April 2001

In twenty-eight years as a Los Angeles City Councilman, Joel Wachs has played a key role in drafting the country's most successful energy conservation program, dramatically fought to stop the aerial spraying of malathion, and is an avid spokesperson for Los Angeles's senior citizens.  In the heat of the L.A. mayoral race, Joel breaks from the tension to reveal how he apprehended a burglar and why he buys American.

Having been a part of this era of AIDS, how has it impacted you?
I have personally felt the devastation of AIDS, losing many of my closest friends.  I have tried to do what I could to help, including authoring the first law in the nation prohibiting discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS back in the mid-1980s, when most politicians wouldn't even mention the word "AIDS," let alone do anything about it.

If you received a million dollars, how would you spend it?
As a patron of the arts, I'd probably buy art, particularly by younger emerging artists, for various museums, including the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, of which I am a trustee.

Which living person do you most admire?
My mother is the most important person to me.

Do you think there should be condom distribution in the high schools?
Yes, as part of an educational effort that speaks openly and honestly about the consequences of sex.

Would you rather have a new VW Toon car, or a Turbo Porsche 911?
Neither.  As an elected official, I'd prefer to buy an American car, and not a very fancy one at that!

How has the AIDS epidemic changed the way you think about life and death?
It's made me profoundly aware of just how precious life is.  I try to enjoy every day and count my blessings for my good health.

Would you rather have a Big Mac or an array of Chinese vegetables?
My brain says veggies, my stomach says Big Mac.

Joel Wachs

What brand of water do you drink?
Sparklets, ever since one of their deliverymen helped me chase down and apprehend a burglar who had broken into my home.

Name one of your bad habits.

If you had a choice to have a dinner date with anyone from history who would it be?
Oscar Wilde.

If you wrote a book today about your life, what would the title be?
A Life Worth Living.

Who is your favorite star?
Jack Nicholson.  He just made a $1,000 contribution to my campaign!

What can we do to help during this ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis?
We need to dispel the myth that AIDS has been cured.  It's essential that we do all we can to reach out to the next generation of young people and provide them with the knowledge they need to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

When you get into bed at night, do you wear pajamas, nightshirt, undies, or nothing at all?
My aren't you inquisitive?


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