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Is There A Message In Gina Viola’s Mayoral Election Attempt?

DEEGAN ON LA—-A complete unknown, with no previous political experience and very little money, did almost as well as the politically established Kevin De Leon (CD14) in the mayoral race primary results.

Although the final vote tallies have not yet been certified, at the moment Gina Viola’s 6.72% share (compared to De Leon’s 7.78%) is notable because she came into the race as political chum. 

Viola, if she is willing to expand her reach, avoid the echo chamber, and diversify her base and her platform, could become a back bench messenger attacking the staid and rusty go-along-get along political culture in a city that could use some new thinking at a notoriously corrupt and inbred City Hall. 

CityWatchLA spoke to the advocate for racial and social justice about her profile as an emerging politico. 

CW-How are you looking at the 2024 election cycle, when all of the even-numbered council districts are up for a vote? Do you live in one of them? Will you run for a council seat?

GV-I live in CD4. I have no intention to run for city council. 

CW-If you’re not running for the CD4 seat next time, where are you focusing your political ambitions and energy?

GV- I’m still working that out with members of Black Lives Matter-LA. Where they want/need me, I will go. 

CW-Getting over 6% of the mayoral vote as an unknown newcomer with a small budget is impressive. Do you know where those votes came from? Is there a section of LA, or a constituency, where you feel that you were really breaking through to with your message?

GV-The movement to defund the police is alive and growing.  Abolition (of jails) is the future. That is where our base came from and will continue to grow. 

CW-Do you view “inclusion” as an important key to your political future? Will you try to increase and broaden your base by appealing to more moderate voters that may respond to your messaging? 

GV-Absolutely not. What we need is to re-engage voters who have been disenfranchised for far too long. 

CW-What is the alchemy that resulted in so many progressive candidates running in the election? Last time, there was just one. This election cycle, there were several. Can you help explain the burst?

GV-I would say that it has become quite clear the Democratic Party is too beholden to big money interests to ever invest in care. I can easily point to CalCare.

Democrats have a super majority in Sacramento and we could not get a single payer on a state level. LA County has repeatedly been voting for investments to be made into care, not cops, and this continues to be ignored while the population of unhoused folks continues to grow. 

CW-Are you endorsing any of the run-off candidates, and why?

GV-Remains to be determined.  

CW-Can you define what you call the “movement” that you are encouraging people to join?

GV-The “Black Lives Matter” movement. 

 

(Tim Deegan is a civic activist whose Deegan on LA weekly column about city planning, new urbanism, the environment, and the homeless appear in CityWatch. Tim can be reached at [email protected].)