March 3 City Primary
100 Days and Counting
You got to feel for poor Jack Weiss. He gave up an undistinguished career as a government lawyer and somehow beat the famous carpetbagger ex-radical Tom Hayden in a race for the City Council.
And barely a week after being sworn into public office as one of the lucky 15 highest paid city council members in all of America, he admitted he didn’t really know why he was there, saying, “Ron, I have to tell you how happy I am just to be sitting around the horseshoe.”
Trouble was he often found himself not sitting around the horseshoe when city business was being and chalked up what must be a record for missed votes. To his credit, he hasn’t just skipped out on controversial votes that might upset his constituents, he missed hundreds of routine and insignificant ones as well.
Given the advantage of incumbency — the odds of unseating a sitting member are something like 50 to 1 — he easily won re-election four years ago.
But he was smart. He jumped aboard Antonio Villaraigosa’s bandwagon early on and curried favor that now has him the front-runner to become the City Attorney with a handsome campaign warchest of more than $1.5 million donated by the many friends of City Hall politics.
Of course, his constituents took a shot at recalling him from office for his many failures to serve them or look after their interests and it’s likely that voters in Fifth District on the Westside and Sherman Oaks would make him the 1 in 50 if he tried to seek a third term in office.
The reasons for constituency discontent are many: Neglect of his duties, staff arrogance, developer interests ahead of neighborhood interests.
Right now, they’re furious.over Weiss’ plan to raid $250,000 from their street furniture fund to pay for DNA rape testing kits. This is money that’s supposed to go for neighborhood improvements to compensate for the annoyance of all that advertising but Weiss desperately needs the money to cover up the fact that he hasn’t been able to get city funds for something this important despite years of trying.
Still, you got to give hm credit. Weiss is right about this issue and some others and probably should make that his campaign slogan: Weiss Is Right.
Weiss is the only council member to stand up to the billboard companies and their dirty deal with the city that let’s put up 1,000 digital monstrosities all over town and he’s stood alone week after week holding hearings to get money for DNA testing of rape samples.
Trouble is Weiss doesn’t get anything done even when he’s right. He’s got no clout with his colleagues and even his sucking up the mayor doesn’t help.
So his well-qualified challengers Carmen Trutanich and Michael Amerian might come up with the slogan: Jack Can’t Hack It .
Still, nothing is going to stop Weiss from pursuing his ambition. He took his campaign on the road Wednesday for his annual visit with his constituents in the San Fernando Valley.
Here’s a report on evening with the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association by Ellen Vukovich, a writer and leader of SOHA:
“My City Council Member, Jack Weiss, made his yearly visit to the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association. Anticipating a briefing on all things Sherman Oaks from our Council Member, the large room was filled with interested community members and various candidates running for city offices.
“Weiss opened with a quick stump speech subtly reminding us that he is running for City Attorney.
“Figuring this was just the warm-up, I was stunned when Weiss then asked for questions. Why didn’t he have more to say?
“Then my “a ha” moment came. Weiss couldn’t say more because he realized the level of hostility in the room was so high there was no point in continuing. Now, the audience wasn’t shouting, heckling or booing. They communicated by nodding their heads in disagreement, by crossing their arms at their chests, and by looking over to others with a look in their eyes that said: “Is this guy kidding or what?”
“And the funny thing is no matter what he had to say in response to the questions (and some of it was okay), the people were conveying the same message. “You represent a failed local government and we no longer believe what you say.”
“Today, I have chatted with a few fellow activists about last night’s interesting meeting, Turns out we think this meeting really wasn’t about Jack Weiss. It was about sitting in a room with a bunch of people who are clearly tired of business as usual downtown and let their feelings be known to their elected official.
“I must confess this has stirred a dormant hope. Dare I believe that people will hold on to that anger and vote out all incumbents in March’s city election?
“Clearly, we have work ahead by spreading the word and making sure our friends, neighbors understand what’s at stake next March – the City Attorney, Controller and eight City Council seats. eight makes a quorum in City Council. And with eight new Council Members we will have hope again in Los Angeles, not just in Washington D.C.”
Personally, I love Ellen’s enthusiasm and we do need hope. We need to change L.A. I don’t honestly know if we can win eight seats on the council.
But I do know if we let Antonio’s political machine control the offices of Mayor, City Attorney and Controller and the City Council we might as well turn out the lights and start packing.
Vote for Change. Just Say No to Antonio’s political machine on March 3.