Monday, October 16, 2017
The race is on for L.A. city council district seat 15!
By Yussuf J. Simmonds (Managing Editor) & Tasia Smith (Intern)
Published August 26, 2011

Assemblyman Warren Furutani
Assemblyman Warren Furutani

Robert Farrell

Robert “Bob” Farrell

Justin Brimmer
Justin Brimmer


The race is on for L.A. city council district seat 15!

With the port of San Pedro as a magnet of economic development, council district seat 15 is a prized possession to whomever win this seat on the council

Yussuf J. Simmonds

Sentinel Managing Editor

Tasia Smith

Sentinel Intern

As soon as the vacancy was created for the Los Angeles City Council District 15, Assemblyman Warren Furutani announced his intention to run for the seat, and presently, he is leading the rest of the candidates with endorsements. As of the filing date, several a plethora of candidates have filed for the vacancy. In addition to Furutani, candidates include former 8th district councilman Robert “Bob” Farrell, former Janice Hahn staffer Justine Brimmer, firefighter Pat McOsker, police officer Joe Buscaino, and businesswoman Candice “Candy” Graham. A special election to fill the vacancy will be on Nov. 8, and if none of the candidates gets 50 percent plus one, then a runoff will be held on Jan. 17, 2012.


He has been actively serving in government since the 1980s, brings a wealth of experience to the table. Born in San Pedro to third-generation Japanese American parents, he talked about growing up Asian American during the tumultuous post-Vietnam War, Civil Rights Movement era. He became involved with the Black Power movement through a friend, and soon had an “epiphany” about the anti-Asian discrimination he himself had to deal with: “If you didn’t want to live that way, you had to define yourself. That’s what I thought the message out of the Black Power movement was, that you had to empower yourself…It was a liberation term.”

Assemblyman Furutani says his current desire to move back into local politics is “all about impact.” He compared making legislation in Sacramento to “being at 30,000 feet.” In particular, he wants to better utilize the unique economic asset of the 15 th District–the port, which is an “economic engine” separate from the city’s budget. He notes that right now, commerce largely passes through areas between the port and Downtown without passing through the local communities on the way. “I think the economic potential of the port doesn’t have boundaries,” he said, and one strategy he plans to implement is connecting vocational training in areas currently passed over, such as Watts and Wilmington, to the economy of the port.

His endorsements include

AFT Faculty Guild Local 1521; AFT Staff Guild Local 1521; Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1277; CAPE Los Angeles; Laborers Local 507; Operating Engineers Local 12; TCU Local 1315; Teamsters Joint Council 42 (representing 22 Teamsters Locals); Teamsters Local 911; United Industrial Workers SIU; United Steelworkers Local 675; Ray Cordova, Chair, South County Labor; and AFL-CIO.* In addition, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and former Lt. Governor and Congressman Mervyn Dymally.

(*Title used for identification purposes only)


“I’m in it to win it,” Bob Farrell starts off the conversation and then continues, “My goal is to be a leader, an effective steward, on behalf of all the people of the 15th Council District while serving–again–on the Los Angeles City Council.

“These are the four elements of my plan, coordinated through the Council office in seamless district-wide governance, to make the 15th Council District the best in the City of Los Angeles.

¥Collaboration with Neighborhood Councils in oversight of city services in the boroughs of the 15th District;

¥Economic and community development and jobs;

¥Arts, culture and recreation activities to enhance quality of life and attract visitors; and

¥Public safety and security, aware of the existential threat posed by terrorism and natural forces.

“Campaigns are developers of political solutions in addition to matters of biography and vision. I believe that as we campaign, so can we govern. With this in mind I welcome your support, and ask you to make the change that all of us want in the 15th District a reality.”

As a veteran of city hall and city politics, Farrell who is now 75 years old wants another bite at the political apple and says, “I’m comfortable there,” and his reason is, “First and foremost, it’s a special election and it’s not as though when Janice Hahn’s term is up that I’m going to run for the seat. The opportunity came when Hahn won the seat to Congress and created a vacancy and between now and November 8, (the day of the special election) it’s something within my ability to organize and handle.”

 To that end, Farrell is optimistic: “I have some goals and I believe that it’s something I can accomplish in two years.”


 Brimmer laid out clearly-defined priorities when asked about his goals in running for City Council. “It is a 21st century leadership,” he said, “with a join vision from the bridge to the towers that will reinvest in our youth, recommit to job creation, re-strengthen our communities, and reclaim city services that we much need and deserve.” He also stated that he “statistically, emotionally and heart-wise” represents the district he seeks to represent–and as a young Black man with a growing family, this statement jibes fairly well with San Pedro demographics, as reported by the Los Angeles Times in their “Mapping L.A.” project.

The U.C. Berkeley graduate had much to say on each of his priorities, presenting ideals that are infused with a practicality almost certainly honed by his tenure working under Rep. Hahn and by his prior stint as Field Deputy for the Harbor Gateway community. An overarching theme behind many of his ideas was the need for government workers, elected and non-elected alike, to be accountable to the people. “If we all work for them, they need to have access to us like that,” he said as he discussed bringing state and federal services local, accepting people’s concerns and input through text messages and Facebook, and building a service approach to policing.

Brimmer also emphasized getting citizens excited about investing in their communities, both economically and emotionally: “[residents] will be the ones who can empower themselves enough to actually make it happen,” he said of making the district “the best district in Los Angeles.” And though he acknowledged he is a young candidate with less experience than many of his potential competitors, he said he had learned much about the importance of priorities in politics during his time with Rep. Hahn, as well as the necessity of long-term vision in the face of term limits.


He issued the following statement:

This is Pat McOsker, and I’m a San Pedro-based Firefighter and candidate for the Los Angeles City Council, District 15. I am running for the seat recently vacated by now Congresswoman Janice Hahn.

I currently serve as a 30+ year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department and the President of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City. This is my first run for public office, and I am running to take on the tough issues facing the City of Los Angeles.

I believe that it’s vital that we protect public safety in the City, and that we restore the public’s trust in local government. As a veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department who has never run for office before, I will fight any cuts to police and fire protection and work to bring long-needed reforms to City Hall.

So far my campaign is running ahead of the other candidates in every respect. My deep roots in this district, my service as a front-line firefighter, and my opposition to cuts in police, fire and 9-1-1 emergency services to balance the City budget are resonating with voters.

The support of my candidacy is incredible, and with your help, I will have the resources necessary to win this election and go to City Hall to fight for the people of the 15th Council District.

His endorsements include the California Nurses Association (CNA); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) locals 11 and 18; the Operating Engineers local 501; Los Angeles Professional Managers Association, along with the Southern California Pipe Trades District Council #16, which includes: United Association Local 078 (Plumbers), United Association Local 114, United Association Local 230, United Association Local 250 (Steamfitters), United Association Local 345 (Landscape & Irrigation), United Association Local 364, United Association Local 398, United Association Local 403, United Association Local 460, and the United Association Local 484; and AFSCME.


He sent out the following statement:

Join us for our campaign office opening!

Our campaign for Los Angeles City Council has set the pace from the very beginning.

We’re excited to announce that we are once again leading the way by opening our official office in San Pedro on Saturday, August 20. We have been working hard to prepare for our official campaign kick-off and office opening, and we need your help to make it a success!

Your donation will help pay for literature, phone lines and the other important materials we need to win our local, grassroots campaign.


Categories: Political

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