Tue, Dec

Is LA City Council a Steppingstone to the Mayor’s Office? Ask Mark Ridley-Thomas or Kevin de Leon

LA WATCHDOG--County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and former State Senator Kevin de Leon are candidates for separate seats on the Los Angeles City Council.  Both are interested in succeeding Eric Garcetti as the Mayor of Los Angeles.

  So, we have three questions for MRT and KDL. (Photo above: Mark Ridley-Thomas gestures at a County Supervisor’s meeting. 

  1. IF you are elected to the City Council, will you serve your four-year term that ends in December of 2024? 
  1. IF you are elected to the City Council and if you run for Mayor, will you resign your seat on the City Council? If not, will you resign if you are one of the top two vote getters in the mayoral primary? 
  1. And IF you are elected to the City Council and if you resign or are elected Mayor, will you pay for all of the City’s expenses associated with the elections to replace you on the City Council?  

It is important to understand the timing of the elections.  

The primary for the City Council is on March 3, 2020.  The general election for the top two vote getters is on November 3, 2020, a ridiculous eight months after the primary.  The winner takes office on Monday, December 14, 2020.  The mayoral primary is on March 8, 2022, less than 15 months after taking office.  The general election for mayor is on November 8, 2022. 

Voters deserve an answer to the first question, “Will you serve out your four-year term?” More than likely, neither of you will give us a straight yes or no answer, but equivocate, saying you will be reviewing your options, that it is too early to decide.  Of course, we all know that is a lie.   

But IF elected to the City Council and if you decide to run for mayor, will you resign from the City Council because running for mayor is a full time job, leaving very little time to attend to the affairs of your Council District or City?  Or will you continue to collect a paycheck and benefits that total $300,000 a year and have a huge staff paid for by the City that are at your beckon call?  

There is also the likelihood that deep pocketed special interests may ask you to intervene on their behalf on matters that are not in the best interests of the City or your constituents, all in return for campaign contributions to your campaign war chest for mayor. 

This conflict of interest and lack of focus becomes even more acute IF you should be one of the two top vote getters in the mayoral primary, at which point in time you should definitely resign. 

As for the final question, will you foot the bill to fill your seat on the City Council, the answer can only be yes.  Otherwise, you are asking us and the City to pay millions to finance your self-serving political ambitions.  

Of course, the simple answer to all these questions is YES.  Otherwise, a vote for either MRT or KDL is a wasted vote. 

(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.  He can be reached at:  lajack@gmail.com.)