Establishment Beats Aging Activist in L.A.

  • Share
  • Read Later
LOS ANGELES: Richard Riordan sailed to re-election at mayor of Los Angeles Tuesday night after a colorful but one-sided contest against former radical and present-day activist Tom Hayden. At 57, Hayden wears the dark suit and close-cropped haircut appropriate to his position as a California state senator, but TIME's James Willwerth notes that voters apparently couldn't dismiss the mental image of Hayden as a 1960s radical: disheveled, angry, defiant. In the campaign, Hayden proved that he hadn't lost his passion. He attacked Riordan for his record on racial healing and environmental issues. Meanwhile, Riordan quietly painted a picture of a rebounding L.A.: "We've restored confidence in our city, we've made our city safer, we rebuilt our economy," he said in his victory speech. Voters endorsed the mayor's vision by nearly a 2 to 1 margin; with 93 percent of the ballots counted on Wednesday, Riordan led Hayden 217,575 to 118,700 votes. While Riordan has re-energized the mayor's office, he has drawn criticism that he circumvents the democratic process. Says Willwerth: This mayor arrived after several decades of amiable but not very active mayoral leadership by Tom Bradley. He's a very, very can-do kind of guy, who has accomplished a lot of things that were good for the city, though he was perceived as somewhat insensitive to racial conflict."