Mayoral race roundup: a long weekend

Playing the diversity card

The candidates ran all over the city during the three-day weekend that included Monday's Martin Luther King holiday and Saturday's parade. Seema Mehta of the Times tied together the weekend activities into a story on the theme that LA is big, varied and changing.

The appearances before such varied voter groups reflect the challenge and necessity of retail campaigning, and building support across Los Angeles' sprawling array of ethnic, geographic and religious groups.


"Los Angeles has always been a much more diverse city than the rest of the nation, so we've been playing coalition politics for 30 years," said Anthony Samad, a professor of political science at East Los Angeles College. "It's just no longer bifocal black-and-white politics. It's multifocal — black, white, Latino, Asian, and now you even see segments of the Armenian and Arabic communities begin to demand some level of political equality."

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"Los Angeles is really a heterogeneous city, and that's exactly the point — you can't think about it in terms of just a couple pieces in order to run citywide," said Sean Clegg, a Democratic consultant who advised Villaraigosa's two successful runs and is working with an independent committee backing Greuel's candidacy.

"Los Angeles is kind of where the rest of the nation will go, big-city America will go, in the next five, 10, 20 years," added Jaime Regalado, professor emeritus of political science at Cal State L.A.


Lopez lays out his demands

LA Times columnist Steve Lopez wants the next mayor of Los Angeles to be part Richard Riordan, part James Hahn and part Antonio Villaraigosa. He says the field of candidates that's actually running isn't bad, "although it would have been more interesting if Rick Caruso, Zev Yaroslavsky and Austin Beutner had jumped into the jamboree instead of running for the hills." In laying out the attributes he has liked in the mayor he has known,. Lopez gets off a gem of a line about Villaraigosa.

Dick Riordan's strength, bullying everyone in his path to make things happen, was also his weakness, alienating the City Council whose support he needed to finish the game.


Jim Hahn knew the inner workings and was good down low in the bunker, but he had no feel for the public part of the job, which requires a detectable if not a winning personality.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is neither as horrible as critics contend (he'll leave office with a tidy list of accomplishments) nor as terrific as he believes (the disappointments are many). He's like the flashy but inconsistent halfback who picks up 20 yards before getting thrown for a crushing loss, calls his own press conference after the game, then drives away with a cheerleader.

My head is congested. My throat hurts. My joints ache. But I can't stop chuckling.


Video statements

lat--mayoral-videos.jpg
This time around, the Los Angeles Times editorial board videotaped its interaction with the candidates for mayor. They are not interviews, but statements in answer to questions put to the candidates by the editors. They are available for your perusal.

Editorial writer Robert Greene, whose due diligence on these pre-endorsement vettings is somewhat renowned, explains how the paper decided who to include and who to leave out.

Eight candidates have qualified for the March 5 mayoral ballot, and the editorial board met with and interviewed each of them. But five stand apart as more serious candidates. How did we determine they were more serious? The same way everyone else does: We listen to their campaign messages, we take note of their grass-roots support, we gauge their fundraising and assess not merely how viable their campaigns are but how prepared they are to serve. It’s interesting to note that in some of the dozens of candidate forums conducted over the last year, three candidates were invited; in a majority of them, four candidates; and in a few, five. We opted for five, and present videos from Jan Perry, Emanuel Alberto Pleitez, Eric Garcetti, Wendy J. Greuel and Kevin James.


The questions: (1) Describe a problem you have solved in your career that pitted you against your usual principles or your usual allies and how it demonstrates that would make you excel as mayor; and (2) describe the Los Angeles we should expect to see with you as mayor, how it is different from the Los Angeles of today – and how you expect to accomplish it given the difficulties that prior administrations have had.

If they got the questions beforehand, aren’t the answers rehearsed? Certainly. This feature should not be taken by voters as the primary tool they use to meet these candidates and learn their positions. It is one of many, along with public forums and debates, news stories, position papers, endorsements and all the other resources voters use to make up their minds.


Obama inauguration

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wasn't the only City Hall politician to make the scene in Washington, D.C. over the weekend. Eric Garcetti's campaign office let it be known that he was there. And available for intrerviews: "from 12:00 noon Pacific to 3:30 pm Pacific." Garcetti was SoCal chair and California co-chair of the Obama reelection campaign and is on the Democratic National Committee executive board.

Wendy Greuel sent out a congratulations-to-Obama email during the day.


Media roundup

  • The Massachusetts roots of Garcetti's challenge to the other candidates to join him in limiting outside, so-called independent spending on their behalf. Rainey/LAT
  • The five leading candidates were on their best behavior at Saturday's debate at USC sponsored by the Empowerment Congress. Walton and Glickman/KPCC
  • Monday Tipoffs. Orlov/DN
  • One thing the candidates don't agree on: whether or not City Hall is facing a fiscal cliff of its own. Rainey/LAT
  • Mayoral candidates vie for African American votes. Neon Tommy


Elsewhere in Campaign 2013

  • City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is billing himself as the outsider in the race: "I'm not a career politician. I got into this game at 57, not 27." Merl/LAT
  • Councilman Dennis Zine insists to Jim Newton that he is too controller material: "Being a police officer is perfect training for being controller. What does a cop know? He knows right from wrong." And on from there. Newton column/LAT
  • Controller candidate Cary Brazeman has a new campaign video on YouTube.
  • It might be one of the toughest battles facing a challenger in the March 5 election for City Council: neighborhood council activist Mark Herd against Councilman Paul Koretz. Orlov/DN


Upcoming

Garcetti will be at the Shutters hotel in Santa Monica on Tuesday night for what's being billed as a "fireside chat" with tech gathering group Startups Uncensored. Tix are $10 and $100.


More by Kevin Roderick:
Century City parking is going to cost you
Jane Glenn Haas, OC journalist was 75
Guess which other big catastrophe awaits California (again)
Prius is top-selling new car in California — and only here
Morning Buzz: Wednesday 1.23.13
Recent Campaign 2013 stories on LA Observed:
Late-night White House after party has LA flavor
Mayoral race roundup: a long weekend
Morning Buzz: Mostly politics for Friday 1.18.13
Morning Buzz: Thursday politics and much more
Greuel gets Police Protective League endorsement *

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