An estimated 300 people showed up at Mar Vista Recreation Center on February 23 for a debate between the two candidates running for the Los Angeles City Council District 11 seat in the March 3 Los Angeles City election, incumbent Bill Rosendahl and his opponent, Harry “Craig” Wilson. Wilson, a hydrographer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and former U.S. Marine, is most interested in scrapping the sanctuary city policy in Los Angeles, getting rid of what he calls “Dubai” developers in City Hall, and eliminating RV parking on city streets. In his opening comments, he talked about the deaths that have occurred in Los Angeles because of the city’s status as a Sanctuary City, a designation that refers to a city that protects illegal immigrants by not allowing police to inquire about immigration status. Rosendahl opened by touching on his past accomplishments in Council District 11, including the opening of a transition house for veterans in Del Rey, the returning of Indian remains to the ground in Playa Vista, and the opening of a kids’ play area in Stoner Park.The first question was about Measure R, the half-cent sales tax hike to fund transportation projects, which was passed by Los Angeles County voters November 3. Wilson said he was not familiar with Measure R. When the measure was explained, he said he would have been against it. “I don’t think our problem is that we’re not taxed enough, our problem is we are spending too much, mostly on illegal aliens,” Wilson said. Rosendahl referred to Measure R as “an amazing initiative backed by an amazing coalition of people who are tired of gridlock.” The audience gasped when Wilson said immigrants can “keep their piñatas, but should not be a burden to society.” There was another audible murmur in the crowd when Wilson referred to Antonio Villaraigosa as “a cholo mayor.” Answering a question about the impact of budget cuts on traffic, small business relief, and outreach to the homeless community, Wilson said, “Let every day be a day without illegal aliens.” Rosendahl said politicians need to get the matching federal funds to compliment Measure R. Turning to a variety of other issues, Rosendahl said he supports Villaraigosa’s plan to put more police on the streets. On billboard blight, Rosendahl pointed out he was the sole councilmember opposed to the controversial digital billboard project at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Wilson said if he is elected, he will simply take billboards down if that is the will of the people. Both candidates voiced support for better use of the Los Angeles River as a water source. They also agreed that the Santa Monica Airport is a burden to surrounding neighborhoods. “Santa Monica gets all the money, but surrounding neighborhoods get the noise and health issues,” Rosendahl said.
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