Mayor’s rep to meet with showbiz exex

Alfred Robles Villalobos, Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan’s new deputy mayor of economic development, will be sitting down with film industry exex within the next three weeks to discuss how to better the city’s relationship with the industry.

That was the word out of the mayor’s office Wednesday, two days after Villalobos was named as one of five deputy mayors.

The film industry and the hiring of a new film czar will fall under Villalobos’ domain, according to William McCarley, Riordan’s chief of staff.

“We certainly realize that one of the more important industries in this town is the film industry,” McCarley said Wednesday.

McCarley said Riordan’s office has already received calls from exex at Paramount and Warner Bros. who are concerned about whether Riordan would even fill the film czar job. They have also heard from “a large number of people” who are interested in becoming L.A.’s new film czar.

Sources said one candidate is Cody G. Cluff, the director of business retention at the Economic Development Corporation. Cluff, along with Stephanie Hershey Liner, handles filming problems for Los Angeles County.

Beth Kennedy had been appointed by former Mayor Tom Bradley as the city’s film czar a year ago. The $ 70,000-a-year liaison job was, essentially, paid for by the film industry through an increase in film permit fees.

Kennedy, a former Universal executive, was terminated June 29 by Bradley’s regime, reportedly as part of an end-of-his-term housecleaning. At that time, she submitted a lengthy report to Riordan outlining problems and prejudices within City Hall against the film industry.

Sources say that in finding a new appointee, Villalobos will likely be working with Dawn Steel, who sat on Riordan’s transition team.

“That job is a very important position and we want to do a good job of filling it,” McCarley said.

In order to do that, he said it was important for Villalobos to first meet face-to-face with industryites.

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