Editor’s Note: I wrote two versions of my views on the special election in CD2, the first for Nina Royal’s North Valley Reporter, the second for Wayne Adelstein’s North Valley Community News.
Snatching Victory from Defeat
(Republished from Norvth Valley Reporter)
The Community vs. The Carpetbaggers — not much of a contest, not given the state of politics in L.A.
Paul Krekorian and Chris Essel were a dual entry, handed half a million dollars to buy the Council District 2 special election by the mayor and the union-developercontractor political machine which he heads.
Public apathy, ignorance and defeatism, too many community candidates without money, lack of organization, all contributed to an election that made a mockery of democracy and dealt a blow to the growing movement to take back City Hall from special interests.
The election was only Round One of a much longer battle. Round Two comes in the runoff election in December — a ten-week campaign that gives community activists the opportunity to achieve some of what they failed to do in the last three months.
If community and business leaders from Sunland-Tujunga to Sherman Oaks come together now, they can sit down with Krekorian and Essel and demand hard commitments to the issues and values they care about. Put them on the record and decide which of the two will best represent the sprawling East San Fernando Valley district and its 270,000 residents.
Unified support will determine whether Krekorian or Essel wins and at the least give the community leverage when the new Council member takes office. It also will provide a core organization that can serve as a watchdog on the new member, providing daily updates on their votes, their actions, their services to the community, transparency and their responsiveness.
Letter to Unions 111309.pdf
OurLA.org–the community news and information website I developed to
serve all of LA–will provide a platform to track the actions, the
votes, the fulfillment of commitments of the next CD2 Council member,
and to provide a forum for the Council member and his or her
constituents to participate in a dialogue about what’s good for the
district and the city as a whole.
Remember, this is an election to serve little more than a year until
the next election for a full four-year term on the Council. Whoever
wins the runoff will have the opportunity to overcome the skeptics and
prove themselves worthy.
The candidates who ran in the special election and others who might
choose to run in early 2010 will have time and opportunity to build a
political base and organization, and emerge as the community’s
There’s a lot of work involved in carrying out this plan, but it’s the
only way I can see for those who care deeply about the quality of life
in their neighborhood and the health of the city to make elected
officials accountable, or to get someone into office who will truly
serve the people, and not the special interests.
Political Lessons to Live By
(Republished from Norvth Valley Community News)
The eyes of many in the
in recent weeks on the 10 candidates running to succeed Wendy Greuel.
They saw with great dismay how the City Hall political machine stole the
election. The grass-roots candidates who carried legitimate credentials and
were truly committed to their communities never stood a chance.
Paul Krekorian with backing from the public employee unions and the Democrats
and Chris Essel with backing from downtown developers and the
industry had all the money and got nearly two-thirds of the vote.
Of course, nearly 9 out of 10 voters didn’t bother to vote So the top
vote-getters who will contest for the seat in the December runoff each only
have support from about 4 percent of the total electorate.
If only a few thousand more of the 150,000 registered voters had bothered to
pay attention and the community candidates come together around who could
actually do the job best, the runoff might well be featuring two ordinary
citizens instead of those who will be happy to be down at City Hall and a
member of the team.