Fri, Aug

How Did LA Mayor's Race Get to be a Punchline?

LA ELECTION 2013 - Several out-of-town budinskis have called the campaign an embarrassment for LA, which was certainly not the case (Washington is where you'll find the real embarrassments). 

Let's just say that the race, like so many others these days, was a missed opportunity - drowned out by posturing and positioning by the city's interest groups, eclipsed by the intractable problems that no mayor is remotely capable of mending. 


It's been easy to beat up on both candidates (I've certainly done my share), but let's be clear that Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti are bright, well-meaning people who have devoted most of their working lives to public service and are passionate in their belief that LA can be a better place. So why was it so flat, so off-key?

Waaaaay too long: This has been a two-person contest going back to the first part of the year, well before the initial election, and since then the race has been mostly about killing time with lots of over-spending and over-endorsing. Having the runoff drag out for three months is lunacy (one month between elections makes a lot more sense). Future candidates should also consider cutting back on the number of debates - the stultifying sessions between Greuel and Garcetti might have actually lowered interest in the race. 

Little substance: Much of the campaign had a "first do no harm" quality. This was especially true of Greuel - did anyone else want to scream each time she suggested that the city's money troubles could be corrected by stamping out waste, fraud and abuse (not remotely true) or that helping operate her family's small business provided some sort of managerial gravitas to run the nation's second-biggest city? 

Garcetti was disingenuous himself by claiming too much credit for reducing (but hardly solving) the city's structural deficit - and offering little indication of what he plans to do once the city begins contract talks with public unions.  (Read the rest … including how ignorance plays a role … here.)






Vol 11 Issue 41

Pub: May 21, 2013