Zev for Mayor?
To be sure, Zev is doing the things one who would challenged an incumbent who is viewed as vulnerable would do. He's getting out in public. He's scrapping with the incumbent on bread and butter issues. And he's speaking to concerns that a significant portion of the community - especially those active folks who vote - feel that the current Mayor has abandoned them on.
Zev had a ruckus a while back with Mayor Villaraigosa over plans to mitigate Westside traffic and create one way rows on Pico and Olympic. Though the Mayor seemed to initially overtake Zev on the issue, ultimately the Mayor acted without input from the City Council creating further division and leaving an opening for Zev. The Mayor and Zev also battled it out at an MTA meeting where both sit on the board.
The Mayor has shown near universal support for the significant development activity in Los Angeles. So much so that Villaraigosa has declared the building crane as the "official bird of Los Angeles." Yaroslavsky has spoke to community groups all over the City on the topic. Many of these community groups are up in arms over development.
At a recent meeting of Valley VOTE, Zev told those assembled. "There's a new regime in LAs planning department that believes densification is the answer to all our ills." He referred to the Mayor, planning director Gail Goldberg and Council Members Eric Garcetti, Herb Wesson, Jan Perry and Bernard Parks as "development hawks" who want to approve everything developers request.
That kind of rhetoric is classic Zev but it could gain traction amongst the NIMBY factions in Los Angeles. Yaroslavsky in questioning the Mayor's planning policies could be quietly and slowly amassing the support of anti-development minded community leaders who could shift large chunks of votes his way.
Zev is no stranger to politics. He was first elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 1975, a race he was not expected to win, and stayed there for nearly 20 years. Since 1994, he's served as the Third District Supervisor for Los Angeles County. Indeed, Zev has considered running for Mayor before and many insiders say that its a post he's coveted for decades.
Besides his tour of anti-Villaraigosa speechifying, another sign of a potential run is Zev's girth. As one who's had a frequent battle of the bulge, insiders say that when Zev is ready to run for something, he trims down. In this recent video clip Zev is looking a bit more svelte than usual.
The video clip too is another sign. Zev has taken to using You Tube to post flattering videos of himself. Just in time for blogs like us to embed them and to create an archive for a future campaign site.
Zev isn't saying anything just yet, but if he does run, you read it here first.