Politically, L.A. is “more like a kindergarten sandbox than a grown-up municipality,” writes esteemed Sacramento Bee political columnist Dan Walters, who sees the “a deeply troubled city, with a moribund economy, rising ethnic tensions and deep fiscal difficulties.”
At a time when the city “needs bold and courageous political leadership” for a change, it is faced with mayoral candidates, “especially” Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel, who have a “collective image … of political cowardice – refusing to endorse new taxes, calling for a tax cut, pandering to voters on taxes and unions on layoffs, and ducking questions on how the city’s immense budget deficit should be handled.”
“In other words, they want to be mayor of Los Angeles but don’t want the responsibilities that go along with the title – not unlike the man they hope to succeed, one might say.”
Tough and true talk from afar but close to home the Daily News chose to tepidly endorse Valley girl for no good reason. She and Garcetti are “too nice” for the job but Wendy gets the endorsement for “lightly pounding” the table during her interview to emphasize a point.
Kevin James actually captured the widespread discontent of the populace and Jan Perry offered blunt and honest talk and even newcomer Emanuel Pleitez was more appealing than Greuel and Garcetti but everybody knows they are going to make the runoff because they have the most dirty special interest money.
The LA Times didn’t shed any more light on the mayor’s race in its feeble endorsement over the weekend of Garceti to lead “an underachieving city led in recent decades by a succession of underachieving mayors — people who came in with big dreams or big talk but soon got bored with the day-to-day task of steering a municipality.”
Without a single decent candidate who is up to the job, the Times gives the nod to Garcetti because lightning might strike and inflame his weak and self-righteous soul and help him “rise to the occasion” although nothing in his 12 years on the Council, six as its president, suggests that claim is anything but a fantasy – or a lie to deceive the public.
Even in its limpid endorsement, the Times has to concede that more than most, he must “bear some responsibility for the city’s current fiscal problems, which were dramatically worsened when the council negotiated employee contracts that were unaffordable, leading to a budget too far out of balance, and leading, in turn, to deep cuts in services.
Greuel is dismissed because she is too “smart and ambitious” yet less “abrasive” and effective as Controller than Laura Chick was.
Jan Perry is made of sterner stuff and “is often right, but being right is not enough” because courageously stood up to the dictatorial little labor union stooge Herb Wesson when he was abusing his power as Council President to turn redistricting into a politicized exercise in racial profiling and got punished for efforts.
Attorney and radio talk show host Kevin James is “interesting and his words are riveting” when he talks about the depths of corruption that put L.A. into its current troubled state.
But, the Times intones, “his critique is wrong.” The problem isn’t the overwhelming influence of special interests who own and control almost everyone in city offices – the problem is that “a lack of leadership, a lack of mission and discipline, have led to low-quality work being delivered by a high-quality workforce.”
Say what? Riordan, Hahn, Villaraigosa – when the Times ever hold their feet to the fire and demand they take command, provide leadership, mission, discipline?
Surely, all three of them exhibited more leadership in their careers than Greuel and Garcetti have.
Why would anyone expect any mayor of this troubled city with its kindergarten politics when the civic, business and journalistic leaders themselves stand for nothing and exhibit no courage at all.
Kevin James or Jan Perry would make better mayors of L.A. than Greuel or Garcetti. They both have demonstrated better understanding of what’s broken and the courage to tackle some of the big problems.
The odds are overwhelming that they won’t get a chance and this desultory campaign without hope for the future will move to a runoff.
Frankly, the political cowardice of the city’s politicians is easily matched by the political cowardice of what passes for an establishment and the sheeplike ignorance, apathy and defeatism of the small minority of voters who will even bother to cast ballots.