Assemblymember Warren Furutani (D-Long Beach), a candidate for Los Angeles City Council, has announced endorsements from a labor union, a newspaper and a former city councilmember.

Furutani and LAPD Officer Joe Buscaino are entering their final week of campaigning before the Jan. 17 runoff election.

Joe Cortez, president of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) Local 13, announced his support of Furutani this week. Based in San Pedro, it is the largest ILWU local on the West Coast, representing 20,000 longshore workers who discharge cargo at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

“Warren Furutani has been a champion for longshore workers and all working men and women,” Cortez said. “For decades he has walked the talk and fought for good jobs in our community. He not only has the experience to do the job, he has the vision to create new jobs and improve our neighborhoods.”

Furutani also has the backing of the harbor area’s oldest independent newspaper, Random Lengths. James Preston Allen, publisher of the San Pedro-based newspaper, wrote:

“After having sat with both (candidates) and talked on a wide range of subjects, I have come to the conclusion that it is Warren Furutani who would most likely understand and support the goals of the Occupy movement, understanding fundamentally which side he is on, (and) would not defend the banking establishment against the interests of the common people.

“Furutani understands injustice and civil rights on a very personal level — proven by his actions, along with his voting record and community activism over the years … I have to admit, as this may be my own personal bias, I prefer the community organizer to the police officer.”

Allen’s interviews with Furutani and Buscaino appear in the Dec. 30-Jan. 12 issue of Random Lengths and can be viewed online at

“I am so proud of this endorsement, which honors my history as a community organizer,” Furutani said. “That is exactly the type of city councilperson I will be for the whole 15th City Council District — from Watts to Athens on the Hills, Harbor Gateway North and South, Harbor City, Wilmington and San Pedro.”

He added that both endorsements “are great wins for our campaign in the final days.”

The Los Angeles Times interviewed both candidates and chose Buscaino. While acknowledging his lack of political experience compared to Furutani, who has served on the city’s school district and community college boards as well as in the Assembly, the newspaper said, “We find it easier to give him, as a novice, a bit of slack that we must deny to the veteran Furutani.”

Michael Woo, the first and so far only Asian American to serve on the City Council, gave his support to Furutani in a video posted on YouTube, saying, “Unlike most politicians, Warren really has a vision, a dream, a real sense of what people in the community need. He’s driven by a strong passion for justice, and he also is a real fighter. He’s someone who will do his best to make sure that all parts of the 15th Council District are served, and that no part of the district will feel left out.”

Currently dean of the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona, Woo served on the council from 1985 to 1993, representing the Silver Lake/Hollywood area. He ran for mayor in 1993, losing by a small margin to Richard Riordan.

Among current members of the council, Furutani is endorsed by Paul Koretz and Bernard Parks, while Buscaino is backed by Herb Wesson Jr., Eric Garcetti, Mitchell Englander, Dennis Zine, Tom Labonge and Jose Huizar. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was one of Furutani’s early supporters.

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