Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Recalling Villaraigosa

In the last three months since the Mayoral election, I have been approached by several people who have suggested that I lead a recall action against Antonio Villaraigosa. They have expressed their detailed complaints against him, most of which come as no surprise to me, because I ran against Villaraigosa myself based on some of these very similar issues.

I turned down these requests to be at the forefront of a recall action for several reasons. I didn't think...and I still don't think ... that it is my place to be leading the recall action. I did what I could do against a terrible leader in this city. I ran against him in the election and asked people to vote him out and to vote me in. Unfortunately, I didn't have the millions of dollars necessary to run a winning campaign. On election day, over 90% of the voters who walked into the polling stations had never heard of me. For the most part, they hadn't heard of any of the other candidates, either. (All apologies to Walter Moore, who did raise some money, but still only had 10% of what the Mayor could spend.)

Most voters in Los Angeles showed their displeasure with Villaraigosa by refusing to participate in the election. Even though the Presidential election in November of 2008 had shown record levels of voter interest and participation, the Mayoral election in March 2009 was pretty much the polar opposite. Dispirited and disenfranchised by his terrible leadership, 83% of the voters in Los Angeles chose not to participate in the March election and did not bother to go vote. The media was partially to blame for this, as they heralded their trumpets about how majestic and unbeatable the Mayor was. Columnist after columnist preached from the liberal rags about how Villaraigosa would dominate the election. When two geniuses on the editorial board of the LA Times told me that they thought Mayor Villaraigosa would get 70 to 80% of the vote, I suggested to them that they needed to reduce their intake of marijuana.

Of the 17% who actually showed up on election day, the Mayor carried the city by winning 55% of those votes.
55% of 17% works out to about 9% of the registered voters. So...our magnificent Mayor, with his millions of dollars of campaign money...and his unprecedented access to media coverage...and his fawning, disgraceful coverage by the biased left-wing liberal media...the best he could do was to get 9% of the registered voters to get out and support his re-election. Considering the fact that many of the votes for the Mayor came from City employees and union members who, in one way or another, depend on him for a paycheck, the 9% of the vote begins to look even less impressive. His four years of being in charge of the City clearly did not impress many here in Los Angeles.

I felt the election was a gross perversion of democracy. I blame this on two people. Mayor Villaraigosa and his genius hatchet man, Ace Smith. It was unprecedented what happened in the Mayoral campaign here in Los Angeles in March of 2009. Because the Mayor was facing opponents who had very little or no money to spend on their campaign, he and Ace Smith decided that they wouldn't have to run an actual campaign. They figured...the less coverage, the better. Villaraigosa didn't even open a campaign office until about one month before the election. He refused to appear at any event with any of the other candidates, thereby effectively denying us any media coverage. I think this is unprecedented in American history, where the leader of one of America's largest cities could just refuse to appear with the other candidates for his office. You didn't see James Hahn pull that type of bullshit when Villaraigosa wanted to take his job away from him in 2005. Nope, James Hahn acted like a a responsible professional, and he gladly answered questions at various forums against his opponents in the 2005 Mayoral election.

Villaraigosa -- who has to hide from voters now -- did not offer his opponents this opportunity because he lacks class and dignity. He lost tens of thousands of votes by the way he treated the voters here. He refused to appear at hundreds of events that all the candidates had been invited to attend. The other candidates and I became very accustomed to hearing upset forum speakers and organizers talking about how the one very important candidate had refused their invitation and would not be answering questions today. It came to be a standard speech that the other candidates and I would be able to memorize by the end of the campaign.

So, the Mayor who only does his job 11% of the time got 9% of the registered voters to vote for him.
Does this sound like someone who should be in charge of the second largest city in America?

I don't think so. As of right now I am not convinced there is enough of a passion for a recall action against the Mayor. Look at how disinterested voters were in the election. However, if someone wants to lead the charge, I am willing to participate in the action. I honestly think the City cannot afford four more years of Antonio in charge. He has the City paying his daughter 68K a year to be some type of "field representative" even though she has no college degree and no qualifications. He gives Councilman Alarcon's daughter a fancy job on the Taxicab Commission. Sure...that's right..because she's an expert on the taxicab business. I guess.

And people wonder why the city is 500 million or maybe even a billion dollars in the red.