Yay! Another Election!
Just when you thought it was safe to crawl under the covers and allow the government to take care of things… Along comes Municipal Elections 2009!
Tuesday, March 3rd, is the first election of 2009. Municipal Elections are being held throughout Los Angeles county, with races for Mayor, City Attorney, Controller, Odd Council Members, and Los Angeles Community College District Trustees, all happening in Highland Park. We also have the pleasure of voting on 5 different city measures that will forever change the face of Los Angeles. (Well, maybe its not that dramatic, with the exception of Measure B, and E, the other three measures are rather mundane city charter maintenance amendments.)
Lacking any controversial issues, or well-financed opposition candidates, this year’s municipal election seems to be more of a pre-determined electoral exercise, than anything close to to the type election we experienced just three months ago (Think: Lakers Vs. Clippers). The only true race seems to be for City Attorney (Jack Weiss, has my vote), that will likely go to a run-off election in May. In parts of Highland Park, we get to decide if we are going to re-elect Councilmember Ed Reyes for the 1st City Council District.
When I voted for Ed Reyes four years ago, it was primarily because of his advocacy for parks, open-space, and his especially for his effort to push forward plans to restore and enhance the Los Angeles River. In the past four years things have flowed frustratingly slow in regards to the LA River, but there has been some movement up stream, and he certainly has some significant park projects in District One to tout his involvement with. In this regard, he has been quite successful. As a cyclist, I am also interested in any efforts from the city council to promote a functional Bicycle Masterplan for Los Angeles. He has shown true leadership in making this happen. I like his overall approach to making Los Angeles a greener, and more livable city.
That being said, and despite the wonderful work Ed Reyes has done, he’s not golden. As I pointed out last week, there are the complaints that his section of Highland Park gets neglected, and should be better served. (I expect this to change significantly when his office moves to the proposed city service center on Figueroa and Avenue 56.) Also, Ruth over at Metblogs, has pointed out, it was Reyes who among others on the City Council, that continued the pathetic LA tradition of kowtowing to the Billboard Industry by voting against a moratorium on digital Billboards. (Of course that vote largely affects the more affluent West-side because there are no digital billboards in his district, yet.) In another example of Reyes’ support for visual blight, look no further than the corner of Aldama and Milwaukee Ave and his support for the Curse of ALZA! (Reyes helped Mercardo Los Paisanos get a permit that made the controversial paint job legal.)
So what is our alternative? Sole opposition candidate, Jesse Rosas. You know, Jesse Rosas! No, not this Jesse Rosas. Or this Jesse Rosas. But this Jesse Rosas. Famous for his, “Marching alongside Villiaraigosa,” just as his website says! His website also provides some important details about his platform, such as, “…to protest the asellus podesa seltram socinatnatibus etdis pradert slesa nlartase doloso Lonorbinc odiogravida atus necluct reaistique orciser metasera accumsan malesuada nec sit amet er orem ipsum.[sic]”
Inspirational indeed. Though I am concered after doing some digging, I suspect his candidacy may be nothing more than attempt to create a puppet regime, controlled by some fellow named “John Smith:”
All I really know about Jesse Rosas is that, besides having the support of many business owners along Figueroa, he lives in Highland Park, is currently the Treasurer for the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, a father of four, went to community college, has worked for LAUSD in some capacity, and is some sort of businessman (from the looks of all the political fliers our house has received, my guess is that he is a printer.) Mr. Rosas’ candidacy reminds us anyone, yes, anyone can run for public office. And that is a good thing. But in all seriousness, if you really want to be elected to a seat on the highest-paid city coucil in the nation, ($160,000 annually) you better have some serious funding, impressive endorsements, significant accomplishments, and at least finish your website! Besides, out of principle, I can’t bring myself to support anyone with a non-ironic, non-handlebar mustache.
Reyes is what I would describe as the antithesis of Villaraigosa. Modest, hype-free, and focused, with a real working-class ethic that goes well with the exclusively working-class district he represents. Four years ago, (and four years before that) I championed the election of Antonio Villaraigosa as a victory for the people. It felt much like it did when Obama (another uncommon, now famous name) was elected this past November. There was the hope, that finally, there would be change, that somebody from the streets would be in charge. Unfortunately, I have been disappointed. Antonio Villarigosa has been distracted over the past four years. It started with his attempt to step outside the jurisdiction of the Mayoral office and intervene with the Los Angeles Unified School District. The district needs attention, but it came at the cost of the city, for which we elected him to administer. Then there was his distraction, from a woman other than Mrs. Villaraigosa. Then there was the distraction of campaigning for Hillary Clinton, rather than focusing on campaigning for Los Angeles. Yet, the alternative is voting for Angry White Males, Gun-toting Christians, Pot-head Evengelicals, and outside agitators from Zuma. I like the platform from Bruce Darian‘s Federalist Party, but that’s all the info he has on his website, except for a video, where he argues why he should be Mayor of Los Angeles from the state-owned pier in the city of Malibu.
Since the Mayor has taken the politically expedient, but constituent disrespecting stance of not participating in any debates, I’ll be sure to tune into 89.3 KPCC on Monday at 1pm when Pat Morrison interviews Villiaraigosa, and asks “Why four more years?”
Then Tuesday, I’ll shrug my shoulders and re-elect our Mayor, re-elect someone who, according to his flickr profile, has my same interests, I will vote for Jack Weiss, vote for Wendy Greuel, support Nancy Pearlman, and probably re-elect all the other Community College Trusties, and the environmentalist in me says vote YES on the solar-powered Measure B. For me, there just aren’t any strong NO’s this time around. Call it apathy or voter burn-out, or the economic distraction, this election feels like it is going to be an epic lack-luster one.
And if we can’t figure out Tuesday, the City Council’s resistance to Instant Run-off Voting (IRV), will make it possible for us to go to the polls again on May 19th if no one outright wins this time. Yay. Lucky us.