Appraising the CD2 Race: Stopping the Machine

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the new edition of Nina Royal’s North Valley Reporter.

With the money rolling into their war chests, Chris Essel and
Paul Krekorian are on track to raise 10 times as much as the other eight
candidates City Council District 2.

That makes them, in the eyes of the press and pundits, heavy
favorites to come out of the Sept. 22 special election first and second and to
face off in the December runoff.

How can voters choose between a candidate that has
represented the entertainment industry and downtown development interests for
years and a state Assembly leader who bears a full share of responsibility for
putting California in such dire
financial straits?

It may well come to a choice between Essel, with heavy
backing from the increasingly unpopular mayor, the powerful DWP union IBEW, and
the same developer and Hollywood interests, and Krekorian who is backed by City
Hall unions and the Democratic Party organization.

Before voters from Sunland-Tujunga to Sherman Oaks face that
choice, they first need to ask themselves if either of them is qualified to represent
their values, their needs – whether either of them will stand up to the City Hall
machine and fight for what the residents in CD2 want?

Neither of them lacks the intelligence or experience to
serve CD2. The biggest problem they share is they are carpetbaggers, moving
into the district just in time to run for the Council seat left vacant by Wendy
Greuel’s election as City Controller.

From her background as a lobbyist for Paramount Studio,
leadership role in the Central City Association and service on the Community
Redevelopment Agency Board, Essel on the face of it would have been more suited
to seek election in the CD5 Westside area earlier this year. But she chose not
to run, preferring to seek office from a district that her tenuous ties date
back to her youth.

Krekorian too has youthful roots in the Valley though his
political career is based on school board and state Legislative service to Burbank
and Glendale with a small portion
of his Assembly District stretching across the border into the Valley
Village area.

He is an ambitious and smart politician, rising rapidly to a
top post in the Democratic Assembly leadership. Concerns about Krekorian focus on
his role in going along for the rise as the Legislature drove the state down the
road to a financial catastrophe.

If he couldn’t stand up to the people’s interests in Sacramento,
can he do any better at City Hall in the face of a tight little power structure
that demands near total obedience, can he tell his backers in the SEIU they have
to take some tough medicine to keep LA from crashing into bankruptcy?

If not Essel or Krekorian, who?

Can LA school board member and Van Nuys neighborhood
prosecutor Tamar Galatzan raise enough money and overcome her own negatives –
LAUSD’s failures, her former support from the mayor, her husband’s role at VICA
in support of Home Depot – and force her into the runoff?

Can any of the other seven community candidates, each with
their own bases but lacking campaign cash, emerge from the pack and somehow
beat the odds?

It’s clear they will not unite behind a single that would
make the emergence of a community candidate more likely and there’s no sign yet
of any of them leaping ahead of the pack.

So voters who want to make a difference face a tough choice:
Do they vote for the community candidate they know and respect even though it’s
unlikely their vote will matter or do they choose between Essel, Krekorian and
Galatzan and affect the outcome.

 My only advice is to read all you can about the candidates,
their records, their statements, where their funding comes from and meet the
candidates if you can so you can make up your own minds.

Just know this: Even one Council member who consistently
stood up for his or her constituents, who stood up to the machine, could make a
huge difference.

The community stopped the machine on Measure B in March and
elected the City Attorney in May. Electing a Council member committed to the
community in the CD2 election will send City Hall a powerful message and
inspire the growing effort to change the city’s direction and save LA from the
destructive course it’s on.

17 thoughts on “Appraising the CD2 Race: Stopping the Machine”

  1. I don’t live in CD2, but if I did, Galatzan, Essel & Krekorian would be automatic “no” votes, and I’d devote my research to the others.
    Those three represent just what we don’t need more of: Power brokers who’ve had their chance and don’t need more power at our expense.
    Anyone — including the media — who gives credence to “money raised” is a fool, who should be asking where that money is coming from, and who is buying favors and access.

  2. Its all well and good to cry for grassroots candidates but if they’re not ready for prime time it gets you nowhere. Of all the “grassroots” candidates only Zuma Dogg and Josef Essavi have both the grasp of the issues and the personal chops to wade through the dealmaking and politics that is de rigeur no matter whether you like it or not. That being said Dogg and Essavi with all due respect do not have the required organizations to get out the vote the number one task to getting elected – before debates, flyers, campaign hats, signs, etc.
    I think where these grass roots groups like the SLAP folks etc. could be successful is to focus around broad principles rather than individual parochial concerns (i.e. billboards and bicycles) and then create the organization to support and elect thoughtful grass roots leaders who can also function with the media, local power structure, etc and can’t be dismissed as inexperienced or loony i.e. folks like Abby Diamond, Louis Pugliese, and others. Without such it requires a difficult personal commitment to mount an actual campaign and usually good decent folks like these have too much going on to take this on individually though Pugliese came damn near close in his school board race.

  3. No matter what CD 2 voters do, it should be to rally around one of the community grass roots leaders. The carpetbagging scum of the City should not be rewarded for their deceit.

  4. I’ve been going back and forth between Galatzan and some of the more grassroots candidates.
    I’ve settled on Galatzan. She’s was great at the two town hall meetings that my wife and I attended last month. I’m just not sure that the grassroots candidates have the political chutzpah to effectively work at city hall. ANybody but Krekorian or Essel!

  5. Having worked with Tamar on a number of projects in Van Nuys I find her extremely bright, qualified and in touch with the issues facing this city. She has not accepted money from developers, or the billboard companies and votes for what is right for this community. She has a great work ethic and speaks her mind. She has done more for Van Nuys than anyone I can think of in the past five years and does it with passion. She actually has lived in her district for five years and didn’t just move here for an election. Tamar Galatzan for CD2!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Having worked with Tamar on several quality of life issues in Van Nuys I find her extremely bright and in touch with the issues facing this city. She has done more for Van Nuys than anyone in five years and does it with intense passion. She is very qualified and has not taken any contributions from developers, unions, or billboard companies. She actually has lived in her district for five years and did not just move here for an election. She votes her conscience and not with the political machine running this city. She is out to change business as usual and for that I am supporting Tamar Galatzan for CD2!!!!!!!!

  7. The city is in a financial crisis created by $pecial interest providers, councilmembers, and Sacramento career politicians like Mayor Villaraigosa, Councilmembers Alarcon, Cardenas, Wesson, and now Koretz.
    Angelenos need to pause for several minutes and take into consideration which candidate will best serve Angelenos instead of their masters, $pecial interest groups, that include part time elected candidates and commission appointees.
    Do Angelenos need another $pecial interest group provider? Just follow the money prior, during and after the election. Don’t be fooled by the sheep dressed in wool.
    David Saltsburg a TRUE REFORMER with no strings attached.

  8. Vote Mary Benson for CD2.
    At a time when City, County, and State resources let the Station Fire burn unchallenged for DAYS, Mary is the only candidate who has shown that she not only cares about this community, but she’ll fight for it.
    Vote Benson!
    Forget the rest of the carpetbaggers and professional politicians.

  9. Well, I like Josef Essavi, having spoken to him on several occations, and watched him navigate other campaigns, albeit unsucessful ones.
    That being said, as I understand the landscape of locals, and having met many of the other 7, if I were to move to CD2 and vote, I’ld pick Mary Benson.

  10. I am for Michael McCue… definitely a strong grasp of the issues, and the ability to pull off successful reform and representation.
    This race is the perfect example of why Instant Runoff Voting should be implemented! Then everybody can rank their choices, and voting for the grassroots candidates wouldn’t be “unlikely to matter”.

  11. Michael McCue IS grassroots. He has the voice and the experience and the strong VALUES necessary to represent the CD2 district. He’s been in support of infrastructure first before any development takes place. He built his campaign on clean/fair elections platform. He has shown at the candidate forums that he has defined answers to our city’s problems that are actionable.
    The question is, “Where is the press coverage on this matter of the CD2 election that focuses on the grassroots candidates? We know they are the ones that don’t have the big money to do the ads and flyers.
    The CD2 voters will be on the losing end of local government unless there is MORE PRESS on the grassroots candidates so that they can assess all 10 candidates.

  12. Mayor Sam readers know more than ignorant followers of the L.A. Times.
    To review…
    Who gave their readers the following facts about Christine “Valley Girl” Essel…??
    Takes almost all her money from people who don’t live in CD 2. (Mayor Sam storyline)
    “Valley Girl” Essel, claims to live in the Valley, yet her husband, and her dog, live in the Sunset/Doheny Estates. (Mayor Sam storyline)
    Can’t name a public school in CD 2.
    (Mayor Sam exclusive)
    Couldn’t remember her Valley address while signing Frank Sheftels nominating petition.
    (Mayor Sam exclusive)
    “Valley Girl” Essel gets caught using non-citizens and former employees to portray Valley voters and supporters in her media campaign.
    (Mayor Sam exclusive)
    Gives suspicious endorsement to Essel, disregarding crucial facts. (LA Times!)
    Sorry guys, we can only give you the facts.
    If CD 2 voters elect Essel (or Krekorian)…then so be it.

  13. Folks wanting one of the grassroots candidates in the run off have a problem. They were doomed from the beginning when six of the seven didn’t drop out of the running. Although they may attract votes in their own neigbhorhood they won’t be able to get the kind of multiple neighborhood support they need for a place in a run off. Of the remaining three, Galatzan is the closest to grassroots…she lives in the district, her kids go to school there, she works there, and she has shown an independent streak when it comes to city hall/mayorV. If I was in CD2 she’d be my candidate.

  14. Forget Tamar Galazan, she seems to be a part of the Villalaraza pro illegal alien bandits, i think my vote will go to Mary Benson

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