If one relishes pure power politics, devoid of any civic importance, the California Legislature offers many examples of self-interested infighting.

However, the Los Angeles City Council is in a class by itself, with 15 members – all but one Democrats – clawing and scratching for dominance while the city they govern continues its socioeconomic deterioration.

The council’s current preoccupation is who, if anyone, will fill a seat that’s semi-vacant because its occupant, Mark Ridley-Thomas, has been indicted on federal corruption charges for things he did as a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

CALmatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California's state Capitol works and why it matters. Dan Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers.

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