Mary Benson said she wanted to bring jobs to CD 2 and she also wanted sustainable development. She said "Only one of the grassroots candidates can do that."
Joe Essavi revealed that he was an Assyrian-American who had emigrated from Iran because of ethnic cleansing. When it comes to the current situation in City government, he says "Enough is enough". He wants to repeal the DWP rate hikes and also volunteered to cut his salary in half if elected. He also mentioned that he had been endorsed by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich.
Frank Sheftel described the race as "The Machine 3 against the Grassroots 7". He mentioned how his entire life he went to schools located inside CD 2. He talked about his business, The Candy Factory, and said "We are not business friendly in this city."
Pete Sanchez talked about how he had organized the Neighborhood Council Valley Village and served 2 terms as President and how he was now the President of the Valley Village Homeowners Association. "We have to get the budget in order," he said. "I want to see more forecasting and planning."
Tamar Galatzan said "There is nobody fighting for us in City Hall." She talked about how her family has been using less energy at home and paying more. She mentioned how she has been a Criminal Prosecutor and a member of the LAUSD. "We need a fighter with integrity and backbone," she said..."I 'm that person."
QUESTION 1 : CITY INFRASTRUCTURE PROBLEMS
Tamar Galatzan mentioned the embarrassing situation of the fire truck getting stuck in a sinkhole at the water main break. Pete Sanchez said DWP money needs to stop going into the General Fund and that the City needs new power transformers. Frank Sheftel said in his first 30 days in office he would hold town hall meetings to get feedback from the community. Joe Essavi had one of the best quips of the night when he said that "The City Council and the DWP are the sinkholes!" He said the City Council needed to stop the lavish lifestyle spending. Mary Benson said "I was at Command Central trying to get animals evacuated from the Station Fire. We had volunteers getting the animals out."
Kevin James played chicken noises when talking about Chris Essel, who is the only candidate who has refused to agree to come on the show. James says he has heard through unofficial sources that Essel is "playing dumb" and pretending not to know about the forum. Hopefully, she will reverse this position by tomorrow because if she is not in the studio, I think the other candidates will tee off on her for her absence.
QUESTION : NAME SOMETHING YOU WOULD HAVE VOTED AGAINST
This question was a softball and should have been a home run for all the candidates. Incredibly, Pete Sanchez bungled this question badly...he couldn't think of anything and asked to be passed. Tamar Galatzan immediately jumped to the microphone and talked about a very current issue - the living wage ordinance involving workers at LAX. Pete Sanchez compounded his error when they returned to him as he still couldn't name anything. (David Saltsburg probably could have named 500 things...)
Mary Benson criticized "Any decision by the Land Use Committees. They drive me crazy!" Joe Essavi was critical of Prop B and Prop R. He also didn't like the City Council system of default voting "Yes" if the Council Member isn't in their seat to hit the "No" button. Frank Sheftel made fun of the 30 million dollars the City wants to give the Kodak Theater.
QUESTION : WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE FROM YOUR OPPONENTS TO BE YOUR CHIEF OF STAFF?
Joe Essavi said any of the grassroots candidates would be acceptable, but declined to name one. Mary Benson chose Joe Essavi because she liked his tough stances on crime and tagging. Frank Sheftel said he would choose Pete Sanchez because he liked a lot of his answers at the forums. Tamar Galatzan had an amusing response when she said "For some reason the name 'Zuma Dogg' comes to mind." When Kevin James asked if she would really do that..she said "Why not?" Pete Sanchez said he would have to choose Augusto Bisani, because Bisani is his neighbor and lives across the street from him.
Most of the candidates repeated some version of their campaign slogans.
Mary Benson talked about open spaces and animals. Joe Essavi said it was time for a mini-revolution. "I know the issues," he added. He said he also wanted to repeal the DWP hikes. Frank Sheftel warned the voters not to be overly impressed with shiny mailers that arrive on their doorstep. Pete Sanchez claimed that "I am the one who can bring the voice of the community to City Council." Tamar Galatzan repeated her statement that she was fed up with the situation at City Hall. She said "I pay taxes and raise my kids here. There are so many quality of life issues. We need a leader with integrity and backbone."
THE WINNER - TAMAR GALATZAN
As much as I hate to say this, ( because I really like Joe Essavi and Frank Sheftel) Tamar was the big winner tonight. She was confident and aggressive and couldn't wait to answer the questions. She had done her homework and had solid responses to everything. She even shot down Joe Essavi's criticism of her leaving her LAUSD position by pointing out that Joe has run for multiple political offices himself.
Pete Sanchez had the worst showing tonight. If he can't name one thing he would have voted against, why would we want him on City Council..?
Stay tuned to KRLA for tonights part 2 with the other four candidates... Michael McCue, Augusto Bisani, Paul Krekorian and David Saltsburg.