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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Gloves Come Off at Valley Village

The race for the open City Council seat in District 2 became a bit heated tonight at a forum sponsored by Neighborhood Council Valley Village. Realizing the shortage of time and the small window of opportunity, some of the candidates went on the attack. Breaking them down, player by player....we will stay in ballot order, as that is how Valley Village felt they should be seated at tonights forum.

Tamar Galatzan started off by saying she was running because she was sick of her DWP bill. Later in the forum she actually said something about reducing the number of city employees! I loved hearing that, but sadly, Tamar is not a Conservative and never will be...so I treated this as a bit of campaign fluff.
Tamar landed a vicious little kidney punch to Christine Essel, when she finished an answer about energy options by saying.." Oh..and by the way...the people who supported Measure B are also supporting Chris Essel." Essel was completely unprepared for this. She looked like she had stepped on an electrical wire. She rocked back in her seat and her eyes popped wide open and her jaw dropped.
Welcome to politics, Chris. Score. Tamar 1, Chris 0.

Joe Essavi had a lot of well thought out answers. He claimed to be different from others seeking office.
"Once the politicians hit the floor downtown, you can't tell them apart," he said.
He promised to be different and be more responsive to the community.

Christine Essel was nice and polite and charming, but she bungled an answer about schools. When asked to name one school in CD 2 she thought could be helped by changing the school system, Essel didn't name one and immediately switched her answer to talking about the the entertainment industry. She also was on the defensive about her carpetbagging image. "I'm a Valley Girl through and through," she said. In defense of her residency, she added "I have my DWP bill if people don't think I live in my apartment." There were some coughs from the audience, and David Saltsburg (Zuma Dogg) shook his head in disgust and disbelief upon hearing this from Essel. Chris had another rough night on the campaign trail, but her overwhelming finances may prove to be the ultimate factor that gets her through to the runoff.

Michael McCue was the surprise of the evening. He had a large number of good, solid answers. In fact, he sounded like the only candidate who had predicted the questions and knew his answers ahead of time. McCue also had one of the most humorous moments of the night, when talking about City Council , he said "The City Council doesn't want to listen to us Neighborhood Council people." He then put his fingers in his ears and loudly sang "la-la la- la - la !" The crowd erupted in laughter.

Pete Sanchez gave a smooth answer to the question Chris Essel stumbled on , as he responded that Burbank Elementary was one school he could see being helped. Pete was on comfortable ground as he was around many supporters in Valley Village. "This is my home turf, " he said.

David Saltsburg (Zuma Dogg) repeated his campaign mantra that he was the only one going to City Council meetings for the last three years as an activist and keeping an eye on public policy issues . "How are we going to fix this pension crisis? How do we keep the firefighters on the job?", he asked the audience. Some sparks flew between Saltsburg and Sheftel when Saltsburg felt Sheftel was stepping on one of his answers a little bit. But nothing much grew out of it.

Frank Sheftel came out with both guns blazing and went after two of the "Big 3" right away. Calling out Paul Krekorian, he said "You were only elected a few months ago, Paul!" Sheftel also unloaded on Tamar Galatzan, although not mentioning her by name when he went off on a tangent about mailers and campaign money. "What about sending out mailers that are not from your campaign account?" , he asked the voters.
There were some Tamar supporters in the crowd...and they definitely got the message. They didn't like it and started booing Sheftel in response.

Paul Krekorian told a real whopper tonight when he said "I am the only one " to do anything about runaway production. This seemed like an indirect slap at Chris Essel to me, but Essel didn't seem to notice it.
Krekorian also defended his status as a carpetbagger by saying that "I'm not parachuting in from West L.A.!" He also stated that he has already represented about 1/3 of the CD 2 voters in the State Assembly.

Mary Benson was focused and cool. Of all the grassroots candidates, I think she is the one who has the fewest enemies. Everyone seems to like her. She had some good responses about "developers who lie" about their projects and intentions. She also didn't like the gerrymandered layout of CD 2, but doesn't want redistricting, out of concern about how much worse it might be made.

Augusto Bisani is always entertaining. Refreshingly bold and honest, he admits to not being a politician and having no further goals beyond this City Council seat. When asked about the other candidates who are carpetbaggers, he said "We know how the 7 or 8 of us feel. When other people decided they wanted to live here."

Good forum ... I thought that McCue was the winner here tonight.


Anonymous Anonymous said:

Looks like Mary Benson popped for a makeover. still fugly.


August 27, 2009 12:58 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Sheftel showed some nerve going after Krekorian. He called out Paul on his bailing months after being elected and also about his voting on certain issues. Freaked Paul out he got all upset. And good point by Sheftel on the Ballot designation. San Fernando Valley Assemblymember?? Really now.....where do you all meet? At the SFV Capitol Bldg?

August 27, 2009 1:25 AM  

Anonymous Own Up!!! said:

12:58 A.M.



August 27, 2009 1:50 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Once again, I ask why you didn't publicize this event BEFORE it took place?

Higby what is the purpose of this blog if you're not going to let us know about these forums?

Yesterday, one of your wiseass "contributors" said that the previous candidate gathering wasn't a "forum" rather than "event"

Such hairsplitting and excuse making really saps the confidence some of us still have in your blog.

What is the mission of this blog? I'd like to hear it directly from Higby.

August 27, 2009 8:23 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Maybe the reason why sparks few between Schmaltzenburger and Sheftel is the lingering thought that for a week, Sheftel might've given Schaltzenburger an apartment, only to rescind it when Zuma went back on his promise to support the person who got him off of the streets.

Each time something like this happens, and since Zuma never clarified how he got the apartment, makes people stronger in the belief that we're not being told the inside story.

It's no coincidence that there's tension between these two.

August 27, 2009 8:25 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

It's weird how Zuma Dogg will cough when Essel speaks, but gets all knotted up when Sheftel breaks in when Zuma speaks.


August 27, 2009 8:28 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I'm going to laugh like a hyena when Zuma Dogg tries to explain how McCue got more votes than he did, just like that no-name guy who beat Zuma Dogg in the mayor's race.

I don't even remember that guy's name, but it was funny to read Zuma Dogg's reaction.

August 27, 2009 8:44 AM  

Blogger NoHo Mom said:

OK, ENOUGH about the apartment.

This forum was publicized on the CD2 race blog, which this blog links to almost every day.

I liked McCue two weeks ago as well. McCue and Sanchez seem to be very similar to me, and McCue is more entertaining.

Still torn between Sheftel, Benson, McCue, and Sanchez.

August 27, 2009 9:16 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

8:23, stop your whining. Noone wants to hear it. Do your own research.

August 27, 2009 9:39 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Why does the media keep giving Pete Sanchez such limited coverage?!?!?!
This guy stands out. He may not be as loud and flashy as the other, but man.

Sanchez was one of the only candidates to stay focused on the issued last night.
He stayed focused on what is important to us.

There was a lot of time wasted on negative slams – especially when people didn’t want to answer the asked questions (YEAH I AM CALLING YOU OUT SHEFTEL & BENSON!)

August 27, 2009 9:40 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Is there a conspiracy on silence among the candidates regarding Sheftel's not so secret secret?

The whole room knew what Zuma Dogg was referring to.

I notice this blog didn't even mention it.

Grow some balls!!!
Zumma Dog has!

August 27, 2009 9:43 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

You cannot Call Chris Essel nice, polite and charming.
(Are you supporting her? Give me a break.)
What a horrible showing.
Just because she is an OK public speaker with a nice voice?
She clearly was not well prepared.
She still have no idea about what is important to the people of this community, except for those moments she pander to the NC.
Nice voice + no Germaine substance = NO WAY!

August 27, 2009 9:44 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Not as long as the blog bills itself as the "Home of LA Politics"

That comes with a responsibility.

If it's NOT going to be informative on these basic subjects, it's important that you come out and say it.

Also where is the cd2 blog? What's the address? I read the whole thing yesterday and did not see any link.

August 27, 2009 9:55 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

NoHo Mom, the apartment is entirely relevant because one of the candidates KEEPS MAKING THE POINT THAT HE IS HOMELESS.

It was also something he promised to do if he got off of the streets.

If you can't handle the subject, then just tune out when one of us brings it up. If you're not curious about it, then you needn't comment.

But it's obviously care, since you took the time to comment.


iF CHRIS ESSEL'S apartment is relevant for a subject (it was mentioned in phil's write up here), then the housing of the other candidates is relevant, esepcially in zooma's case since he keeps discussing it.

August 27, 2009 9:58 AM  

Blogger Phil Jennerjahn said:

Just to clarify...

After talking with Zuma Dogg on the phone, I felt I should clarify my statement. I felt Michael McCue gave the clearest, best organized answers at the forum.

However, McCue went over the time limit on almost every single answer.

I'm not saying he's the best candidate, or that I expect him to win the election.

August 27, 2009 10:18 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What do schools have to do with City Council? If Tamar cares so much about schools, why isn't she staying at her current gig????

August 27, 2009 10:48 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The big loser last night was Essel, she could not handle the heat.

Tamar was the winner with Krekorian a close second.

August 27, 2009 11:12 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Frank, Tamar and Krekorian did well.

Essel came in with two strikes against her with last nights crowd and struck out fast.

August 27, 2009 12:17 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Krekorian is one of those "gutless wonders" Schwarzengger talked about in his presser today. They can't deal with the prison crowding and early release of criminals problem, but they pass new laws regulating children's car seats. Witness LA and the Sacramento Bee among others.

Why does no one ask Krekorian about that, why he's running away from the messes he helped create in Assembly.

August 27, 2009 12:22 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

ZD was obviously being rude to Chris; after all, that is what he does best, being rude to City Councilmen and Councilwomen.

Just getting practice for when she is sworn in and sitting in the horseshoe, huh?

August 27, 2009 12:29 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Essel is totally unprepared for the realities of campaigning or the issues which are hot buttons.

Her campaign tries to run her as Mary Tyler Moore, while Shallman is slinging his slime at the other two of the "big three," and in fact he's responsible for the level of local politics sinking to this dirty below-Rovian level of personal attack. Unlike Nuch she doesn't seem dirty enough to know how to play this game like a pro.

NOT saying that Tamar's remark was in any way dirty - nothing wrong with pointing out how Measure B mobilized anger against the Mayor and City Hall and being associated with it makes her as popular as swine flu. Hence Nick Patsouris's volunteering to suppot her against the charge she's speaking for City Hall instead of the taxpayers.

She's the object of Shallman dirty tactics. But if it's Krekorian and Essel in a run-off then it will be aimed at him.

August 27, 2009 12:29 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

ok some tips FOR Zumma I MEAN DAVID- WE LIVE IN Hollywood LA LA LAnd remember shoulders back smile once in a while, don't look at the person asking the question look into the camera, when you speak try to soften up around the eye area, maybe a pair of nice glasses if i lived in your area I would vote for you. B-)

August 27, 2009 1:11 PM  

Blogger Joseph Mailander said:

"Gloves off"? Phil...

Politicians are turning CD2 from the most progressive into the most boring CD in LA. Everyone's trying to tippytoe to victory, like a bunch of ballerinas on So You Think You Can Dance. They're flinging petty misdemeanors at each other even while nobody is offering anything short of a felonious vision of the future.

It's not enough to say "I'm different." You have to have a vision. Anyone presented a vision for the community? I guess it's hard when you don't even know what schools are in it.

August 27, 2009 1:33 PM  

Anonymous tamar fan said:

Hey fuckers!

LA's Fugliest:

Mary Besnon
David Zuma Dog Satsberg
Robin Kramer

August 27, 2009 2:22 PM  

Blogger NoHo Mom said:

Here is the link to the blog:


On the right hand side of the page it lists upcoming events through September with the candidates.

August 27, 2009 2:31 PM  

Blogger NoHo Mom said:

Here's another blog with good coverage of the race:


August 27, 2009 2:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Say what you will about Shallman. He beat the smack out of Weisshole and spanked Nick Pat-his-sore-ass down into 3rd place against Wendy.

He gets under his opponents' skin like a hookworm and could probably get any of the ten candidates elected if he wanted. As a CD 5 resident, and Nuch volunteer, I saw what he did for Nuch and he's a hero in my book for kicking that arrogant piece of crap Jack out on the street. Loved the lapdog mailer.

August 27, 2009 2:57 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

12:58, yes fugly indeed.

Tamar seems like she'd be a tiger in the sack... like the girl from Wedding Crashers..prim and proper in public but stand by for a heavy roll when the lights go out!

August 27, 2009 3:00 PM  

Anonymous Lisa said:

For information on CD-2 candidate forums (location/time), I have posted them on the Michael McCue website: www.mccuefor2.com. Under the "News & Forums" header located under the "Become a Volunteer" box, just type in "Forums" to retrieve a summary list. I hope this helps.

August 27, 2009 3:14 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I agree with the person who said that Pete Sanchez did well and I am wondering if anyone knows more about his background. Based on his performance last night, he was the only person who looked capable of deciding how millions of dollars should be spent (which like it or not is a councilman's main job)but then when I looked at his website, he went down a notch. Showing campaign literature from his fathers campaign in New Jersey looked flaky and not going into specifics about why he is qualified made him look like he was hiding something.

August 27, 2009 3:18 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

WTF? I got another mailer from Tamar's school board office that I haven't seen on the CD 2 ethics page.

Tamar wins the award for the shadiest campaign move so far, with E$$el's "I was the president of the org that ran SB1818, but I didn't support it" coming in a close second. Gosh, if you don't support something that an org does, maybe you shouldn't be the president.

August 27, 2009 3:32 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


It looks like your on Hacopian's payroll.

He can do no wrong and Essel is ALWAYS wrong.

Understand Meat Head, Essel is the ONLY person who will stand up to AV and Unions.

Got to come clean man, got to come clean.

August 27, 2009 4:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Do you all know that Michael McCue is not supported by the any of the members of his own Neighborhood Council, even though Michael is a member of the board?
You haven't mentioned the fact that the winner of the CD2 seat will then be a politician. Hopefully a better council member than Wendy Greuel was. We need a council member who can fight off the current city council members and the mayor, who only want the $$ from our district without giving anything in return. This is what's been going on for more than 8 years and frankly, we can't risk another 14 years of it.


August 27, 2009 5:03 PM  

Blogger Phil Jennerjahn said:

Anon @ 4:11

If I knew who this person was, I'd have some type of response for you.

But I don't.

August 27, 2009 5:14 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


Essel Staffers?

August 27, 2009 5:24 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

You know who looks as shadey as Tamar?
Please when is this guy going to come clean.
Nice job hiding by attacking others last night.
When are one of the papers going to look into his issues?

August 27, 2009 6:14 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I am so sick of everyone saying money will this election.
You want a Chris Essel for this community?
Keep saying it!
If you want some change support one of the Grassroots candidates.
Give them some time and money – doesn’t every little bit help.
After last night my wife and I are voting PETE SANCHEZ.

Take that big 3!

August 27, 2009 6:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Wow the best way Essel can deflect her SB1818 mess, is to hit back at Krekorian “why hasn’t he done anything?” Wow, that shows great foresight and leadership potential!!!!

VIllarigosa send your candidate back over the hill before she embarrasses you anymore!!

August 27, 2009 6:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

If you want the same old shit and worse. Someone that never finishes a job they start. Someone who will COST the taxpayers if elected. Someone who will never return your call and will distort that facts to trick you .

Vote Up the Kreekorian

If you want a real leader from the community


August 27, 2009 6:19 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I wish people would stop trying to claim one of the big three is closer to Antonio than the others, because it's not true and it's misleading.

All of the big three are close allies of the Mayor and have been for many years. I don't know about Essel, but Paul and Tamar did volunteer work on his first campaign while they were still in college and have been close ever since.

I understand why Antonio will stay out. He's got three good friends and frankly, he's not very popular in the district. But to watch supporters of the big three come up with fictional differences to try and separate their candidates from the mayor is silly.

August 27, 2009 7:44 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

12:58 No Deal... No thank you... if Tamar's supporters consist of people like you, we in biggggg troubbbbble!

August 27, 2009 8:57 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Benson is the best choice. She and her family were all home grown in District two and a highly prize volunteer with many successes at the grass roots level. She knows what your district needs. She has high standards and integrity which is a rarity in politicians. She is a diamond in the rough because she doesn't have the access for promoters like some of the others. But if elected, just sit back and watch her go! You will be amazed at the top job she will accomplish!

August 27, 2009 9:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Want to know who is closest to the Mayor's political machine?

Check this out:


Familiar names?

Paul and Tamar! Seeing them campaign for Jack Weiss shouldn't surprise anyone who knows the Mayor's political operatives are running their campaigns. In fact, Tamar just gave $12k to Tony V's Deputy Mayor Kevin Acebo out of her School Board Committee.

That's right.

The very same committee that sent out the illegal mailers with money raised by none other than Mayor Tony.

August 27, 2009 9:12 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Essel is the Mayors Choice.

August 27, 2009 10:09 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

You must have attended a different forum last night. This is not the way I saw it. Michael McCue?? You don't have a (Mc)clue if you think the winner was or ever will be McCue. Why doesn't he have even one person on his own neighborhood council supporting him? Tamar can't be trusted. Three school board mailers in a row..now to coincide with the absentee ballots? C'mon. That's more than shady, lady. Sheftel's a whiner, getting worse by the forum. Rather than constantly taking pot shots (pardon the pun)at others, speak to the issues for a change. Long on fabrication, short on vision. Benson, what a sourpuss. Single issue candidate who has no sense of the rest of the district beyond her Tujunga Valley. May be loved there but that means nothing elsewhere. Sanchez is a nice guy but not the leader we need for CD2. He's at the top of his game where he is. Zuma Dogg is, for the most part, well informed but will never be taken seriously. Too much baggage to be our representative on City Council. Essavi and Bisani aren't really players. E$$el is denying any association with her previous toxic positions on issues such as SB1818, neighborhood councils and so on. Self proclaimed Valley Girl Essel can never be accused of making an honest statement, fer sure. Make no mistake, she's the Mayor's pick. Whoever thinks Paul or Tamar are in cahots with the Mayor has been visiting Sheftel's other place of business and I don't mean the candy store. Wendy Greuel's been chosen to do his dirty work of doing the endorsement. The last thing we need is another empty skirt like Wendy. And what does grassroots have to do with anything? Please! Doesn't mean capable, and from those who claim to be, they should keep their day jobs. Paul Krekorian is the only one to offer the leadership skills and experience we need. Already representing one third of CD2 in the State Assembly, he's proven over the last three years that he's a man of his word and will get things done. He's filled in for us locally where Wendy's failed to. And before Paul, who ever knew or heard from our Assemblymember.

August 27, 2009 10:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


August 27, 2009 11:53 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Let's cut to the chase.
Can we all just acknowledge the two biggest losers last night were Sheftel and Benson!?!

There behavior was a perfect example of "Business as Usual."Those two made all of the grassroots candidates lose momentum. Nice job!

August 27, 2009 11:59 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

BREAKING NEWS: There was an ethics violation filed today with the Ethics Commission regarding Wendy Greuel's recorded, roto phone message to many in CD2 declaring her endorsement of Christine Essel. Identifying herself as City Controller Wendy Greuel, she sang the praises of Essel, even going so far as declaring that they (Essel & Greuel) would reform City Hall. (laugh here) So where was this reformer Greuel for the last 7 years? As for the violations, I guess Essel and Greuel missed the Mayor's course on having a disclaimer on political messages.

August 28, 2009 12:05 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


August 28, 2009 7:49 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

@ 10:09.

Mayor's Choice? Ha! Don't think so, the Mayor's choice is Tamar.

August 28, 2009 8:56 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I continue to be impressed by the professional demeanor of Mr. Michael McCue. And I am glad that Mayor Sam has noticed.

Mr. McCue researches the community's issues very well. He demonstrates sound analytical skills, consistent wisdom in his judgement. He pays close attention and offers compassionate ability to work with just about everyone--whether you are 'just' a concerned neighbor or a city employee. Thus, I think he can build the necessary coalitions of City Council Members and neighborhood community members to accomplish necessary reforms that CD2 and the City need if we are all to recover and grow.

I especially like his commitment to impeccable ethics and integrity. He is not 'bought' by some political machines, but acts as a pragmatist that seeks an honorable win-win wherever possible.

So thank you again for your analysis.

Cheers & Regards,
R. Frankel

August 28, 2009 4:20 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

R. Frankel, you can't be serious. Michael McCue can't even build a coalition with his own neighborhood council. Not one boardember has endorsed him. In fact he got booted from being their Secretary when he took license with the office. He a real loose canon. That's what we want on City Council?

August 28, 2009 7:49 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

@ 7:49 : Where is further information available about what you said occurred?

I also believe that McCue did an excellent job at the forum, and seems truly concerned with representing people in an intelligent manner. I am confident he would do a good job as a council member.

I am concerned, however, that all the divisiveness between the proponents of the unfunded block of candidates will prove to ruin our chances of getting decent representation, leaving one of the Big Three with the office.

We really should attempt some sort of coalition which unifies everyone who is definitely against the Big Three, and figure out who to support so we actually get a grass-roots candidate in there.

August 30, 2009 2:59 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

@ 2:59 PM agreed =)

September 01, 2009 2:43 AM  

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