Ballot Box: Does City Council candidate John Choi deserve credit for new park projects?

Jan 28, 2013

The March 5 City Council election is less than six weeks away. That means registered voters in Council District 1 and Council District 13 can expect to be bombarded with campaign mailers, emails and robocalls extolling the track record and virtue of the candidates. The Eastsider will be asking questions and seeking more details about these campaign claims. Got a mailer to share? Email us a copy to

A mailer for John Choi, the former Public Works Commissioner running in the crowded Council District 13 race, claims that the city “paved more streets than every before, increased green space, and improved and streamlined city services” under “his leadership on the Public Works Commission.”   The mailer also states that “his initiatives” also “helped build new parks like North Atwater Park and Garvanza Park, speed up restoration of Echo Park Lake, and restore habitat in and improve access to the L.A. River.”

But Choi, who has raised more than $189,000 in campaign contributions, served on the Public Works Commission for less than a year, with his term beginning well after the restoration of Echo Park Lake and the other park and river projects that he describes as “his initiatives” had been already approved and were in progress.  Also,  the Public Works Commission was led by Andrea Alarcon, who recent resigned, during Choi’s tenure.  How does he reconcile these facts with his campaign mailer?

Mike Shimpock, Choi’s campaign consultant, responds:

  • John Choi served on the Public Works Commission, and as such had influence over the prosecution of projects such as we listed. Even though they may have been approved prior to his appointment, his decisions and leadership helped complete them or speed their completion.
  • The Public Works Commission is responsible for overseeing and completing projects funded with Prop. O money, such as the Echo Park Lake restoration, Garvanza Park, and North Atwater park. As a member of the Commission, John was a part of that process and had influence in the completion of these projects.
  • John was the primary liaison to street services regarding street paving. It was his responsibility to oversee this part of the Commission’s mandate.

Choi and 11 other candidates are running to replace Eric Garcetti, who is termed out of  office, to represent Council District 13, which includes Atwater, Echo Park, East Hollywood and Silver Lake.  A  Council District 13 Candidates Forum will be held tonight, Jan. 28, in Silver Lake.  More information in The Eastsider’s L.A. City Council Election Guide.




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