It seems fitting somehow that on an election day that saw the triumph of sleazy career politicians and $40 million in mostly dirty money from special interests, voters soundly rejected a tax hike that solved nothing — and news arrived that the centerpiece of City Hall corruption, Farmer’s Field, is all but dead.
First the news: Yahoo Sports’ Rick Cole who has been on top of the story all along while the local writers were bought off by Tim Leiweke reported the NFL has decided AEG’s numbers for a downtown stadium don’t work: Either the team goes broke or whoever buys the entertainment/sports company goes broke.
On the issue of going broke, the 292,760 voters who cast ballots — 16.11 percent of the 1,817,107 who are registered — showed a wisdom rarely found in L.A. elections by rejecting the regressive, job-killing Measure A tax increase that solved nothing 55 to 45 percent. Unions, developers and others who live off of City Hall or were blackmailed into contributing because they need city approval put up $1.5 million for Measure A versus ZERO for opponents led by civic activist Jack Humphreville.
The defeat leaves City Hall in fiscal quicksand without a rope, a $200 million hole this year that gets deeper year after year.
For No. 1 mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti ($5.5 million campaign, including $667,000 in taxpayer money) and runner-up Wendy Greuel ($7.2 million, including $667,000 in taxpayer money), the failure of money and threats to fire cops to frighten the electorate provides an opportunity to immediately call a summit meeting of community, civic, business and labor leaders to find a permanent solution to the unending fiscal crisis.
For Dennis Zine, the $300,000 traffic-cop-pensioner-turned Councilman, and Carmen Trutanich, the outsider who became City Attorney, the election results suggests they will be looking for new careers come July 1.
Zine, who has utterly no qualifications to serve as Controller, finished a fraction of a point behind attorney-businessman Ron Galperin, both at 37 percent, heading into the runoff. Politicians like Zine who have name recognition advantages and more money — $1.1 million vs. Galperin’s $600,000 — in the primary generally lose runoffs.
Trutanich ($900,000)has a different problem in a runoff against knee-jerk liberal Assemblyman-former Council Mike Feuer($1.3 million). Feuer won the primary 44 to 30 percent so he doesn’t need many votes to win although turnout seven weeks from now will be even worse.
In the Council races, failed legislators had a great night.
2JobBob Blumenfield, the state budget disaster creator, and “California’s worst legislator” Felipe Fuentes in Valley district 3 and 7 both won election outright — barely with 51.6 and 51.3 percent of the votes.
Blumenfield had nearly as much money at his disposal as the five other candidates combined and an unlimited reserve if he needed it while Fuentes had $300,000 to spend, a fifth of it from taxpayer matching funds that his three challengers didn’t even qualify for with barely $30,000 between them.
Elsewhere, Paul Koretz ($200,000) easily won re-election in CD5 against Mark Herd ($217.98, see his ad in the upper right corner) as so did ex-cop Joe Buscaino ($350,000) to challenger James T. Law’s ZERO in CD 15.
Mike Bonin, chief of staff to Bill Rosendahl, with three times as much money ($500,000) as his three opponents, won easily in CD11.
In Ed Reyes’ CD1, long-time legislator Gil Cedillo ($800,000) came up just short of a majority and faces a runoff against Council staffer Jose Gardea ($500,000).
In Jan Perry’s CD9, state Sen. Curren Price ($650,000) faces a runoff against Council staffer Ana Cubas ($300,000) in a closely contested race that left Assemblyman Mike Davis out in the cold.
In Eric Garcetti’s CD13, with a dozen candidates, Council staffer Mitch O’Farrell ($160,000) with 18.4 percent of the vote faces a runoff against labor union darling John Choi ($675,000) who got 16.5 percent of the vote.
What (else) is there to say?