Just when you were starting to care, the mayor's race is almost over. Well, the easy part anyway—the first heat to the March 8 primary. Then we begin again with a grueling two-man, 71-day marathon to the May 17 general election. Save your strength.
Since we last tuned in:
Cop tax angle: Mayor Hahn and Chief Bratton are lobbying the City Council hard, urging that the sales tax hike for police be put on the May runoff ballot, Rick Orlov reports. "Even if the council shoots down the plan, Hahn will still be able to use the issue in his re-election campaign, telling voters he tried to expand the LAPD but was once again thwarted by the council....[And] it would allow him to create a separate campaign committee to raise money for the measure." Orlov also says there was an angry phone call between Jack Weiss and Miguel Contreras over the councilman not receiving the County Federation of Labor endorsement for his reelection.
Lunch with Slim Jim: Steve Lopez finally lunches with Hahn in San Pedro and comes away underwhelmed. Last week, Lopez rejected Hahn's idea of Lucy's El Adobe as cliche, but oddly he's okay with accompanying Hertzberg to Art's Deli, the Valley's most predictable stop, and Villaraigosa to La Serenata de Garibaldi. All fine places, by the way, but as safe and unoriginal as Lucy's.
New York rules: The L.A. Times editorializes Sunday that there really are differences between the candidates and that Angelenos should care, like people in New York do: "New Yorkers couldn't wait to get the presidential race out of the way so they could concentrate on their mayoral matchup—and that election's not until fall."
Jewish vote: Raphael Sonsenshein writes in the Jewish Journal that they are important but unpredictable in a race with five Democrats: "Jews cast between 16 percent to 18 percent of all votes in mayoral elections. That makes them one of the four key blocs in the electorate, along with Latinos (22 percent or more), white Republicans (around 20 percent) and African Americans (around 10-14 percent)...Today, one-third of the city’s white voters are Jewish, compared to one-fourth a decade ago...Los Angeles Jews were a loyal, devoted, and united bloc for Tom Bradley, and vote as a bloc for Democrats at the state and national levels. But in 1993, about half of the Jewish voters backed Republican Richard Riordan against Bradley’s presumed heir, Michael Woo; more than 60 percent supported Riordan in his 1997 re-election against Tom Hayden."
Curtain raiser I: The L.A. Business Journal kicks off the final stretch with a front pager that calls Mayor Hahn "charisma challenged." Howard Fine says he blew a chance last week in Glendale: "For most big city mayors, the response to last week’s train wreck would have been a no-brainer. Stand in front of the cameras, express appropriate outrage, console victims and their families–election or no election, get out there and show your face. Not Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn."
Curtain raiser II: The Daily News leads Sunday with another kick-off story, this one headlined "Mayor's race revs up." In the lede, Villaraigosa and Hertzberg are "well-financed challengers." Hahn appears in the second graf, "taking advantage of his incumbency."
No Schwarzenegger: Patrick McGreevy reports in the Times that the governor won't take a side on the race until he sees who gets into the runoff. The column also lists the public relations execs who are holding fundraisers for challengers to the mayor.