From here on out, the race for mayor of Los Angeles is a sprint. With luck some Big Issues will be debated before March 8. Without a doubt there will be lesser machinations like Hahn's operatives stacking a Young Democrats endorsement gathering, campaign rivals snapping gotcha photos of each others' cars and Hertzberg partisans being "outraged" that a Hahn staffer might have sent political email during work hours. L.A. Observed can't cover it all, and wouldn't anyway.
Now's the right time to state my aim here. It's not to give voters the information they need to decide who to punch a hole for. I don't explore all sides of any big or small campaign issues (not because I don't think they're important.) I don't treat all the players equally, nor do I choose to push the cause of any of the candidates (though I could—it's a blog.) All I try to do here is filter out the noise of the campaign and make note of—and sometimes comment on—the stories and tactical moves and slipups that I think might shape the race or make readers raise an eyebrow and think hmm. (I prefer wow! but those nuggets don't come along that often.)
The audience I keep in mind when posting on the mayor's race (and City Hall in general) is participants in the media-politics axis loosely speaking, and knowledgeable students of Los Angeles. They want a filter. Walter Moore may be a very serious and nice guy, but they know he isn't going to be mayor this year so they don't need to read much about him.
That's all a long way of saying I'm picking my spots more carefully as the noise level builds. Here are some spots for the new week:
Where's Antonio?: The Business Journal front page jumps on the Villaraigosa's- star-has-dimmed express: "Even his closest friends and allies say the magic is missing." That one's free on the website. Inside, the councilman sits for an Q-and-A with Howard Fine. That one's not.
Sunday Opinion: Let's hope the second week in a row with a large cartoon filling the cover is coincidence and not an unfortunate new LAT format choice. Mark Alan Stamaty's outsider take on the mayor's race is smart enough, but I can only guess the Big 5 proved difficult to caricature (Parks is the only one I recognize.) Inside, Howard Blume and Maloy Moore map the geography of last year's donations to the candidates in an interesting way, and progressive activists Robert Gottlieb and Regina Freer somehow see in the race "a historic moment of social progress."
Shannon Murphy: Beth Barrett in the Daily News traces some allegedly padded Fleishman-Hillard invoices that originated with Hahn's Director of Communications, before she came through the revolving door. They total a token amount, $1700, but Murphy says, "I am outraged if any time sheets I submitted while employed by Fleishman-Hillard were changed or altered. Every time sheet I submitted accurately reflected the work I performed and any changes or alterations were done without my knowledge or permission."
Hahn vs Hertzberg: The Times' Noam Levey picks up on the interesting dynamic that Hahn's strategy is increasingly directed at weakening Hertzberg. Non-aligned campaign consultant Rick Taylor says that Hahn figures he can beat Villaraigosa again in a rematch, but a runoff with Hertzberg is unknown territory. The LAT also does a piece on Hahn's advantage of incumbency.
Three dotters: This morning at 9:30 Hahn is dragging Chief Bratton away from his day job again to unveil surveillance cameras on Hollywood Boulevard. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley comes with...Here's an upset: Hahn's campaign website won a Pollie Award (PDF) Saturday night from the American Association of Political Consultants. Best website by a city or regional candidate...Rick Orlov surfaces the gossip that Yvonne Brathwaite Burke may retire from the Board of Supervisors, possibly allowing Gov. Schwarzenegger to appoint former Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson...Today at noon at the L.A. Athletic Club, Council President Alex Padilla addresses the Current Affairs Forum.