Editor Mark Lacter of the L.A. Business Journal uses his column this week to let Mayor Hahn have it. Seems that on Feb. 18, Hahn met with LABJ editors and professed that the current rules for money raising by city commissioners were fine. The paper went to press with it the next day. The day after that, Hahn was all over the L.A. Times with a new song, proposing big reforms of the rules for commissioner fundraising.
Hahn's staff explained that the reform idea could not be announced any earlier, but Lacter was not amused. In a free-with-registration piece titled "Firmly Committed to the Latest Political Trend," he writes:
Yet another bungle from the mayor’s office – and I still haven’t a clue on what he really thinks about this fundraising business. Is his reform plan just a way to deflect all the heat he’s getting, or has he truly found religion in wanting to clean up the system? Except, if he’s really found religion, why was he telling us something so different the day before?
In politics, as in business, it always comes down to trust and competence – qualities that aren’t just inherited when you get the job. Can this person be counted on as a straight shooter, whether you agree or disagree with his positions? And does he take the lead when the going gets tough? In talking to folks who routinely follow L.A. politics, you hear increasing expressions of bewilderment – even sympathy – about how ill-equipped Hahn seems to be.
Lacter's kicker: "It’s enough to make you want to move to Santa Monica."
On the topic of City Hall fundraising and influence, the trade magazine PR Week (pay only) today quotes several Los Angeles PR executives fretting that the controversy over big players such as Fleishman-Hillard hurts the industry's image.
"I think PR firms should be guided by a set of principles that would render any questions about their ethical foundations groundless," says Joe Kessler, president of Weber Shandwick California. However, Doug Dowie -- the head of Fleishman-Hillard's public affairs practice in California -- says money is how the game is played. "This is how our political system works. Unless you want to totally reform, this is how it works."
Earlier: Dowie kicked upstairs?