Whenever I need mindless entertainment to suppress the anxiety of the unscripted drama of today’s news, I tune in one of HGTV’s reality TV programs – Property Virgins.
Watching young couples stumble through a home search, worrying more about the color of the paint the current owners applied rather than the structural aspects of the house, provides a false sense of superiority for established veterans of the real world.
The core of the San Fernando Valley will be treated to its own version of the show, but with a political twist. Incumbent Members of Congress Howard Berman and Brad Sherman will go head-to-head in the Democratic Primary for the newly drawn 30th District.
Berman has served in Congress since 1983; Sherman since 1997. Yet, they are Election Virgins.
Neither one has faced a serious challenge to date. The upcoming contest is a little like an allowance race in the thoroughbred racing world – say, an event for horses who have only won against competition destined for the glue factory.
The early handicapping sheets might say this about the candidates:
Sherman – loves speaking to the public at town halls or other open venues. Conversant on the issues, if not a bit geeky.
Berman – reclusive. While Sherman faces the public regularly, Berman prefers insulated settings. It is worth noting that Berman has never appeared at Neighborhood Council Valley Village, which meets a stone’s throw from his house. Sherman made an appearance at NCVV last night.
There are unknowns about the two: how will they handle questions about the economy and unemployment from voters who are becoming increasingly frustrated?
Certainly, tax reform will be a hot topic. Sherman, who is a CPA and a former member of the State Board of Equalization, may have the edge over Berman, but does anyone in Congress really understand the meaning of tax reform any more than LA’s City Council Members understand pension reform? That’s one issue I would like to discuss individually with the two gentlemen.
This could be the most expensive race in the history of LA politics. Money will not be an issue, although Berman might have the edge in this category with top celebrities hosting gala events on his behalf. Not only will Sherman be running against Berman, he will be facing the Waxman/Berman machine – a partnership that can virtually print its own money and broker deals with the right groups.
For certain, the primary will be the marquee event of Southern California.