Where’s The Tree Rudy?
You can tell a lot about a candidate by how they treat the community. In this case, how they treat community property. Namely, a city tree.
It is election season in Highland Park once again; this time the seat for Los Angeles City Council District 14 is being contested by a number of candidates, most prominently, Northeast Los Angeles entrepreneur, Rudy Martinez.
Mr. Martinez opened his bar, Marty’s at 5137 York Boulevard in 2007. When he opened there was one of the many York Blvd Bottle Brush street trees out in front of his place. Not much of a tree really. Trimmed as small as possible, but healthy. It was a place where a pedestrian could get some shade on a typical hot Highland Park day. Soon after the photo above was taken, the tree was surreptitiously removed, and the city’s sidewalk planter space was cemented over to prevent the replanting of any other trees in front of Mr. Martinez’ business.
Flash forward to 2011, Mr. Martinez now wants to be the head of our community in the roll of Los Angeles City Councilmember for the 14th District. A district that serves the diverseness of Highland Park, Mount Washington, Eagle Rock, El Sereno, Boyle Heights, Downtown Broadway and smaller neighborhoods between. Among the challengers to incumbent, Jose Huizar, Mr. Martinez has the largest war chest, making him the front-runner and only true threat to unseat Councilmember Huizar. The bulk of his campaign funding has come from his house flipping, mortgage, and restaurant businesses, as well as contributions from members of the real estate industry. According to the LA Weekly, his largest in kind contribution has come from an attorney for an Australian developer that is at odds with Downtown Broadway historic preservation.
Apparently, Mr. Martinez decided to run against his former friend when the city required him to remove an over-sized smoking patio behind Marty’s. So now we have this candidate with a vendetta, who according to reports, has a misdemeanor conviction for battery, and doesn’t seem to care about community property or preservation, while being in the hip pocket of developers.
It would be nice to give Mr. Martinez a chance to tout his qualifications as a community leader, or civic experiences if there are any. But the only news that comes from Mr. Martinez are accusations being made against his opponent. Look at his Twitter stream. It is mostly mud being slung at Councilmember Huizar. My question is, what has he done for Council District 14? How has he personally improved our community beyond his businesses here?
Mr. Martinez’ campaign reeks of someone who just wants to get back at somebody and gain a powerful position with one of the highest-paid elected positions in the country. Rather than represent and fight for all the people of the 14th, his victory would be likely be victory for those that would want to demolish our heritage and flip out stucco boxes for maximum profit. His election would likely mean more laissez-faire capitalism, and less protection for people who live here, the people who walk the avenues, the people who seek shade on a hot summer day.
So where’s the tree Rudy?