Thu, Feb

It’s Too Late—The Old Guard Has Already Lost Control Of City Hall


DEEGAN ON LA—The future of LA politics has arrived ahead of schedule, even before the November 8 election. The Old Guard is being unceremoniously pushed aside by a New Wave of tidal proportions.

If City Hall politics was a backgammon game, it would be of the “chouette” variety which is the fast paced dice throwing involving doubling and redoubling, sending the stakes higher and higher with every toss of the dice. Right now, the dice are coming up snake eyes for the sitting politicos. 

Every day at City Hall has become an accelerated paced gamble with high stakes risks. The home team is loosing badly. The visitors are getting ready to take their permanent seats in the council chamber. 

The appearance of semi-stability today—we’ve had three council presidents in the past month—following the Pandora’s Box of bile that was opened recently by three disgraced council members, is just cosmetics. The desperate attempt of the old guard council members to give the impression that its business as usual at City Hall is like a cheap face-lift surgery that’s not fooling anyone. 

The losers are obvious and have been well documented. The big winner is the political process that may sweep enough far-left and progressive candidates into office so that they control City Hall within the next twenty-six months. The far left progressives will be busy training their candidates how to campaign and to win those elections. 

The top ten keys to the final dismemberment of the Old Guard are:

  1. An announced April 4 special election to fill at least one council seat (Martinez) and possibly a second (De Leon).
  2. A recall campaign against De Leon.
  3. Expanding the size of the council through charter reform.
  4. Creating an independent redistricting commission through charter reform.
  5. Possibly trashing the most recent, and now verified as corrupt, redistricting results.
  6. Preparing for three or four more far left candidates to be elected to the City Council on November 8.
  7. Being ready for the possibility of two additional far left candidates to win the April 4 special election.
  8. Getting out of the way of a stampede of far left City Council candidates to win many of the even-numbered council district seats in 2024.
  9. Celebrating the nation’s 250th birthday on July 4, 2026 with Los Angeles a leading progressive democracy in the country.
  10. Making the 2028 Olympics a showcase that homelessness relief, as administered by the new wave of politicos, has been taken under control and is abating.

Many of these eventualities would have less visibility on the horizon if LA’s “deep throat” had not bugged the room and captured disgraced council members Martinez, De Leon and Cedillo’s rampant racism and redistricting-fixing in their own words. 

If there were any political justice, “deep throat” would be handed the mayor’s job. 

What had been the prospect of incremental change in political leadership over several years, has suddenly become a tidal wave, and an oversized and unexpected gift to the political left. 

Los Angeles may take this as a catalytic event and shape a new political reality out of the coming wreckage of the “go-along-get-along” political profile that has run LA for decades. 

The homeless may stop being pawns in the hands of corrupt council members that parley with developers to pretend to help solve the housing problem. 

Finally, the reliable “founders syndrome”, where originators become less featured players once their impact has worn off, may hit the far left, placing it in stasis as the initially disruptive newcomers learn that radicalism is not governance, and they begin to adjust their behavior to become more clever and nimble politicos than their predecessors. 

No matter what the results are on election day, the far left new wave has already won, while the old guard marches down memory lane.

(Tim Deegan is a civic activist whose Deegan on LA weekly column about city planning, new urbanism, the environment, and the homeless appear in CityWatch. Tim can be reached at [email protected].)