Despite his well-documented confusion about what day it is, Tom LaBonge’s perfect recall of a goal line stand that defeated Eagle Rock High was on full display Friday at the City Council — the last meeting before election day — along with his desperate need to be loved.
Don’t get Tom wrong, he loves Eagle Rock as much as he loves all of LA and got the opportunity to spread his love when his colleague Jose Huizar was making nice with that northern part of his district that he hardly knew existed until confronted by the same kind of tough challenge that good old LaBonge is facing Tuesday.
The occasion was Eagle Rock’s 100th birthday, but the motivation for the timing was clearly that he might actually be thrown out of office by upstart Rudy Martinez, just as Stephen Box might pull off a stunning upset of LaBonge, or La Bong as frequent presiding officer Dennis Zine prefers to call him.
Evidence of LaBonge’s concern is how he used officers — illegally — in uniform to promote his candidacy in a last-minute mailer.
Despite all the many advantages incumbents have, Huizar and LaBonge are worried, so worried they have no compunction about last-minute smear campaigns or abusing their power by turning official meetings of the City Council into opportunities to campaign for re-election without having to spend any of the ill-gotten money they have raised from special interests.
Not to be outdone, Tony Cardenas, presumably looking over his shoulder at the bare majority he got four years ago, held forth for a half-hour with ministers, ex-cons who found redemption in God and other well-intentioned people — on locking up juveniles for life in prison for various crimes they didn’t involve murder or other forms of violent mayhem.
Cardenas at least had a point: The juvenile justice system is broken and incarceration for long periods solely for drug offenses is an injustice.
But with the help of Ed Reyes and others, the point was obscured by blaming such problems on racism and the repudiation of any form of personal responsibility.
What was timely on the Council agenda was approving the gift of $4 million of taxpayer money to questionable developer Hal Katersky and his totally unwanted and unnecessary 1601 N. Vine St. office project in Hollywood.
And so was approval of a “cooperation agreement” to prevent $930 million in local property tax revenue from being confiscated for schools, cops and libraries under Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget-balancing plan to abolish Community Redevelopment Agencies statewide.
To avoid inflaming the passions for an already aroused populace, the Council put those hot-button issues off until Wednesday — the day after we vote on whether people who have failed us day after day like LaBonge, Huizar, Cardenas and Wesson — should be held accountable.
Gutless, deceitful, despicable — words fail me — since both issues will be approved despite how they are doing nothing but enrich the rich at the expense of the quality of life and opportunity for 99 percent of the four million people who call LA home.
My personal favorite among the last-minute desperation plays of the political machine is the mailer from Mitch Englander, chief of staff to retiring Councilman Greig Smith and his anointed successor — just as Smith was chief of staff to Hal Bernson — a line of succession that ought to make every voter wonder how they could be so gullible.
Englander, endowed with nearly half a million dollars in mostly special interest money, barraged his constituents with a “Don’t Vote for Me” mailing.
The ad featured his boss, Greig Smith, wanting to clear up any confusion by pointing out he’s not running for re-election — but another Smith, Brad Smith is, and they suddenly got worried enough about being forced into a runoff that they were afraid the ignorant and uninformed voters they count might confuse the Smith who wants to fix LA with the Smith who broke LA.
And that’s the point: They are all worried. You have no excuse for not voting on Tuesday and showing them and the entire power structure that you want the city we love to work for you.
End the Corruption — Vote for Change.
Here is the complete LA Clean Sweep Candidate List:
District 2: No Endorsement
District 4: Stephen Box
District 6: Richard Goodman, David Barron, and Jamie Cordaro
District 8: Councilman Bernard Parks
District 10: Austin Dragon
District 12: Kelly Lord and Brad Smith
District 14: Rudy Martinez