CD2 Candidate Forum at L.A. Valley College Nov 30, 2009
CITY OF LOS ANGELES
SPECIAL RUNOFF ELECTION COUNCIL DISTRICT 2
ELECTION NIGHT RESULTS (UNOFFICIAL)
DECEMBER 8, 2009
This was the final and largest forum of all, for Chris Essel and Paul Krekorian who are running for the CD 2 city council seat vacated by Wendy Greuel. Held the Los Angeles Valley College where a couple hundred attended.
The election will be held Tuesday, Dec 8th.
This election has produced a number of firsts as was the case at Valley College. This is the first time that a community college has partnered with neighborhood councils, Greater Valley Glen Council, Valley Village and the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council to produce a city council candidate forum.
Another probable first, without researching chapter and verse, is that this is the most costly special, and possibly a near record for a regular, election in L.A. council history . Over two million dollars combined!
Essel’s campaign, charged Krekorian, has received some $779,000 of independent expenditures primarily from the DWP employees’ union, the IBEW, and the Police Protective League.
Krekorian has received a much smaller amount about $64,000, largely from the Service Employees international Union and The United Firefighters of Los Angeles local union.
Essel jibed Krekorian in saying that if he had done better at the Police Protective League interview he might be the one receiving their endorsement and money. In rebuttal Krekorian quoted from the consolation letter he received from the PPL saying that they appreciated the work he had done in Sacramento as an Assemblyman for public safety. Krekorian made the point that if public safety was not the issue it had to be “something else”. Krekorian implying, in my mind, that the “something else” had to be considerations the PPL would extract when the time was right.
One has to ask in these harsh economic times with the large city budget deficit that both candidates said will require cut backs in staff and workers, and reduction in city services to L.A.’s residents, why do these labor unions spend so much money championing their candidates? What do they expect to get in return? It is not competence as both candidates are considered capable and main stream in this non-partisan race, although the city’s Republican elected officers are lining up behind Essel, while Krekorian has been endorsed by the Democratic Party
Both candidates said they would not recuse, that is remove themselves from voting on issues that involved a supporter of their campaigns. Only when they had a personal stake in the outcome would they do so.
Another first was Essel talking a bit publicly about her family. Her father sold insurance and her mom taught piano she said. She said she was lucky to get into the entertainment business, albeit as an accounting clerk in the late ‘70s just when the industry was starting to move.
There were a myriad of questions thrown at the candidates from, What are your three goals for the communities of Sherman Oaks, Greater Valley Glen and Valley Village, to Do you support appeal or modification to Proposition 13. Essel said no, Krekorian made the case after the current economic storm has passed to revisit the issue. He said that L.A’s homeowners pay to big a share of property taxes. Corporate land owners don’t have the turnover that homeowners do and as that is the time the property is re-assessed as a consequence Corporations pay too little in property taxes.
The budget got is share of angst and discussion when the candidates were asked what the deficit would be next year and how would you close it. Krekorian said the deficit will reach $1Billion by 2013. They both realize you can't raise taxes enough, will have to cut services and work with the unions. Essel said budget deficit should be $400M next year. Go after the ones, she said, that don’t that don’t pay their share of city taxes, but don’t change the tax laws in midstream as happened to businesses in the past.
Both want to stop the DWP transfer to general fund, with Essel saying may need charter reform to stop it. Krekorian thinks the transfer may be illegal, although municipalities’ right to do so has been upheld in the courts for just such transfers in the past.
They want know why all the money has not been used to fix the infrastructure that is badly deteriorating, what with the massive water line ruptures which has been in the news lately. Both again stated their support for an independent Rate Payers advocate or
Inspector General. that should not be part of the city hall crowd such as the ones that appoints the DWP Board of Commissioners. Both agreed that the RPA must be truly independent and represent the people of L.A. and RPA candidates should be vetted by neighborhood councils as well as favoring more power to neighborhood councils and more resources as well. So that information is more easily available, no reinventing the wheel.
Rent Stabilization, SB 1818, independence for labor unions, Special Order 40 should arrests be based solely on immigration status, pot shops, L.A Zoo, and Digital Billboards and other issues were all discussed in some detail.
Would you support the current mayor if he ran for another office was another question as well as several other quirky and humorous ones.