The People have spoken, the votes are counted, Los Angeles will have a new Mayor, City Attorney and Controller. It is not just the successful candidate who wins, others are winners for a variety of reasons. Similarly for the losers, so the Los Angeles Dragnet now takes a look at all the winners and losers.
MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES
Eric Garcetti – fought an intelligent and thoughtful campaign, perhaps mirroring the candidate himself. His radio ad was a masterpiece, reminding Los Angelenos of simpler times with family rides in wood-sided Chevys. It was highly effective, perhaps more so that tv ads in this low turnout election.
Los Angelenos are entitled to have high expectations from Garcetti, but with the low bar set by outgoing Mayor Villariagosa, few doubt that Garcetti will excel. Let’s just see how a Rhodes Scholar Navy Reserve Officer does when compared to a six-time Bar Exam failure alleged former gang member.
Mayor Sam’s Michael Higby – made the right call for the best of the left.
Kevin James – former Mayoral candidate who came third in the primary, stalked by Wendy Gruel for endorsement, spurned pressure from hard core Republicans, and endorsed Garcetti.
LA Times – picked the winner.
Gil & Sukey Garcetti -two parents who cannot be prouder of their son. Rightly so.
Wendy Greuel – seemed to have everything a candidate could want going into the runoff, including vast wads of organized labor support and a clear enthusiasm for the job. Perhaps that enthusiasm led to poor choices, such as being seen as too closely aligned to the DWP and its union, and needlessly trashing Kevin James only to end up with egg on her face with Textgate.
Greuel will likely pick herself up and find another spot in politics, perhaps as early as 2014 in the race to replace seats vacated by retiring members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Greuel has certainly proven that she can raise a ton of money and the margin of her loss was not so great as to label her a loser.
John Shallman – the finger of blame is bound to be pointed at the campaign strategist. Was the campaign too negative and too concentrated on tv?
Mayor Villaraigosa – didn’t endorse either Garcetti or Greuel, perhaps because that endorsement was not wanted by either candidate. The Mayor of Failure crater-bombed with the simple task of chairing the DNC, in the process self-detonating any hope of an appointment in the Obama administration. The LA Weekly has speculated that he will join the ranks of LA’s jobless and homeless on July 1.
DWP union IBEW – spent a ton of cash on Greuel, likely torpedoed Greuel by the revelation that DWP salaries soared 15% in the past five years on the backs of hardworking Los Angelenos.
Mayor Sam’s ‘Red Spot’ – pimped Greuel relentlessly.
Mike Feuer – narrowly lost out to Rocky Delgadillo in 2001, but proved he was the comeback kid on May 21, 2013, beating the failed incumbent by an historic margin. If the Mayoral race was negative, the City Attorney race was toxic with the incumbent firing off offensive mailers like confetti and filing ethics complaints like subpoenas from a power-crazed reincarnation of Joe McCarthy. Feuer held his own, responding where needed, but mostly staying positive.
Feuer is smart and he’ll need to be to cope with the many messes left behind by the incumbent, but judging by the raised spirits in the office following the election, he can count on a great team to provide professional legal services rather than headline-grabbing publicity stunts as the office refocuses on being the great law firm it once was.
John Shallman – put together an awesome campaign team for Feuer, with Dave Jacobson, Alexander Ponder and Nicole doing the heavy lifting. Despite being armed with a nuclear arsenal of damaging ammunition to blast the incumbent out of office, they used it wisely only when needed, and stayed ‘on message’ to convince voters that their candidate was the problem-solver LA needed.
Paul Krekorian – stayed on fence the until late in the race, but the popular councilmember’s late endorsement came at just the right time.
Jackie Lacey – LA’s newly elected District Attorney made her first political endorsement and picked the winner.
Greg Smith – the third placed finisher in the primary, ran a stellar campaign to ‘rob’ Trutanich of votes that could have closed the 14 point margin of loss Trutanich suffered. Wisely endorsed Feuer after the primary and likely caused many if not most of the 18% who voted for him to vote for Feuer.
Joseph Mailander – at one time known only as the mysterious blogger ‘Mulholland Terrace,’ he was the first to brand the outgoing incumbent as ‘Carmen the Clown.’ It earned him threats of legal action from the thin-skinned incumbent, and a place at the winners’ table for inspiring others to stand up to the incumbent and his thuggish regime.
Gene Maddaus – LA Weekly’s relentless reporter captured the incumbent pounding his fist on the table top at Ciro’s Mexican restaurant screaming ‘I am not a thug!’ followed by the priceless comment from Chief Deputy Bill Carter ‘Ya know, Nuch is really an intellectual…’ You cannot make this stuff up. Maddaus went on to pen two riotously entertaining front page stories about the ‘intellectual’ incumbent; ‘Carmen the Barbarian’ just before the DA primary, and ‘Carmen was knocked down, can he get up?’ just before the City Attorney runoff, when the question was resoundingly answered.
Maeve Reston – LA Times reporter assigned to the 2009 campaign, fell out of favor with the incumbent for not drinking the Koolaide. Was interviewing the incumbent when infamous ‘High Five for Dead Baby’ photo was taken and stoically refused to withdraw the report.
Michael Linder – Award winning radio reporter and tv producer, fell out of favor with the the incumbent for not drinking the Koolaide and reporting early cracks in the facade. Apparently the incumbent flexed his muscles with Linder’s bosses and his position was ‘downsized’ to ‘the Nuch’s’ delight. Linder nevertheless returned to the airwaves last year following Trutanich’s DA campaign disaster. All entirely coincidental, of course.
Doug McIntyre – KABC’s award winning morning drive-time talkshow host. First to recognize the hypocrisy and demagoguery of the incumbent for breaking his promise to support the Controller’s right to audit programs run by elected officials. Went on to slam the incumbent during his Hindenburg-like DA campaign. Seemingly ‘tuned-up’ towards the end of the Trutanich regime to readmit the incumbent to the studio armed with a fistful of doughnuts to go on air and spout spurious claims to be a success, but the tone in McIntyre’s voice belied a lack of enthusiasm for the interviewee.
Roger M. Grace – Editor/Co-Publisher of the Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise was going to stay on the fence but endorsed Feuer when the flood of Trutanich’s negative and patently false mailers convinced Grace to write, ‘To re-elect Carmen Trutanich as Los Angeles city attorney would be unthinkable. Trutanich—whose candidacy we embraced four years ago—has been a disappointment to many. He’s proved to be a bully, a bloviator, a buffoon. His primary failing is, of course, his inability to stick to the truth.’
LA Times – picked the winner.
LA Daily News – endorsed Greg Smith in the primary, then Mike Feuer in the runoff. Perhaps their greatest victory, however, was their endorsement in the DA primary; ‘Vote A.B.C. – Anyone But Carmen Trutanich!’
John Thomas – did the heavy lifting in Trutanich’s 2009 City Attorney campaign, yet received no recognition for his hard work. Masterminded DA candidate Alan Jackson’s campaign so successfully that Jackson trounced Trutanich into third place. All that with half the money of Trutanich. Managed rival City Attorney candidate Greg Smith’s campaign that ‘robbed’ Trutanich of 18 points that could have made him appear viable in the runoff with Feuer.
Los Angeles Dragnet – Waged a three-year long campaign to reveal the truth about Trutanich, entitled to do the Ickey Shuffle in the end zone. So are a lot of other folks who celebrated on May 21, 2013.
Carmen ‘Nuch’ Trutanich – made history by becoming the first incumbent City Attorney to lose reelection since 1933. The margin of Trutanich’s loss was the largest ever recorded for an incumbent.
Last year Trutanich was already marked with the big red ‘L’ for loser after suffering the most humiliating of defeats in his ill-conceived bid to become District Attorney. In the June 2012 primary, he placed a lowly third to a pair of political novices despite having twice as much money as his opponents and a slew of political endorsements, none the least of which was from Gov. Jerry Brown.
On the eve of his defeat, Trutanich (never one to take responsibility for anything negative) blamed ‘the media’ for his downfall, but shortly afterwards, when faced with a pile of bills from his campaign, he had a bitter falling out with his campaign manager, John Shallman. Trutanich blamed Shallman for failing to make a chicken sandwich out of chicken sh*t, and Shallman blamed Trutanich for failing to raise enough money to beat at least one of the two political unknowns running against him.
The truth lies somewhere in the middle, but perhaps ever so slightly closer to Trutanich – he was unelectable. Long before he violated his promise not to run for DA, Trutanich had already established himself as a bully, thug, liar and a demagogue. Shallman might have advised Trutanich that his best hope of staying in politics was to do the job he promised to do and stay out of the DA race. But Trutanich always knows best, doesn’t listen to any advice that does not massage his narcissistic ego, and in any event had already decided break his ‘pledge to serve’ the moment his former buddy, Steve Cooley, announced his intention to run for Attorney General.
The rest, as they say, is history. Trutanich blames his final downfall on making ‘the Pledge,’ but in that statement he underlines the reason why LA voters rejected him; his mistake wasn’t making the pledge, it was breaking it. Trutanich clearly believes that with enough money, enough lies, he can convince anyone of anything. Trouble is that there isn’t enough money in Los Angeles for that to happen.
Sheriff Lee Baca – to this day nobody fully understands why Baca is so entrenched in his support for Trutanich. He spearheaded the pathetically false ‘Draft Trutanich for DA’ movement, got himself in trouble for breaking the law by endorsing Trutanich in his uniform, and raised a ton of cash for Trutanich – which might also get him in trouble if rumors are correct. Baca should have backed off after the DA campaign belly flopped, but he couldn’t let go. Baca’s association with Trutanich will likely hurt him more than help him, but that is the way it is with for most who have anything to do with Trutanich.
Kevin James – made an intelligent endorsement for Garcetti, but baffled followers by endorsing Trutanich. He may have fallen victim to Trutanich’s ‘Family Guy’ ploy, where Trutanich drags his family members along to supposedly private meetings to make it hard to say ‘No’ to whatever he needs you to do to trash your reputation to try to salvage his.
Dennis Zine – a Trutanich supporter when it suits him, not so much when it does not, like when Zine joined the rest of the City Council in shutting down Trutanich’s attempt to stop AEG from getting digital billboards at LA Live. Zine endorsed Trutanich for DA, and did the same with his City Attorney campaign. Aligning himself with ‘LA’s Biggest Liar Loser’ likely cost Zine any chance of becoming City Controller.
LA’s Best After School Program – promised $100k from Trutanich when he broke his ‘Pledge to Serve.’ Trutanich first tried to welch on the deal claiming it was not legally binding. Eventually shamed into coughing-up a $10k check and a bunch of IOUs from his supporters, promising to pay off the balance over the next few years. Good luck collecting now that Trutanich is gone.
Reuben Garcia – boss of Advanced Cleanup Technologies/Advanced Environmental Group who pumped $66k into an Independent Expenditure for Trutanich under the guise of being the ‘LA Residents for Accountability to Support Carmen Trutanich.’ Seems Garcia was keen on getting the Port of LA to require the use of his emissions-control technology, called AMECS, for shipping terminals and rail projects. So far, port officials have refused to require its use, that seems even less likely now that Trutanich is gone.
Mayor Sam’s ‘Red Spot’ – pimped Trutanich for City Attorney relentlessly, perhaps another victim of the ‘Family Guy’ treatment?
Phil Jennerjahn – 2012 Republican nominee for 28th Congressional District and political blogger, endorsed Trutanich because ‘Nuch is no typical egomaniacal politician.’ You might want to delete that post from your blog Phil…
Ron Galperin: Probably the surprise victor in this election cycle. Enjoyed strong support from the Democrat Party and the Gay and Lesbian community.
Galperin benefited from a slew of endorsements, with the LA Times completing its hat trick of picking Mayor, City Attorney and City Contoller.
Galperin is an ‘ideas’ guy and might not only root out waste in the city, but actually develop some of his ideas into money making programs for the city. One idea is to allow the two city owned asphalt production plants to sell to private contractors. That might even generate enough revenue to pay for filling the potholes that proliferated under outgoing Mayor Villariagosa’s tenure.
Dennis Zine: Former traffic cop and three-term City Councilman, was strongly tipped to win the Controller’s seat with polls showing him ahead of Galperin, but with a vast number of ‘undecided’ voters. Most of the undecideds broke for Garcetti and Feuer, making Zine an unlikely choice for them.
Zine’s endorsement of Trutanich probably also didn’t help anymore than Trutanich’s endorsement of Zine.
Whether Zine will jump on his Harley and ride of into the sunset, or hang around and have another run for a political position remains to be seen. An easy political position for Zine might be the County Assessor’s seat in 2014. However, rumors suggest Carmen Trutanich might have his eyes on that seat too. That would make for an interesting election and be the first time the pair have not endorsed each other…
Happy Memorial Day!