In their third public debate in the hotly contested race for council district 14, candidates Rudy Martinez, an Eagle Rock and Highland Park business owner, and incumber Jose Huizar squared off at the on Tuesday night.
Both candidates were called to set aside the contentious tone that, until last night, had dominated this year's election.
"I know that these two have known each other for a long time and had called each other friends," Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council President Michael Larsen said of the former allies turned rivals. "Politics, however, seems to have a funny affect on friendship and sometimes we are the most cruel to the people we love the most. So tonight, we'd like to step in and rescue a friendship, as well as sense of civility and decency we feel we've been deprived of."
Both candidates took the pledge of decorum, and Huizar even took time out of his opening statements to personally apologize to Martinez and his mother for an e-mail recently sent out by his former campaign manager Michael Trujillo calling for a "political bullet" to be put between Martinez's eyes.
The candidates held to that promise throughout Monday night's debate, eschewing personal attacks and focusing instead on the city's pressing issues, including library funding, councilmember salaries, medical marijuana dispensaries and the impending $350 million deficit in the annual budget.
They also touted their own distinct leadership styles. Huizar listed recent accomplishments throughout CD 14, including successful development projects on York Boulevard in Highland Park, as well as the historically low crime rate achieved in Eagle Rock in 2010.
Martinez, as has been his modus operandi throughout the campaign, hammered home to the audience his successes as a business owner--he is the owner of in Highland Park and Mia Sushi in Eagle Rock. "I am the most innovative person I know," Martinez said.
Click the video in the box to the right to see excerpts from the candidates' responses from last night's forum.