TOTAL AT POLL BALLOTS 6,589 45.36%
TOTAL VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOTS 7,936 54.64%
GRAND TOTAL OF BALLOTS CAST 14,525 — 11.84% of 123,750 REGISTERED VOTERS
At a rate of one voter every 15 minutes per polling place on Tuesday, the East San Fernando Valley’s 270,000 residents decided they want to be represented at City Hall by someone who represents the interests of those who have taken LA hostage.
The turnout on Tuesday was even lower than those who cast mail-in ballots, a grand total of less than 12 percent of registered voters.
You can’t blame the machine for the outcome, a December runoff between union-backed Paul Krekorian and developer-backed Chris Essel who split nearly two-thirds of the votes cast, with Tamar Galatzan and Mary Benson distant runners-up.
You have seen the enemy, he is us.
The seven candidates who actually lived in CD2 before the election was called split just 5,092 votes, while the three carpetbaggers (Krekorian, Essel and Zuma Dogg) got 9,433.
Too many candidates with too little money — the winners had nearly 90 percent of the cash raised for the campaign — is the ostensible reason. You can throw in a lot of others like apathy, ignorance, demographics, defeatism to explain why it turned out to be another exercise in LA’s Dictatorship of the Few.
But we shouldn’t let ourselves off so easily.
I did not believe Essel could get traction in the East Valley and I was wrong. I don’t think she can beat Krekorian in the runoff no matter how much more money the mayor and his cronies throw into her campaign.
It really doesn’t make a lot of difference who wins. They both will maintain the unanimity of the City Council in matters large and small.
What matters is whether the activists of the city — Neighborhood Councils, homeowner groups and everyone else who make up the city’s civic culture — face the painful truth that they are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
They chose up sides in this election and backed their local favorite instead of coming behind a single candidate and building a campaign organization that could man phone banks, walk precincts, leaflet at community events and hold rallies.
They didn’t organize and they didn’t raise any money. They acted like they lived in a small town where democracy is flourishing instead of in a big city where money and power talk loudly.
In the 18 months since I too became an activist, I’ve seen the same thing throughout the city.
We are victims of political myopia, unable to see anything beyond our own little issues, unwilling to see how we are like peasants in Medieval times sticking out our hands to our lordly masters and begging for crumbs from their table of power.
This is as true of the business community and the civic elite as it is of us ordinary people.
We are our own worst enemy. We victimize ourselves and blame the mayor, the unions, developers, lobbyists, contractors, consultants and other assorted connivers.
We can keep on putting all our energy and resources into the issues that we individually care about from sidewalk repair to bike paths to the oversize project in our neighborhood and the lack of planning.
Or we can see how the politicians and their army of staffers and bureaucrats backed by special interest money run circles around us even as they trash the neighborhoods and loot the city treasury.
LA is in a deep crisis. Services are being slashed. The future is being mortgaged. There is no way out unless the business and civic leaders step forward and the grassroots activists look up from the ground and see the big picture.
It’s all about power.
The political machine, weak and leaky as it is, can control elections when less than 12 percent of voters cast ballots. When nearly 18 percent of the people vote as they did on Measure B and in the City Attorney’s race, the people stand a chance.
If 25 percent voted, things could be different. There would be a balancing of interests and honest debate. LA could be saved from going over the precipice into bankruptcy and the chaos that would follow.
Nobody changes without taking personal responsibility and taking action to turn themselves around. It is truly now or never.
THE UNOFFICIAL COMPLETE RESULTS IN CD2:
COUNCIL DISTRICT 2 Votes Percent
TAMAR GALATZAN 1,871 12.94%
JOZEF “JOE” THOMAS ESSAVI 306 2.12%
CHRISTINE ESSEL 4,104 28.39%
MICHAEL MC CUE 339 2.35%
PETE SANCHEZ 699 4.84%
DAVID “ZUMA DOGG” SALTSBURG 410 2.84%
FRANK SHEFTEL 441 3.05%
PAUL KREKORIAN 4,929 34.10%
MARY BENSON 1,198 8.29%
AUGUSTO BISANI 158 1.09%