Bill Boyarsky
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November 30, 2012

New players in an old game

What was most interesting to me at Eric Garcetti’s mayoral election fund raiser Thursday night was that I didn’t know anyone except for Eric and his father, Gil, the former district attorney.

I remarked on that to Gil Garcetti, who says he often encounters such a situation when he attends political events, although people recognize him from his days as D.A.

Most everyone at the Latino event at Guelaguetza Restaurant, west of downtown, was young, or seemed so to me. Those I knew a few years ago are gone, some retired, some moved, some dead. No doubt the other mayoral candidates—City Controller Wendy Greuel, City Councilwoman Jan Perry and former assistant U.S. attorney and radio talk show host Kevin James—are aiming to expand their contributor, volunteer and voter base in the same way. A new generation may be on its way to running L.A., changing the way politics is conducted here and maybe even how government is operated.

Mayoral candidate Garcetti told the audience “we will turn out people…who have not voted in past elections.”

That seemed to be pointing the way to an Obama-like get-out-the vote operation in which demographic and political data on each potential voter is combined in voting lists, which are used by volunteers to canvass neighborhoods. The sophisticated campaigning was crucial to the president’s victory.

I visited Obama headquarters in Los Angeles County throughout the campaign and saw how each one was run by young, tech-savvy women and men, directing volunteers young and old. It was so well organized that each volunteer had a task, was held accountable for completing it—and felt they were an important part of the national Obama effort.

Bill Carrick, Garcetti’s campaign manager, said the campaign would, as the candidate noted, target Latino voters who have not been part of the political process as well as young voters. Both played an important part in the Obama victory.

Carrick managed Democratic Rep. Lois Capps successful campaign against challenger Abel Maldonado on the central coast this year, a victory, he said, that was helped along by a big turnout of voters from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

So maybe it is a new day. I’ll know if, after the election, I walk into city hall and see a bunch of new people with fresh ideas running the place.

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