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Progressive Latino wins first round elections for LA mayor

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2005 04:01 pm
Antonio Villaraigosa is in the lead in the results of today's LA elections for mayor, with 33,1% of the vote. Villaraigosa was described by TNR in a recent, interesting article on the elections, as:

Quote:
a former Assembly Speaker and charismatic union organizer, [who] is wildly popular with the labor rank and file. He is also beloved by the city's predominately left-wing media, including the influential LA Weekly, which sees him as ushering in a new "progressive" epoch based on the marriage of left-labor politics and advocacy for the city's Latino residents. [..] If they face Villaraigosa [..] in the run-off, Hahn's savvy advisors can be expected to use his long-time associations with the ACLU, Latino nationalist groups, and the radical fringe of the Democratic Party to paint him as a devotee of the far left.


Unsurprisingly, and as their word choice illustrates, TNR is no fan of the man - but their description was enough to get me rooting for the man. In its turn, TNR wrote hopefully about Robert Hertzberg, "the best hope for urban reform", who:

Quote:
has tried to appeal to the center-right base that elected Richard Riordan in 1993 and 1997. Hertzberg is also a Jew married to a Latina, not a bad combination for a city where those two groups amount to almost half of voters. Riordan has already endorsed Hertzberg, as has Assemblyman Keith Richman, the most important elected Republican from Los Angeles in the state legislature. [..] Hertzberg's big ace in the hole may be his home base, the San Fernando Valley, a middle-class suburban enclave that normally delivers more than two out of every five votes in the first round of voting. Hertzberg, who is running on a platform of government efficiency and breaking up the dysfunctional school district, appeals directly to these voters.

But, unfortunately for them, Hertzberg isn't even making it into the second round; with just 22,2% of the vote, he was beaten out of the run-off by incumbent mayor James Hahn, who got 23,7%.

Hahn's weak performance is possibly due to the "looming corruption scandals" and the sluggish economy, which he provided with little incentive in his term. Having spent "roughly three-quarters of all new revenues [..] on pay raises for city workers" instead, however, Hahn is strongly supported by the unions and in particular County Federation of Labor head Miguel Contreras, "the closest thing L.A. has to an East Coast-style political boss". The one other thing he can boast of about his term is the further lowering of crime rates, not unimportant in a city that Peter Jennings in 1992 still compared to Bosnia.

All that from the one TNR article, I know; but still, interesting topic, and perhaps others among you can tell more!
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2005 04:32 pm
I hope Arnold can help sway this election. The last thing we need is a progressive (read, liberal commie) in charge in L.A. As if it isn't bad enough in San Francisco.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2005 04:35 pm
Summarising from the LA Times' lead story, Villaraigosa, Hahn in Runoff; Hertzberg Concedes
Quote:


Parks is Bernard Parks, the Afro-American police chief who was ousted by Hahn in 2002. His run garnered 13% of the vote, causing "a collapse in Hahn's support among African Americans", who had constituted "his most loyal voting bloc in 2001": "Hahn inherited the loyalty of many black voters from his late father, longtime county Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, who represented South L.A. for decades. But many felt deeply betrayed by the mayor's move the following year to oust Parks as police chief."

In the Valley, where the voters "had overwhelmingly supported him in the 2001 runoff", Hahn did badly mostly because of the battle over the Valley's proposed secession. Regarding the "slick and expensive campaign" Hahn mounted against it, TNR refers to "the orgy of fundraising used to defeat secession" and specifically the "pattern of alleged 'pay to play' in the Hahn administration--basically, give us money to stop secession if you want to do business with the city", which is at the basis of the corruption investigations. Bitterness remaining, "former Valley secessionists are now arguably the strongest, most cohesive, anti-Hahn voting bloc".

Back to the LAT story, it still notes on Hertzberg's run that he was "widely seen as a pro-business moderate" and "in the mayor's race, [..] positioned himself as the most Republican-leaning candidate":

Quote:
To that end, he played up his friendship and political alliance with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican. Hertzberg also kept tightly focused on a campaign agenda designed to appeal to Republicans, such as his vow to break apart the Los Angeles Unified School District and hire 3,000 police officers without raising taxes.

In the campaign's final stretch, Schwarzenegger appeared with Hertzberg to support the candidate's school district breakup proposal. And former Mayor Richard Riordan, the governor's education secretary, campaigned frequently with Hertzberg, including a joint appearance Tuesday.

Part of Hertzberg's campaign strategy was to replicate much of the coalition that elected Riordan mayor in 1993, with appeals to Valley, Jewish, Republican, conservative and moderate white voters.

Without sufficient success, as it turns out.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2005 04:37 pm
Looks like Ahnold's preferred candidate is already out of the race, cjhsa. Its the "liberal commie" versus the corrupt "machine" bureaucrat now ;-)
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2005 04:38 pm
Villaraigosa wants to take away guns from law abiding citizens and let the illegal aliens unionize. What a joke.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2005 05:15 pm
I wonder how it will go.

On the one hand, you would expect Hahn, as an old-fashioned, bland Democrat, to pick up most of Hertzberg's voters when the alternative is a Latino leftist.

But on the other hand, most of the accounts seem to focus on voters who want "change" or "a fresh face" after Hahn's bleary first term and lack of results. And a lot of Hertzberg's voters seem mostly angry about the air of corruption around Hahn - which would suggest they might now vote for the other anti-Hahn, the untainted Villaraigosa.

And what about the African-American voters - will they revert to their loyalty to Hahn or do they feel betrayed enough to vote against him? Or will they just stay at home? Same goes for Valley voters, really.

In a way, if Villaraigosa does win, it's actually in line with the Ahnold victory. Not ideologically, of course, but in that it would continue the trend of instinctive, insurrectionist voting. Hahn does kinda sound a bit like Gray Davis.

Talking Davis, it might be interesting, with the question of what Parks' voters will do in mind, to remember how he fared. His comfortable win in '98 came courtesy of an electorate that was 13% black. In 2002, the black share of the electorate declined to 4 percent - and Davis barely scraped in. They just stayed home.

That tidbit is from an old thread of BBB's on the recall election, which also has this on the state's Latino voters:

Quote:
In a major poll conducted last fall by the Pew Hispanic Center, Latinos parted company from both whites and blacks in favoring (by a 55 percent to 38 percent margin) a bigger government that taxes more to provide a high level of services over a smaller government that taxes less and provides fewer services. Even Latino Republicans backed a high-taxing big government. Similarly, we know from exit polling on a 1998 ballot measure that California Latinos are the most staunchly pro-union group in the California electorate (slightly more so, in fact, than union members themselves).

More grit to the mill of Villaraigosa's campaign. With the unpopular Hahn on the ticket, turnout might be low - in which case Latino enthusiasm about Villaraigosa will count double.

Hey, who knows? In 2001, Villaraigosa got as much as 46% against Hahn's 54% (election map here).
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2005 06:29 pm
In a follow-up article, Number Theory, TNR is gloomily grieving Hertzberg's defeat in an article that focuses on demograpic change:

Quote:
Hertzberg ran as the candidate of the city's middle class, tailoring his appeal largely to the San Fernando Valley, the city's most suburbanized area. He focused on issues like traffic, taxes, police protection, business growth, and dysfunctional schools--topics that are the chief concerns of middle-class homeowners. Yesterday Hertzberg won the bulk of these voters. The problem? Middle-class residents here may no longer have large enough ranks to elect one of their own to citywide office. This may have turned the famously energetic Hertzberg into the little engine that could not climb the demographic hill. Whatever the merits of the candidates in this particular election, one thing is clear: The underlying demographic factors that doomed Hertzberg's campaign spell bad news for Los Angeles, and for the American city in general.


The LA Times, in Runoff Will Be Tougher, weighs the money question and union support:

Quote:
Hahn already has showcased his fundraising prowess, outpacing Villaraigosa in the first round of the race. He also neutralized the support his opponent previously enjoyed from organized labor and the Democratic Party, which poured millions of dollars and hundreds of volunteers into the effort to elect Villaraigosa in 2001. This time, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, endorsed the mayor, and local Democrats were too divided to back one candidate.

But Villaraigosa, a former labor organizer who remains popular with the rank-and-file, won the backing of more than four in 10 union members on Tuesday, outstripping the fifth who voted for Hahn.


But - before we get our hopes up all too high - is Villaraigosa really a Progressive - or is that just what Hahn tried to make him out to be last time around?

Quote:
After running a relatively low-key campaign in the first round, Villaraigosa [..] now faces the prospect of a May 17 rematch with his first adversary, Mayor James K. Hahn, or a bid against a former friend, Sherman Oaks attorney Bob Hertzberg. Both have already shown themselves to be tough campaigners who are willing to brawl.

Villaraigosa took a different tack in the round ending Tuesday, casting himself as the "unity" candidate and trying to stay above the fray while his opponents quarreled. His languid approach was in sharp contrast to the ebullient tenor of 2001, when Villaraigosa would have become the city's first Latino mayor in modern times.

"Antonio believes the reason he lost last time is because he allowed himself to get tagged as too liberal, too beholden to labor, too Latino," said Republican strategist Allan Hoffenblum, who is not involved in the race. "My gut feeling is that he didn't want to get pointed too far to the left and so he just sat on his lead, waiting to come up for a game plan for the Super Bowl."

But in the runoff, Villaraigosa is confronted with the challenge he faced in 2001: piecing together a multiethnic coalition in the tradition of the late Mayor Tom Bradley, the city's first black mayor, who won office in 1973 with the backing of African Americans, liberal voters and Jews, along with a narrow majority of Latinos.

Pulling together such disparate groups is a difficult task. If he seeks to energize Latinos about the prospect of a historic first, Villaraigosa could alarm other voters who are wary of the group's growing political clout, analysts said. But shying away from the ethnic pride associated with his bid could deflate excitement among that important constituency.

[..] At first blush, Villaraigosa's strategy appears to have positioned him well. [He] had by far the most positive image of all the candidates, with three-quarters of the electorate viewing him in a favorable light, according to The Times' [exit poll].

But the councilman must now deepen his support in a two-man race against an opponent who will have an edge among a large swath of voters. To do so, he has to hone a sharper message in the second half of the race, political analysts said.

"I don't think the public could name what Villaraigosa stands for," said UCLA political science professor Frank Gilliam.

Four years ago, Villaraigosa's efforts to depict himself as a centrist coalition-builder were stymied when Hahn aggressively portrayed him as a risky liberal who was soft on crime.


And from the LAT's editorial, Hertzberg vs. Villaraigosa:

Quote:
He got his start as a teachers union organizer, but it would be a mistake to view him solely as the liberal, pro-union candidate. In the Assembly, he impressed many (and disappointed a few of his followers) with his skill at bringing two sides together. He is known best as a gifted coalition builder, as when he stepped in when Hahn didn't to help halt the 2003 transit strike.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2005 07:39 pm
I'm a sucker for local politics, somehow - it's of a more human scale than the hype-driven, mediatized propaganda that determines nation-wide races in a country as large as the States.

So here's another head-up on good news in LA's elections:

Quote:
Another controversial development, however, appeared to be losing Tuesday night in Redondo Beach. Incomplete results showed voters favoring a plan to turn a prime 76-acre tract next to the city's marina into a park rather than allow it to be used for a large mixed-use project.

The advisory measure, Proposition J, asked voters to choose between two proposals. With 10 of 12 precincts counted and none of the absentee votes, the park proposal received 2,461 votes and the commercial project received 1,871.

Under the first scenario, the land would become Heart Park, including wetlands, walking trails, athletic fields and an amphitheater. The other plan calls for the development of Village Park, a large mixed-use project with 350 homes, a 400-room hotel, 100,000 square feet of commercial space, a 16-acre park, a lake and canals.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2005 08:36 pm
I want to come back to this, but quickly, I worked in the Valley for 3 years, and came away convinced that the Latinos in the area will be a force of some kind in the near future. They have so much going on and face so much real discrimination on a day-to-day basis, seemed like a really potent combination of cause, passion, and community. Just waiting for someone to come out of all of that and harness it.

That said, there is a lot of black--> Latino discrimination, too, and I dunno what's going to happen with that. To generalize hugely (though based on many interactions I saw first-hand and discussions I had on the subject) blacks seem to see Latinos as wannabes trying to steal their civil rights/ discrimination thunder, while Latinos see blacks as becoming lazy and entitled and almost as much "The Man" as whites.
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Wildflower63
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Mar, 2005 11:11 pm
I got too impulsive! I read the topic. What part of anything coming from California should ever be taken seriously? I say that they should be blasted at the fault line, so they can have two beaches. I think we should consider California another Purto Rico and don't give them the right to vote. Let them run their own screwed up ways. I was born in SanDeigo, so no bias intended.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2005 11:17 am
a snippet from the LA Downtown News re the mayoral race
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Dookiestix
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2005 12:24 pm
Why should anyone take cjhsa or Wildflower63 seriously with that kind of rhetoric?

From what I've read regarding the election, it's been pretty much a dead heat, and very little differences between the candidates other than perhaps their cultural heritage.

I think it would be great to have an Hispanic leader, but sozobe brings up a good point regarding racial discord between Latinos and African Americans.

Let's hope that such a divide and discord can be rectified with a unifying leader for Los Angeles.

Perhaps cjhsa can explain how our "guns" will be taken away from Los Angelenos? He must know, right? :wink:
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DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2005 07:22 pm
cjhsa wrote:
Villaraigosa wants to take away guns from law abiding citizens and let the illegal aliens unionize. What a joke.


don't like the illegal alien thing either, but if you lived down here, you'd be looking to separate the dawgs from their gatts too. we've got some serious sociopaths roamin' the streets down here and they don't give a damn about taking your life. i speak from experience about this.

everyone's a law abiding citizen until they get caught being otherwise.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2005 08:03 pm
Listening here; I'm your basic Venice person, wherever I may live after I left Venice. Venice encompassed many worlds, including thugs with gatts and actors with money; er, sometimes the same, eh? To explain, Venice is part of LA, is a long time hotbed of beat poets, hippies, general ne'er do wells, screenwriters, architects, gangs.

I have no opinion on Villaraigosa, haven't paid enough attention since I left. A old neighbor who has, voted for him with fingers crossed for luck re him. I haven't asked my ex about it and should, he is still somewhat involved in local politics/issues
(ex and I keep in touch).
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DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Mar, 2005 09:04 pm
nimh wrote:
Looks like Ahnold's preferred candidate is already out of the race, cjhsa. Its the "liberal commie" versus the corrupt "machine" bureaucrat now ;-)


and with any luck, ahnoldt will suffer the same fate on his own account in the the next gubernatorial race, nimh.

i voted against the recall, but figured maybe the "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" dude would get some good things done. so far, we really haven't seen much.

i think maybe warren beatty got it right. " a schwarzenegger republican is just a bush republican calling himself a schwarzenegger republican".

oh well.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 May, 2005 03:46 pm
Villaraigosa Sweeps Past Hahn in Historic Victory
Becomes the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles since 1872
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 May, 2005 03:47 pm
Cool!
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 May, 2005 03:53 pm
Welcome to Mexifornia. Gringo go home.

http://worldnetdaily.com/images2/mexicobillboard.jpg
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DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 May, 2005 04:37 pm
it was reporeted that only about 1/3 of the registered actually bothered to vote. no matter who won, that is pathetic.

since we live in glendale, we are ineligible for la city voting. but i wish riordan had stuck around he was kind of okay. and worked for $1 a year. literally. and that only because the mayor is barred by law from holding office without being paid.

i'd heard both good and bad about villaragosa. but riordan came out with favorable comments, so maybe the guy will do a good job. hahn just wasn't gettin' stuff done.

what i'd really like to see is l.a. finally have a mayor with some personality that can sorta make the place feel like a city (like nyc, sf, chicago etc), instead of the world's largest suburb.
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 May, 2005 04:48 pm
cjhsa wrote:
I hope Arnold can help sway this election. The last thing we need is a progressive (read, liberal commie) in charge in L.A. As if it isn't bad enough in San Francisco.


Looks like you lose, comrade...
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