A long piece in USC's student-run Neon Tommy (by senior editor Hillel Aron) follows Ron Kaye on his crusade to foment, as he calls it, "the birth of democracy in L.A." The story captures Kaye as a 68-year-old white ex-newspaperman from the far west end of the Valley who wants to create a "new revolution" that goes beyond the early-2000s secession campaign he stage-managed as managing editor of the Daily News. His fellow travelers are still mostly angry white guys from the Valley, and though he hasn't gotten so much political traction, Aron notes Kaye has been deft at attracting media attention. From the story:
"My blog attempts to create illusions, and pressures, and phantoms and propagandas. To make stories interesting, you need heroes and villains..."
You can say one thing about Ron Kaye. He's a taken a subject that most people find dull and arcane, city politics - with its controllers and comptrollers, budget holes, special funds, and boards of this and that - and turned the whole thing into entertainment, into a farce. He's made it readable, especially to those who work in government itself.
"The mayor reads it," says Rick Orlov (often called the dean of City Hall reporters). "He'll come over to me and say, 'What's that crazy Ron Kaye doing today?'"
I'm not sure which is a bigger drawback of the piece: that Kaye's critics are allowed to stay nameless, or that David Abel, publisher of The Planning Report, gushes about Kaye's influence without being identified as Kaye's unofficial flack, regularly emailing local journalists to champion his blog posts and take issue with critics. Abel has also described himself previously as a financial donor to Kaye's OurLA project.
Photo of Kaye and his dog Bruno: NeonTommy