Richard Alarcon: The Prince of Fresh Air?
Throughout the rancor of the mayoral campaign, one candidate is emerging as the cool, calm statesman of the pack, State Senator Richard Alarcon.
James Hahn, rightfully so - but of his own doing - is on the defensive. Bernard Parks and Antonio Villaraigosa seem to have scores to settle with the Mayor. Bob Hertzberg is an idea a minute and a boundless source of energy, but has gone tete-a-tete with Hahn, particularly so during the debate on December 2nd.
Alarcon, a longtime city figure, was considered an extreme long shot when he announced for Mayor and may still be. But he has cut a distinguished profile for himself in his campaign so far.
Most notably was during the debate. Like all the candidates, Alarcon started off slow, but quickly presented himself as being comfortable, avoiding the fray the other candidates were jumping into and clearly articulated solid ideas. Indeed, we have a recordthanks to LA Voice where you can see where Alarcon did not jump into to the bloodbath and clearly articulated his record. Even the LA Weekly who had all but written off Richard credited him with a quality performance in the debate.
Richard has proposed an interesting solution to public safety and homeland security to bill the costs of 1000 additional police officers to the harbor, airport and DWP. While Mayor Hahn and others have quickly poo-pooed Alarcon's plan, posters on the Sister City have suggested this is workable.
To be sure, Alarcon has some weaknesses. For one, he is not well known outside the Valley. He is competing with Antonio Villariagosa for Latino votes and with Bob Hertzberg for Valley votes (though Alarcon is the only Valley native in the race). And though he has earned high marks with his constituents, including the Valley business community during his tenure as a City Councilman and State Senator, the specter of his 1998 Democratic nomination battle against former Assemblyman Richard Katz could come back to haunt him. Indeed, he has once engaged his longtime campaign guru, Richie Ross, who was the chief architect of the 1998 campaign. Alarcon won the nomination by 29 votes in a race marred by accusations of anti-semitism and dirty campaigning. Nonetheless, it appears Ross is so far on his best behavior - and Alarcon has seemingly mended fences since the 98 campaign.
Now the Sister City is not endorsing Alarcon, nor anyone else at this point. But when you think about how fatigued the voters are about politics as usual, how divisive the Presidential elections were, its possible Alarcon could strike the right note and catch some real attention.