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Tea Party backs three in council race

Local group announces tentative endorsements of Davitt, Olhasso and Voss.

December 22, 2010|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

With the Dec. 15 certification of seven candidates crowding the field for three La Cañada Flintridge City Council seats up for grabs in March, there hasn't been much time for hopefuls to communicate their platforms or for voters to make up their minds in what promises to be a hotly-contested race.

But conservative activists with the Pasadena-based TEAPAC, an umbrella political action committee for Tea Party organizations statewide, have wasted no time in throwing early support behind three local candidates — even before any of them had met with the group or asked for its backing.

Pending official published endorsements, TEAPAC and its Pasadena Patriots sub-group are backing Mayor Donald Voss, Councilwoman Laura Olhasso and Planning Commissioner Mike Davitt, said TEAPAC President Michael Alexander.

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Also in the race are schools booster and local businessman Charlie Kamar, former Planning Commission member James K. Hill and Jacqueline Harris, an organ-transplant nurse and Girl Scouts volunteer.

With so many choices, why did the group move so early?

"These local races are where Democrats especially do such a good job of building a farm team, putting people on the bench and grooming their candidates for future office. Tea Partiers and conservative activists need to compete effectively in that area and replicate the success of the Democrats and the left," explained Alexander, who runs a Pasadena-based investment management firm.

TEAPAC's support came as a surprise to Voss, a decline-to-state voter, who confirmed he's had no contact with the group.

Davitt — a Republican also backed by retiring Councilman Greg Brown — said he was happy for the endorsement.

"I believe in a lot of what they stand for. What we both want to see is government accountability, fiscal responsibility and government at any level that's open and accessible to everyone. That's a good connectivity between us," Davitt said.

Olhasso, also a Republican, said she intends to run a campaign free of party politics.

"I don't know anything about the Pasadena Tea Party group," Olhasso said. "This is a nonpartisan race. I value support from all people from all groups. The reason local government works so well is because of its nonpartisan nature, and that's aptly important to me."

Alexander said local politics are a partisan affair — just not in the way people traditionally think of political parties.

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