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The Future of LA Is in Our Hands — No Excuses for Failing to Vote for Reform of City Hall

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.

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18 Responses to The Future of LA Is in Our Hands — No Excuses for Failing to Vote for Reform of City Hall

  1. CD 4 Home Owner says:

    An endorsement for O’Grady based on his happy-go-lucky public persona? Are you kidding me?
    Must really be a pro-CRA endorsement, since O’Grady loves Kelo Eminent Domain so damn much. All CD 4 voters should read this article -
    and the accompanying candidate questionnaire and their thoughtful responses very very carefully.
    The truth about who supports Kelo throughout all of Los Angeles is found there.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You gotta luv the media for finally getting on board with the PEOPLE and endorsing the under dogs who don’t have tons of money but more heart. Everyone needs to work those emails and internet for the underdogs. We can do this like we beat the Solor BS Measure. It takes heart and passion to work it. Everyone do your part, make those calls, send those emails.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This article is great and needs to be distributed by Clean Sweep Activists all across the City so that the average guys who have email addresses but who do not closely follow the politics get some re-assurance that it is good to vote for the Clean Sweep Candidates both a City Hall and at LAUSD and LACCD.
    If you are an activist, send a link to this article to your friends and co-workers. We can change the politics at City Hall and the school districts by voting for REAL CHANGE.

  4. Will LaBonge make the runoff?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Brad Smith is the best candidate in CD 12 and Box in CD 4. Period.

  6. Anti-Kelo says:

    The way to handle “Kelo Eminent Domain” is to first clearly explain to each candidate what that means, the fact that in LA it can be only done through a Redevelopment Project area, and then get a crystal clear Yes or No response whether that candidate would ever support it.
    Then of course ask the candidate would they always be opposed to a new Redevelopment area if the CRA survives, etc, etc.
    While even a gnat is 10 times better than Labonge in terms of intelligently addressing LA’s problems (that he was part of creating), I am concerned that O’Grady is pulling a Garcetti and trying to have it both ways, leaving the door open to support CRA and its projects in the future.

  7. Bob says:

    Jack Humphreville shares my dream, having Labonge come in 3rd place. That would be a fitting ending to the arrogance he showed in the debates.
    PS: I like Brad Smith in CD-12 and hope that some voters will think that they are voting for Greig Smith – That would be the ultimate justice over the “anointed” Englander.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Anti-Kelo, that questionnaire from CityWatch wasn’t enough for you?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Don’t forget – O’Grady also said he would support a new AB2531 – the removal of all CRA boundaries.

  10. Anti-Kelo says:

    @February 28, 2011 8:15 PM
    If you read my whole comment you will notice two things:
    1. I wasn’t limiting my self to the District 4 race. This blog article mentions the whole clean sweep slate that are 7 seats. For example, clean sweep endorses Bernard Parks – Didn’t he vote for AB 2531 ?
    2. Regarding the District 4 race, I said “I am concerned that O’Grady is pulling a Garcetti and trying to have it both ways, leaving the door open to support CRA and its projects in the future.”

  11. Anonymous says:

    Please remove “Buy Links on March 1, 2011 2:13 AM” it is just an add and then remove this comment.

  12. Anonymous says:

    If at least two of the underdogs make it either to a runoff or outright beat the incumbents would be great. Those idiots on council and the Failure of a Mayor still don’t get it. They continue to behave corruptly and are sneaky and deceitful. They are the Biggest Losers in the nation, an embarrassement to Los Angeles.

  13. Anonymous says:

    We will not drive some of the incumbents from office unless each of us open our email address books and activist email lists and send out information to prevent their re-election.
    I agree that Stephen Box is the real reform candidate for CD 4. Please get out the word about Brad Smith over that snake Englander in CD 12. What to do about the CD 14 race? Is it Huizar or Martinez?
    We have to get the word out and ask all of our friends to pass it on to their friends.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This can’t be true, but Wendy Greusome is saying in Daily News she will file papers to run for Mayor and start fundraising. What the hell? She hasn’t done her own job and wastes tax payer dollars with her dumb audits that don’t mean anything. Wendy has become a media clown and I hope the LA Clean Sweep group campaigns against her as well.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Let’s try to get a winner first, shall we? We have to get Brad Smith and Box in. Wendy is for later.

  16. Mary says:

    I have thus far gone to two of the Candidate Debates. Stephen Box seems to be the most intelligent, responsible, earnest candidate by far of the three and I truly hope he gets elected as Council Member for CD4. As a long-time resident of Los Angeles, I am very tired of “the old boys club” which currently runs City Hall. Fresh blood and honest down-to-earth candidates are what we need. I believe Stephen Box will work for the citizens of Los Angeles and will make his actions transparent, thus encouraging the public process. The public process and transparency seem to have gone by the wayside in recent years.
    Please Vote and encourage others to Vote; democracy only works if we participate in the process! Reminder – Debate tonight at Marshall High School. See for yourself why Stephen Box is the best candidate for CD 4!

  17. Astonished says:

    You can’t blame the electorate for its defeatist attitude when it comes to elections. For the last 10 years, all the voters could vote for were the lesser of two evils. The known flunky, of the unknown flunky. This is because most of the time, underdog candidates don’t get the press time necessary to make themselves heard. Is it any wonder that so few vote, and those that do, vote for the known evil?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Here are some things to consider when casting your vote on Tuesday, March 8, 2011.
    1. The current Los Angeles Council constantly violates their Council Rules as “Council Is Awaiting A Quorum” as usual due to arriving late to chambers.
    In January 2011 the Council was able to start the Council meeting on time only once after Eric Garcetti cancelled a meeting because councilmembers were late. This is a ration of 83% of the time the council arrives late, one out of 12 scheduled meetings, to conduct the peoples business.
    In February 2011 again the council was on time only once. This is a ratio of 90% of the time the council arrived late to chambers, one out of 11 scheduled meetings, because the February 25 meeting was cancelled due to a funeral.
    In March 2011 the council has already arrived late to chamber on their first two scheduled meeting which is consistent with their habitual pattern.
    The consequences for the councilmembers are that constituents continue to reelect these same councilmembers, but complain thereafter.
    2. According to the Los Angeles Weekly, each council seat is worth $178,789 in yearly salary, plus subsidized health care, plus taxpayers provided CARS, GASOLINE, and $90,000 in plush funds for each to spend as they wish. If councilmembers remains in office for 12 years, the Weekly estimates, a Los Angeles City Council seat is worth $3 million.
    Are these current councilmembers really worth this much?
    3. This council continues to rubber stamp the major’s over spending budget, including the mayor and council’s pet projects, with NO checks and balances and cuts in wasteful spending while continuing to raise citations, parking meter fees, trash fees, DWP rates, etc.
    Vote on March 8, 2011!

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