Hydee Feldstein Soto

Over the past several years, Los Angeles city government has been beset by numerous scandals.  One of the most notable involved the City Attorney's office.  In April of this year, a lawyer appointed by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office to represent LADWP in a lawsuit gave a $1 million a year job to the General Manager of LADWP in exchange for his official action to secure a three-year, $30 million no-bid LADWP contract for the lawyer’s company.  Current City Attorney, Mike Feuer, insisted that -- despite the fact that the lawyer in question was on his staff -- he knew nothing about the contract or the crime.  Both the attorney in question, Paul Paradis, and the LADWP official, David Wright, were ultimately convicted of federal charges.

In her interview with the Current, candidate for City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto pointed out that it was the City's routine practice of entering into no-bid contracts like the one involved -- despite the City Charter's mandate of competitive bidding -- that is at the heart of scandals like this one.  And she vowed, should she be elected, not to sign off on anymore no-bid contracts.  As for Feuer's contention that he was out of the loop, Feldstein Soto, who has ample experience managing a large team of attorneys, stated, "It may not be criminal, but it's a failure of management."  It's this kind of toughness in response to the City's exhausting string of public corruption cases for which the Current has given her our endorsement.

Her opponent, Faisal Gill, is touted as the progressive choice for City Attorney, and refers to himself as a "political outsider".  In fact, the former Republican served as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Department of Homeland Security during the George W. Bush Administration, and this is his third attempt at running for public office.  In 2006, as a candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, Gill was vocal in his support of an amendment on the ballot which would prevent Virginia from recognizing same-sex marriages from out of state.  Gill also represented the Virginians for Marriage and the Family Foundation, whose stated goal is to "advocate for policies based on Biblical principles that enable families to flourish at the state and local level." And he was a contributor to the Federalist Society, the conservative club whose influence has resulted in a far-right majority on the Supreme Court.

By 2012, Gill (in response to being investigated by the NSA for his ties to an Islamic activist who was ultimately convicted of illegal dealings with Libya) had renounced his position on gay marriage, registered as a Democrat, and moved from Virginia to Vermont, where in 2016 he ran another unsuccessful campaign, this time for State Senator.  In 2018, after a brief stint as interim chair of Vermont's Democratic Party, he moved his family to Porter Ranch.  

Gill has said that if elected he would a impose a 100 day moratorium on misdemeanor criminal filings, a proposal so extreme it led to mayoral candidate Karen Bass withdrawing her endorsement of him.

Lately, Gill has been criticizing Feldstein Soto for saying that "the city attorney is not going to and cannot investigate and prosecute corruption in city officials," implying that such a statement is evidence of Soto Feldstein taking a permissive stance on corruption.  In fact, it's indicative of her deep understanding of the role the City Attorney's office can and cannot play in tackling lawlessness, which will serve her well should she attain that office.  And it's another reason she has our endorsement.