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Candidate wants to shake up L.A. council's 'old boys club'

October 12, 2011 |  7:35 am

Faces of the Los Angeles City Council's 13 male members appeared on a glossy campaign mailer sent to voters over the weekend. Printed at the bottom was a question: “What’s wrong with this picture?”

While other contenders in the Nov. 8 special election to replace Janice Hahn on the City Council have been campaigning on public safety and stressing their business bona fides, candidate Rebecca Chambliss has taken a different tack, reaching out to female voters to talk about the council's gender imbalance. "It's time to shake up the Old Boys Club," her mailer declares.

Chambliss, a San Pedro real estate agent, has never held office. She says she decided to run after realizing that Hahn's departure to Congress earlier this year left just one woman -- Jan Perry -- on the 15-person council. The council could be without a single woman come 2013, when Perry must surrender her seat because of term limits -- a prospect Chambliss calls "shocking."

Photos: A look at the candidates and District 15

Her campaign mailer went to 7,500 voters last Friday, all of them women. In it, Chambliss stresses the importance of having women at the table when city resources are allocated, especially with regard to education, public safety and health.

With less than $15,000 in her war chest, according to last month's campaign filings, Chambliss has raised considerably less than the front-runners in the race. But she and a squad of volunteers have been busy knocking on doors.

Chambliss is not the only female candidate among the 11 who will be listed on the ballot. Wilmington businesswoman Candice Graham is also running. But Graham, who has raised less than $1,000, according to campaign filings, has put less emphasis on her gender.

Meanwhile, three people have qualified as write-in candidates in next month's election. They are Emery Soos, Timothy "Dream" Weaver and Robert Farrell, who represented the 8th Council District from 1974 to 1991. Farrell was disqualified last month from appearing on the ballot because the nominating petition he submitted to the city clerk was incomplete.


Women encouraged to run for public office

When it's time to run for office, fewer women stand up

Top candidates in L.A. council race could split San Pedro voters

-- Kate Linthicum at Los Angeles City Hall