Although Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky didn’t shed much light on whether he will run for mayor, he gave a scathing and knowledgeable critique of L.A. city hall and indicated what he might do if he ran the place.
Of course, whether he would be a mayoral candidate in 2013 was the first question asked by designated questioner Dave Bryan of Channel 9 at a luncheon of the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum at the downtown Palm Monday.
The supervisor, a former city council member, drew an unusually large crowd to the forum luncheon, hosted by public affairs consultant Emma Schafer. Crowd size is important when discussing the forum, which is attended by people who, in one way or another, make their livings from government contracts and contacts. When this group figures a guest lacks clout, the crowd is small. Perceived clout equals a big turnout, and Yaroslavsky, as potentially strong mayoral candidate, got one.
“I will let you know in due course,” he said of his decision, adding that “it won’t be long I’ll keep you posted.”
What was most interesting was the way he ripped apart city government on subjects ranging from redevelopment to potholes.
He said city streets are in bad shape compared to those maintained by the county in unincorporated areas, he said. He sarcastically compared the streets in East Los Angeles, run by the county, to those in neighboring Boyle Heights, in city territory. Boyle Heights streets are filled with potholes, a condition ranging from there to Wilshire and Sunset Boulevards, from the center and south of the city to the Westside. Yaroslavsky said the gap between East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights street maintenance is as wide as the Grand Canyon.
Yaroslavsky blasted the city hall plan to float bonds for street repairs, saying there is plenty available money from various transportation programs. And he said there was no need for the city to furlough employees, Good management would have prevented it, as it did with the county. “Where did all the money go?” he asked. If he ever gets back to city government, Yaroslavsky said, he would find out.
The question is whether he wants to undertake the difficult task of returning to city hall and trying to get a straight answer to such questions.