CITY NEWS SERVICE
Citing concerns about having a third Los Angeles Police Department officer on the City Council, the union representing airport police officers on Oct. 31 endorsed Assemblyman Warren Furutani in next Tuesday’s special election in the Harbor area.
Eleven candidates will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot to replace Janice Hahn, now a member of Congress. Four others have qualified as write-in candidates.
The Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association supported Furutani (D-Harbor Gateway) in part because of his public safety credentials. The union passed over LAPD Officer Joe Buscaino and Los Angeles Fire Department firefighter Pat McOsker.
Association President Marshall McClain said his members are concerned another former LAPD officer on the City Council would be likely to favor a takeover of security duties at the airports.
Councilman Bernard Parks was a longtime LAPD officer and police chief from 1998-2002. Councilman Dennis Zine was with the LAPD for more than 30 years.
In 2005, voters rejected joining the two departments. The airport police department, whose 425 officers patrol Los International Airport, Ontario International Airport and Van Nuys Airport, has been cautious about the relationship since.
Last year, the union accused the LAPD of not notifying airport police of 911 emergency calls, instead sending their own officers to incidents at LAX to respond. The communications issue were later resolved.
Calls to Buscaino’s campaign seeking comment were not returned.
McClain said the union also supported Furutani because of his reluctance to slash public safety employees’ pensions.
“He hasn’t gone the way of all the other (legislators) in saying it’s simply not sustainable,” McClain said.
McClain cited Furutani’s legislative experience.
“With all due respect to Joe and Pat, at least Warren is someone who has legislative experience rather than someone who thinks, ‘I can make a difference,’ ” McClain said.
Other contenders in the race include Jayme Wilson, who owns the popular Ports O’Call restaurant in San Pedro; Rudy Svorinich, a registered lobbyist who held the 15th District seat from 1993-2001; Gordon Teuber, who was Hahn’s economic director; and Rebecca Chambliss, an area Realtor.
If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary election, the top two candidates will compete in a Jan. 17 runoff.