Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Last Word on Gordon Turner

I started this idea a few weeks ago to do an in-depth analysis of everyone who ran for Mayor of Los Angeles.
I started with the first-place finisher and the recently re-elected Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa.
Then, I moved on to Walter Moore. In the interest of logic and predictability, I will now offer my opinions on third place finisher Gordon Turner.

I did a decent amount of research into all my opponents who were running for Mayor, as I wanted to be prepared in case there were debates. Gordon Turner was the most frustrating and puzzling of them all. Most of the other candidates had extensive videos or news coverage in the media. Gordon Turner was a total phantom. Very few people had heard of him. As of about 80 days before the election, he had almost no web presence!!

Google searches returned very little information. I actually had to call the City Clerk and ask them what his story was...why he didn't appear at any events... did he seem serious in his attempt at office..etc...etc..?
Aside from a physical description of what he looked like, they told me they didn't know much about him, either.

From information available on the internet, it seems that Gordon Turner spends a lot of his time on the issues confronting homeless people in Downtown Los Angeles.

Turner eventually got a halfway decent website up and running, but it was really late in the campaign. He failed to show up at dozens and dozens of events that all candidates were invited to attend. The only time I ever saw him was at the Senior Center event on La Cienega... the one where Zuma Dogg was taken away by police after a complaint from Craig Rubin.

I was actually somewhat impressed by Gordon Turner. He did a pretty good job of speaking at the forum.
I realized that if he had had raised more money, he could have been quite a competitive candidate.

One of the things I liked about him was that he was really well spoken and it seemed like he had rehearsed his answers for the forum. Almost no verbal stumbles or slip ups. He seemed to have very well thought out and crafted stands on the issues. He was respectful when addressing the Mayor and the lack of satisfactory progress on various issues by the Mayors Office. He offered some plausible alternatives.

He evidently impressed Walter Moore also, because when asked later in the forum about who they could support if not choosing themselves, Walter chose Gordon Turner. Even though Walter hadn't met Gordon Turner hardly at all before this forum and didn't know him very well, he still gave a ringing endorsement. I guess it was just the lawyer in Walter that couldn't resist supporting another lawyer. (By the way, I didn't like this answer from Walter, as just a week or two before he had chosen David Hernandez when asked the same question at the CBS Radford Studios forum held by the Daily News and Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils. It showed inconsistency in Walter.)

There were several things to like about Gordon Turner, but one thing I really didn't like. Turner seemed to be a bit of a bandwagon jumper. At the start of the forum, the LAPD had arrived and taken Zuma Dogg away because Craig Rubin had filed a complaint stating that Zuma Dogg had threatened him.

(I have stated before that I don't know what was said between the two parties, but I don't think Craig Rubin handled it very professionally. All the candidates except for the Mayor had participated in several forums already, and it seemed unlikely to me that Zuma Dogg -- after being perfectly civil and sociable at the other forums --  was suddenly going to go crazy and attack anyone. However, Craig Rubin has the right to protect himself if he felt his personal safety was threatened. I just didn't think it was.)

It was a very odd event at a political function to have one candidate for Mayor to call the police and have one of the other candidates taken away. It kind of rattled the room and started the function off on a very poor note. I was upset about it because I felt it made all the candidates look bad, and I was certain that it would be one of the top stories on the news that night...and sure enough, it was.

Near the end of the forum, some of the candidates started launching into what sounded to me like a scolding session. Many of them criticized Zuma Dogg and characterized his comments as "threats" ...even though none of them except for Craig Rubin had actually heard them. Gordon Turner seemed to jump on the bandwagon and make some general comments about the situation. I really didn't like that about him. Here he was choosing sides with one man against another when he didn't know either of them and didn't know if the stated facts were actually correct. One would think as a lawyer he would have shown better judgement. ( I declined to make any comment on the situation or to choose sides.)

However, overall I would give Gordon Turner pretty high marks as a political candidate. He seems to have the skills to be competitive as a politician, but not the organization. I still wonder why he skipped so many scheduled events.

It didn't seem to hurt him in the election, though. He finished in third place and got over 17,000 people to vote for him . I knew that he would do well in the election. In my pre-race analysis of the election, I looked at the ballot and realized that Gordon Turner, who was listed as "Deputy City Attorney", was the only one besides Villaraigosa who could say that he already worked for the City. Being that he held this position, many voters could assume that he could be trusted, and voted for him as an alternative to Mayor Villaraigosa. I am pretty sure that at least half of the people who voted for Turner  didn't even know who he was and didn't know anything about him.

I honestly felt that with his occupational listing, Gordon Turner didn't have to campaign one bit and would automatically finish near the top of the pack. A great advantage for him. He got the most amount of votes for a candidate that spent almost no money on his campaign. Third place in the Mayoral election for a man who was previously unknown? Not a bad result.

I think he positioned himself well for a future run at political office.

I congratulate him and wish him well in his future attempts.