Councilman-elect Paul Krekorian: “The
voters of CD2 demanded profound change and soundly rejected the
domination of this city by Downtown insiders. This
victory is the
beginning of a fundamental transformation of the government of Los
Angeles, and it sends a strong signal that the people of the San
Fernando Valley are not satisifed with business as usual. The task now
ahead of us is to build a city government that will work for the people
and that is marked by integrity, honesty
and accountability. To succeed, we need to start healing the divisions
that have resulted from this campaign and begin bringing our community
It’s not been a good year for Antonio Villaraigosa.
His scheme to rip off the public with a phony solar energy plan called Measure B was snuffed by voters. His stooge candidate for City Attorney was beaten by outsider Carmen Trutanich. And now the compliant Chris Essel got trounced by Paul Krekorian in the CD2 Council race in the East San Fernando Valley.
It’s a new day in LA.
Community activists played the key role in all three humiliating defeats for the mayor and the creaky political machine he heads. There ought to be a law that bans three-time losers from serving in political office for the rest of their lives.
Antonio had the chance to be somebody, to bring LA together and achieve great things. But he’s become a cartoon figure, a lame duck out of touch with the people who quacks irrelevantly while the city sinks deeper into a financial crisis and the discontent of the people grows.
He knew what had to be done but lacked the courage to stand up to the entrenched interests. Instead, he chose to live like a king, drink $500 bottles of wines on other people’s tabs, chase women like he’s Tiger Woods and hide behind a brigade of gofers and bodyguards while flitting from one staged PR event to another and promising great schools, great public transit, great jobs and a green city sometime way off in the future.
All the while billboards and pot shops blighted the city’s neighborhoods, the infrastructure rotted from lack of investment and maintenance, poverty soared, corruption flourished and the city treasury was depleted to the point where services are being slashed and only bankruptcy or the sale of assets like parking structures, the airport or DWP can stop the flood of red ink.
Voters have finally rebelled.
When will the business, labor and civic leaders of the city wake up to what’s going on and see the Antonio’s promises are nothing but fool’s gold?
The viciousness of the campaign Antonio’s pals ran against Krekorian could turn out to be a turning point. They may have turned a knee-jerk liberal Democrat into a true democrat who has the passion to challenge the lemming-like unanimity of the City Council.
Surely, he owes his election to the grassroots activists from Sherman Oaks to Sunland-Tujunga who rallied behind him in the hope he would stand up for them and be the voice of the anger and frustration of people all over the city.
Krekorian has a mandate to lead. If he betrays that trust and becomes just another hollow man in the go-along world of City Hall, it will soon be clear enough and he will pay the price when he comes up for re-election in little more than a year.
He may turn out to be just another gear in the machine as he appeared to be at the outset of this election campaign or he can join with Trutanich and become the cornerstone of the movement to change the political and civic culture of LA.
I may see things darkly but I’m an eternal optimist and I believe Krekorian is made of the right stuff. Of course, I thought that about Antonio so I could be wrong as I so often am.
The sleazy campaign run against Krekorian with a record-shattering amount of dirty special interest money has freed him from control of the machine.
He needs to make community leaders like Mary Benson, Judy Price and Ellen Vuikovich an integral part of his team and build a grassroots organization that gives him the power to stand up to the special interests and serves a base for bringing activists all over the city together.
LA is at a turning point and the Measure B, Trutanich and Krekorian elections show there is a groundswell for reform that is growing.