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Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Race for CD 2

Here is a partial list of the players who might be motivated to run for the open Los Angeles City Council seat left vacant by Council Member Wendy Gruel. Her victory in the March 3rd election awarded her the new position of City Controller. The results of the election produced a wild scramble amongst interested parties for the newly-vacant job in the 2nd. One of the immediate assumptions was that well-respected politician Laura Chick would step in and take the job, but, aware of the fact that she had already served two terms in City Council from another district, Chick felt it was not the right place for her, and surprisingly declined a run at the spot. Some of the candidates can clearly be accused of being "carpetbaggers" (i.e. they don't live in the district) and I'm sure that subject will come up in discussions during the election campaign. Some of the potential candidates can actually be described as "already in"... and we will get to a discussion of that next...

  • Joan Pelico, Deputy for the Councilman Jack Weiss.
  • Tamar Galatzan, LAUSD Board Member and Prosecutor for the Van Nuys LAPD Division
  • Ben Neumann, current President, Studio City Neighborhood Council
  • Kenny Gerston, former President of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council
  • Cindy Montanez, Former Assemblywoman, former Mayor of City of San Fernando
  • David "Zuma Dogg" Saltsburg, Media personality, blogger, and City Hall political activist
  • Frank Sheftel, Candy Factory owner, Marijuana Collective operator, and community activist
  • Jozef Essavi, former candidate for L.A. Community College Board of Trustees
  • Paul Krekorian, California State Assemblyman, 43rd District
  • Chris Essel, former exec. Paramount Pictures, Airport Commission appointee

  • Many of the potential candidates are awaiting a decision by State Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, who casts a large enough shadow over the race that his presence in it would discourage many others from running. Krekorian has a tough decision to make, having himself just been re-elected to the State Assembly in November 2008. His decision to immediately depart that position and to "carpetbag" over from Burbank/Glendale over into the Eastern San Fernando Valley would not be met with joy by many of the voters who elected him in November. In fact, it is likely his actions would burn bridges and create a large number of hostile voters who might seek his recall regardless of the outcome in the City Council race. If he decides to seek the Council seat, many would-be candidates will be discouraged from seeking the position. If he opts out, the field will probably get more crowded. However, it seems more likely than not that Krekorian will seek the seat. The higher salary and the pay-to-play opportunities of the Los Angeles City Council are usually too much for politicians to resist. There are rumors that Krekorian has already rented an apartment in CD 2 in order to be able to claim residency.

    Aside from Krekorian, Chris Essel appears to be the leading candidate out of the gate, due to her large personal fortune after having been an executive at Paramount Pictures. However, Essel comes with some serious and unattractive baggage... having been appointed to the Airport Commission by none other than questionable City leader Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Joan Pelico was a member of "Team Weiss", which was left a pile of smoldering wreckage after the City Attorney race. Pelico and Tamar Galatzan are lower level politicos who owe large debts to Mayor Villaraigosa. Galatzan, in particular, is heavily indebted to Villaraigosa. It is believed that Villaraigosa spent between 1 and 2 million dollars to get her elected to the LAUSD Board. If the Mayor pulls them aside and lets them know that Chris Essel is his preferred candidate, they will probably bow out of the race in deference to him.

    Frank Sheftel, a business owner and community activist, is painting himself as the only "local boy" in the race,citing his decades-long presence in the San Fernando Valley. He acknowledges than Essavi and Essel are both probably going to be candidates in the election, but he believes that Neumann and Gerston probably won't run. Montanez would be yet another carpetbagger in the race, having served as Mayor of San Fernando and in the State Assembly for areas not covered by CD 2.

    One interesting possibility would be media personality David "Zuma Dogg" Saltsburg, who is rumored to be mulling the option of running for the CD 2 seat. Saltsburg did surprisingly well in the 2009 Mayoral election, taking fourth place and pulling in over 9,000 votes. Saltsburg does not live in CD 2 (as far as I know) yet he may not be able to resist the temptation to be in the focus of the glaring spotlight of publicity that will follow this campaign . Saltsburg seems to take delight in derailing the devious plans of crooked politicians, and to be able to disrupt the coronation of Chris Essel by Antonio Villaraigosa may be just the type of project that he would find irresistible.

    The deadline for residency has passed, so the carpetbaggers will have to have already made their moves. Now the question is to see who files and who can obtain the petition signatures in the rather brief three week window that the City Clerks office is granting. Stay tuned for more details as the race heats up.


    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    You left out Bill Robertson, head of Street Services and a resident of Tujunga.

    June 14, 2009 10:19 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    You can look at Chris in the middle of that picture and she just oozes of insiderism. Just look at her. Oh man, you can just tell she's the one who belongs with the rest of them.

    June 14, 2009 11:34 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    Jennerjohn and Higby shilling for th eloser.

    Who'd a thunk it?

    June 14, 2009 11:52 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    Essel is also a newby to the district because of her eye on the golden ring. We are sick of carpetbagger greedy politicians. You should stay out! Local, don't liet greedy moneybag SPECIAL INTEREST politicians scare you off. If you are capable, we will vote for you!

    June 15, 2009 12:30 AM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    You forgot Mary Benson Vice President of Sun Valley Area Neighborhood Council. She has been involved in Land Use Issues for many years.

    June 15, 2009 12:33 AM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    "...who am I to disagree...?"
    - Eurythmics

    We need someone who will not pander to the politicians- someone with a record of getting votes in spite of them.

    An actual long time CD2 resident.

    A small business/commercial property owner who knows about city regulations, zoning and CRA.

    Someone who understands city politics-and who can play the game without selling out- a person who knows city hall. A city commissioner maybe?

    A "class act" who is respected by the community. A Patriot.

    "Who can it be now?"
    - Men At Work

    June 15, 2009 2:50 AM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    Zuma Dogg has been implementing my 14 points. Not well, but what the heck?

    The only way to get him to stop saying my name at city council is to encourage people to vote for him.

    So what the heck? He doesn't live in CD2, but vote for him anywy! At least to get him away from the Public Comment podium.

    June 15, 2009 5:49 AM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:


    June 15, 2009 5:54 AM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    Yes, you left out Bill Robertson Director of BOSS and quite frankly probably the only one competent enough to do the job. Oh aside from the fact that he actually has some QUALIFICATIONS, is not a mayor AV puppet and has lived in the district for a lonnnnnng time.

    June 15, 2009 6:41 AM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    Despite the five votes tha MS bloggers can influence, Chris Essel wins it in a walk.

    Just watch her raise the bucks and get the endorsements...she is a natural winner and will be a great councilmemeber.

    Schmaltzburger will be in jail.

    June 15, 2009 6:46 AM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:


    June 15, 2009 7:49 AM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    Ditto for Bill Robertson, a LONG time Sunland/Tujunga resident and unquestionably the most qualified in the potential field of candidates!!!

    He is the current Director of the Bureau of Street Services, and better known to the community as Professor Pothole.

    June 15, 2009 8:06 AM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    Phil, you got Zuma Dogg's career incorrect.

    During the election, Zuma Dogg listed his career as "Economist" so you should change your description to reflect his stated profession.

    Zuma has gone to great lengths to prove that he is an economist, so you should change your content to reflect that

    June 15, 2009 8:11 AM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    I want phil to describe what SKILLS he thinks zuma dogg brings to the table.

    What are his skills in political science, urban planning, social programs, accounting, economics (which must be his specialty, given his stated career).

    But instead of hearing back from Zuma Dogg on this, I'd like the author of this subject, Phil, to share his views. Enlighten us, Phil.

    June 15, 2009 8:52 AM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    I think it would be great to see Bob Herzberg run. It would be like throwing a string of fire crackers into a hornets nest.

    June 15, 2009 10:51 AM  

    Blogger Phil Jennerjahn said:


    I don't know what skills Zuma Dogg would bring to the table. I don't know if he went to college or where.

    I do know that in the last three years he has attended more City Council meetings than any of the Council Members (who are paid to be there).

    I never said he was a perfect candidate.

    But most of the others are unacceptable career politicians and hacks. Yets others are cronies and straw-man plants by power-players.

    The current City Council has bankrupted the City. Is there something in particular about that you find appealing??

    June 15, 2009 1:43 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:


    "Chris Essel wins it in a walk.

    Just watch her raise the bucks and get the endorsements...she is a natural winner and will be a great councilmemeber."

    Are you on crack?

    June 15, 2009 6:24 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR, BY PHIL GENDERJANE: "Saltsburg does not live in CD 2 (as far as I know) yet he may not be able to resist the temptation to be in the focus of the glaring spotlight of publicity that will follow this campaign"


    June 15, 2009 8:12 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    County Commissioner and current Neighborhood Council Member Jozef Essavi will represent the entire district not only the southern part of it.

    June 15, 2009 11:02 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    If we're lucky, Cindy Montanez will run. Perhaps her appointments will be one of the ones that the governor cuts. The DWP position isn't a definite long-term job in these times. She should run now. San Fernando does have the same issues as Sunland-Tujunga. Forget all that carpet bagger crap from someone who grew up right next door! Choose her because she will do the right thing for the district.

    Krikorian will win if he runs, unless Bill Robertson runs, then he would win and beat anyone. Cindy, Paul and Bill are the only people who would be a fair council person and be able to raise the money to beat Chris Essel. You do not want her. Or Tamar. Neither are worthy because neither of them will represent the change that ST needs!

    June 16, 2009 3:36 AM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    I'm telling you YoHos; Chris Essel will blow out the competition. She's ready to fly and has the commitments for the big bucks.

    Smart aspirants need not apply.

    June 16, 2009 12:41 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:


    I guess the four Essel staffers that staff her every place have nothing better to do than to blog on Mayor Sam.

    Keep going boys, you will blog yourself to a first round knock out.

    June 16, 2009 3:41 PM  

    Anonymous Lydia said:

    Louise Pugliese is planning on running.

    June 17, 2009 10:03 AM  

    Anonymous Lydia said:

    Louise Pugliese supports SLAPS
    efforts to cut City Council Salaries in Half!

    June 17, 2009 10:05 AM  

    Anonymous Jerry Garcia III said:

    Chocolate candy, herb and clean and well lit safe streets? ...

    And don't ovelook the "pot" holes.

    You can Bank on Frank!


    June 24, 2009 3:42 PM  

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