DEMOCRACY UNDER SEIGE - While the rest of America is going crazy over Biden election deniers taking over the US Congress here in the City of the Angels we have our own curious crisis boiling up and it really has nothing to do with what Nury Martinez said about Mike Bonin’s son.
But it does have everything to do with whether establishment-city-hall insiders will prevail against some upstart progressives.
Across the nation there is a real threat to our democracy and whether Trump-backed Biden-election-deniers can take control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. This is what both real conservatives and liberals call an existential threat to our democracy. What couldn’t be accomplished by violent insurrection on Jan. 6 is being attempted at the ballot box and with voter suppression.
Conversely, here in LA, we have the grass root progressives attempting to overthrow the establishment Democrats. It’s happening on the Westside for Bonin’s seat and it’s happening here in CD15 in what should normally be a safe seat for the typical democrat endorsed by unions and corporations alike, but this is not the case.
This district is the farthest one from city hall and it often stays out of the drama 24 miles up the 110 Fwy. Not this year. The Tim McOsker campaign has seriously been challenged by a Latina, Danielle Sandoval, who has risen up from a Harbor City neighborhood council to pose a threat to the power brokers of San Pedro. This kind of insurgent campaign has not happened in the 15th district since Jim Stanberry, the political science professor at LA Harbor College challenged John Gibson who served on the Los Angeles City Council from 1951 to 1981 and his two lengthy stints as council president.
This time, it is a race for a seat being vacated by Councilman Joe Buscaino, who is being forced out by term limits, despite his mistaken run for mayor. Clearly, either candidate would be an improvement over Buscaino, who after dropping out of the mayor’s race endorsed former Republican Rick Caruso. I still distrust his party switching the same way I distrust Trump’s Republican bona fides.
Down here in the lower 15th, District, we kind of think that we are an island amidst Los Angeles’ turmoil, but this race has risen to a new level of angst. It has pitted long-standing allies against one another and divided San Pedro’s civil society into factions. Most clearly, the San Pedro Chamber backed McOsker, a former board chairman against Sandoval, a one-time neighborhood council president.
A recently released political attack mailer even uses the Chamber’s 390 West 7th street address for a PAC called Local Businesses, Working Families and Public Safety Professionals Opposing Danielle Sandoval for LA City Council 2022. It doesn’t take a genius to decipher who is behind this as several of their board of directors have been most vocal in slandering me and others for endorsing someone other than the anointed Tim.
However, the Ethics filing form doesn’t list anybody who actually lives in San Pedro and includes the LA Police Protective League ($25,000.00), Building Owners and Managers Association GLA PAC of Los Angeles ($15,000.00), Douglas Emmett Properties LP ($50,000.00), of Santa Monica; the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce ($40,000.00); Kilroy Realty LP, Los Angeles ($50,000.00) and the Watson Land Company of Carson ($10,000) for a grand total of some $190,000 of outside independent expenditures, which challenges their label of being Local Businesses and Working Families.” Clearly, they are not and are just a front for the McOsker campaign.
I, like many others, take exception to not only their crazed rhetoric but their slanderous tactics and remind them that after this election they are going to have to live with their words and actions here in ToonTown. And that if this election veers off course like it appears to be doing and the Latina insurgent actually wins, they are all going to be hard-pressed to make amends.
The personal attacks against not only this newspaper, the candidate, and some of her prominent supporters, as Anthony Santich explains in the accompanying article, have devolved into Nixonian dirty tricks territory. These are the people tasked with the mission of making San Pedro a better place to live, work, and visit, but perhaps not run for office. That the leadership of a business organization allows its address to be used as a front for some fictitious attack group on a legitimate candidate goes way beyond its mission and shows how paranoid they are about losing this race.
However, this is the state of LA political struggles where the conservative candidate is the liberal and the progressive candidate is the insurgent. It is a curious twist from what is happening almost everywhere else and I have been waiting a very long time to actually have this kind of progressive choice. And just to be clear, we are standing by our endorsement of Sandoval, because I actually believe that in a true democracy, there needs to be a competition of ideas and not just an anointing of an heir apparent.
(James Preston Allen, founding publisher of the Los Angeles Harbor Areas Leading Independent Newspaper 1979- to present, is a journalist, visionary, artist and activist. Over the years Allen has championed many causes through his newspaper using his wit, common sense writing and community organizing to challenge some of the most entrenched political adversaries, powerful government agencies and corporations.)