Wed, Jun

Los Angeles Is Gettin’ All Shook Up!


THE EASTSIDER - As this article was being prepped for posting, it was announced that Karen Bass won the Mayor’s race.  However, it still clear that Angelenos are seriously divided. 

The Mayor 

After attending a number of events, I think Rick Caruso is very good in person, with a solid message of how to run LA City as Mayor, and how to realistically build needed affordable housing. What didn’t work out well was the ground game. It’s hard to put together a serious team to outreach to all of Los Angeles, and time was against him. 

In the end, the election staff were simply not up to the demands of a race involving such a huge geographical area and literally millions of voters. 

Although it is an oversimplification, I think the outcome shows how unlimited funds for ads aren’t going to get you elected.  Also, Karen Bass is a likable person, and it seems to me that the negative attacks on Bass turned a number of people off. 

On the other hand, Karen Bass had the entire democratic party apparatus, all hands on board, as they have been putting Mayors in office for decades, even if they don’t have a real message or program to run on, beyond the calcification of a 15-0 voting system and a history of do nothing Mayors who who are more into personal aggrandizement than governance. 

Congratulations to Karen Bass for winning a very hard-fought race. 

Still, Caruso would have made a fascinating Mayor :-) 

The City Council

The ins and outs of the City Council, including who the Councilmembers are/will be is enough to  produce a headache. So... 

As of the runoffs, four of the 8 odd numbered Council Districts were in play.  During the primary, four were won outright: 

CD 1 - Eunisses Hernandez

CD 3 - Bob Blumenfield

CD 7 - Monica Rodriguez

CD 9 - Curren Price Jr 

The other four are contested (5,11,13, 15). As of the date of t his article, we can  draw a few conclusions as to the winners: 

CD 5 -  Katy Young Yaroslavsky

CD11 - Traci Park

CD13 - Hugo Soto-Martinez

CD15  - Tim McOsker 

Here the real winners are Angelenos, since the 15-0 secret vote trading system is kaput given who won what.  For example, the victories of Eunisses Hernandez in CD1 and Hugo Soto-Martinez in CD 13  pretty much guarantee that those days are past. Congratulations to both, and it looks like Northeast LA is coming into its own as a change agent. 

Then there’s the triple double of the secret recording at the LA County Fed, ending the careers of Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo (although he already lost his primary), and Kevin DeLeon, if anyone can find him as he ducks service on a recall petition. 

Courtesy of Nury Martinez and her resignation, there will be a Special Election next year to replace her, and Gil Cedillo has already been replaced by Eunisses Hernandez. 

Finally, DeLeon’s antics are simply proving what a lot of us already knew, that while he was here, we were basically without a real Councilmember. He was too busy looking for his next political office to adequately represent the District. 

And I have to mention CD 15, off in San Pedro, which I usually don’t cover.  It turns out that with Tim McOsker versus grassroots Danielle Sandoval it was dead serious.  You can read all about it in a great piece by James Preston Allen. Try almost $3 million bucks for the lobbyist to buy a seat. 

The old City Council system is no longer operational. 

LA City Attorney

When Hydee Feldstein Soto was quickly endorsed by almost all  the other candidates after the primary, the writing was on the wall.  Her opponent, Faisal Gill, was an East Coast Republican reimagined as a democrat by the Corporate Democratic Establishment, and got unmasked as such early in the game.  And lost. 

Fortunately for all of us, we now have an experienced City Attorney who was actually endorsed by the attorneys she will supervise in the Department. A first. 

She also knows and has been active in the Neighborhood Councils which was unique, and has run on a platform of treating the Office like a very large law firm, instead of a political institution at the whim of the City Council and the Mayor. 

I am still at a loss that the corporate Democratic Party would have picked a candidate with so many serious flaws as Gill. 

LA City Controller

Here is another game changer.  Instead of the lifer politician Paul Koretz, who’s been around the public trough since the 1980’s, from the West Hollywood City Council to the State Assembly, to the LA City Council, we have serious new blood as Controller. 

The LA Times endorsed him, and I agreed on this one, and I made the case as well in an earlier Citywatch article. 

“We need more young technologically smart people who want to make the LA City Controller a partner who can educate the public on how to interact with Audit data and hold officials’ feet to the fire when it comes to recommendations from a departmental audit. The LA Times got this one right.” 

An article by Capital & Main’s Jack Ross, reposted on Citywatch here, will give you an idea of Mejia’s commitment to the job, Council interference or not. 

The Takeaway

Wow! Talk about a change election. 

We have three things happening simultaneously in the City.  A new Mayor, probably Karen Bass, who will be responsible for 50 Department Heads reporting directly to her.

That was one of Rick Caruso’s main issues, and he is absolutely right.  It can’t be done,  and I hope she has good help to navigate our bizarre Mayoral system. 

Then there’s a City Council in meltdown, without a full 15 members. Instead we will have  one or two Special Elections coming next year (6th District, scheduled for April 4. 2023) for one.  And then there’s whenever Kevin DeLeon gets recalled, or does the decent thing and resigns. That will trigger another Special Election sometime in April 2023 or later. 

And there is the promise of two new faces running the LA City Attorney Office and the LA City Controller Office.  Fortunately, I think the new blood and independence of both Hydee Feldstein Soto and Kenneth Mejia will help you and I understand what the heck is going on in LA City and what can be done about it. 

Stay tuned... 

(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.)

Get The News In Your Email Inbox Mondays & Thursdays