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My Sunday Column: Memorial Day’s Lost Meaning Relevant Again — Healing the Wounds of a Nation Divided Against Itself

In the dismal Los Angeles election cycle that mercifully concluded on May 21, much was made about the lack of women in high places if Wendy Greuel didn’t win the mayor’s race.

Greuel herself played the gender card over and over, with pictures of her happy family on every mailer and email, her young son nearly always at her side at weekend and other events, reiterating how being a mother, a wife and woman in a man’s world made her especially qualified to run a complex and troubled city of nearly 4 million people.

To emphasize the point, she lined up support from many prominent women, such as Sen. Barbara Boxer, who appeared in ads and recorded messages for robo-calls that stressed the need for a woman in the mayor’s office.

Yet, she lost and lost badly — by eight percentage points in what was supposed to be a close race.

A long list of explanations has been offered for what went wrong in a surefire campaign that was helped by millions more in independent expenditures than winner Eric Garcetti had, thanks to the generosity of the police, fire, Department of Water and Power and other public employees, plus former President Bill Clinton, former Mayor Richard Riordan and L.A.’s most popular current figure, Magic Johnson.

Maybe she just wasn’t woman enough, as some have suggested, or maybe well into the 21st century in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan and diverse communities, gender and race aren’t the political trump cards so many believe them to be unless somebody makes an issue of it.

In the Hollywood City Council District 13 contest, labor darling John Choi, backed heavily by the city’s powerful unions, supposedly tried to drive a wedge in the Little Armenia community — but still lost to the underfunded Mitch O’Farrell.

It backfired, helping to solidify the Armenian community behind O’Farrell just as a similar effort worked to the advantage of Zareh Sinanyan in Glendale’s recent election.

The Armenian community already was energized by the flap caused by accusations of racial profiling at Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s event to select delegates to the state Democratic Party Convention when the controversy erupted over Sinanyan’s hateful comments on YouTube several years ago.

Nothing brings people together like feeling they are being attacked, which is why the Armenian community came together so strongly to help Sinanyan narrowly win a Glendale City Council seat despite the controversy.

The lesson I take from this is that heavy-handed politicking on race, ethnicity, gender or other cohorts — a detestable word used to enchain us in identity boxes that only are a small part of who we are — is turning voters off, or even getting a reaction opposite from the one that was sought.

Call it wishful thinking, but at a time when we seem to be engaged in an uncivil war and hell-bent on our own destruction, from Washington to Sacramento to City Hall, there are signs that ordinary people are starting to wake up and think for themselves.

It is an undercurrent that needs to go viral and push us in our personal and political lives toward greater tolerance of our differences in values and greater respect for each other’s needs and interests, even when they conflict with our own.

On this Memorial Day weekend, it is worth remembering that the holiday was originally called Decoration Day when it was introduced right after the end of the Civil War as a way to reunite the country and honor the 1.3 million soldiers who died — Confederate and Union soldiers.

Just before the start of the war, Abraham Lincoln, in his famous “A house divided against itself cannot stand” speech that cost him election to the U.S. Senate in 1858, presciently warned about where the intensifying debate over slavery was heading.

“I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free,” he said. “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”


This entry was posted in 2013 Election, 2013 LA Elections, City Hall, Glendale-Burbank, Hot Topics, Los Angeles. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to My Sunday Column: Memorial Day’s Lost Meaning Relevant Again — Healing the Wounds of a Nation Divided Against Itself

  1. teddy says:

    “I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free,” he said. “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”

    Thank you, Ron.

  2. ex valley says:

    Ron, face it — greuel was just a horrible candidate. She should never been elected to the council or controller. The sad or actually scary part is that 90k of robots did vote for her. But politicking based on race or ethnicity does work. Do you want any examples when 97% vote for their own. ? I will be happy to provide a few examples.

    Probably greuel would have won if she were of the right ethnicity.

  3. scott zwartz says:

    Garcetti ran an impeccable campaign — if you over look his habituation to lies.

    Wendy ran an incompetent campaign. First mistake, hiring Shallman.

    The mayor’s race had nothing to do with ethnicity, sex orientation closeted or otherwise, gender, age, race, religion — People voted based on their perception of the individuals — the fact that most voters were actually clueless about the real individual qualities of either candidate does not change the situation.

    Personal caveat: I do have to try to double check the Hispanic vote. Maybe they thought Garcetti was Mexican and did vote ethnically or maybe that’s just fantasy by the Ignoranti.

  4. Anonymous says:

    One does not vote for Greuel just because she is a woman just like you don’t vote for Palin for the same reason. However, one of the most idiotic comments on this is from this guy Mailander, an ugly m—-r f—-r in City watch.

    “She didn’t just look dumb next to Eric, she looked San Bernardino dumb, especially in those stiff jackets,” a snippy friend of mine in Jimmy Choos and a breezy blouse told me. “Who was her campaign manager, anyway?

    No comment. I too thought Greuel must have cost herself 25,000 votes simply by dressing like your mom, and dressing insistently like your mom at that.”

    Wow! so this dumb ass wants women to dress like whores like his lobbyist friend. Eventually, there will be a strong woman like Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Anette Merckel & the like whom women will gladly support. But it won’t be because of her Jimmy Choos or a breezy blouse creeps can get excited about.

  5. Anonymous says:

    PS. Don’t know if Mailander’s friend was a lobbyist, but in 30 years in City Hall, the only ones who dress like whores are lobbyists. What else can you expect from a male dominated City Council, Mayor & Department Managers City Hall. A thorough puke place.

  6. MissAnthrope says:

    Recent female councilmembers have been no better than the men; voting just as the men voted; cozying up to the unelected movers and shakers just like the men; in the hip pocket of the public employee unions.

    You have to hop into Mr. Peabody’s “wayback” machine to find any council fems who were half-way decent: Rosalind Wyman Weiner and Joy Picus, and they had their problems and detractors.

    I know. You’re gonna say I missed Laura Chick. I didn’t. I didn’t think she was all that great as my councilwoman, but my opinion of her improved somewhat when she was controller.

  7. Wayne from Encino on the Mayor's race and the Fathead from CD5.... says:

    Creuela Greuela was soooo creepy always having that little kid with the glasses with her 24/7 on the campaign trail along with that old white haired dude! These WASPY looking fools scared the hell out of most of the electorate! Wendy should have went to one of Zine’s Girlfriends or staffers and had a MAKEOVER! For example, Zine got one of these girls from the midwest and damn, in 3 months she looked like one of those pornstars at City Hall! Instead, Creuela looked like a Maoist candidate for mayor of Shanghai or some place like that. Garcetti sports the gay man look who has a wife and kid. Right there he won the race.
    I figured out why Koretz has such a big fat head—instead of his nose growing for each lie he utters, his whole head increases in size per lie!

  8. CrusaderRabbit says:

    I cannot tell you how disappointed I am with LA voters after this lame excuse for an election. Carmen Trutanich was defeated by a bunch of hateful bloggers and the newspaper barons. Where were all the people who he has protected and saved in the last 4 years? What a bunch of ungrateful inhuman beings they are. Carmen sacrificed a good job to be an independent City Attorney. He, his wife and his family (4 gorgeous kids) live on his salary, what are they supposed to do now? They were all stunned, in shock and disbelief on Tuesday night. How could this have happened? I think there is an urgent need for an investigation into electoral malpractice because never in the histry of Los Angeles has an incumbent City Attorney lost reelection, and never by such a large number. I think there needs to be a recount, especially in the Latin votes, because Carmen was their hero after he paid out $4.2M to those women who were shot by LAPD during the Dorner manhunt.

    • anonymous says:

      The assault on Trutanich reminded us of the
      campaign to destroy Hahn; very troubling, because
      Villaraigosa was organized crime’s ideal front-man:
      vain, unprincipled, corruptible, power-crazed-low-life.
      Now we have Feuer, a servant of Power, no friend of the people.
      Weasel political-operative with a law degree. We should worry.

  9. teddy says:

    Mr. Crusader Rabbit, I am also disappointed because I did not
    vote for the intruder, Feuer. But I am not surprised at the crookedness
    of any of the elections up until now. That is why Kevin James did
    not win as well. But at least that woman is not our Mayor. She
    is everything you all have said. The unions and their bosses are to

  10. Anonymous says:

    When Greuel mulls another run for an office, here are some pointers–public unions, especially the DWP Union are getting toxic whose powers need to be curtailed. The general public simply can’t afford these high-paid employees who give too little in return. She kept repeating the mantra of having the support of both the unions and business as in chambers of commerce. One is selfish and the other an idiot. Where was the public in this? Why was the support of the former two entities more important. So bad was her campaign that she allowed an equally bad Garcetti to win. Unless, there is some serious restructuring of the way business is done in City Hall, he’ll go downhill too. Doesn’t help that his wife is on the Board of LAANE, the Durazo propaganda machine with issues that have nothing to do with a Mayor’s job and whose principles she espoused in an LA Times article. However, that is an issue for another day.

    Good luck Ms. Greuel, tomorrow is another day. Remember, women are judged more harshly than men. Need more of a backbone than men like Garcetti. No one commented on what he was wearing. He sure didn’t look any Hollywood dude.

    • LA Moderator says:

      Well, that’s just the Board of Advisors….

      Just like any community, you keep seeing the same names over and over pitching in…seems I was just reading up on Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, and Amy Wakeland’s past participation. I noticed their projects like the watch-fob-pocket park promulgated along with Pacoima Beautiful, and Nury Martinez, CD6 runner up going into the run-off, who is on LAANE’s other Board, of Directors.

      Always interesting to see how Neighborhood Organizers find their way to become Philantrophists! I need to update my LinkedIn….

      • Captive in CD#6 says:

        Philanthropists? HA !
        In LA, we have observed and experienced,
        so called “Neighborhood Organizers” frequently
        evolve into self-serving, mean-spirited, arrogant,
        power-crazed social-climbers…
        These “Neighborhood Organizers” are equally
        as culpable as “Officials” for the decline and rot
        of the body politic for they enable and empower
        the bureaucratic racket…Understand, in LA
        prima donnas and organized crime are team players.

      • anonymous says:

        We see who is endorsing Nury Martinez:
        all the political-con-artists who have screwed
        CD6 for decades, so why would we vote for her?
        “Community organizers” support Cindy Montanez,
        team-player, sanctified insider, so why would we
        vote for another career political weasel?
        Actually, the two Latina finalists in the CD6 race
        are part of the Gang, different factions, but still
        part of the dear-old-compadre political machine.

      • anonymous says:

        Wise up.
        We keep seeing “the same names over and over”
        because the LA political machine has control…Power!
        Fact: Martinez and Montanez are members of the racket,
        politburo-certified team players-insiders…
        they profess to be representatives of the people…HA!
        gerrymandered-red-lined CD6 has nearly 79,000
        registered voters and most of these registered voters
        rejected the two “neighborhood organizers” who only
        totaled 11,310 votes…yes, we voted NO more abuse !
        So, you may call Martinez and Montanez philanthropists
        or princesses, but please, spare us the fairly-tales of
        they are “working for the people”…we know better…

        • LA Moderator says:

          That’s ok, we got the same drift…along with the points below.

          These supposed do-gooders are the usual suspects.

          I’m intrigued with how they propogate, as I look at the LANLT business card of a new visitor to our WNC Board meeting the other night…his title: “Organizer”….

        • anonymous says:

          The CD6 election deserved far more scrutiny
          and exposure than it has received from lazy
          press and media…censorship by indifference…
          The red-lined-gerrymandered and race-based boundaries were created by redistricting
          commissioners last year (ola Jose Cornejo).
          CD6 represents more that 250,000 persons,
          with over 89,000 registered voters…yet,
          in May election, only 18,714 ballots were cast
          and barely 11,300 votes total were for the two
          Latina career politicians.
          The most interesting result: nearly 2,000 of the
          ballots voted for “none of the above”…
          this is the people’s “passive aggressive vote”…
          NO vote…! Understand ?
          Manipulated representation with rigged elections
          results in the most intelligent and ethical response..
          NO vote…means…NO…NO…NO…!
          The LA apparatchik-elites neither want
          nor need more voter participation in local elections.
          Proof: CD6, paradigm for civic corruption…
          the future in CD6 will be brutal and painful…

    • anonymous says:

      Thank you for identifying the LAANE connection.
      These incestuous power-liaisons, unions and politicians,
      must be exposed for what they are: organized crime !

    • anonymous says:

      Good comment…
      Especially “the unions and business as in chambers of commerce…
      one is selfish and the other an idiot…where is the public in this?”
      Well, the public is represented by the “politicians” who are
      both selfish and idiots. Public interest groups like LAANE
      act as intermediaries facilitating the working relationships
      (collusion) of the selfish and the idiots…unions, business and politicians
      use (manipulate) community organizations to achieve their objectives…
      and everyone pretends they are working for the public…doing Good…HA!

    • anonymous says:

      LAANE – A New Economy for All…we know them well !
      LAANE’s “power analysis of the political landscape” is positive:
      their policy objectives will be unopposed since all relevant elected
      officials are team players, all bureaucratic agencies are co-operatives,
      business/community organizations/leaders voice support…allies in the fight ! None will oppose, hesitate or question…do you understand?
      For who would dare to contend with this Monster…? NO ONE !

  11. happy says:

    Angelenos threw the Fraud Greuel and her cronies in the sewer, where they belong. Yes, she would say and do ANYTHING to get elected. What a mother! She exploited the little kid , inflicting upon him psychological wounds for life. Good riddance.

  12. insider says:

    Greuel for Supervisor.? Has she heard of Krekorian? And no more the first woman garbage. So what is her platform ? She should go back and work for DreamWorks as lobbyist . She has all the qualifications. Liar, phony, corrupt, ruthless, unprincipled, back stabber. Did I forget any?

    • LA Moderator says:

      Greuel vs Kuehl vs Krekorian?

      Wendy doesn’t have a chance…Sheila has the westside AND cities other than Los Angeles sewn up…particularly those like Calabagouralake villages who had her for Assembly/Senate over the years. The Valley could come into play for a horserace, since she and they are not very acquainted with each other. But I think Krekorian has a better machine than Wendy….

  13. Greuel’s defeat will stick to her for at least a few years, beyond the point of when she could still be a viable candidate.

    I do not see how her candidacy would be attractive to any major backers when you consider this: she was endorsed by Clinton, Boxer, Pelosi, Berman, Sherman, Waters, Magic, Ridley Thomas, Riordan, the Chamber, the Klingons, had millions of dollars flowing in from the public union PACs, played the gender card, the mom card……and still lost by a fair margin!
    That’s not a horse you bet on.

  14. anonymous says:

    Paul, you forgot Molina, Huizar, Perez, Padilla, Cardenas, Fuentes, Huerta, Maria Elena Durazo. And 8 points is not ” a fair margin” . It`s a demolition derby.

    • anonymous says:

      I heard Villar’s office did too-but maybe that wasn’t an official endorsement.

      So glad to see Villar leave. With Garcetti there will be some semblance of dignity restored to this office.

  15. anonymous says:

    Add to Wendy`s qualifications panderer, hypocrite, bully.

  16. Wayne from Encino on the Mayor's race and the Fathead from CD5.... says:

    Ha Ha—and good riddence to the Useless fathead motorbike clown from CD3!!!!!!! Trutanich and his fall from grace will be one to remember for the ages!!

  17. Wayne from Encino says CD6 vote a joke! says:

    Vote for “none of the above” sounds about right!

    • anonymous says:

      per City Clerk statement of votes cast in CD#6 election July 23, 2013:
      89, 118 registered voters
      10, 129 ballots cast
      5, 485 Martinez votes
      4, 516 Montanez votes
      11.37% % voter participation
      in other words:
      89, 118 registered voters
      5, 485 Martinez votes
      83, 633 Martinez “NO” votes
      in other words:
      89, 118 registered voters
      10, 001 Martinez & Montanez votes total
      79, 117 Martinez & Montanez “NO & NO” votes total
      in other words: “passive-aggressive NO votes” mean NO, NO, NO!

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