You can take the word of Henry Waxman like the word of God what with him being the sixth longest serving member of the current House of Representatives at 38 years during which America has seen near continuous war and decline of the middle class, can’t you?
So when good old Hank tells you that the protege of his partner in Congress, the newly unemployed Howie Berman, “played a centrol role in bringing our state budget back into balance” and will provide “the kind of effective leadership we need on the L.A. City Council,” you believe him without question, right?
And when Zev Yaroslavsky — who has spent 37 years in city and county office and could have been mayor in 1989 except for the unfortuate campaign memo Berman’s brother Michael wrote that was racist, sexist and insulting to Tom Bradley — tells you “Bob Blumenfield is a “dynamic community leader who … has the vision and intelligence things to get things done for our neighborhoods and our city,” you stand up and salute, don’t you?
All aboard the 2JobBob bandwagon, as Waxman and Yaroslavsky do in their campaign mailings for him. How could the city survive if there were even one honest citizen in a sea of profession pols who sold out so long ago they don’t even know what it means to be an honest citizen.
As they are in all the other races, the business, civic and political leadership are lined up behind the pros. They like L.A. just the way it is. It’s been good to them and they think the candidates that are the easiest for them to manipulate for noble and ignoble reasons are what’s best for the city and it’s four million mostly disenfranchised residents.
Still, there’s always hope until the final tallies are in and voters in Council District 3 will have a chance to meet and hear from the candidates hoping to fill Dennis Zine’s open seat at a forum tonight at 6 p.m. at the old Dick’s sporting goods store in the Promenade Mall, an appropriate venue for the West Valley, at 6100 Topanga.
2JobBob skipped the last forum a week ago — you know the importance of his duties in Sacramento — but maybe he will deign to join business owners Elizabeth Badger, Cary Iaccino and Scott Silverstein along with city investigator Steve Presberg and accountant/lawyer Joyce Pearson this time.
Robert Greene, the LA Times editorial writer who grew up in the district, takes an interesting look at the race today in a lengthy piece that pays homage to 2JobBob’s credentials as a political hack and far too little to his manifest failings, like writing the last four budgets based on phony numbers while the state deficit soared to $25 billion.
That and his audacity to raise $600,000 from special interests for his Assembly re-election campaign in November — a job he didn’t want when he already was running simultaneouly for the City Council for twice the salary plus pension and five times the staff. If he wins, he’ll resign from the Assembly, leaving his constituents without representation for six months or longer and sticking taxpayer with a $2 million plus bill for special elections.
Greene writes: “So Blumenfield’s a shoo-in and has locked up The Times’ endorsement? No way. There are some serious questions about the baggage that Blumenfield carries with him.”
He cites the 2JobBob issues I have raised, repeatedly, links to what he calls the “hilarious video” made when I cornered him Blumenfield a while back with Presberg and Badger looking on.
Greene’s view of 2JobBob is pretty close to that of the city’s elite, he has experience (uncritically examined) and talks the talk of a politician so he will be able to down to the sewer of City Hall politics without being handed his lunch by the sinister forces that thrive on those kind of dark and dirty situations.
Where Greene makes strong and telling points is in his analysis of the shortcomings of citizen candidates in general and this group in particular — although again it is based on a belief that the system is workingfor the common good, a view which I clearly do not share.
So what is the critique and what is the challenging candidate’s platform? That being from Sacramento is corrupting, and you’re not from Sacramento? That’s not a critique. It’s not a platform. It’s not even a blog post. It’s at best a breezy reader comment on a blog post. A candidate for office must offer more. What does the “Sacramentization” of Los Angeles government mean? Why is it bad? Not just in image; why is it bad for city residents? Why is it not just provincialism unsuited for a city the size and sophistication of Los Angeles? Aren’t experience and knowledge of how things work in the capital good? Hasn’t the L.A. City Council been filled too long with sheltered locals who don’t have the first clue how to get state funding or sponsor a bill?
If Blumenfield — or Fuentes or Cedillo or anyone else — have both experience and baggage, how do those things balance? What experience in government and in getting good projects done, Mr. or Ms. Challenger, do you have to compare with the Sacramento transplants’? If you have not been in government, what have you done in the private sector that is comparable? What can you offer the voters to assure them that you won’t spend your entire first term wondering how the job works and getting fleeced by lobbyists, labor unions and others?
And don’t answer that you have been involved in your neighborhood council. That’s great, as far as it goes, but it’s evidence only that you know your neighborhood, not that you are prepared to serve your constituents as a council member.
I’ve spent time with four of the five challengers in this race and dozens of other citizen candidates in recent years and they almost all of them start sounding like the professional pros and don’t put together a coherent program of what they would do in office, as Greene points out.
Pearson and Presberg rise to something like his establishment level standards, he says, so maybe it isn’t really forgone conclusion that 2JobBob will get a free rise.