safety Department explain what is being done to eradicate corruption in the wake of a bribery scandal in that department.
Zine also said he had been frugal with tax dollars, asking staff members to take furlough days even though they were not required, which has contributed to $1-million surplus in his office budget.
If elected, Zine would replace Wendy Greuel, who is a likely candidate for the race to replace termed-out Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Zine, 63, said he had no intention of one day running for mayor.
"I guarantee it is not a steppingstone, he said.
-- Kate Linthicum at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times