Let me start with a question: what do Tamar Galatzan and Zuma Dogg have in common?
Answer: the grassroots candidates owe them their thanks for being in the race.
Think of CD2 as a pie to be divided among ten hungry candidates. The primary objective is to receive a slice larger than half the entire size. With ten hungry mouths to feed, that will be almost impossible.
The secondary objective is to receive one of the two largest slices. That will occur no matter what, but it will amount to a food fight among nine of the candidates.
Back to the answer to the question: Zuma Dogg’s presence bakes a bigger pie. His eccentricities and the electricity he brings to the table attract some voters who would otherwise stay home on election day. Whether you agree with him or not, he is viewed as a warrior who is unafraid of challenging the City Council day after day.
Whereas Zuma Dogg affects the size of the pie and the 50% threshold, Tamar will influence the portions.
She cuts into the portion coveted by Krekorian and Essel, and perhaps takes a tiny bit from the grassroots candidates’ pieces. The final servings will amount to Krekorian getting around a third of the pie and the rest receiving thin slices, about four or five of whom will be within striking distance of making the runoff.
You can’t rule out Sheftel, Benson, Sanchez, McCue or even Zuma Dogg from nosing out Galatzan and Essel.
Tamar and Chris are vulnerable.
Just as the voters need to press Krekorian about his complicity in allowing state spending to grow over the last few years in the face of an anticipated decline in tax revenues, Tamar needs to explain her role in how the LAUSD has been managed, or mismanaged. She has already been questioned about her support of Measure Q, a questionable $7 billion bond offering that could sink the LAUSD in even more red ink in a few years. However, she has not received adequate credit for opposing the Mayor on an expensive expansion of benefits to part-time workers in the school district.
Essel continues to deny the obvious: she was a cheerleader for SB1818 and is backed by many donors connected to developers and billboards. What’s more, she launched her campaign for the CD2 seat on the Westside and downtown, raking in the largest haul of cash of any candidate. By not engaging CD2 until after she amassed close to $200,000 should clearly demonstrate to the voters where her loyalties reside. An apartment in Studio City is not enough to hide her attachment to outside interests.
Krekorian has some explaining to do as well. He keeps bragging about his experience but does not disclose what benefits it produced and, as mentioned earlier, he has been a party to the run-up in state spending that has produced the financial crisis.
Krekorian and Essel will ultimately resort to campaign hit pieces against Galatzan. Some of the charges will have a ring of truth, but I expect the overall messages will be over the top, just as Krekorian’s claim that the $30 million loan to CMI could have been used for public safety instead.
In summary, we have a real race on our hands, so do not write off any of the candidates at this stage.