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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mayor Sam Ballot Picks

Here you go dum dums! Some of you aren't going to like these, some of you are going to be happy, some of you are going to say "Higby, you idiot, noone (no one?) cares!" and some might even be surprised. By the way, these are not official blog endorsements as Scott each make our own choices (you'll see I might disagree with him here and there). So here we go:

MAYOR - Eric Garcetti
No brainer here. We've not been a big fan in the past of Council Member Eric Garcetti, but you know, after a while the guy grows on ya. I've got big issues with some of Eric's views, but overall I feel he is more ethical, practical, and actually, visionary, than Wendy Greuel. During her term in office as Council Member, despite a few minor victories interested parties might claim, her district suffered, is in worse shape than when she arrived so much that her successors are scrambling to fix. As City Controller, a role Greuel was not qualified for with no financial or executive business experience, she turned the office into a base of operations or her Mayoral campaign and made a mockery of general accepted accounting procedures. We would have loved to have seen Kevin James elected Mayor, but Wendy Greuel is just too dangerous. We even have high hopes for Garcetti. Vote Eric Garcetti.

CITY ATTORNEY - Carmen Trutanich 
Who would have ever thought we'd be stuck with a choice between Carmen Trutanich and Mike Feuer. Almost makes me pine for Rocky Delgadillo. Neither is an exciting or even tolerable option for this important law enforcement position. Trutanich has been a near disaster from everything including his failure to make good on his allegations of criminal wrongdoing at the Michael Jackson Staples Center Memorial to his threats to arrest Council Member Jan Perry (we hear they've since made up) to his bungling of the cases against the protesters who laid down in the street during immigration reform rallies. He's also been something of a cartoon (though Wendy Greuel is catching up to him). On the other hand, Mike Feuer is the poster child of the entrenched, out of touch liberal politician who has no business in this role. Most importantly, Feuer is the architect of the horrific AB 109 which is letting  criminals out of prison and is behind a coming major spike in crime. Just days before the primary election in April, Tobias Summers, a repeat offender who was released under Feuer's AB 109, kidnapped a teenage girl in the Valley. The good news is Trutanich can only serve another four year term and perhaps, we can get a real City Attorney in 2017.

We'd sure love to see someone like blogger and neighborhood activist Paul Hatfield, a real CPA with financial sense, take this seat. For now, we'll take Ron Galperin over our favorite former motorcycle cop, Dennis Zine. If Greuel was not qualified to be City Controller, Zine, is even less so. Zine, who first ran for office as the former head of the police union and one who was sick of the City's status quo, has now become part of it. Republicans and conservatives should know that Zine is no longer one of them. And while Galperin is a Democratic activist of long standing, the guy actually has accounting chops. So we're voting for another Democrat. Go figure.

Well, sorry to my friends Red Spot and Don "Godzilla" Garza, but I can not support Gil "Two Bill" Cedillo. Cedillo's entire legislative career has been too focused around getting driver licenses for illegal aliens and that just presents too many problems. More so, we just don't need another member of the state legislature porting himself over to the Council. Gardea's boss, retiring Councilman Ed Reyes, was no winner. But at least Gardea is a creature of the City and knows the ropes.

CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 6 (Special Primary Election) - Cindy Montanez
Normally, this would be a year for odd numbered Council Districts but the departure of former CD6 Council Member Tony Cardenas following his election to Congress has opened up this seat. Six candidates are on the ballot, and a seventh, Dan Stroncak, is running as a write-in candidate. Normally, Stoncak would be the kind of candidate I would probably support. Conservative, grass roots and an activist who has racked up some victories, Stroncak could make for a great alternative candidate. And I say could because "Dan with the Plan" apparently didn't plan on getting enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, something that to me is an elementary part of mounting a campaign and showing you are a leader. I am sure Dan is a great guy, and maybe he got screwed by the local Republican party, I don't know. But I have to support a candidate who can at least get on the ballot. Former Assembly Member and Mayor of San Fernando, Montanez does bring a wealth of experience from various levels of government. Yes, we know she's yet another refugee from the State Legislature, but unlike current and prospective members of the Council who are in that class, Montanez served quite some time ago and did not jump from that seat to the Council upon term limits (or sooner!). Having served on the Council for San Fernando, a city (well at least until recently) that while having the same demographics as some of the lower income parts of Los Angeles, was well managed and offered efficient services to it's stakeholders, she could perhaps instigate some change for the better in LA. While Montanez is an entrenched member of the Democratic Party, she's also been known to be a rebel at times within those circles, further solidifying her independence. And, unlike her best know competitor School Board Member Nury Martinez, Montanez is not part of the Alarcon political machine, which has not been good for the Valley. With so many candidates on the ballot, it is possible that no candidate would achieve a 50% + 1 result and thus, the top vote getters, likely Montanez and Martinez, will go to a runoff election on July 23rd.

Following a bruising primary race in April, two candidates remain to replace the retiring Jan Perry. And yes, we're breaking the rule we established in CD1 where we're going for a member of the State Legislature against a long time Council Deputy. And for good reason, while Price is hardly the first, second or even last choice for Council in our view, former staffer to CD14 Council Member Jose Huizar, Ana Cubas, is far behind that. Cubas, who moved across town to run, has been a controversial and polarizing force in her community, over issues such as the CLARTS fund (covered here MANY times, search the archives) and others, she does not seem fit to serve a District in need such as 9. While we had our disagreements with Perry, she served ably and it does not seem that Price nor Cubas are worthy of filling her shoes. Be that as it may, Cubas is a nightmare in the making and Price is the only choice.

Also a free for all in the primary, those seeking to replace the retiring Eric Garcetti, mixed it up and we wind up with John Choi and Mitch O'Farrell, both Council Deputies. While both are probably technically proficient to handle the job, Choi has been controversial and accused of being a carpetbagger. On the other hand, O'Farrell has a long record of residency and participation in the District and is the choice of many local activists, including the man I had hoped would be elected, activist Elson Trinidad. O'Farrell could easily wind up being the best of this year's freshman class of those elected. Choi, seems more like a climber.

LAUSD District 6 Board Member - Monica Ratliff
With education and teachers under attack in previous cycles, the Board of Education is just not the place for climbers. Ratliff is a longtime distinguished fifth grade teacher as well as an attorney. She has the support of many parent activists and community leaders. On the other hand, her opponent, Antonio Sanchez, is the latest offering from the Villaraigosa machine with no K-12 teaching experience. The answer is clear here.

LA Community College Board of Trustees, Office 6 - No Recommendation
The candidates are incumbent Nancy Pearlman and challenger David Vela. Is there any difference?


Proposition C Limits to Campaign Spending and Rights of Corporations - NO
This is for all those folks who got their panties in a bunch over the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling that levels the playing field for business owners to have a say in political campaigns as much as unions and other special interests can. If liberals are so upset about this, then they need to be fair and extend the limits to all special interests, including unions, the mother's milk of the Democrat party. If you really want to do something about the influence of money in politics, vote Libertarian and end the influence of politicians over your money and watch the special interests dry up. This is a symbolic measure, it has no teeth as it's not a matter the City has jurisdiction over, so I'll be symbolically voting no.

Proposition D, E and F all deal with medical marijuana. A major issue in LA right now. They break down as follows:

Proposition D would allow medical marijuana dispensaries that were in operation prior to September 2007 to remain in open and place a sort of gross receipts tax on them.

Proposition E is basically the same thing but no levies no tax. There is also a minor difference in that D would allow "collectives" of three or less individuals to grow pot amongst themselves; E would allow five or fewer.

Proposition F would allow more collectives/dispensaries than D or E, but hit them with a heavy tax.

It seems as if none of these really resolve the issue of how we want medical marijuana to be sold and distributed in Los Angeles while imposing regulatory and tax burdens on these entities that are more onerous that some other types of business. I'll be voting no on all three and hope someone goes back to the drawing board.



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