LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A longtime City Councilman and candidate for City Controller is accusing the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce of playing politics.

KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports City Councilman Dennis Zine sent an open letter to the Chamber president that raised questions about their endorsement of his opponent in the runoff vote for Controller.

The Chamber of Commerce was expected to announce its endorsement Tuesday night in the race for City Controller – just two weeks before the May 21 election between Zine and his opponent, businessman Ron Galperin.

In a public letter to Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gary Toebben, Zine described the timing of the decision as unusual.

“The timing has given rise to speculation that the Chamber is seeking to punish me for doing what I believe was in the best interest for all of L.A.,” Zine wrote.

In the letter, Zine – who represents Council District 3, which includes Canoga Park, Reseda, and Woodland Hills – cited two recent votes he has made that he signaled the Chamber may be “concerned about.”

One involves his support of a new Trash Franchise Program that Zine claims would ease traffic congestion by eliminating duplicate truck trips through local business corridors and help the environment by utilizing clean fuel vehicles.

Zine also defended his vote against a proposal to renovate a runway at Los Angeles International Airport to accomodate larger commercial aircraft.

“I do not feel that we need to spend an additional $500 million dollars to move a runway that doesn’t need to be moved and absolutely paralyze local traffic for both the short term during years of construction and in the long term by driving all of our passenger travel to LAX,” Zine wrote.

Toebben, however, denied any unusual timing behind the Chamber’s endorsement announcement.

“Is it fair to have a conversation about a race two weeks before it’s happening? Absolutely, it’s fair,” Toebben said.


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