LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Mayor Eric Garcetti’s former film industry adviser announced today he is running for the seat being vacated by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who represents parts of the San Fernando Valley, Burbank and East Hollywood.
Rajiv Dalal, who stepped down this week as Garcetti’s deputy film czar, is now looking to succeed Gatto, who is terming out in 2016.
Dalal said as a deputy to the city’s film czar — entertainment lawyer Ken Ziffren — he worked closely with Gatto on his bill to expand the state’s film tax credit program.
Dalal said helping gain passage of the bill — which resulted in about $330 million a year in tax credits for locally made film and television projects — “was a monumental accomplishment” that will help “the hardworking, middle class backbone of our industry.”
“But we can’t stop there,” he said. “Our industry is in the midst of tremendous change. With new technologies reshaping our business, we need a voice that grasps the future and makes government part of the solution.”
Gatto told City News Service he found Dalal to be a “very, very smart guy,” but said he has not decided on who to endorse.
“I will look for what appeals to me as a voter of the district,” he said. Gatto declined to say what his plans are after 2016. The assemblyman was elected in 2010 to represent the 43rd Assembly District to fill the unfinished term of Paul Krekorian, who was elected to the Los Angeles City Council.
Dalal also touted support from John Acosta, vice president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and president of the American Federation of Musicians Local 47.
Acosta credited Dalal with “brokering the film tax credit” program to bring entertainment jobs to Los Angeles.
“That feat cannot be underestimated,” Acosta said. “All of us in the labor movement worked in partnership with him, are grateful for Dalal’s efforts, and will continue to rally around this cause.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti also heaped praise on Dalal during a City Hall reception Wednesday to celebrate the passage of the film tax credit bill and to sign an executive order aimed at making filming in Los Angeles easier.
“He has been simply amazing,” Garcetti said. “I couldn’t imagine one man could deliver so much for our city, from helping to engineer the passage of those tax credits as I mentioned, to setting in place the city’s infrastructure plan to start looking at filming.”
Dalal, a Democrat, is executive director of the Tom Sherak MS Hope Foundation. Before running Garcetti’s Office Motion Picture & Television Production, Dalal was an executive director at Time Warner Inc. handling corporate affairs in Asia.
He has a bachelor’s from Georgetown University and graduate degrees from Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs, Georgetown University Law Center and Oxford University.
Dalal is a resident of La Canada Flintridge. His wife, Divya Khanna Dalal, is a marketing executive at Walt Disney Co.
Glendale Councilwoman Laura Friedman and Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian, both Democrats, have also announced their candidacies for the seat