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The Mayor’s Race: Much Ado About Nothing — Or Is It a Chance to Fix L.A.



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Here’s my takeaway from moderating the Big Four candidates for L.A. mayor at the CD5 Coalition’s forum last Saturday:

If Jan Perry, Kevin James, Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti really meant every they said, every promise they made, and actually worked to bring their constituencies together for the common good, we could actually fix this broken city – balance the budget, solve the pension crisis and start repairing the streets and sidewalks.

Don’t hold your breath.

From what Garcetti, Greuel and to a lesser extent Perry – who at least displayed some toughness in her criticism of the nonsense that goes on at City Hall – had to say, we will be getting more of the same but without the showbiz theatrics of our current mayor.

That’s why more than half the 75 people who attended the Coalition forum said that if the election were being held now, they would vote for the outsider, attorney and radio talk show host Kevin James.

James 54 percent, Greuel 32, Garcetti 10, Perry 5 were the results of the audience survey — a far cry from an election day exit poll of questionable validity conducted by LMU’s Fernando Guerra’s students at Loyola Marymount which gave Garcetti 36 percent, Greuel the same 32 percent, Perry 15, James 9.

Survey participants gave all four candidates high marks for being “articulate” and “informed” and offered insights into why they preferred James whose candidacy has gained credibility with the commitment of several million dollars from a Super-Pac:

“We need to be desperately seeking independence from public unions and other special interests.  Desperately hungry for change.  I’m tempted to try another outsider.”
“ Let’s start again.  How much worse can it be.”
“Kevin is the only one with clean hands.”
“Kevin made good points, but needs to be on a city staff first to see how the city works.”
“ Kevin is the only one with Independence. “
“ The people currently in office have not monitored the City and don’t deserve to have a higher office.”

Others were skeptical of all four candidates and their ability to fix City Hall:

“All four are amazingly glib, but they lack true substance in analyzing the city’s problems.”                                                       ”I’m tired of the political talk.  We need real answers to the city’s problems, not just same old, same old. “

Will a new mayor be able to fix the city when the political hacks who created this crisis likely will be joined by six or more retreads from the legislature who bear heavy responsibility for the state’s mess?

Will the insiders even try to do anything different? Will the outsider be thwarted just as Richard Riordan was during his two terms as mayor?

My own view for what it is worth is that it will take a calamity to finally wake up the civic, business and community leadership to come together and take control of City Hall away from the unions, developers, contractors and consultants.

In the meantime, there is the mayoral horse race with the next debate coming Saturday Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Aratani Japan America Theater, 244 S. San Pedro St. downtown. It is sponsored by the L.A. League of Conservation Voters and will be broadcast live on KABC, Channel 7.

This entry was posted in 2013 Election, 2013 LA Elections, City Hall, Community Activists, Hot Topics, Los Angeles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to The Mayor’s Race: Much Ado About Nothing — Or Is It a Chance to Fix L.A.

  1. anonymous says:

    If Angelenos want the status quo, a City Hall infested with parasites, business pimps, and hacks , they should vote for Greuel. Her inner circle is the same as our “FAILURE” Mayor`s. There is, however, a slight hope with Perry and James, not beholden to D`Arcy and/or Maria Elena Durazo.

  2. In Eagle Rock says:

    During last month’s Communty Budget Day, the city-wide neighborhood council event to begin FY 2013-2014 budget input, CM Paul Krekorian tried to devalue the critics’ and their solutions as “nonsense”, obviously running interference for his pal, and mayoral candidate, City Controller Wendy Greuel, who was sitting beside him during each speaker’s presentation.

    Jack Humphreville was the most candid speaker of the day, challenging the pictures that the speakers were ladling out as “facts” to the audience. That audience, mostly the NC Budget Reps, 2 from each NC, was likely more aware than most people of the truer side of things, including the “kick the can down the road” style of financial management so readily employed by city officials. Could it be that the CMs actually believe their own press releases? Or do they just think we do?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Agreed that none of the insiders are good. However, why beat up on Gruel when Garcetti is the worst of the bunch and most likely to win because he is so deceptive. He is a bigger crook than any one of them. Just ask the Hollywood Community who are suing to undo everything he has done to destroy their community. Wendy Gruel does not have such a record. She never screwed her community like Garcetti has.

  4. Wayne the Independent-Liberal says watch your mail for the property tax notice says:

    send your protest letters to the Board of Supervisors! KFI covered this issue today. Garslutti is sneakier ttthan the oter 3 and as the chance to win and and help finish off the Hollywood livability that still exist. Kevin needs to come to the clown meetings and speak up or he’s going to finish 4th…

  5. anonymous says:

    Hey, anonymous 9:04pm. Are we going to argue who screwed the City worst? May be Wendy did not screw ” ..her community like Garcetti “, but she certainly screwd her District when she was a CM, that`s for sure.

  6. insider says:

    It`s going to be a Garcetti/James race.
    Don`t forget, Riordan at this time of the campaign had a 2% ID

  7. anonymous says:

    Ron,
    agree with your insight on Perry…”who at least displayed some toughness”…
    she demonstrated courage during the gerrymandering-sham redistricting
    earlier this year…confronted the corruption on gerrymander commission…
    and finally…the LA apparatchiks/unions-fear/hate her…Perry is formidable…

    • Sierra says:

      Perry is Garcetti on Steriods when it comes to Developers such as AEG and will never say no to any billboards.

      • El Quixotian says:

        Thank the soon-to-be-more-starry heavens that a judge has ordered to dim the ardorous advertising these not-so-bright bulbs had bartered!

  8. anonymous says:

    Nobody can be worse than the charlatan, narcissist, uneducated clown ,”FAILURE’ Mayor Antonio Villar. Thanks god, we`ll be liberated in 6 months from this imbecile.

  9. anonymous says:

    Last time I said “it can’t get worse” it did.

  10. Dick Platkin says:

    I thought the most important aspect of the debate were the many things never said. The four candidates all have their talking points and know how to pivot any question back to their campaign theme.s So therefore, therefore, we know what they don’t want to talk about. Here is my top ten.

    1) The enormous subsidies that the City Council has given to large real estate projects, one of the major causes for the city’s budget crisis. 2) The large reduction in Federal urban programs in recent decades, largely because of wars, bank bailouts, and tax loop holes. This is another cause of the city’s budget crisis. 3) LA’s horrendous traffic congestion, air quality, and coastal pollution. 4) Despite detailed studies on the anticipated impact of climate change on Los Angeles, the city’s failure to maintain a Climate Action Plan and prepare a Sustainability Element in its General Plan. 5) The failure of the city to maintain or monitor its legally required General Plan, and instead update 35 local Community Plan with old, highly inaccurate data that portrays LA as a boom town and justifies up-zoning. 6) High levels of poverty, homelessness, and unemployment in Los Angeles, other than the obligatory references to creating jobs. 7) State of the art spying and surveillance on the part of the LAPD, despite it numerous law suits over the years. 8) Failing public schools, parks, and urban forest. 9) Corruption on the part of LADBS inspectors, some of whom have been investigated by the FBI and prosecuted.
    10) Failure to adequately plan and prepare for natural disasters, especially the “Big One.”

    • ex valley says:

      With due respect, Mr Platkin, you are too naive to expect answers to these questions from anybody. You and yours of similar groupthink have run this socio-economic experiment and now you are seeing and living the results. What answers do you want if (and I’m just pointing the obvious):
      You chased away businesses that provided solid middle class jobs and replaced them with service minimum wage and minimum skill jobs;
      You created conditions that resulted in a huge underclass dependent on social services (the unions are very happy with this because more and more union jobs are created);
      You chased away productive taxpayers with low quality of life;
      You did not care to stop rampant development.
      On top of the economic conditions you created a one party city. No checks and balances, instead you got corruption, nepotism, cronyism .

      You expect any of these candidates to solve these problems??

      • anonymous says:

        …incoherent, muddled, illogical…
        maybe the comment was a parody…?

        • ex valley says:

          Ok let me try this again.
          Mr Platkin represents the groupthink prevalent in LA. These social and economic policies on the city, county and state level (perpetuated by the politicians you either support or don’t bother to vote against which is the same thing) have resulted in failure. Your city is on the road to bankruptcy (it’s only a question when).
          It really does not matter who the next mayor will be. He/she won’t be able to do squat.
          Is this clear for you?

      • anonymous says:

        mr. ex-valley…
        the platkinesque comment was parody…
        incoherent, muddled, illogical…
        and the smiley face…ludicrous…

        • LA Moderator says:

          To be fair, sometimes a couple of keystokes [testing "8" then ")" ] 8) can render an accidental emoticon….

          Dick knows his stuff, and is esteemed for his planning process prowess. Many of his points are absolutely astute.

          Politically, critiques of other positions listed are valid too…, but let’s not push anyone into groupthink corners, when we’re trying to find common ground.

    • Mr. Platkin fails to mention the cost of compensation and benefits as the key driver to the city’s deficit. To deny it is an admission of being out of touch with reality. The social ills he speaks of have no impact on the ever growing share comp and benefits grabs from the general fund. If he hopes for the city to achieve anything on his wish list, we need to control the growth of those costs.

  11. Sierra says:

    So where is Riordan and his money group to back Kevin James? Why has Riordan been silent?

    • Riordan is a crook says:

      Why would Riordan ever back Kevin James? Riordan set up the corrupt system by killing off the Civil Service set up under Mayor Bradley.

      Along with Evil Eli, Riordan’s latest scam was the attempt to privatize Social Security, but as someone else wrote, Angelenos get these crooks because the voters are too dumb to know any better.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Garcetti has pandered horribly to the Gay Community..as he panders to the Latino Community and the Jewish Community..He has those ethnicities covered due to his own background..If you told him you were Russian he would speak Russian, or German,he would come up with some German.. or Catholic, he will Cross himself, even if he was raised Jewish..Why not, his Dad is /was probably Catholic.. If you attend city council meetings he is a one man (side)show. ..it is all for the cameras..he speaks in tongues.. for the cameras..and the benefit of whomever is being honored that day..
    He is a ZELIG CHARACTER
    BUT WHO IS ERIC GARCETTI REALLY??
    WHOMEVER HE HAS TO BE TO GET YOUR VOTE.
    Hopefully the Gay Community gets that this is all just phony political pandering.. and will consider voting for an openly gay candidate who has done nothing but good for their community. Hopefully the Latino Community will get this, too, and vote for the best candidate..whose Spanish may not be quite as good..but they won’t be LIED TO..
    Actions speak louder than phony words..no matter what the language is.
    I will be voting Republican for the first time in my life.This city does not need any more corrupt stupid leaders. Kevin wipes the stage with these three paltry candidates at every debate..Courgeously calling them out for all the city’s problems they are responsible for. Gruel left city council, and has tried to distance herself from it but her votes are on record. Garcetti is the worst offender, selling Hollywood out to the developers funding his campaign.. refusing to LISTEN TO or heed the voices of the People, the City’s Legal Council, the President of the LAFD who warned that passing his Hollywood Community Plan would put all at risk here..Emergency services will not be able to get to us with Garcetti’s higher density HCP. His response was ‘dont be afraid’.. BE AFRAID! If he becomes Mayor..BE VERY AFRAID!! He manipulated it’s UNANIMOUS passing..with NO amendments. He succeeded in enabling the city to leave Vine St.’s BUILDING HEIGHTS OUT of the HCP..THEY COULD HAVE AMENDED THAT BUT DIDN’T..reserving Vine St. for Millennium’s (his Campaign and The Hollywood Chamber’s Financier) Unlimited Height Skyscrapers. James calls him on pushing an ILLEGAL Community Plan through, costing us and the city tons of money in multiple law suits against it. He is a lieing corrupt poitician. Developers keep throwing money his way..he is Villaraigosa’s (also funded by the same developer) Heir (hopefully UN) Apparent..He is their go to boy. I have witnessed first hand his lieing to your face tactics without ever flinching..It is scary.. HE MUST BE STOPPED. NO ONE from this Corrupt City Council can ever be Mayor.
    Kevin is the only CLEAN one.
    The rest are GUILTY of all of the problems L.A. is dealing with now.
    They will continue selling out and selling off Hollywood and Los Angeles to the highest bidders.
    So, do we reward them?
    No! Get rid of them!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Garcetti has pandered horribly to the Gay Community..as he panders to the Latino Community and the Jewish Community..He has those ethnicities covered due to his own background..If you told him you were Russian he would speak Russian, or German,he would come up with some German.. or Catholic, he will Cross himself, even if he was raised Jewish..Why not, his Dad is /was probably Catholic.. If you attend city council meetings he is a one man (side)show. ..it is all for the cameras..he speaks in tongues.. for the cameras..and the benefit of whomever is being honored that day..
    He is a ZELIG CHARACTER
    BUT WHO IS ERIC GARCETTI REALLY??
    WHOMEVER HE HAS TO BE TO GET YOUR VOTE.
    Hopefully the Gay Community gets that this is all just phony political pandering.. and will consider voting for an openly gay candidate who has done nothing but good for their community. Hopefully the Latino Community will get this, too, and vote for the best candidate..whose Spanish may not be quite as good..but they won’t be LIED TO..
    Actions speak louder than phony words..no matter what the language is.
    I will be voting Republican for the first time in my life.This city does not need any more corrupt stupid leaders. Kevin wipes the stage with these three paltry candidates at every debate..Courgeously calling them out for all the city’s problems they are responsible for. Gruel left city council, and has tried to distance herself from it but her votes are on record. Garcetti is the worst offender, selling Hollywood out to the developers funding his campaign.. refusing to LISTEN TO or heed the voices of the People, the City’s Legal Council, the President of the LAFD who warned that passing his Hollywood Community Plan would put all at risk here..Emergency services will not be able to get to us with Garcetti’s higher density HCP. His response was ‘dont be afraid’.. BE AFRAID! If he becomes Mayor..BE VERY AFRAID!! He manipulated it’s UNANIMOUS passing..with NO amendments. He succeeded in enabling the city to leave Vine St.’s BUILDING HEIGHTS OUT of the HCP..THEY COULD HAVE AMENDED THAT BUT DIDN’T..reserving Vine St. for Millennium’s (his Campaign and The Hollywood Chamber’s Financier) Unlimited Height Skyscrapers. James calls him on pushing an ILLEGAL Community Plan through, costing us and the city tons of money in multiple law suits against it. He is a lieing corrupt poitician. Developers keep throwing money his way..he is Villaraigosa’s (also funded by the same developer) Heir (hopefully UN) Apparent..He is their go to boy. I have witnessed first hand his lieing to your face tactics without ever flinching..It is scary.. HE MUST BE STOPPED. NO ONE from this Corrupt City Council can ever be Mayor.
    Kevin is the only CLEAN one.
    The rest are GUILTY of all of the problems L.A. is dealing with now.
    They will continue selling out and selling off Hollywood and Los Angeles to the highest bidders.
    So, do we reward them?
    No! Get rid of them!

  14. Teddy says:

    I vote for people I trust to do the job. How much money (bribes) they
    have collected is not my criteria for a good candidate. If we don’t elect the
    only candidate who is intelligent and clean (Kevin James), it is that we work for the city and want to keep it unions and all the way it is.

    We have spent a lot of time complaining, now let us make sure that we vote.

  15. anonymous says:

    Wendy is busy collecting endorsements , confirming her insider status . Kevin James must love it! The LA Times story today made James, the outsider, a player. Now , if the Republicans come thru with the PAC money, we are going to have a lot of fun and plenty of mud.

  16. Wayne the Independent-Liberal says watch your mail for the property tax notice says:

    Send those protests to the scumbags at the County Board of Stupidvisors!
    Also, Riordan has abdicated the City to the local criminal element because he’s too damn old and too damn feeble to care. He could fund Kevin’s race ALONE and that would put this race in his hands. But like the Obama-Romney election, voters are so stupid that its nearly impossible to make the case for reform at this time. Thus, Kevin has that problem that Mr. Moore had: he’s the best choice without a bully pulpit.

  17. anonymous says:

    Shame on Riordan for becoming old and feeble!!!

    • I sure hope to be functioning as fully, as coherently, and with the same drive as former Mayor Riordan is today, if and when I reach 82 years of age. Let’s remember two things in light of the demise of his pension reform ballot proposal: first, he took the tremendous initiative to galvanize the effort – personally absorbing the expense – even if the difficulty of the task was underestimated. Second, he made pension reform an issue that now must be addressed by all candidates – citywide and for city council.

  18. anonymous says:

    how many of the Riordan mockers
    voted for el jefe Villaraigosa…
    not only once…but twice…?
    lemmings…

  19. Dick Platkin says:

    A response to comments. As far as I can determine, only one comment on what I wrote actually had anything to do with what I wrote. I have no idea what groupthink is and how I am part of it. The issues I raised, such as addressing air and water pollution, traffic congestion, homelessness and unemployments, and complying with the State of California climate change and planning laws are hardly brought up at City Hall by elected officials, managers, or staffers, and they don’t appear to have much traction either with those who write comments on Ron Kaye’s website.

    But, there was one comment that actually alluded to several points of my omission list related to the City’s finances. Without a full accounting of the hundreds of millions in potential City revenue lost to the enormous subsidies shelled out to selective real estate projects, without a full accounting of the enormous reductions in Federal urban programs, and without a full accounting of Prop. 13′s enormous benefits to commercial property, it is a slight of hand to place the blame for the city’s finances solely on the backs of its employees. All three of these trends preceded the budget crisis, and this is where the analysis should begin, yet the mayoral candidates, and apparently those who say they disagree them, all avoid discussing or examining these trends.

    • anonymous says:

      you say… “planning laws are hardly brought up at
      City Hall by elected officials, managers, or staffers”…
      HA!
      most of what transpires in committees/commissions/back-room sessions
      is specifically how to redefine-side-step-work-around-circumvent
      planning guidelines and laws meant to protect the greater public good…
      and please, it is not
      “the hundreds of millions of potential City revenue lost”…
      it is the corrupt power structure and bureaucracy…
      those same elected officials, managers and staffers…
      dead-souls without an ethical conscience…
      who influence and manipulate, punish foes and reward comrades…
      who create and nurture the culture of corruption…
      mr, platkin, you are an ideal bureaucrat…

    • So Mr. Platkin does not think it is relevant that retirement benefits will consume 50% of the city’s general fund in a few short years? Even if revenue sources are enhanced, the city has an obligation to bargain in earnest with the public unions. Our officials must first remember they represent the citizens first and the employees second.

  20. anonymous says:

    Mr Platkin, I agree that it started with those subsidies and tax breaks to developers and real estate projects. However, it don’t see this as an either/or. The pension issue is also a problem. Fixing just one will not solve the problem. Addressing the entire picture is what’s needed.

    I do liken it to the recent election where the pols managed to demonize the wealthy as a means to deflect the blame on all the other tax loopholes that exist. The loopholes a few wealthy folks get (and I mean a few) is much like a flea on an elephant’s butt when you consider the ways millions of others (including middle and lower income folks) cheat the system. So, yes, public employees’ pensions isn’t the only problem. It is, however, one of them and you are right–those subsidies must be addressed too.

  21. Anonymous says:

    “6) High levels of poverty, homelessness, and unemployment in Los Angeles, other than the obligatory references to creating jobs”. And, just how do you propose a Mayor who has little to do with these issues other than a bully pulpit be resolved. Maybe, we can hire more city employees at their inflated wages and pensions.

  22. Dick Platkin says:

    To begin, many cities maintain homeless shelters and have programs to build affordable housing, as well as the delivery of medical and social services to the homeless. These are all local municipal and country programs.

    Second, the City of Los Angeles could, like other cities, engage in economic and business planning, but it does not even have a economic element in its General Plan or comply with the legal requirement to monitor local employment stats.

    Third, elected officials can break their oath of silence about the impact of reduced Federal funding on Los Angeles, such as VA mental health services, the main cause of so many homeless veterans on the streets.

    As for public sector jobs, except for the high level managers and officials, they are middle class jobs. Inflated wages and pensions might exist on AM talk radio, but not in reality. Of course, we can continue the policy of cutting public employee numbers and compensation, but then there is the next tier of questions. Who wants to live or do business in a city with crumbling infrastructure, mediocre schools, rundown parks, visual blight, and illegal, and unsafe structures? Cities whose business development strategy is low regulation and low amenities, like LA, get both, but not much else, other than high vacancy rates.

    • anonymous says:

      I agree with Dick.

      Might I add that if they actually gave the Veterans back that which was deeded to them, they might not have to build that much more affordable housing, which really became it’s own scam in LA? The VA property in Westwood needs to be given back to the veterans.

    • Just look at the published salaries and you will see the majority of city employees are well compensated. However, it is the cost of benefits that is killing us more than anything else. We must reduce overall cost of compensation by cutting benefits and eliminating raises for a period of time- even if revenue grows. The investment required for infrastructure demands we free up as much money as possible. We can’t rely totally on debt.

  23. Anonymous says:

    If the new Mayor can do only two things, he/she will have accomplished enough to better the city and our quality of life—control the city unions and their wages and pensions and the developers from their overdevelopment.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Platkin your comment “Inflated wages and pensions might exist on AM talk radio, but not in reality. Of course, we can continue the policy of cutting public employee numbers and compensation–” needs a serious reality check.

    “The insolvent city of San Bernardino warned of dire consequences if it’s forced to pay the millions it owes CalPERS.

    In a filing late Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Riverside, the city said CalPERS shouldn’t be allowed to carry out its threat to sue San Bernardino for the payments. “Simply put, if the city is forced to pay CalPERS, the city’s ability to continue to function would be seriously threatened,” San Bernardino lawyers wrote in their filing.

    The two bankruptcy cases in San Bernardino and Stockton loom as important tests of CalPERS’ power as the pension fund competes with other creditors for the cities’ meager cash supplies”.

  25. is there an update from their recent debate?

  26. Pingback: LA Mayoral Candidate Forum « Roscomare Valley Association Roscomare Valley Association

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