It was just over a year ago, CD2 was in the middle of a special election campaign to fill a vacant seat.
I covered it in-depth.
A circus of ten candidates competed in a road show of forums. The top-tier candidates had big money,while neighborhood activists scrounged for loose change. One of the top candidates was a political pro.
But none of them were incumbents.
CD12 has all the same ingredients, just in smaller portions.
Six candidates, most of whom are neighborhood activists, are competing with a well-funded, handpicked choice of the political establishment – Mitch Englander.
But there is no incumbent, unless you want to consider Englander as the prince in the line of succession to the throne.
Although Englander has the clear lead in money, he is no where close to the Mini-Meg bankrolls Chris Essel and Paul Krekorian had at their disposal.
However, Englander has what neither Krekorian nor Essel had – the benefits of an incumbent without actually being the incumbent. He can play both sides of the street.
He can say, “My experience as Greig Smith’s chief of staff qualifies me to run the Council District, but don’t blame me for the problems Smith left behind.”
Who can say where Englander stood when his boss wanted to almost eradicate neighborhood council budgets – cutting them from $50,000 to $11,000 (they ended up at $45,000).
Smith said he’d rather save city employee jobs than fund the NCs. Sounds like a noble goal, but only if you believe that all city jobs are necessary. Besides, weren’t they saved when the mayor transferred over a thousand “laid-off” employees to the DWP as a ruse to cover the deficit in the general fund?
If only one could have been a fly on the wall of Smith’s office when he discussed that and other matters with Englander. It’s a safe bet they had such discussions. A council member and his chief of staff are joined at the hip.
Englander’s self-characterization as a policemen comes across as disingenuous. He’s in the reserves. How is his time split between his chief of staff duties and patrolling in an LAPD cruiser? There is nothing wrong in mentioning the reserve status in his bio, but to list it as a profession on the ballot is a subtle clue pointing to a lack of transparency on his part.
Why couldn’t the News have at least made a dual endorsement as they did in the CD2 race when they backed Valley Village resident Pete Sanchez and LAUSD Board Member Tamar Galatzan?
CD12 is an important seat. If we are to have any degree of fiscal conservatism, the council member from the North Valley is the most likely source.
Smith failed to provide true leadership. He has been more in the mold of Bernard Parks, who talks a good game but fails to fight for fiscal sanity.
Did Englander fall far from the tree?
Are you willing to risk your vote for him?