CITY NEWS SERVICE
Warren Furutani and Pat McOsker, who are among the candidates vying to replace Janice Hahn on the Los Angeles City Council, received key endorsements Monday.
Firefighter Pat McOsker received a nod of support from the union he has led since 2003, United Firefighters of Los Angeles City (UFLAC).
Furutani, meanwhile, scored the endorsement of Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.
McOsker and Furutani, along with 18 other candidates, are running in the Nov. 8 primary election to represent the 15th District, which stretches from San Pedro to Watts.
McOsker’s endorsement came despite apparent opposition from some members of the rank-and-file, who, according to the blog lacityworkers.com, complained that McOsker was indifferent to union members and had refused to step down from his post as president.
McOsker, in a statement issued Monday, said he volunteered to take a leave of absence as UFLAC president, effective Aug. 24, and promised a “total commitment to improving public safety” if elected.
McOsker will not be paid for the duration of his council campaign, according to UFLAC Interim President Jeff Dapper, who said an “ultra-small minority” of members opposed the union’s endorsement.
Dapper said the union’s executive board voted 9-0 to support McOsker weeks ago, and a packed room of nearly 100 members enthusiastically supported him over the weekend.
Service Union Employees International Local 721 also endorsed McOsker. Local 721’s president, Bob Schoonover, called it a difficult decision.
“Everybody loves Warren. I just think this job is better suited for Pat. It isn’t that Warren is a bad guy. We just think Pat’s a city guy,” Schoonover said.
Baca’s endorsement gives Furutani a strong public safety credential in a district where crime competes with unemployment as a major issue for voters. The endorsement was also a blow to another candidate, Joe Buscaino, the current LAPD senior lead officer for San Pedro.
“I am very proud to receive an endorsement from one of Los Angeles’ top public safety officials,” Furutani said, adding that he would “make public safety one of my top priorities.”
Furutani has also received endorsements from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
Twenty candidates made the Saturday filing deadline to enter the race.