Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn picked up the endorsement yesterday of former Assemblywoman Paula Boland, who accused challenger Antonio Villaraigosa of being soft on gang criminals and child abusers, the Los Angeles Times reports. Villaraigosa disputed that criticism. Boland cited half a dozen bills aimed at gang members and child abusers that she said Villaraigosa opposed when he was in the Assembly.
Boland was chairwoman of the Assembly Public Safety Committee when Villaraigosa was vice chairman. “My vice chair of public safety was protecting gangs and gang crimes,” Boland said. Hahn said he differs from Villaraigosa because he supports tougher laws on street gangs, including a citywide gang injunction that he recently proposed. “The question always is: Which Villaraigosa are we talking about? The Villaraigosa who was in the legislature who voted against tougher penalties for gang members, or the person now running for mayor who is trying to appeal to moderates saying, ‘That was then; this is now,’ ” Hahn said. Villaraigosa’s campaign manager listed eight bills the ex-assemblyman supported that stiffened enforcement against gang crimes and 13 that cracked down on child abuse.