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When Weiss rolled the dice

Jack Weiss helped sew up the westside Jewish vote for Antonio Villaraigosa with this opinion/endorsement in the Jewish Journal of May 17, 2005.

The pairing of a Latino council member from the Eastside and a Jewish council member from the Westside and the Valley might seem an unusual match, yet Antonio and I have more in common than one might expect.

Each of us believes that leadership means taking a stand and fighting for what's important, even when it's politically unpopular. Each of us believes that we were elected because our constituents wanted us to make a difference. Each of us strives to address the big issues of citywide public policy, while continuing to meet the day-to-day needs of our districts.

We have grown closer together with our shared goal of making Los Angeles a better place to live. Antonio and I collaborated to find additional funding for new police officers without raising taxes. We fought to stop an airport expansion plan that increases our vulnerability to terrorism, and we have begun to implement better management policies for city funds, so residents and businesses in the city can be certain that public resources are not being wasted.

There are too many urgent needs in the city to accept anything less than a dynamic and determined leader to be mayor. Improvements in areas such as preserving the environment, creating meaningful mass transit and enhancing public safety are desperately needed and have gone unaddressed for too long.

We need a mayor who will bring everyone in the region to the table to solve these problems. We also need a mayor who will use his public prominence to tackle issues traditionally thought to be beyond the purview of the job, such as education and health care.

Also: in 2005, we needed a Mayor whose team would return phone calls from ordinary citizens. We needed a Mayor who wasn't a developer's doormat. We needed a Mayor who could appoint local talent, not failed outsiders, to crucial City departments. We needed a Mayor whose press team could tell you something completely ordinary about his day, like where he went to Mass on a given Sunday, or why he wasn't wearing his wedding band. We needed a Mayor who wasn't beholden to the likes of Ace Smith and Parke Skelton for policy making. We needed a Mayor who worked more at making the City's traffic flow better.