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L.A. council candidate gets TV ad support from Assembly colleague as competitor cries foul

September 17, 2009 |  6:00 am
With less than a week before the special election for the 2nd District seat on the Los Angeles City Council, Assemblyman Paul Krekorian is getting a boost from his colleague, Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar).
Using $15,000 from his state campaign committee, Fuentes bought television time in the San Fernando Valley for an ad praising the work of Krekorian, a Los Angeles Democrat, during the recent budget debate in Sacramento. The ad does not mention Krekorian’s bid for the council seat vacated by City Controller Wendy Greuel but thanks Krekorian for “protecting Valley families and local jobs during this budget crisis.”
Krekorian’s campaign consultant, Eric Hacopian, said his client was not aware of the ad until voters began calling his office to say they had seen it. One of Krekorian’s opponents, Christine Essel, issued a news release accusing Krekorian of attempting to skirt campaign finance rules, and her campaign questioned why the ad had not been filed with the city Ethics Commission.
Stephen J. Kaufman, a lawyer for Fuentes, said the assemblyman merely wanted to thank Krekorian for his role during the budget negotiations. “These ads are not being done with respect to the CD 2 race. They do not mention Assemblyman Krekorian’s candidacy and they do not reference the City Council election in any way,” Kaufman said. The ads, he continued, “do not urge the viewers to do anything, let alone urge voters to make a decision one way or the other with respect to the election.”
Officials at the Los Angeles Ethics Commission would not comment on specific scenarios, but pointed to a section of the municipal code governing requirements for television ads.

Under the section, television scripts must be submitted to the commission only if the advertisement asks voters to support or oppose a candidate for elected office.

The Fuentes association may not be helpful to Krekorian with some voters in the northern reaches of the district. Fuentes wrote a proposal, which was ultimately shelved, that would have allowed MWH Development Corp. to build 229 homes on the Verdugo Hills Golf Course despite the objections of neighborhood activists and Los Angeles city officials.
Krekorian opposes any development on the golf course.
-- Maeve Reston at L.A. City Hall