Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa faces his biggest sales presentation yet on March 3, 2009. The mayoral election will determine if Villaraigosa goes on to a second term as mayor of Los Angeles – a job he snagged from James Hahn in 2005 – or if it is time to start packing.
The Los Angeles mayor, his city council, and by extension city hall, have come under virtually continuous fire from a number of outspoken media outlets. Villaraigosa has made criticism easy for his detractors: he has a penchant for backing the wrong cause – he championed Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama – and he shows a seemingly unerring instinct for appearing in front of rolling cameras for self promotion.
His proclivity for ad hoc press conferences and photo opps has led to a scathing bit of criticism that was levied against the mayor of Los Angeles by the LA Weekly, which refers to him as the “All About Me Mayor,” and which proves by painstaking reconstruction of a typical Villaraigosa workweek, that the mayor only spends about 11% of his time on the clock actually working on Los Angeles city business.
So who is taking on Antonio Villaraigosa on March 9th? Who wants to be the next Los Angeles Mayor, and believes he has what it takes to make it happen?
According to the L.A. city clerk, there are currently nine contestants in addition to incumbent Mayor Villaraigosa: Deputy City Attorney Gordon Turner, Walter Moore, Esq., legal assistant Carlos Alvarez, entertainer Phil Jennerjahn, union worker James Harris, community activist and frequent talk radio caller David “Zuma Dogg” Saltsburg, contractor and whistleblower Bruce Darian, pastor Craig Rubin, and community leader David Hernandez.
This motley crew has taken on the dubious task of toppling Villaraigosa in an election that could not be quieter and harder to find information on, if you tried.
Gordon Turner suggests that Mayor Villaraigosa fails to stay in step with the ambitious promises he made; his campaign focuses on the economy, education, transportation, homelessness and quality of life. He was a part of Michael Moore’s hospital dumping documentary and is a homeless population advocate.
Walter Moore makes a compelling case for L.A. becoming a third world dump. He plans on beefing up police presence in gang infested areas, making neighborhoods safe, providing some much needed cleanup in city hall, stopping the sanctuary city policies, and stopping government waste. An independent by definition, he drafted Jamiel’s Law, which was virtually immediately buried by city hall.
Carlos Alvarez is a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. He vows to stop gentrification and instead will build affordable housing for everyone, raise the Los Angeles minimum wage to $15/hr, and offer free education – including college – for everyone. He will make Los Angeles a sanctuary city that offers full rights to illegal and legal immigrants. Free abortion on demand will be given to everyone and the voting age is to be lowered to 16.
Phil Jennerjahn is a conservative who promises a serious crackdown on illegal immigration. He is also thinking of trimming down city hall by eliminating some redundant positions which are currently siphoning quite a bit of money from the pockets of taxpayers.
James Harris is identified as a union member and meat packer. He is a member of the Socialist Workers Party and ran for the job in 1985, when he garnered 730 votes. It is unclear what his platform really is, but it does appear that he is a perennial entrant in elections.
David “Zuma Dogg” Saltsburg is perhaps the most colorful runner for the office of Los Angeles mayor. Rapper, former street vendor, and full time thorn in the side of Villaraigosa, you have to admire the sheer energy of this public access television faithful who is also a frequent caller to Los Angeles talk radio. He wants to end corruption and wastefulness in city hall, but aside from that, he is a bit fuzzy on the details.
Bruce Darian is a member of the Federalist Party. He seeks to gainfully employ non violent prisoners for infrastructure project, clean up the environment, and he also wants to work with local artists to beautify the city. He will work on eradicating homelessness, gang violence, and revamping the schools.
Craig Rubin pastors the Family Church, and yes, he is a marijuana legalization advocate. He promises a return to free speech, progress in the fight to legalize Mary Jane, and also religious freedom.
David Hernandez is a political activist who has already made a substantial mark on the Los Angeles political landscape. He has thus far been unsuccessful in obtaining an office, but his platform is solid: he wants to stand for transparency of tax spending, accountability of revenues entrusted to the city, and empowerment for those in city government who want to do a better job.
It is this group of political activists that is taking on the well oiled political machinery of Antonio Villaraigosa.
http://www.lacity.org/mayor/index.htm; http://www.laweekly.com/2008-09-11/news/the-all-about-me-mayor; http://cityclerk.lacity.org/election/Candidates/Certified_list_of_Candidates.pdf; http://electgordonturner.com/; http://web.mac.com/waltermoore/WalterMooreForMayor/Home.html; http://www.pslweb.org/site/PageServer?pagename=votepsl_home; http://www.philjennerjahn.com/voter_guide.php; http://www.ourcampaigns.com/CandidateDetail.html?CandidateID=1013; http://zumatimes.com/; http://www.brucedarian.com/brucedarian/; http://craigx4mayor.org/; http://www.dave4la.com/