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Two Very Different Campaigns:  Hydee Feldstein Soto vs. Faisal Gill for LA City Attorney

THE EASTSIDER - Since the launch of her campaign for LA City Attorney, Hydee Feldstein Soto has made it clear that she is not a politician,

she simply wants to handle the City Attorney’s Office as a giant public law firm, independent of politics, rather than a political tool for any politician lawyer with a jones for power. 

That’s why nearly every other candidate for the position enthusiastically endorsed her within a couple of weeks from the Primary result.  That means Teddy Kapur, Kevin James, Marina Torres, and Richard Kim. 

Hydee has been a part of the Neighborhood Council system in a good way over the years, covering land use legislation and nasty Sacramento legislation favoring developers and speculators looking to make a buck in Los Angeles. 

The only reason this race is close is simple - MONEY 

Faisal Gill

I’m simply going to quote Faisal Gill’s bona fide credentials from a previous analysis of the 7 Candidates for LA City Attorney, since I couldn’t get my head around why he was the pick of the corporate Democratic crowd, since he’s not really a Democrat. You can find the article here. 

“I’ll admit that I never heard of Faisal Gill before this race, so I did a little digging. Mostly I think he was never on my radar because he is not from around here. Up until 2007 he was a registered Republican, and ran for the Virginia House of Delegates.   In 2016 he shows up in Vermont as the Democratic Candidate for Vermont State Senate, and when he lost that race as well, he became the Interim Vermont Democratic Party Chair. He moved to LA sometime in 2019 to run for City Attorney.  

One reason for his fundraising success is that, according to his website’s Endorsement page, he has the lion’s share of the establishment democratic party on his side: 

Karen Bass (who has since unendorsed Gill), Ro Khanna & Ilhan Omar, LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Sidney Kamlager and others.  

Anyhow, as Gill’s own website characterizes him, 

“Faisal recently won a settlement with the City of Los Angeles in a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by a Black Hollywood music producer who fought in court to have LAPD body camera video footage made public to prove allegations he was racially profiled before his arrest. 

Faisal hopes to bring his perspective as an immigrant and civil rights attorney to the office of LA City Attorney and restore trust and transparency in local government. Faisal has 6 children and lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Aimee who is also an attorney.” 

He lists himself as a civil rights attorney, although he spent decades working for the Republican Party, and arguing that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual’s concealed carry of fire arms into a K-12 school. You can see it here. 

He also spearheaded the unsuccessful push for a constitutional amendment against marriage equality in Virginia with particular venom: 

“During a recent public forum at the Durant Center, Ebbin and Fairfax County trial attorney Faisal Gill debated the merits of the proposed amendment. Gill, who represented Virginians for Marriage and the Family Foundation, said that the purpose of the amendment is to prevent legal recognition of gay marriages from other states. Putting his money where his mouth is, Gill offered pro bono representation to any clients who claim that the amendment has imperiled their contracts, wills, inheritance or advanced medical directives.

#“I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman,” Gill said. “Thus far, the debate over this amendment has focused on the legalities. If we want to be intellectually honest, we will have a debate about the policy issues.” 

That was in 2006. As The Intercept characterized him in 2014: 

According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the list of Americans monitored by their own government includes:

  • Faisal Gill, a longtime Republican Party operative and one-time candidate for public office who held a top-secret security clearance and served in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush” 

Weird. At the same time, this does not sound like the public persona he puts forward, and I have to wonder if the establishment democrats do any basic research on the candidates they endorse. 

I wrote that during the primary. Since then, both Karen Bass and the Los Angeles African American Women’s Political Action Committee have UNENDORSED Faisal Gill and LAAWPAC has endorsed Hydee Feldstein Soto for Los Angeles City Attorney.  In addition, Hydee has been endorsed by the Los Angeles Times,. the Los Angeles News, La Opinion and the Los Angeles Sentinel.  She has the endorsement of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, Planned Parenthood Advocacy, Project Los Angeles County Action Fund, the Sierra Club, LA League of Conservation Voters, unions, business and community leaders.  Perhaps most importantly, Hydee is the first candidate for this office in more than 20 years to have the endorsement of the attorneys  she hopes to lead - the Los Angeles City Attorneys Association. 

Corporate Democratic Overreach

Here’s the thing I don’t understand. One of the better funded Democratic political consultants, jacobsonzilber.com, aka J&Z Strategies, is spending a ton of somebody’s money to tout Faisal Gill as a progressive Democrat civil rights attorney. 

Here’s a taste:

For Immediate release
October 6, 2022
 
Contact:
[email protected]

 

FAISAL GILL UNVEILS DUO OF NEW TV ADS

 

Civil Rights Attorney’s Campaign for LA City Attorney Rolls Out News Ads Focused on Corruption Just Weeks From November Election 

 

 

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Today, civil rights attorney Faisal Gill’s campaign for Los Angeles City Attorney released a duo of new video ads focused on corruption that began airing earlier this week on citywide television and digital behind a six-figure buy.

 

“Free From Corruption” underscores the rampant corruption issues at LA. City Hall and how Gill’s background makes him best equipped to prosecute corrupt politicians, bring real reform to the City Attorney’s Office and hold City Hall accountable. “Cannot Prosecute” puts a spotlight on the stark contrast between Gill and his opponent Heidi Feldstein Soto on the issue of corruption, including Feldstein’s comments saying she would not prosecute corruption as City Attorney.

Obviously J&Z Strategies have a ton of outside money pouring in to get  their pony elected, reality be damned.  Just from the actual history of Faisal Gill I recounted above, he’s an east coast Republican retread who has rebranded himself for LA, even though he believed that ‘marriage is between a man and a woman’ until he became a Democrat and moved to California. 

I can’t blame J&Z for taking on the account; they go where the money goes, and it appears that a ton of corporate democratic money is fueling their drivel. I can, however, deplore how low political discourse has gone if this is the best ‘Democrat’ candidate they can field. 

If there is such a thing as ethics in politics, however, Gill’s campaign ads, including the television hit pieces, reveals that the corporate outside money Democratic Party and their fronts left it behind a long time ago. 

The Takeaway

Hydee Feldstein Soto is an LA local, has been a Democrat as long as I can remember, never had to change party affiliation, and has significant experience as a manager and lawyer in real high powered law firms here in Los Angeles.  She is the commonsense candidate, the 40 year resident of LA who knows and loves our City, the supersmart lawyer running to do this job and not looking for a stepping stone on a career path.  Hydee has the professional and lived experience she needs in order to be a successful representative for all Angelenos.

 

(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.)