Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Hedgehog’s Spring 2005 Los Angeles Election Advisory

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Los Angeles City Hall

This post is for our readers who live in Los Angeles, or who care about this Tuesday's municipal elections in LA.

You may have overlooked your Voter Information Pamphlet this spring, because it arrived as thin as a piece of junk mail. Tuesday’s mayoral election is a critical one however, and will determine much about the future of the City of Los Angeles. Get out and vote. We live in a city that is more like a country, and special interests are scrambling to control it.

For moms on the run and folks who haven’t time for the details here’s our view of Tuesday’s vote:

Mayor of Los Angeles: Bob Hertzberg. Yes, he is a Democrat, but he's the best in the field. Remember the Hugh Hewitt rule: Vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.

Hertberg is a former California Assembly Speaker and the only serious candidate from the Valley. He is also the only candidate courageous enough to tell the truth about L.A. He has represented the Valley since 1996 in the State Assembly. Nothing will change in this city until education changes, and Hertzberg stands for breaking up the Los Angeles Unified School District. He has been endorsed by former Mayor Riordan, Governor Schwarzenegger, and our Republican Assemblyman Keith Richman.

Charter Amendment 1 – Port Police Pension: Vote No.

Puts Port Police on LAPD Pension Fund. Pensions are becoming anvils on the backs of taxpayers and an integrated approach for ALL government employees needs to be reviewed.

Charter Amendment 2 – Revision to Police & Fire Pension Plan: Vote Yes.

This amendment would allow retired fire and police officers to come out of retirement and assist our city forces when needed. Must have been in retirement no more than three years.

Los Angeles Community College District Elections

Vote for incumbents except Office No. 6; for that office vote for Gerald Wayne Perttula, a solid thinker.

THE INSIDE STORY

Mayor Jim Hahn hasn’t the personality or creativity to lead the charge necessary to change Los Angeles. He won last time mainly because he was not Antonio Villaraigosa (more about Villaraigosa below). Hahn has terrific name I.D., but no real record of achievement. He and his family are too entrenched in the past, and probably too indebted to City insiders ever to make a difference.

Hahn's challengers can smell weakness like pit bulls. Bernard Parks wants revenge because Hahn deposed him as Chief of Police. We’ve run into Bernard Parks repeatedly at inner city events where he has been building his base for four years. Parks hopes to win by reassembling the minority votes and liberal west side votes which elected Tom Bradley. Parks is a former cop elected by limited support to serve one pocket of the City Council. He is not a skilled politician, he is not a visionary, he is not a builder.

State Senator Richard Alarcon is running on the dream of building a city wide mass transit system. “How” never seems to come up. He joins the most dangerous candidate in the race,

Antonio R. Villaraigosa in making a run for the rich vein of Latino votes that may one day rule Los Angeles. Villaraigosa must be stopped. He takes a marvelous campaign photo, yet he is a throwback to the unscrupulous backroom dealers who are owned by special interests with very simple designs: buying City Hall. Villaraigosa is a former labor organizer, a hard-core partisan left-wing politician with big ambitions. What more do you need to know?

Look for the United Teachers Union of Los Angeles, with 72,000 members to hop right on board the Villaraigosa train. That union has been hijacked by a hard left-wing leadership that is likely to put a new, tougher stranglehold on the already-gasping Los Angeles Unified School District.

This is why you see Governor Schwarzenegger, Richard Riordan and Keith Richman circling the wagons around Bob Hertzberg, and The Hedgehog Blog endorsing Hertzberg. He is the only candidate that is addressing the “elephant in the room.” There will be no real change in Los Angeles until political leaders confront the vast wasteland which is LAUSD. The failing school district discourages new businesses from locating in Los Angeles, drains taxpayer resources, and is failing a second generation of students who are trapped within it. Schwarzenegger, Riordan and Richman know that breaking up the school district is the key to breaking up many entrenched interests which are suffocating the city.

Bob Hertzberg alone may not be the answer to confronting this problem, but he has the backing of those at the state level who can. This weekend we received a recorded phone message from a vague political source pounding Hertzberg for his assault on LAUSD. That is the surest sign Hertzberg is on the right track.

Today’s Daily News offers other interesting insights into this important Mayoral runoff. Get educated; read the entire Daily News story here. Some excerpts:

Polls reflect the impact of those actions and have the mayor -- unbeaten in six citywide elections -- locked in a virtual dead heat with Villaraigosa, who is generally seen as the front-runner in the primary, and Hertzberg, who has overcome low name recognition to get to the top rung of candidates.

"We like our position," Hertzberg campaign manager John Shallman said. "We have been gaining momentum and the mayor has been slipping. Once you start dropping, it is hard to come back."

The mayor's strategists express similar confidence, counting in great part on union support to mount a strong get-out-the-vote effort on election day.

"We know where our votes are and we know how to get them," said Hahn campaign consultant Kam Kuwata. "Los Angeles is a large, diverse city and you have to campaign in all parts of it to succeed."

Hahn also has the biggest campaign war chest and the most amount of money being spent on his behalf from independent expenditure committees.

How that plays out Tuesday is being closely watched for keys to where the diverse Los Angeles electorate is heading.

. . .

[According to Political consultant Tom Sullivan] the demographics of the city have changed since Bradley's election -- with no one able to predict how different voting blocks will turn out.

"You have a large Latino vote, but it isn't just concentrated on the Eastside anymore," Sullivan said. "There is a large Latino population in the San Fernando Valley and Harbor areas, but they are much more independent voters and the black vote is not as influential as it once was."

Get out and vote this Tuesday!

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