Labor leader says L.A. like 'ghost town' before AEG's Leiweke arrived
One of Los Angeles' most important labor leaders said Thursday that Anschutz Entertainment Group's departing chief executive Tim Leiweke set a precedent for how developers could work with labor unions in the city.
And if he ran for public office, “I would be there to support him,” said Maria-Elena Durazo, executive director of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
“He really set the example,” said Durazo, whose coalition of unions supported AEG’s projects in exchange for the promise of union jobs. "The partnership between him and labor motivated other developers to have that kind of relationship.”
Durazo said Leiweke’s downtown boosterism had a catalyzing effect.
“I think it really triggered a new excitement, a new willingness to invest in Los Angeles,” she said. “Prior to Tim Leiweke coming to Los Angeles, downtown was pretty much a ghost town.”
Billionaire businessman and philanthropist Eli Broad also hailed Leiweke as "a remarkable civic leader whose vision and tenacity has led to the extraordinary success of LA Live. Tim is a dynamic force who has always been politically astute and civic-minded in every challenge he tackled. Downtown Los Angeles today would not be the same without Tim."
Durazo said she had raised the prospect of Leiweke running for office, but that he did not seem eager to do so.
-- Kate Linthicum