Art Snyder 1932-2012
Altadena’s Steve Lamb will never forget former LA Councilman Art Snyder
Many may not remember the colorful Art Snyder, a former Los Angeles City Councilman representing Eagle Rock, Highland Park and other communities in northeastern LA who on Nov. 7 died in his sleep at his home in Huntington Beach at the age of 79.
But Altadena’s Steve Lamb will certainly never forget Snyder, primarily due to the $2-million slander lawsuit Snyder filed after Lamb stated in an email that Snyder was “an incestual (sic) child molester, Satan worshiping (sic), Hillside Strangler befriending and confidant to politicos,” according to the incendiary missive Lamb sent to a number of people, including an aide to LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, a friend of Snyder’s.
The memo was included as evidence in the suit filed by Snyder, whom Lamb believed had died of prostate cancer “several years ago,” as he wrote in the May 2001 email.
Although Snyder had been accused in bitter divorce proceedings of inappropriately touching his daughter, the district attorney’s office investigated the claim without filing charges, and the girl eventually recanted.
Snyder denied all the other claims made by Lamb.
Snyder’s libel case dragged on, but was eventually settled out of court, according to Lamb. “I gave him $100,000 to go away, because it was going to cost me $300,000 to fight,” Lamb told the Weekly. “It was a small price to pay to get him out of my life.”
A native of Boyle Heights and an ex-Marine who received his juris doctorate from USC in 1958 and worked as a real estate broker and as an aide to former District 14 Councilman John Holland, the Spanish-speaking Snyder was elected to the council in 1967. The Republican served in the increasingly Democratic and Latino-dominant district until 1985, when he resigned due to pressures caused by his divorce proceedings and was replaced by then-former state Assemblyman Richard Alatorre, a Democrat.
During his time on the council, Snyder found himself featured in a number of negative news stories, including one written in 1979, which claimed he’d been accused of not disclosing he had received $12,000 from interest accrued on his campaign finances.
Snyder’s driving record also became a public concern after it was reported that he had seven minor traffic accidents between 1972 and 1980 while driving city vehicles. He was once charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, but the case ended in October 1980 after a jury was unable to reach a verdict.
After leaving the council, Snyder worked as a City Hall lobbyist and as an immigration attorney.
“I ran into him a year ago, when I was at a hot dog place on Raymond Avenue,” recalled Lamb. “He was hovering around my car, and I said, ‘Mr. Snyder,’ and shook his hand. But he didn’t know who I was. We sat down and had a hot dog and he ranted and raved about Occupy (demonstrators) and demanded to know what I had to do with them. He seemed kind of confused and not with it.”
Snyder, according to the Los Angeles Times, is survived by Delia, his wife of 31 years, and his children from two previous marriages.