The Los Angeles Mayor’s Race, aka the Real Candidates of L.A. City (Part 2)

17 05 2013

DWBLA Collage

First off, happy Friday! I would like to welcome all the new followers to this blog. Thank you, for reading, and wanting to come along for the ride! I am very happy that my commentary has found a place of resonance with you.

So back to our L.A. Mayoral election, which is only days away (sigh). I am still not thrilled, but a little less apathetic. I had the opportunity to attend A Dialogue with Black L.A. (DWBLA) last weekend, and the main event was a Q&A with both Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti. After watching two debates, I was convinced of two things a) both candidates could have used more debate training, because they both come off liked canned fish, and b) these debates did not serve either the candidate (or the constituents for that matter) in presenting their ideas, or lack of them, to the public.

At DWBLA, each candidate individually had a little over an hour with Event host Starlett Quarles, asking questions and getting responses, then giving time for audience questions and responses. That  time gave me a much better read on the candidates as people and as leaders than what was afforded us in the debates. As I said in my Washington Times Communities column, the laid-back atmosphere made a difference:

“Studying the candidates in this more relaxed environment revealed how each one navigated when off script, and showed their capacity in giving answers not clearly laid out in their usual talking points.”

Read the rest over at the Communities site: “L.A. Mayor’s race: Lesser of two evils or diametric leadership styles?

I have to say that Eric Garcetti came off the best unscripted. The host was a personal friend, so that may have played into it. But it also showed that he pretty much believes what he espouses, because it was given matter-of-fact and off the cuff, without equivocation or parsing. He communicated clearly and articulately, and has a great sense of humor. He had the audience laughing and clapping on more than a few occasions.

Wendy Greuel is a control freak, and it showed in every talking point, and every time she pointed to her 36-point plan (or whatever it is called) to “Move Los Angeles Forward.” Hmmm… we’ve heard this language before in a national election, so if forward means wholesale into morass and scandal, then spare me! But I digress…

It was clear that she really was not comfortable with this type of forum, and if her incoherent and rambling answers were any indication, she desperately needed her script.

In my candidate research, the most scandalous thing I could uncover about Garcetti is that his penchant for urban planning and engineering (part of his educational background) has pissed off neighborhood activists. There are more than a dozen lawsuits brewing over the business and community developments in Hollywood and Echo Park–too much overbuilding, too many tall buildings, and too much gridlock. The latter is a Los Angeles problem no matter where you go, so every City leader is at fault here. Garcetti has also been accused of being in the back pocket of developers; as opposed to Greuel, who is in the back pocket of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to the tune of nearly $4 million dollars being poured into her campaign.

As a resident of Atwater Village, Garcetti’s former City Council District, I have no complaints about the encouragement of small business and building a community that mixes residential with commercial. It has done wonders for Atwater, and I can see it has enlivened Hollywood too. The only way I would have bothered venturing into Hollywood at night was either heavily armed or dead; with some of the revitalization, it has changed the atmosphere and made it much more habitable. One still needs to be wise–this is L.A. after all–but compared to the cesspool Hollywood was 15 or so years ago, it is now a totally different place.

I have no doubt that Garcetti visualizes replicating what he did in these communities across Los Angeles.  The Los Angeles Times confirmed the same last week in the article, “Garcetti’s Hollywood script“: “Hollywood is ‘a template for a new Los Angeles,’ Garcetti says, ‘a blueprint for a city where you can live near where you work, near where you play … where the hours you don’t have to spend in your car, you can spend with your family.'”

Garcetti is also a green activist (his house in Silverlake is supposed to be this ecological marvel), and had his hands all over last November’s Measure B, which in a nutshell, had the aforementioned evil LADWP in charge of green expansion and green contracts–akin to having the Fox in charge of the Hen House. Greuel has been on the attack regarding this (she had her hand in it too–Duh!), with little rebuttal or response from Garcetti. He’s not owning it, but he’s not denying it either.

The latest attack on Eric Garcetti is his endorsement of Occupy L.A. Occupy L.A. camped out on the City Hall lawn for weeks, building up waste, and straining city services. Garcetti, as City Council President, basically laid out the welcome mat, as did Mr. 11-percent, Mayor Smilin’ Tony. Stupid move on Garcetti’s part, but again, no surprise–it ties into his liberal and activist philosophies. He headed a group at Columbia called “Black Men for Anita Hill”, so that should tell you all you need to know. For him, bleeding hearts will always be the fashion.

L.A. Jobs PAC in sponsorship with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce released this online attack ad just today pointing out this yawing gap in leadership. h/t: L.A. Weekly.

L.A. Weekly wrote a really good piece on the five key differences that distinguish Greuel from Garcetti. I found the last difference the most compelling:

“This may be the most fundamental difference between a Garcetti and a Greuel mayoralty. Garcetti has recently taken to quoting his friend, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who said in a commencement speech last year that ‘It is better to have your ship sunk at sea than have it rot in the harbor.’ And indeed, Garcetti has had his share of shipwrecks. He lured an electric car company to L.A. with a $1 million relocation package, only to have it go bankrupt. As council president, he approved the ‘modernization’ of billboards, unaware of the storm of protest that would follow. And have you seen those awful condos at Sunset and Alvarado? Of course, he can point to successes too, or he wouldn’t have won his district by 34 points in the primary. Greuel, on the other hand, is more risk averse. As a result, her sins are ones of omission. Her disappearing act during the city’s budget crisis is a prime example. As controller, she could have had as large a role as she wanted in shaping the public debate about budget cuts. Instead, she avoided the subject as much as possible. In part, her aversion to risk seems to be the legacy of her years working for Tom Bradley, who governed in a very cautious style. That style does not mean that nothing gets done, but that it happens slowly and carefully and only after all the risks have been weighed through careful deliberation. What Greuel chooses to focus on, she will probably achieve. Garcetti is more likely to fail, but also more likely to try harder things.”

As I pointed out in my WT Communities column, they’re leadership styles are diametric; so I see it not as lesser of two evils, but what type of leadership do you feel L.A. needs right now?

The choice is yours. Please go out and vote on Tuesday May 21–the City needs an engaged constituency putting a Mayor in the office who will focus on the people and their needs, and not solely on the people who paid the most to get them there.

 

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In My Orbit: Happy 2012!

2 01 2012

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy New Year! The Girl found December sweeping her off her feet, with some wonderful Holiday parties, a lot of singing, and a lot of Yoga. Before I knew it, it was January 2, 2012, and time for the 123rd Tournament of Roses Parade.

This is something to which I pay little attention. The floats are lovely and all, and I can appreciate the work and dedication each one takes. But parades and pageantry have never been my thing. I’m also very thankful I don’t live in Pasadena’s immediate vicinity–those poor residents have to deal with blocked streets and the hoopla that surrounds such an undertaking for weeks (sometimes months) before the event actually happens. If I did live there, I’d probably go on vacation for the entire month of December; but, I digress….

The 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade caught my attention this year because our old friends of #OWS will be presenting a float at the end of the festivities. From Friday’s Los Angeles Times:

“Occupy protesters are busy finishing their float that will run at the end of the Rose Parade: a 70-by-40-foot octopus made of recycled plastic bags.”

Can you say, “Media whores”? Seriously, a parade that spends and takes in millions, if not billions of dollars, is more a reflection of corporate greed than a hedge fund–no matter how noble, altruistic,  and community-oriented its veneer. Yet, the flailing Occupy “activists” are jumping on the train, even choosing to play nice for the cameras:

“The group says the protest will be ‘G-rated’ and will stick to nonviolence in expressing Occupy’s messages against income inequality and corporate power.”

Whatever. I’m sure it will go over like a lead balloon, right in sync with the whole movement. The Pasadena-Star News decided to do a profile on the Occupy Rose Parade leader’s questionable past.  This past includes petty theft, having his law license suspended, andconnections to the 9/11 Truther movement.

So much for gaining more credibility with the general public. I sincerely hope that the year 2012 will see Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots fade to black.





In My Orbit…

4 11 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

So #OWS has moved from absurd and fraudulent, to dangerous. Pundit & Pundette and Michelle Malkin give a good rundown on the violence in both Seattle and Oakland. Will New York and Los Angeles be the next shoe to drop? Just what we need, another Los Angeles uprising to completely decimate our already falling revenues.

As a card-carrying political junkie, I’ve been watching with bemusement the whole alleged Herman Cain scandal. Is it a scandal when the actual charges and the women remain “anonymous”? It’s been five days in, and not much more has been revealed. The whole refusal to speak (except through her lawyer) on the part of the accuser is still a non-starter. Seriously, the mainstream media avoided the real scandal (with real evidence) that was John Edwards and Rielle Hunter until the National Enquirer broke the story. You know your industry is in trouble when a rag like the Enquirer becomes the bastion of breaking news and hard-hitting journalism.

As far as I’m concerned, this Politico hit piece is one more nail in the coffin of traditional media and its failing relevance. Not only are they not driving the narrative, they are sitting in the dust on the side of the road.

Unfortunately, the Republican-leaning media is no better, already washing their hands and writing post-mortems on Herman Cain’s candidacy. Jennifer Rubin is first out the box with Cain’s political demise: the end of a charming outsider. Aside from the headline, she says nothing complimentary about the man, basically telling him, “here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?”

“Now, Cain could stay in the race, I suppose, and turn each debate and appearance into a three-ring circus. He could risk losing all the goodwill and future book sales he’s earned up to now. He could continue to inflict humiliation on his family and his supporters, making a great number of his defenders look like dopes. But a smart business guy in control of himself and in command of the situation would realize the jig is up and any future public career depends on the disappearance/atonement/revival pattern that has characterized so many careers (including his current opponent Newt Gingrich.) A decent and disciplined man would not put his political party through this ordeal.”

The not-so-strange thing is, the actual voting public could not care less. A recent Post-ABC Poll show most Republicans dismissing the allegations.

Only time with tell, but from the mad fundraising numbers and the polls, it doesn’t look like we can count Herman Cain out just yet.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Bishop Harry Jackson poses an interesting comparison/contrast if Cain became the Republican nominee:

“An Obama vs. Cain contest couldn’t be cast as a referendum on a black man’s qualification to hold the highest office in the land. Instead it would be a choice between two black men who see everything—from the role of government in a free society, to the very definitions of life and family—almost completely differently.”

The Churches of Cain and Obama

Wow. I’d welcome an actual contest that reflected different perspectives on the Black American experience as opposed to the ramblings of the media-certified talking heads of Smiley, Dyson, and Sharpton.





Illustrating Absurdity: #OWS Redux

27 10 2011
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin/publicdomainpictures.net

You keep giving me absurd news copy, I’ll keep writing posts!

Under the This is Rich category, The OWS kitchen staff is getting fed up with homeless and ex-con freeloaders who are eating their food… Say what?!

“The Occupy Wall Street volunteer kitchen staff launched a ‘counter’ revolution yesterday — because they’re angry about working 18-hour days to provide food for “professional homeless” people and ex-cons masquerading as protesters.

For three days beginning tomorrow, the cooks will serve only brown rice and other spartan grub instead of the usual menu of organic chicken and vegetables, spaghetti bolognese, and roasted beet and sheep’s-milk-cheese salad.

They will also provide directions to local soup kitchens for the vagrants, criminals and other freeloaders who have been descending on Zuccotti Park in increasing numbers every day.” (emphasis mine).

How thoughtful! Today’s definition of Irony: “Protesting that the wealth needs to be shared while withholding your own.”  Occupy Wall Street Kitchen Slow-down Targets Squatters.

Occupy Portland is upset because it’s lost $20,000 in donations via PayPal:

“Organizers of Occupy Portland say they fear as much as $20,000 donated to the group through a PayPal account has disappeared.

They also say the group’s finance committee has hijacked the demonstration’s Internet domain name and filed for incorporation against the wishes of the group’s decision-making body.

The demonstrator who filed the papers with the state said Wednesday she did so to protect the protest, and she has received death threats as a result.”

Death threats? That’s beyond the pale, but then, so is this supposed movement. Occupy Portland fears it has lost $20,000 in donations.

Finally, in the Too Stupid to Run a Mile category, the idiot Mayor of Los Angeles has come to the conclusion that Occupy Los Angeles “cannot continue indefinitely.” Occupy LA: Occupy LA “Cannot Continue Indefinitely,” Villaraigosa says.

Yah think? With the violence and law enforcement push back in Oakland, Atlanta, and other cities, Villaraigosa sees the handwriting on the wall: All this bad press will ruin the PR for my December trade mission to Asia!

Just like him–when the going gets tough, the tough get out of town.

 

 

 





Illustrating Absurdity: The Occupy Wall Street Expanded Edition

20 10 2011
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin/publicdomainpictures.net

As our own village idiot, Mayor Villiaragosa, passed out 100 ponchos to rain-soaked protestors last week, and City Councilmember Richard Alarcon rides this wave of unrest by pimping his “responsible banking” ordinance, it’s clear that the OccupyLA movement has been fully embraced by our supposed city leaders.  You know, the ones that are tasked with balancing our budget shortfall and and bringing back jobs and industry to Los Angeles. How’s that working for them? We already know how it’s working for us.

Well, the lovefest may be coming to a screeching halt: Los Angeles is broke, and complying with the rabble’s demands of cracking down on banks could cost at least $58 million. A pull quote on the potential “damage” of sticking it to the Man:

“Last week, lawmakers asked city analysts to continue developing a plan to use the city’s financial heft to punish misbehaving financial institutions. On Tuesday, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana issued a dire warning: Such a move could cost the city at least $58 million.

“Severing agreements with major lenders could trigger sizable termination fees and lead to higher interest rates, Santana said. That could in turn complicate financing for an array of city initiatives, from replacing deteriorating sewers to rebuilding part of the Convention Center to make way for an NFL football stadium, he said.”

Official’s embrace of OccupyLA loosens a bit over fiscal issue.

Hell, just tell Angeleans about the kabosh on NFL football in L.A. and I betcha the sports fans would pour into the streets and kick the occupiers out!

And the Kabuki theater is now being peddled to children as education. This just in from the Los Angeles Times.

“The fifth- through eighth-grade students from Sequoyah, a private school in Pasadena, munched on their lunches while protesters engaged them in discourse about how democracy works.”

Students visit OccupyLA for a lesson in democracy.

And this gem came from one of the teachers who organized the field trip:

“‘My goal as a teacher, regardless of my own personal beliefs, is to expose the students to as many viewpoints as possible,’ Barkataki said as she watched her students explore the Occupy L.A. encampment. ‘We’re here to get first-hand experience.'”

I thought influencing with viewpoints was the role of the parent, and the teacher’s job was to teach them the Three Rs? I wonder how much any of these children are learning about the the Revolutionary War and the United States Constitution? Johnny don’t know much about history, but he sure knows how to protest!

LA Weekly at its snarky best, keeps it real. Their commentary on the first of the OccupyLA protests:

“The turnout was less than rousing:

The blog LA Activist says about 70 protesters showed up Saturday outside City Hall. And if you’re in L.A., class warfare is really about Trader Joe’s vs. Whole Foods (we kid).”

They may kid, but I do not. That statement is exactly on the money. It’s very hard to take a movement seriously that offers “Yoga with Raquel” at their medical tent as part of “wellness”.

As far as I’m concerned, the supposed 99 percenters of OccupyLA would be more effective if they marched due west and parked their protest at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power building. LADWP holds every Angelean hostage with their rate increases to support massive CEO salary and lactation classes for employees.

Apparently Steven Crowder is finding the same “lack of seriousness” in the Occupy Dallas bunch, who were on, wait for this… lunch break! when he arrived to interview them. He had great fun talking to some 9/11 Truthers and LaRouchites, then makes an effort to comprehend what is truly incomprehensible:

And from the New York Zuccotti Park crowd, this self-described 99 percenter has been outed as part of the 1 percent. It seems Edward T. Hall III is a  Columbia graduate student and a trust fund baby –so I’m sure he doesn’t carry any student loan debt. Wish I could say the same.

Mr. Hall appears to be starving… for attention. Language alert here:

The pushback over all this silliness gets little to no attention from the L.A. Times or any other mainstream media outlet. But thankfully, it does exist.

Tumblr has a great blog, We Are The 53%, for all of us who actually pay taxes so the supposed 99 percent can whine, protest, clog streets, and stink up parks and city property.

And Heather Mac Donald pulls no punches in her City Journal article,  “Get A Job“:

“There are times when mass protest carries an undeniable dignity and grows out of an unbearable necessity; the civil rights marches and sit-ins in the 1950s South were one of those moments. But our culture’s glamorization of protest—most celebrated when the message is a leftist one—scants the unsung virtues of showing up and doing your job.”

What a concept. One that is lost in the rush to legitimize this illegitimate movement.

 

 








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