How will the Outcome in the CD 2 Special Election, "Affect the Legacies" of these Two-Term Mayors?
Reading this, I could not help but to think back to former Mayor Richard Riordan's comments, some time back on KFI's John and Ken Show, in which he called out Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's fiscal policies and administrated acumens, or lack of.
Riordan, who served two-terms as Mayor from 1993-2001, cited that during his time in office, the city saw an increase of revenue to city coffers of $1 Billion dollars, that was achieved without raising taxes or fees.
The irony here is that Riordan endorsed Villaraigosa over Mayor James Hahn in the 2005 Mayoral Runoff. Many observers saw this union as one crafted by pro-development interests, who saw a Mayor Villaraigosa administration as the vessel to forward their plans to "remake" Los Angeles into the west coast version of Manhattan, New York.
Now in late 2009, with the economy in the dump, increases in trash fees, DWP rates, phone taxes a reality, Chief Bill Bratton now history, and Mayor Villaraiogosa building upon his "legacy of foreign travel" with hizzoner's latest trip to Mexico, is it time to start the Mayor Villaraigosa's legacy watch? How would the legacy of former Mayor Riordan be affected by his past and current collaborations with Villaraigosa?
One only need to look at the upcoming CD 2 Special Election to see how the outcome will effect the legacies of both. Local political observers were of the opinion that the relationship between both Riordan and Villaraigosa had cool after the fallout of Villaraigosa's affair with Mirthala Salinas. Further, Riordan's appearance on the "John and Ken Show", help to fuel the speculation that the rift between Villaraigosa and "Riordan's Posse" of Eli Broad, Bill Wardlaw and Steve Soboroff, had become more pronounced.
But one can surmise that the needs of both parties to reinvigorate revenues to their respective developer friends, had brought the groups together again to forward the cause of electing Chris Essel to City Council in CD 2.
This reunion of these two pro-development factions, joined by the likes of IBEW, unions, the Police Protective League and ACORN, mixed in with $One Million + of cash, can be viewed as an expensive endeavor to maintain the alliance of unions, developers, affordable housing advocates, and other temporary allies, who want to maintain their stranglehold on City Hall and thus, continue their quest to remake Los Angeles into "Manhattan West", with its version of "Tammany Hall", to dispense the "spoils".
One can agree that some sort of development, whether it is redevelopment of blighted areas, transportation improvements, business recruitment, is needed to recharge the flow of revenue to City Hall. But unlike Riordan, who reinvigorated the local economy after the disastrous 1992 riots by removing onerous regulations, creating one stop permit centers and not raising taxes. Mayor Villaraigosa has chased business and the middle class away from the city in droves, with his pursuit of a progressive agenda (affordable housing, environmental regulations, rampant development, costly union contracts and higher taxes), that has had an regressive affect on the cities tax base and quality of living.
One can look back upon the past Mayor Riordan Administration as being a time of urban renewal and economic growth, after the 1992 riots. Most will agree that Los Angeles was in a better state after Riordan left office in 2001. But in the subsequent years, Riordan's success as Mayor, has not transfare to success in other political pursuits, losing a race for governor in 2002 and endorsing the likes of Steve Soboroff and Bob Hertzberg for mayor only to see them lose to James Hahn in 2001 and Antonio Villaraigosa in 2005, respectively. His support for City Council candidates has met with only one, Bill Rosendahl 2005, being elected to a seat on the "horseshoe", while the likes of Monica Rodriguez in 2007 and Adeena Bleich this year, losing to Richard Alarcon and Paul Koretz.
Now the legacy of these two-term mayors are intertwined again, reunited in their joint pursuit of maintaining the "status quo" at City Hall that benefits the "exclusive few" at the expense of an dwindling middle class that once was the foundation, to paraphrase the late actor Jack Webb's Dragnet Sgt. Friday character, of "seven suburbs in search of a voice on Spring Street".
In closing, will the support of ex. Mayor Riordan and Mayor Villaraigosa and their Special Interest "monetary splurge", pay off in victory for Chris Essel in CD 2 on December 8? Or will the voters trigger a "political earthquake" at City Hall by supporting Paul Krekorian, thus causing long-term damage to the legacies of Riordan and Villaraigosa? One may want to have their "political seismographs" on standby on the evening of December 8.