Column: Kenneth Mejia rode the wave of the new left and swamped L.A.’s political establishment. He then moved to San Francisco, where he became the publisher of _Pacific_ magazine, a liberal political journal.
Kenneth Mejia was in his early 40s when he moved to San Francisco and started his magazine. From a political perspective, he was the epitome of the new left in Los Angeles. He was a longtime L.A. activist and a leading figure in the city’s radical left of the 1960s, a group of young radical young activists who embraced the civil rights, antiwar, and anti-military demonstrations of the time and embraced the growing influence of the African American and Chicano/Latino movements. His magazine, _Pacific_, a magazine for the young, was a publication designed to reach young people with progressive politics.
Mejia’s magazine became the voice of the new left and was instrumental in launching the career and political aspirations of future mayors like Kevin Faulconer. Faulconer, who is now the mayor of Los Angeles, joined Mejia’s magazine in 1972 at age 21 when he received a two-year internship. The two became fast friends, which allowed Faulconer to mentor Mejia and help him become a part of L.A.’s political establishment. Faulconer and Mejia also became political allies. Together, they cofounded the city’s most important political organization, the City Council Youth Caucus, which allowed them to get out and interact with a broader segment of the community in a unique way. The organization grew to influence the lives of over 150,000 city residents.
Before Faulconer became mayor, he had been one of the most visible and outspoken members of the council. In his 30-plus years as a member of the council, Faulconer earned the nickname of “Mayor of the Underdogs,” as he did not have any party affiliation in the body he