Three Jews win races in L.A. Jewish voters split on mayor

LOS ANGELES — Jewish voters divided evenly in James K. Hahn's victory over Antonio Villaraigosa in the race for mayor of Los Angeles, which Hahn won Tuesday by a 54 to 46 percent margin in figures available at press time.

Jews living in the liberal Westside of the city tended to vote for Villaraigosa, a charismatic Hispanic politician, while those in the suburban San Fernando Valley leaned toward the more staid Hahn. A poll taken Monday had Jews split 45 percent for Villaraigosa and 42 percent for Hahn.

For Jewish candidates, there was bad and good news.

Former City Council member Michael Feuer, who had led in the polls and early returns, was defeated in his race for city attorney. The former director of the Bet Tzedek legal aid service lost to Deputy Mayor Rocky Delgadillo by a 52.5 to 47.5 percent margin.

In the contest for the third citywide office, Laura Chick had already clinched election as city controller in the April primaries. Chick, a former City Council member and onetime counselor with the Jewish Family Service, is the first woman — of any denomination — to win a citywide election in Los Angeles.

Two victories marked the possible emergence of a new generation of young Jewish politicians.

In the affluent and influential fifth City Council district, dubbed the "District of the Stars," newcomer Jack Weiss won in an upset victory over veteran political activist and state Sen. Tom Hayden.

Weiss, a former federal prosecutor, won by a margin of 289 votes, or 0.5 percent of the total vote.

Another newcomer, Michael Waxman, son of veteran Rep. Henry Waxman (D-L.A.), had won election to the L.A. Community College board of trustees — a frequent springboard to higher political office — in the primaries.

Tom Tugend

JTA Los Angeles correspondent