Wed, Apr

The CD15 Race: What Everyone’s Asking


POLITICS - In the absence of an elected council member in the City’s 15th Council District, the vacuum in leadership causes uncertainty and doubt. Every other person I meet asks, who I am endorsing or more importantly, “Who’s going to win?”

It is in these times of doubt and apprehension that you realize that the perpetual motion of the bureaucratic wheel of governance, which grinds on steady, does so even without a hand at the controls.

The system is left up to its own forward momentum and the need of city workers for a paycheck.

There is, of course, a process in place where the chief of staff, Doane Liu, continues to manage the day-to-day office, with the over- sight of an appointed legislative analyst—now Jerry Miller.

However, beyond doing the basic constituent responses, the council office lacks the direction of a leader to both motivate and mediate and will be missing at least two council deputies who have decided to run for the vacant office––thus leaving the council office understaffed.

One has taken earned vacation time to launch his campaign, the other is pretending there is no conflict of interest.

With the final filing date to run for the unfinished term of now Congresswoman Janice Hahn of Aug. 22 the full field of candidates has yet to be completed and sorted out. Currently, there are 15 who have filed and one, David Greene, the president of the San Pedro Democrats, is sadly dropping out, which makes it a total of 14.

Some have pondered if there are going to be more people running for office than will vote in the November special election? Such is the nature of our “democratic” process as practiced in the 15th District and Los Angeles.

This newspaper in conjunction with other sponsors in the Harbor Area are proposing a candidate forum that will be aired on cable TV in October and by that time the field of candidates should have solidified and settled to make it more clear who has the stamina or at least the tenacity to persist.

Yet, this alone doesn’t settle the key question for the electorate of the 15th District, which is: who actually has the vision to lead this district through these next few challenging years and who do we actually trust to represent the district honestly and with integrity? (Not just who has the most money to run a campaign.)

This is not just a question posed from the armchair of my desk, but also one posed as a result of being engaged in the mix of civic discussion and policy making for 30 years.

As there are those who are drawn to power for their own self- aggrandizement; and then there are those who see the power of elected office as a service to do for the people the greater good.

There are those whose intent is to “just return to some misconception of the past”—the mythical, “good ‘ol days of yore” and then there are those who propose a future that encompasses some critical understanding of the past. There is a difference.

The fact that so many voters that I’ve talked to don’t remember the reign-of-error of the former Councilman Rudy Svorinich, Jr., gives me great trepidation, particularly when they criticize Janice Hahn’s performance.

By comparison there isn’t any similarity. Hahn was not the perfect council representative. She could have been more proactive in certain aspects of her representation and she could have taken bolder steps along with hiring more competent staff and suffered with, at times, an adversarial relationship with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

However, these things pale in comparison to the good-ol’-boy approach of Svorinich, which created as much conflict and division as it did solutions. Unity was not a word one would use regarding his approach, as he knew nothing of community organizing, consensus building and less about legislative process and the word can only be used in the negative as when he lost in his bid for the 54th Assembly District to Alan Lowenthal by one of the largest margins ever.

The most unity Rudy ever accumulated in his two terms in office was a growing animosity that culminated in the voters choosing term limits and his losing every precinct in San Pedro except two, to Lowenthal.

What allowed him to originally attain the office or to be reelected can only be attributed to the vulnerability of his predecessor Joan Milke-Flores, who had lost two attempts for higher office, and the lack of community leadership to oppose his second term.

Much of what the current candidates and the voters don’t remember about him can be found in the archives of the Random Lengths newspaper.

Suffice it to say, a vote for Svorinich would be a step backward not forward—and in that, I believe there is still some great unity!

(James Preston Allen is the Publisher of Random Lengths News. More of Allen and other views and news at  randomlengthsnews.com where this column was first posted)

Tags: CD15, Council District 15, Janice Hahn, Rudy Svorinich, Jr.

Vol 9 Issue 65
Pub: Aug 16, 2011

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