Inside the game of L.A. politics, the word is out: We don’t really need next year’s citywide elections because the results are already in.
The “Committee of 225″ — the godless clique of lobbyists, developers, contractors, union bosses and the like — who buy the politicians (and get a handsome return on their investment) are unanimous that Villaraigosa has a second term locked up.
His puppet on a string, Councilman Jack Weiss, is as sure a thing for City Attorney as Big Brown for the Triple Crown. He can’t be stopped, or so they believe.
And don’t even bother to think about City Controller. Everybody loves Wendy Greuel even though the councilwoman for all her good works has failed to demonstrate the feisty independence that made Laura Chick the only standout elected official in L.A. in the 21st century.
That’s the book on L.A. politics. And for good reason. They’ve got all the money from that aforementioned godless clique of lobbyists, developers, contractors, union bosses and the like who make up what passes for a political establishment – a leadership cadre that has failed with rare exceptions to demonstrate the capacity to think beyond its own greedy interests.
So why don’t we just call the whole thing off. We don’t really need elections if hardly anybody votes and the outcomes are pre-determined like in Russia where Putin does whatever he wants and handpicks his successor who does what he wants. In Russia, of course, nearly everyone votes so the Putin dictatorship at least has a certain legitimacy.
Think of the money we’d save. Why we could give bonuses to every city worker.
Being a dreamer, I’ve never accepted that. Sometimes there’s an upset even in games that are fixed.
There aren’t many examples of that in recent L.A. history but the election of Richard Riordan in 1993 is one. It took a ton of his own money to win the mayor’s race that was fixed for the darling of the municipal socialists, Mike Woo, but he did it and was able to turn the city around and make some progress towards creating a government that actually serves the people.
So money matters. But you don’t have to be rich or have rich friends to build a big political warchest as Obama has shown in collecting hundreds of millions of dollars from people who contributed $100 or less.
Tonight, at the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association meeting, some activists from Sunland-Tujunga’s “No Home Depot” campaign are going to sit down with some SOHA activists to talk about what they could achieve together.
It could be the start of something big.
Just think about it: If activists on local issues from across the city created a Big Tent coalition with neighborhood councils and local Chambers of Commerce and Kiwanis and residents’ groups and churches, there would be a force to be reckoned with.
Fifty bucks a head would be a big pot of money and if they touched their friends and family for a few bucks more, why there’d be enough to change the face of L.A. politics.
OK, I’m a dreamer. I’ve admitted that. But is it really that hard? Aren’t there some of you out there who have the organizing ability to put together email lists from different groups and begin to coordinate and communicate to a broad audience?
This isn’t about ideology. It’s about paving streets and mobilizing communities to clean out the gangs and getting value for our tax dollars.
I found a home in L.A. nearly 30 years ago I thought I’d never find. I’ve fought City Hall as a newspaperman at the Herald-Examiner and the Daily News and I’ve seen change for the better.
Nothing but greed holds the Committee of 225 together today. It is weak and will crumble in the face of People Power. Even now, they back down on the slightest sign of public opposition as they did in the move to charge a buck a book at the public libraries or the closing down of the city-funded public access Channel 36.
The battle for L.A. can be won.
That’s my dream but it’s not a fantasy It just needs all you people who are active, involved in community, and care about other people to come together, right now.