Monday, August 31, 2009

Krekorian & Assembly unleash 27,000 prisoners

Was CD 2 candidate Frank Sheftel correct when he suggested at a forum just a few days ago that Paul Krekorian was about to vote with his fellow State Assembly Members to turn loose tens of thousands of prisoners from the overcrowded California prison system?

Newspapers like the New York Times are saying that is exactly what is about to happen.

You can read it here, also in the OC Register , where posters warn that this fact , when combined with budget cuts in law enforcement, could make our streets much more deadly.

Republicans, as usual, had much more common sense than the Democrats and refused to vote for this.
The Democrats, however, had the numbers and simply outvoted them.

(I didn't think it was possible for me to think any less of Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, yet she always somehow manages to surprise me. )

In other news... Phillip Garrido was arraigned on more than two dozen counts of kidnapping, rape, and false imprisonment in the abduction of 11 year old Jaycee Duggard in 1991.

Garrido was free to commit this crime because he had been released from the California Correctional system, even though he had a previous record of kidnapping and rape dating back to the 1970's.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Go Sarah!

I saw this on Huffington Post. They thought it was clever and mocking Sarah.
I think it shows why people love her so much. (Myself included)

City Council Candidate Tamar Galatzan

As someone who lives, works, raises kids, and pays taxes in CD2, I know firsthand the city often dismisses the Valley and its concerns. I am running because I have a strong record of fighting and delivering for the residents of CD2, and I will continue that effort at City Hall.

Among my priorities are balancing the city’s budget, making our streets safer, and improving our schools. I will work tirelessly to enhance the quality of life for all residents of this wide and diverse district.
As a criminal prosecutor and a school board member, I relish challenging the status quo, and I derive a guilty pleasure from pushing and prodding bureaucrats to do what's right for our community. Being a good city councilmember is not a popularity contest, it’s doing whatever it takes to make our neighborhoods safer and more livable.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

CD 2 Race : The Breakdown

We are only a month away from a critical election here in Los Angeles that few people are paying attention to. The special election to replace new City Controller Wendy Gruel in her former position on the Los Angeles City Council has attracted carpetbagging politicians like flies. Council District 2 voters...perhaps a very small number of them... will decide who will hold this seat for the next two...and maybe even 10 or more years...what with the way incumbents here in Los Angeles are rarely ever challenged or threatened by electoral defeat.

There are 10 candidates for CD 2 voters to choose from.

The candidates, as listed in ballot order, with ballot designations....

(Interesting how Tamar doesn't list the LAUSD position she was elected to - and is subsequently abandoning - for her attempt at the City Council position.)

Tamar seems to be doing reasonably well in this campaign, assuming she can withstand the heat from her latest mailing controversy. She has raised the third highest amount of money and has received some endorsements from some important political figures. Tamar is repeatedly referred to as one of the "Big 3" by forum and debate moderators. Once viewed as a Villaraigosa puppet, who relied on his fundraising and support to be elected to her LAUSD position, it is now believed by many that she has had a falling out with the Mayor and that the Mayor is actually working against her in this election by running Chris Essel as his preferred candidate.

Tamar appears to be attracting supporters who are turned off by Paul Krekorian and Chris Essel. This has drawn the attention of some of the other candidates in the crowded field, and as such, Tamar has been been very harshly criticized by other candidates. To her credit, she seems to be quite tough...standing up to these blistering attacks without backing down.

THE LINE: Tamar is likely to finish in the top three, but it is unclear if she has enough support to defeat Krekorian or some of the other candidates -- who have closer ties to the community, and are seen in a far more favorable light than Galatzan, who is trying to leave a job she was elected by the voters to complete. She is also somewhat tainted by her former relationship with Villaraigosa, who is wildly unpopular right now.

I have to admit to being a little biased towards Joe Essavi, who I consider a friend. He is a good Republican...and as far as I am concerned, he is the only Conservative in this election. As such, he is one of the few who could really make a difference. The voters in CD 2 could really use a good guy like Joe Essavi. He is the only candidate who has promised to protect Proposition 13.

THE LINE : Joe has a certain amount of name recognition from having run for office in other election cycles. He has a certain crowd of supporters from the Neighborhood Council community and I have no doubt he will collect thousands of votes. However, I'm not sure if it will be enough to get him into the runoff election. He needs to raise and spend more money to break out of the pack of candidates in the middle.

Christine Essel is the former Paramount Pictures movie executive who has probably been the subject of the most scathing and incendiary attacks of all the candidates. There are several reasons for this. The most important one is that Chris Essel does not live in CD 2 and everyone knows that. It is not even the slightest of secrets ....especially not to Mayor Sam readers. However, we live in a free country, and there are no laws against Chris Essel claiming to live in some ratty little apartment in the Valley rather than her multi-million dollar mansion in Sunset/Doheny Estates. (Who, in their right mind, wouldn't trade those digs?)

One of the other odd curiosities about Essels campaign remains a puzzling enigma. As a multi-millionaire movie executive --doesn't she have anything better to do with her time than blow a quarter million dollars running for City Council?

Essel has offended many community activists with her aggressive move into CD 2 -- along with the fact that her obvious financial clout is coming from donors who are uninvolved parties to CD 2. Essel has big lead financially and may be the only candidate who can afford to run TV commercials. But money can't buy love and Esssel may find this out the hard way with an election defeat in September.

THE LINE: Essel seems to have offended too many people with her campaign and public opinion seems to be turning against her. She will not win this election. If she somehow earns a runoff with Krekorian, then Paul will win it going away.

McCue is supported by the Green Party of Los Angeles County. Not sure how much that will help, as most people do not identify themselves as "Greens". However, McCue appears to be well-connected through the Studio City Neighborhood Council. If he can get those members out supporting him, he could be a factor.

THE LINE: McCue is not well known enough in other parts of CD 2 to have a realistic chance of winning this election. The fact that he won't accept corporate donations certainly won't help him, either.

I'm not sure if the phrase "Community Organizer" is such a good idea in the political world anymore, but that's just my opinion. Pete Sanchez surprised some of the other candidates at the Valley Village event when he asked the crowd how many people had heard of Pete Sanchez. Nearly everyone raised their hands. There is no doubt that Pete Sanchez has a number of friends and followers in Valley Village. He will get a lot of votes in that area.

THE LINE: Pete Sanchez is not well known enough in other areas of CD 2 to be able to defeat a career politician like Paul Krekorian.

Again, I have to admit to being a little biased towards David. I struck up an unlikely friendship with David as we were both running for Mayor of Los Angeles in March of 2009. Saltsburg has become an unlikely figure in Los Angeles politics, having finished in fourth place in the Mayoral Election in March of 2009. Saltsburg is by far the most colorful and charismatic of all the candidates. Who else could get away with calling themselves "Zuma Dogg" in public forums and not have anyone consider the concept anything out of the ordinary?

He is a tireless Community Advocate who has shed the light on a lot of corruption and "shadiness" (as he likes to put it) at City Hall. Don't underestimate the appeal of "Zuma Dogg". I didn't think he would get over 500 votes for Mayor....he got over 9,000! He has high name recognition from frequently appearing on talk radio stations and being featured in stories in the LA Weekly. And he has been the toughest and most vocal critic, by far, of Essel and Galatzan.

THE LINE : Zuma Dogg will receive thousands of votes in CD 2 , but it will be difficult for him to make a runoff without any campaign budget for mailers and phone calls. Zuma Dogg needs some of his supporters to help him get a 4/4 voter list and a cell phone with unlimited minutes. If he called 100 voters a day...who knows? Councilman Zuma Dogg could be seated next to his buddy, Councilman Zine.

Frank Sheftel is a businessman with long-term ties to CD 2. His website says that he went to elementary school, High School and College all in CD 2. Sheftel owns the Candy Factory on Magnolia Boulevard. I know Frank because he is being managed by David Hernandez, and I consider both of them to be friends of mine.

There are many things to like about Frank as a candidate. He has deep roots in the community. As a businessman, he understands the damage that bad government can do to businesses and to an economy.
Frank is very personable and has been well prepared out on the campaign trail. At one of the forums, he really slammed Paul Krekorian and Tamar Galatzan for walking away from their elected jobs just to seek another elected position. Frank has yard signs and has been actively campaigning at multiple events. Frank also has a team of organized supporters that could possibly get him up near the top in vote totals in September.

THE LINE : Frank Sheftel could be a factor in this race. His team is quite loyal to him and have faith in his campaign. He is a down-to-earth good guy. You don't get many people like him in politics.

(Photo caption: Krekorian announcement ignites crowds in L.A.)

I want to be clear about one thing. I think Paul Krekorian is the worst possible candidate for the City Council seat. Why? Because he's just like all the others downtown. He is a carpetbagging, rubber-stamping, budget-destroying , State-bankrupting, freedom-hating liberal. Paul Krekorian is not the answer for CD 2. However, many voters in Los Angeles are Democrats, and they prefer leadership of this nature.

His list of endorsers reads somewhat like a list of "The Usual Suspects". Paul Koretz, Brad Sherman, Loretta Sanchez, Karen Bass, Kevin De Leon, and the SEIU all feel that Los Angeles is not being destroyed quickly enough, and that the help of Paul Krekorian is needed. Krekorian is also detestable because he started shopping for low-rent apartments in CD 2 minutes after Wendy Gruel won her election as City Controller. The Higby-endorsed Burbank Democrat was thinking three moves ahead of everyone else. Chris Essel still doesn't know her new address, and on her best day, could never even dream of outfoxing a professional politician like Krekorian.

Krekorian will teach L.A. residents his Sacramento motto... "No tax is too high, No fee is too high.."

THE LINE : Because Krekorian is a career politician who understands how to win elections, he is best positioned to win this race. Because of his name recognition, he should get 35-50% of the vote in the primary. This is horrible news for Los Angeles, but hey...this City re-elected Antonio Villaraigosa. Competence in an elected official is clearly not a job requirement here.

Mary Benson is the one true wild card in this race. Her results will be difficult to predict. She is not only well known, but practically beloved by people who have worked with her in different groups and organizations.
The "Big 3" probably worry about her quite a bit because she is honest, open, and has a lot of integrity. She is seen as "the friendly neighbor" by many in CD 2.

THE LINE: Mary Benson could be a factor in this race if she makes a real effort. But the City Ethics website shows she has raised and spent less than $1,000 in her campaign so far. Tough to beat professional politicians with that little. However, she could be the David-vs.-Goliath type of story that people like.

Augusto Bisani is originally from Italy and still has a little bit of an accent in English. He is a long-term business owner in the Valley. He seems like a nice guy and has been refreshingly honest and unguarded at the debates and forums. However, I think maybe Mr. Bisani hasn't fully thought out his run for office. Sometimes he admits to not knowing anything about some of the important subjects discussed at the forums.

THE LINE: Augusto Bisani has little chance in this election. He is not well known. His performances at the forums have not tended to increase his support.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

VICA : Elitists, Snobs & Phonies

The Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) is holding a debate tomorrow morning at the Sportsmans Lodge Hotel in Studio City. The event is scheduled for 7:45 to 10 AM.

There are multiple problems with this.

1) They only invited three candidates of the ten running for the CD 2 spot.
Chris Essel, Tamar Galatzan, and Paul Krekorian. Also known as "the Big 3". I have heard that maybe Mary Benson has wrangled her way into the event, but I am unsure about that.

2) They are charging people $20 to see only 30% of the candidates.

Media aware and internet-savvy political junkies would have already known to go see all ten candidates at the Sunland-Tujunga event. Cost? Free!

3) This limiting of the event, by a private organization, is perfectly acceptable. However, it shows that the organization lacks class and lacks dignity. For them, it is perfectly acceptable to exclude certain candidates from an event like this. Inviting some, but not all, shows their true character...or lack of it.

4) VICA members should be offended that the organization has invited ONLY Democrats to participate.
Actually, I think their members should get their heads examined. Democrats always find a way to harm businesses and regulate them out of existence. If there was a good Republican like Joe Essavi in the race, I'd want to hear about him.

5) The candidates themselves should had had the dignity, honor, and grace to object to something like this. It makes a mockery of the democratic process when you exclude people. It's Un-American.

When I was running for Mayor of Los Angeles, I was invited to dozens and dozens of these types of forums and debates. I always made it clear to the organizers that I would not attend if the other candidates on the ballot were not invited. If the candidates later chose not to show up...then that was a different matter.

As a political leader, you have to always be concerned about the freedom of others to be involved in the process. Essel, Krekorian, and Galatzan are not concerned with anyone else's freedom.
That makes them very dangerous people to elect to political office.

CD 2 voters need to be wary of these three people.

If I was in their position, I would be sending out press releases saying that I would not be attending this event because other candidates were being excluded. It would offend my sense of honor and dignity.

But from "the Big 3" ?? Not a peep. Because they lack character, and are not true leaders.

If any of you attend this event tomorrow, you might want to ask them how they will protect the freedoms of voters in CD 2, when they wouldn't even stand up for their fellow candidates.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Candidates at SOHA

The Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association held their monthly meeting on Wednesday night and heard a speech from Bob Hertzberg. Before the speech, SOHA invited all the CD 2 candidates to meet and greet local voters.

Most of the candidates took them up on their offer. Because the candidates were freed from the normal structured forum/debate, it was an interesting opportunity to get to see them up close and personal and get in a few words with some of them. I had the opportunity to speak with many of them.

Joe Essavi talked about his name recognition in the area, and felt that it would help him get votes because he was a candidate who was fresh in voters minds from his recent run at the Community College Board of Trustees.

Frank Sheftel seemed very happy and pleased with how his campaign was going. He said more and more people are joining him every day. He mentioned he has a big event coming up on Sunday.

David "Zuma Dogg" Saltsburg was disappointed that this was not a regular forum, because he was looking forward to confronting Chris Essel and Tamar Galatzan over some issues. But Zuma Dogg seemed to be in good spirits. The last I saw of him, he was seated at one of the tables in the crowd, eating some food and chatting with CD 2 residents.

I tried to get in a word with Christine Essel, but she took off from the event fairly quickly. Maybe she was worried about the drive time over to Sunset/Doheny Estates.

Mary Benson discussed with me how she was using the internet to marshal her supporters. "All these blogs on the is really helping us candidates get out the word about our campaign", she said.

I decided to go over and introduce myself to Tamar Galatzan. I gave her my card and talked about the Mayor Sam blog. She acknowledged that she knew all about it. I told her that I have been a bit rough on her on the blog. "Yes, you have ..! " she replied, laughing a little bit.
We discussed a few details about things and Tamar scribbled a few quick notes on my card. A few things struck me about Tamar.... 1) She is very smart....and 2) She is competent. Very detail oriented.

Unfortunately, she is also a big-spending I don't want her to win CD 2.
But I have to admit that I have begrudgingly started to respect this woman who I had originally labeled part of the "Axis of Evil". She seems to have the right temperament for politics. I suppose that of the "Big 3" that the forum moderators keep referring to...I would be least offended by her winning CD 2.

But, having said that...I still want her to lose. Anyone but the Big 3. Please.

I didn't get the chance to talk to Augusto Bisani, but I have one piece of advice for him.
Dude...button up the shirt. This is not 1978. You are not in a are running for political office.

On my way out of the event, I ran into Carmen "Nuch" Trutanich, the new City Attorney. If anyone is having a good year, it is Nuch. I patted him on the shoulder and said "Keep up the good work". Nuch was smiling, happy and confident at SOHA. It was his type of crowd, that's for sure. Nuch hasn't started going Michael Corleone on any of the corrupt politicians in City Hall yet...but I have a feeling that it might just be a matter of time. Things seem to be going his way.

One of the most interesting meetings of the night happened before I even arrived at the SOHA event. I was walking up the street towards the event and ran into Paul Krekorian, who was leaving the event early with one of his aides. I jokingly chastised him for leaving so early. He explained that he was leaving early because he had to get to another event. We chatted for under a minute, shook hands and he departed. In order to dispel a theory I had, I took a good whiff of the air around where we stood.

No burning smell. No odor of sulphur.

Nope. Paul Krekorian is just a normal politician.
He's not being guided by supernatural forces.

This is very good news for the other 9 candidates.
It means that Paul can be beaten.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

CD 2 Candidates Forum

Another night, another Council District 2 candidates forum in the Valley. This Forum was sponsored by the Laurel Grove and Valley Glen Neighborhood Associations, and the Valley Village Homeowners Association. Judging from the tone of the night, Tamar Galatzan must be making some major progress in the race because for several other candidates, it seemed like it was "Let's team up on Tamar" night.

Local businessman Frank Sheftel landed some serious blows by calling out Paul Krekorian and Tamar Galatzan about not finishing the political terms that they were elected to. He said something like "Come on're a know what a contract is!" Sheftel is being managed by David Hernandez and David seems to have Frank ready with great stuff at all these events.

One of the biggest laughs of the night came courtesy of David "Zuma Dogg" Saltsburg, when in a reply to a question about accepting money from developers, Zuma said, jokingly, that "I have turned down millions from developers!" The room roared in laughter. Zuma piled on the abuse of Tamar by haranguing her over an answer about whether she would vote to raise taxes. "Answer the question...yes or no!" Zuma demanded.

Tamar fought back reasonably well and stated, in a response about accepting money, that " I'm not accepting money from developers in CD 2." Christine Essel was not so lucky tonight. She seemed to bungle some questions about her fundraising and money lead. She was being portrayed as a carpetbagger and a phony by some of the other candidates. On occasion, the moderator gave candidates the chance to respond when attacked. Essel turned down the chance to respond to an attack at least once.

It was clear that there was no love for Essel at this event. Most of her responses were met by silence.
When she told the crowd about her fundraising, she said the limit for a contribution is $500... and added "My vote can't be bought for $500.!" The unspoken understanding of the crowd was that her vote actually costs a lot more.
This answer actually seemed to make the crowd angry. Sometimes, I'm not really sure what Essel is doing in this race.

Mary Benson and Joe Essavi were trying to catch the Big 3, but they need help. Benson had a rather good answer about Measure Q, stating how "There was a fatal flaw in the assumption. It was unreasonable at best, and fraud at the worst". But I wasn't sure everyone was following Benson on the answer. Essavi had a good answer about stopping more Medical Marijuana sites from opening.

Carpetbagger Krekorian seemed also to turn into BandWagonJumper Krekorian whenever someone gave a good answer. He would say..."Not only do I support that statement...but also...I will go one better..."

His insincerity bothered me. Typical hack politician.

Unfortunately for Augusto Bisani, Michael McCue, and Pete Sanchez, their campaigns seem to be circling the drain as they cannot seem to find issues to electrify the voters. Most of their replies received a tepid response.

It is still Krekorian, Essel, and Galatzan right now.

The others are trying to fight to pass one of these 3 candidates.

But after a few more good forums like this .... that might change.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kevin James unloads on Chris Essel, talks with Zuma Dogg

KRLA Radio Show Host Kevin James spent the night discussing local politics on his show Monday. A good portion of the show was dedicated to Kevins opinion that Chris Essel is a terrible candidate for Council District 2. "I wouldn't vote for her if she was the only name on the ballot!" he repeatedly exclaimed to listeners. James went on to unload on Essel...calling her a "carpetbagger" who doesn't even live in Council District 2. He described as "shady" her connections to the money that donors from AEG have poured into her campaign. (Yes... that AEG...of the Michael Jackson funeral fiasco.)

Kevin James and KRLA have invited all ten candidates for the CD 2 office to come on the Kevin James Show to talk about their campaign. 9 of the 10 agreed to talk with him.

Essel, who James also called "the Queen Bee of runaway film production", was the only one to turn down the offer to appear on the radio show. James called it "giving the voters the middle finger salute".

"The level of arrogance truly amazes me", he said in disbelief.

The main guest on the show was CD 2 Candidate David "Zuma Dogg" Saltsburg, who went on the show to talk about his campaign for the City Council position. Zuma was his usual, colorful self and gave lengthy answers to the questions he was asked. Zuma Dogg was especially tough on Chris Essel and Tamar Galatzan, basically calling Essel a puppet and saying that Tamar won't make any changes in City Hall.

Zuma Dogg forgot to use his best line ever. About Tamar getting in the Mayor's "getaway car".

It was a local spin on a quip he used earlier in the year. He was having a conversation with me about the election in March when he casually mentioned that "Antonio and Wendy were waiting in the getaway car...but Jack Weiss didn't make it...they left without him."

I laughed so hard I started crying.

Classic Zuma Dogg. I'll remember that quote for the rest of my life.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Watermelons and Carpetbaggers

Looks like Sunland-Tujunga experienced something completely new today. At their Watermelon Festival, the residents were overrun by a swarm of carpetbagging politicians. Some locals claimed the politicians were as thick as a swarm of flies. Others claimed that the flies were less bothersome.

Carpetbagging politician Paul Krekorian was given a tour of CD 2 and the Watermelon Festival by Mayor Sam blogger Joe B. The Higby-endorsed Burbank Democrat seemed to be adjusting well to his new surroundings.

On his Facebook page, Joe B. also claims to have given a tour and directions to Tamar Galatzan. Unfortunately, Joe B. was not as generous to the GPS-challenged Christine Essel, who was one of the last candidates to arrive.
Savvy Mayor Sam readers are well aware that Essel has a problem with directions and addresses.

Others spotted seeking votes were Michael McCue and local businessman Frank Sheftel. Sheftel said he was happy to meet so many CD 2 voters today.

David "Zuma Dogg" Saltsburg says he was looking forward to meeting everyone - including the LA Parent Union - but couldn't make it there today. "I hope people aren't voting for City Council based on who shows up for the Watermelon Festival or not." If you missed Zuma Dogg and want to know his policies and issues, you can check his blog for all his positions over the last three years. He said hopefully he will be there Sunday. He also said he will be on Kevin James radio show on AM 870 on Monday at 9:30 p.m.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Freedom of Speech issues at Mayor Sam blog

I just got an earful from David Saltsburg (a.k.a. Zuma Dogg) who called me this morning and really let me have it over some freedom of speech issues here at Mayor Sam. Recently, contributor Joe B issued a decree that all posts mentioning Zuma Dogg will be deleted or edited out. Maybe you will never see this one, but I will put it on my blog, just in case. If you only see it at my blog, then it was deleted by someone at Mayor Sam.

The concept of this seems very un-American to me, and I dislike the idea. As much as I don't always agree with what Zuma Dogg has to say, I will always defend his right to say it. In fact, I am tough enough that I will even defend the people who criticize and abuse me here on Mayor Sam. I ran for Mayor, making me a public figure. If people want to make petty comments or insults about me, that is their right. I have to sit here and take it. Part of the job description.

But to be banned or edited out of media ? Very disturbing trend. I emailed Michael Higby about this and said it would really damage his blog and his reputation. I don't think the blog should be "all-Zuma, all the time," but a total ban? It's not right. And everyone knows it.

Joe B is showing some true hypocrisy here. He comments on Red Spots story on political expression saying he likes freedom of expression, but turns around and acts like a dictator and says... "no freedom for Zuma." Zuma Dogg chewed me out for not showing enough leadership on this issue...and he was right. I suppose I could always threaten to quit Mayor Sam over the issue, but to be quite honest, issuing ultimatums isn't always the best way to deal with a conflict. Let me say this publicly... although Zuma Dogg is not an elected official, he has a big heart. He does a lot of community activism and I think he is one of the better candidates for CD 2. He was so distressed about this issue, he was thinking about dropping out of the race. I hope he thinks twice about that.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Vacation Bible School

I was on the subway this afternoon, coming home from an out-of-town trip, when I was approached by a nice young lady... if I remember correctly her name was "Rachel".

She handed me a flier about a "Vacation Bible School". I thought it was very nice to see a young person out promoting Christianity in a public place. I told her that I couldn't come myself, but that I would help spread the word for her.

The text of her flier....

August 10th - August 15th

5:00 - 8:00 PM

Dinner served nightly at 5:00 PM.

Everyone is welcome.

"Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for Him." - Luke 3:4

2nd AME Church 5500 S. Hoover Street, Los Angeles, CA 90037

Contact: 323-753-2451

Pastor: Dr. Fredrick O. Morph