In 2007, Wendy Greuel, Tom LaBonge, Bernard Parks, Herb Wesson and Greig Smith all ran unopposed in the March City Council primary — proof positive of the electorate’s hopelessness, defeatism and apathy.
Only 7 to 13 percent of registered voters bothered to even cast ballots. The incumbents and insiders who did face challenges got less than two-thirds of the votes, barely half in one case.
We’ve come a long way in four years.
With the City Council primary just eight days away, every one of the six incumbents faces serious challenges as does the anointed insider in the one open seat.
Today, there is genuine hope that candidates who have integrity and honesty, who are committed to solving the worsening budget crisis and restoring core services like parks and libraries can overcome the millions in special interest money poured into the preserving the failed City Hall machine.
The political dialogue itself has changed. Driven by Internet blogs and email chains and the activism of LA Clean Sweep and hundreds of grassroots groups, the mainstream media has became an agent of change in its news coverage, commentary and its endorsements.
Over the weekend, the LA Times called for voters to reject Tom LaBonge in CD4 and Tony Cardenas in CD6 in favor of candidates — Tomas O’Grady and Richard Goodman — who will work to solve LA’s problems and make this great city it can become.
Previously, the Times endorsed Rudy Martinez over incumbent Jose Huizar while the Daily News endorsed Stephen Box in CD4 over LaBonge.
The challengers who got these endorsements are all qualified and capable of doing far better jobs for everyone in this city than the incumbents.
Box, Goodman and Martinez are all backed by LA Clean Sweep, the political action committee formed to recruit, train and support candidates committed to ending City Hall’s cycle of failure and corruption..
On Sunday, the Times launched an election week series exposing the waste, inefficiency and corruption in how the LA Community College Board and district officials have ripped off taxpayers in the handling of $5.7 billion in construction bonds.
LA Clean Sweep on Sunday voted to back a reform slate for the Community College Board.
They are Seat #1 Jozef “Joe” Thomas Essavi, Los Angeles County Commissioner;
Seat #3 Joyce Burrell Garcia, University Professor and Mark Isler (Official write-in Candidate); Seat #5 Lydia A. Gutierrez, Teacher/Neighborhood Board member, and Seat #7 Erick Aguirre, Small Business Entrepreneur.
In every seat up for election, voters have the power to hold those who have failed in their sworn duty to serve the public interest and elect a new breed of officials who are not part of the political system, people who are part of the solution, not the cause of the problem.
Polls conducted by the incumbents themselves show many of these races are too close to call.
There is no longer any justification for hopelessness, defeatism and aparthy.
Just a few hundred voters turning out in each district on March 8, voters who usually don’t show up at the polls for turnout, off-year city elections, could make the difference.
We don’t have to fill the streets with hundreds of thousands of protesters to topple repressive regimes like the people suffering under dictatorships throughout the Middle East.
We can topple the City Hall political machine simply by exercise our rights as a free people to vote for candidates who are dedicated to public service, not self-service.
The future of Los Angeles is in our hands. No excuses.