The Christine Essel interview !
Christine Essel! Welcome to Mayor Sam's blog! We are happy to have you here. It is an unexpected pleasure.
Thanks for having me Mr. Jennerjahn!
1) Congratulations on your results in the special election on September 22nd. You came from what were, originally, small numbers in the polls and surged past the other candidates, almost overtaking Burbank Assemblyman Paul Krekorian. Tell us what you are feeling about this election and the path that you will take to December 8th.
Thank you. I'm honored to have the support of so many community members from every part of CD2. The next two months are all about meeting with voters, knocking on doors or reaching out to them by phone. It's an energizing process and I am really enjoying the opportunity campaigning allows me to meet so many people who care about the future of the city.
2) At some of the candidate forums in this special election, you were attacked pretty aggressively (verbally) by some of the other candidates. At all the forums I attended, I never saw you fight back or attack the other candidates as they had just done to you. Was that strategy by you? And if so, why?
Well, I'm not a politician. Political attacks are not my style. I think that the candidate forums were very important because the voters got to hear from a wide range of very bright and thoughtful candidates. When I had the chance to ask a question of another candidate at SOHA, I chose to ask Pete Sanchez a constructive question about how community members can be effective advocates and stop bad development. I think the attendees of the forums would rather hear about that, rather than watch more political posturing.
3) As I understand it, after the election, you reached out and contacted the other defeated candidates and asked them to support you now. I am hearing from some of these candidates that they were surprised by your behavior. They didn't expect it. Some of them are openly supporting you now. One big endorsement would be that of third place finisher Tamar Galatzan. Who do you think she will support? And why?
Well I don't think it's my place to make predictions about who others will support. I think all the endorsements from all of the other candidates are important. Tamar Galatzan is extremely important to the East Valley as our LAUSD board member.
4) You seem to have struck up an unusual friendship with a rival in this election -- fellow CD 2 candidate Frank Sheftel. The two of you even went so far as to campaign together at the Farmers Market in Studio City! What created this friendship and spirit of cooperation with a political rival?
Frank Sheftel is a terrific advocate for this community. He really distinguished himself as a critical thinker and as a strong debater in the primary. He has a lot of great ideas about what we need to do to shake up City Hall and I am proud to call him my friend.
5) I am quite certain that both you and Paul Krekorian realize that the total number of voters who voted for the other 8 candidates is a higher number than you or Paul achieved on Sept. 22nd. This means that the election will hinge on the decisions of unsettled voters who must now decide between you or Paul. Tell us why you are a better choice than Paul Krekorian.
I believe the voters are looking for someone who will take the job seriously. I spent 31 years working at the same company which shows the level of dedication I will bring to the job of Councilwoman. That's a distinction between me and my opponent, who has moved around a lot.
The community also wants someone who will be free to make decisions independently. You know, political job hopping is just an epidemic in California politics. So many elected officials leave powerful positions after only a few years, just to climb the ladder. That's why I've taken a pledge not to run for higher office. Paul won't take that pledge.
That's the clear distinction between me and my opponent. He's a career politician, and that means he'll need to play ball with special interests to sustain his political career. I'm different. I'm not doing this to develop my career. I'm running because I want to do everything I can to help fix our broken city.