LA WATCHDOG--We have numerous reasons to vote against all the fat cat incumbents running for reelection to the Los Angeles City Council. And they all add up to a City that does not work for us Angelenos, the folks footing the bill so that the 1% who occupies City Hall and their cronies can feast at our expense.
Our City’s finances are a mess.
The City is projecting a budget deficit next year of at least $250 million. Union leaders want more money that will only add to the deficit. The City’s two pension plans are a train wreck, underfunded by $22 billion and threaten the City’s ability to deliver services. And our lunar cratered streets, our broken sidewalks, and the rest of deteriorating infrastructure are in need of at least $10 billion of repairs.
But the City’s viability is not an issue for six members of our City Council who are seeking reelection. After all, they have raised over $5.5 million from their cronies and special interests to buy their reelection.
But hopefully Angelenos will wake up and send these politicians packing.
At the top of the list is Paul Koretz, a professional politician who has never met a tax hike, a rate increase, a union contract, or campaign contribution from a real estate developer he didn’t like.
Koretz is a member of the Executive Employee Relations Committee that negotiates the City’s labor agreements. This includes the budget busting contract with the City’s civilian unions that took a $68 million surplus to a $101 million deficit in 2020. That may explain why the unions have contributed $217,000 to an “independent” expenditure committee to support his reelection to augment the $440,000 war chest that he raised from the usual favor seeking suspects.
His key opponent is Jesse Creed, a young talented lawyer who received excellent reviews for his work on behalf of veterans involving the West LA property. While Creed lacks experience, he is independent, his own person who is not owned by the unions and real estate developers.
Mitch O’Farrell should also be shown the door as he betrayed his constituents by selling out to real estate developers who view Hollywood, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, Echo Park, and Elysian Valley as areas primed for highly profitable development, the neighborhoods be damned.
O’Farrell has raised over $400,000, where almost half of the usual favor seeking suspects maxed out. He is also the beneficiary of a $102,000 “independent” expenditure committee funded by real estate interests, unions, and Chevron Corporation, one of the world’s largest oil companies.
In the effort to Ditch Mitch, the goal is to force a runoff with one of the other viable candidates. This includes Doug Haines who has been endorsed by Mayor Richard Riordan because of his real estate expertise and his efforts in overturning the Hollywood Community Plan that was based on flawed assumptions. He also was instrumental in halting other illegal developments that had the support of developer owned O’Farrell.
Gil Cedillo should also be sent packing as he has supported the development of luxury housing that is inappropriate for many of the District’s neighborhoods. This has accelerated residential and commercial gentrification and dislocated long-time residents. He has also reneged on several campaign promises.
Cedillo was expecting to steamroll his opponents as he has raised $375,000 from the usual favor seeking suspects, 75% of which maxed out, and has the support of an “independent” expenditure committee that has also been funded primarily by Chevron.
However, much to Cedillo’s surprise and chagrin, the Los Angeles Times endorsed Joe Ali-Bray, a small businessman and bike enthusiast who, according to The Times, has an impressive understanding of land use policies.
Curren Price was also surprised by The Times endorsement of Jorge Nuno. Yet Price has the benefit of a $422,000 war chest and an “independent” expenditure committee that is ready to drop almost $150,000 to support his reelection. But will Price, an African-American, be able to buy the election in a district that is almost 80% Latino?
Joe Buscaino has raised $369,000 and faces limited competition. But he does not deserve to be reelected given the scandal where he took $94,500 of laundered campaign contributions and then approved the up zoning of the Sea Breeze residential development despite its rejection by the both the Area and City Planning Commissions.
Mike Bonin appears to be headed towards reelection and is supported by a war chest of $432,000 raised from the usual favor seeking suspects and a $61,000 “independent’ expenditure committee funded by primarily by the unions representing the police and firefighters. But Bonin has been weak on fiscal responsibility and has approved mega real estate developments that will further clog the Westside.
It is too much to expect all of the incumbents to lose, but success will be measured by ousting incumbents or forcing Council members into runoff elections on May 16, 2017. If so, this will send a message to City Hall that we are not happy campers and it is time to address the serious economic problems facing our City.
It is time for a change.
(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and is the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. He is a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. Jack is affiliated with Recycler Classifieds -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.)