Archive for September, 2009

I received this comment from Jill Banks Barad, a very respected member of our community.  It is worth reading.

Please note my reply and challenge to the Essel camp to have a comparable community leader make a similar post.

Here is Jill’s comment:

The winner of the CD2 election will be the next chair of City Council’s Education & Neighborhoods Committee…an important position in the life and future of neigborhood councils in LA. Those of us active in neighborhood councils need an advocate;someone who is not afraid to have us at the “table”.
So let’s look at recent history and what we do know about these candidates.
Paul Krekorian has represented much of this district in the Assembly. His constituents praise him for his accessibility and effectiveness. He cares about people and that is obvious when you speak with him and he communicates that to his staff as well.
As president of the Central City Association, Chris Essel represented that organization as favoring financial disclosure forms for neighborhood council members, which she reinforced at a recent candidates forum.
A majority of Essel’s campaign contributors continue the adversarial role of downtown versus the community . These people include developers, law firms representing downtown interests, lobbyists’ (families), and the downtown business associations. These are the folks that lobbied hard the City Councilmembers against any significant role for neighborhood councils, especially giving appeal rights to councils in certain land use issues. They also lobbied hard for extensive financial disclosure for neighborhood council members.
This is a clear case of “downtown” wanting to control this seat.
Now, you decide who should be our advocate.

My reply: I always appreciate input from respected community advocates. Jill is a proven leader. She created and chairs the Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils, a group that gets the attention of our elected officials.
I would like to see a post from someone in Essel’s camp who is also in a leadership position. We need to foster a debate not only among the two candidates, but the voters as well. There is too much at stake to allow this election to be overly influenced by slick mailers and robocalls.
Thank you, Jill, for your input. -Paul Hatfield.

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I am going to wake up with a hangover on December 9th; it will not be from partying.

On December 8th, the voters of CD2 will turn the reins of representation over to one of two servile subjects of the Realm.   The House of Lords on Spring will have another of its own join its privileged body.

Those of you who have followed my blog know the angst I have expressed about Paul Krekorian and Chris Essel.  If you are new to my blog, please peruse the state and local politics category.  For now, let me discuss the subjective attributes of these two knighted partisans.

Paul Kerkorian, who I initially characterized as the Dean of the ten candidates in the primary by virtue of his position in the Assembly, possesses shrewd intelligence and speaks with a Shakespearean eloquence.

His performances in the candidate forums evoked Mark Antony’s plea to the Roman people at Caesar’s funeral.  If I may paraphrase:

“And Essel is an honorable candidate, so are they all, all honorable candidates.”

Just as Antony used sarcasm to import the true message of his statement, I felt that Paul Krekorian used the same technique whenever complementing his opponents or, should I say as he ultimately described them in the end, “amateurs.”   

Krekorian is someone who can make a bad idea sound good, just as Antony convinced the crowd that Caesar was not an imperial tyrant but actually a pretty nice guy, a man of the people.  They sided with Antony and the Roman Republic ended.  After that it was a gradual decline into depravity and collapse.

So, then, Krekorian’s strongest personal characteristic is also a stealthy weapon with which he lures the uninformed and unsuspecting to support him.

Whereas Krekorian is deft at delivering form over substance in public venues, Chris Essel looks both uncomfortable and out of her element.  That probably stems from years of her preaching to the choir.  The CCA, industry groups and her staff at Paramount are a far more amicable audience than the hardened voters from Neighborhood Councils and homeowner groups.

Actually, in a one on one conversation, she is very much at ease and does display more depth than meets the eye at a public event.

I believe the reason for her awkwardness is the relationship she has with the eminence grise of her candidacy –Wendy Greuel. 

Wendy is the power behind the throne, so to speak.  She is to Chris as Cardinal Richelieu was to Louis XII. In no uncertain terms, Wendy wants an ally on the City Council in what will most certainly be a competitive battle for Mayor in 2013.

Chris relies on Wendy in all aspects of this campaign:  when Chris speaks, Wendy talks.

I would suggest to Essel that she follow some relatively contemporary advice, “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

It worked for Michael Corleone.

As chagrined as I am over the prospects this campaign has for the city, I will follow it and report in an even-handed manner.  Perhaps I should say an evenly hard-handed manner.

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What to Expect

I will be taking a break from any major postings for a few days to catch up on some other projects.

Since I will not be endorsing either candidate in the runoff, my coverage will be fair and rooted in the issues.

I appreciate the thousands of views my blog has received over the last few weeks.

Covering just two candidates will be a welcome relief.  It will allow time to address other important issues that affect your wallet, including who is trying to rob it!

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As all of us know, the City of Los Angeles offers very generous fringe benefits, monetary and otherwise.

It caught my eye that the IRS is auditing Riverside County to determine if certain fringe benefits (such as cars, cell phones and laptops) are being reported as income by their employees.

I do not know to what extent, if any, the city has been audited regarding this issue.

According to a County Supervisor quoted in the article:

“If there is something we should be doing differently, we’ll do it,” Supervisor Marion Ashley said of the IRS audit. “Right now the federal government is trying to squeeze money out of every turnip they can, so they are probably looking at many government agencies.”

Los Angeles best be on its toes.  Where there is smoke, there’s fire.

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CD2 Pre Postmortem

I just returned from the Pete Sanchez election night party.  We also celebrated his mother’s birthday.

One of the other candidates actually called Pete midway through the evening.  The jockeying has started.

This post will be brief because I am tired, but I will provide more detail tomorrow.

In one of my earlier analyses, I predicted Krekorian would get about one-third of the vote. I was on the mark with that, but way off on everything else.

Mary Benson did much better than I expected.  You could tell when the Sunland Tujunga votes were counted –her numbers surged.  The same with Pete Sanchez –his count got a bump at one point; it had to be Valley Village.

The biggest surprise was the relative size of the absentee vote.  As expected, it went mostly to Krekorian. 

The low polling place turnout spelled doom for the grassroots effort. 

In future elections, the independent neighborhood groups will have to unite and back a candidate in order to stand a fighting chance against the big money.  They will have to raise at least a reasonable amount of money as well.

In closing, my heartfelt thanks to the eight individuals who sacrificed their time to participate against all odds. It speaks well of you to have directly engaged yourselves through forums, canvassing and strategizing without professional assistance.

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KABC’s Doug McIntyre ridiculed the controversial Valley Glen Meet and Greet mailer during this morning’s 9AM segment.

After he complained that the political machine does not want you to vote for the grassroots candidates, he read the invitation and emphatically stated it did not include the seven.  He specifically connected it with the Valley Glen Council.

He went on to say that if he were voting, he would probably cast a ballot for Mary Benson.

Personally, I do not know if any rules were broken with the issuance of the invitation.  However, it does beg the question as to what role the council board had in the use of its logo and the city seal.


Friday, September 18, 2009 at 7 pm Sharp


September 17,2009



Council District 2 Special Election
Paul Krekorian     Chris Essel     Tamar Galatzen
St Jane Frances De Chantal Parish 
Bingo Hall
13001 Victory Blvd. 
Valley Glen, CA 91606
Special Election is on Tuesday, September 22nd 
…Light Refreshments Will Be Served…
 Sponsored By Christopher and Dorian Alan

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I just sent the following e-mail to Larry Mantle at KPCC:

Larry, we met at the forum you hosted about the California Constitution at the Center for Democracy.

I love your show.  You ask the best questions and your follow-up is excellent. Therefore, it was just so disappointing that you excluded the seven grassroots candidates from your coverage today.  The local insight they possess would have enlightened your audience and would have made the three established candidates accountable for their records.
I understand the difficulties of the logistics associated with interviewing ten people.  You could have broken them down to groups and conducted the interviews over two or three segments spread over two or three days, if necessary.  That was what KABC and KRLA did.
That is water under the bridge now.
As amends, may I suggest you invite to your show the eight individuals who fail to make the runoff to evaluate the two who do.
Paul Hatfield, CPA

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