MY 2013 RUNOFF ELECTION PICKS - For those who want to know --- some so they can vote the other way:
(Wendy Greuel for State Controller in 2014)
A competent manager. A larger than life persona. A master negotiator. A leader with a vision for what this world-class city can be, plus a mastery of the workings of City Hall so this stuff can actually get done. I’ve thought long and hard, considered and weighed, and have come to the steadfast conclusion that the City of Los Angeles will be best served with Eric Garcetti as its new mayor.
While the truth of the matter is that I came to this conclusion some time ago, what has precluded me from saying so publically has been the dilemma I faced in figuring out how I could give my nod to Eric, without casting Wendy in any sort of negative light … for there are very few in the realm of public service whom I admire and respect to the level that I do both Eric and Wendy.
One thing is for certain: when Eric is inaugurated as mayor on July 1, we all lose when Wendy is simultaneously forced to retire from public office.
This has not been an easy decision for me. Nor one made with scant information. My decades-long activism as the organizer of gay pride events has put me in the position of personally creating the circumstances that try public official’s ability to negotiate, finesse, and ultimately decide, in situations when “gay” and “mainstream” are forced to occupy the same space.
Imagine the intensity of divergent stakeholders interests that a councilmember has to juggle, associated with closing down Ventura Boulevard for a gay pride parade, or naming one of the few remaining corners on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in honor of a gay activist --- and then placing a commemorative plaque just inches there from.
I’ve been in the crucible with both, and consider it a badge of honor to have personally contributed to
increasing their grey hair count.
So while I enthusiastically endorse Eric to be the next Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, and feel certain that the city will be extremely well served with him at the helm, I also remain unwaveringly loyal to my friend Wendy by enthusiastically endorsing her to be the next Controller of the State of California.
Furthermore, in order to help ensure that my endorsement of Wendy comes to fruition, I pledge here and now to be the very first person to contribute to her upcoming statewide campaign.
This is a tough one for me. For Mike was the officient for Kevin and me when we got married (making a special trip from Sacramento to do so). While Nuch, whom I met a couple of weeks later, decided then and there to take the two of us for a tour of Long Beach harbor on his boat, followed by dinner at the yacht club (read as: "Captain of our honeymoon cruise"). I like these two men very, very much, and think the world of both.
But . . . I firmly believe that Mike is better suited to run the LA City Attorney office. While Nuch will better serve the public good by returning to private practice, and going back to the extraordinarily good work he does with environmental cases
that he's demonstrated over and over again that he's capable of doing.
Nothing has transpired since the primary to cause me to reconsider this decision.
Ron is smart, articulate, and capable. I've known him for years. He'll do a splendid job running the Controller's office.
While I also know and like Dennis Zine, I think Ron is better suited to the task.
Add to this, Ron has himself a handsome husband --- a rabbi no less (his mother made the decision
to marry a rabbi, and Ron was kind enough to support his mother's decision by doing the same). While this in itself isn't sufficient to earn my vote. It's a nice bonus. Vote for Ron.
Ditto the above, nothing has transpired since the primary to cause me to
reconsider this decision.
District 1 --- (no recommendation)
District 6 --- Cindy Montanez
An excellent, hardworking, knowledgeable legislator. She'll make a great addition to the LA City Council.
District 9 --- (no recommendation)
District 13 --- Mitch O'Farrell
I worked with Mitch when he was a Field Deputy in CD-13. He knows the district intimately, and he knows the workings of city government so as to be able to hit the ground running. Ditto the above. He'll make a great addition to the LA City Council.
MEASURE C --- Limits on Political Campaign Spending of Corporations
A strangely-worded resolution that is overly simplistic in its proposed solution. Honestly, I can't fathom what the Council was thinking when they decided to put this on the ballot. But in a couple of months, all that's going to be remembered will be that the "People of Los Angeles think that mountains of corporate money is [ good / bad ] for the electoral process."
What I want to be remembered is that we think corporations buying elections is a bad thing.
If Measure C were such that it would put a law on the books, I'd probably vote "No" (subject to reviewing the actual language). But this vote has less real-world impact than a vote cast for "American Idol." So "Yes" it is.
MEASURES --- Medical Marijuana
D --- Yes
E --- Yes (or no)
F --- No
It's said that politics creates strange bedfellows --- which is certainly on full display here.
I have an unusual vantage point for evaluating these three measures. For the life of an insurance agent can be deadly dull, or now and again quite interesting if . . . one has interesting clients . . . such as Medical Marijuana Dispensaries . . . which I do (as well as many other kinds businesses --- but I digress).
As an insurance agent, I need to know EVERYTHING about the day-to-day operations of my clients in order to do the job of insuring them properly.
As a consequence of this, I know way, Way, WAY more about this industry than I ever imagined I would have reason to know. But I do, so I do, here's the deal.
The widely held perception is that all of these places are massively profitable and are making their owners filthy rich. And while it's true that there are some dispensaries that do substantial revenue, there are plenty more that are hand-to-mouth operations --- which is a very bad thing. For when they are strapped for cash, they don't have the money to do the things necessary to protect themselves, their clients, nor the neighborhoods where they're located. Such as hardened walls, having state of the art surveillance systems, posting guards, and much, much more. Cutting corners on this stuff doesn't do anybody any good.
So while I'd prefer for the free market to do the job of regulating this industry, the various levels of government have made a mess of this to the point where the free market simply won't work. But one thing's for certain.
The number of dispensaries must be limited by some manner or another in order to make sure that the ones that remain have sufficient resources (revenue) to do what they need to do to protect themselves, their clients, the neighborhoods, and ultimately the City.
Measure # --- Sponsor
Measure D --- City of Los Angeles
Measure E (initiative) --- The +-135 "Pre-ICO" Dispensaries (mid 2007)
Measure F (initiative) --- The +700 "Post-ICO" Dispensaries (after 2007)
The voters passed Proposition 215 back in 1996, which legalized medical marijuana in California. While there was a great deal of uncertainty in the years that immediately followed, the City should have proactively put together a good set of regulations as soon as it could have done so. By 2005 --- or 2007 at the latest.
But it didn't, and has subsequently been managing the regulatory process in various version of "badly" ever since then. So both the +-135 and the +700 went out and gathered signatures to put Measures E and F on the ballot. Then when faced with the prospect of having regulations forced upon it, the City did what it should have done back in 2005, and came up with a set of regulations that were good enough to get buy-in from dispensaries. So . . .
MEASURE D --- The City's measure limits the number of dispensaries to the +-135. Which means that the +700 want NOTHING to do with it.
MEASURE E --- The +-135 obviously feel that their Measure E regulations are the best option. But with Measure D appearing on the same ballot, they chose to abandon their very own Measure E in favor of throwing their lot in with the City (Measure D) (read as: the +-135 and the City being the strangest of strange bedfellows). But if the +-135 hadn't gathered the signatures to put their Measure E on the ballot, there's no way that the City would have put their Measure D on the ballot. Isn't that special.
The +-135 supporting Measure D is clearly a politically expedient decision --- one that I probably would have made as well, and fully support. That having been said, while I'm definitely voting "Yes" on D, I'm also going to vote "Yes" on E. Whichever one gets the most votes will be the one that goes into effect. Good 'nuf.
MEASURE F --- This measure regulates the dispensaries, but doesn't reduce the number in operation. This "too many dispensaries" is the biggest part of the problem. While I would far prefer for the free market to sort all of this out. Under the present circumstances, it can't. So I feel that adopting F would be a huge mistake --- especially since there are better options available on this ballot.
LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
I'm going with the LA Times recommendation
District 6 --- Monica Ratliff
LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT
I'm going with the LA Times recommendation here as well
(Paul Waters is Los Angeles/ Valley Pride Executive Director and lives in Valley Village. He can be reached at: Paul@PaulWaters.name)
Vol 11 Issue 38
Pub: May 10, 2013