L.A. CITY HALL: March 8 ballot measures, analysis/overview; CD14 election, "poll position"; LAUSD elections, fundraising
***Analysis/overview of the March 8 ballot measures. A look at the CD14 election, how the candidates may be looking to frame their campaign themes. LAUSD elections, fundraising for the mayor's slate of candidates....
* Los Angeles Times: "Efforts to right L.A.'s finances highlight March ballot" - "Scaling back pensions for future police and fire hires, carving out more money for libraries and reining in the DWP's power are among measures' goals." - From the LAT:
In better times, Los Angeles city elections have served as vehicles for leaders' ambitious ideas — from expanding the city's solar energy capacity to building more than two dozen new libraries. This spring's contest testifies to an era in which city leaders cannot afford new promises and are having trouble keeping ones already made. The times are most clearly reflected in a series of measures on the March 8 ballot aimed at putting the city's finances on firmer ground.
Among them: a bid to scale back pension benefits for future hires in the fire and police departments, an effort to carve out more money for hard-hit libraries, another to prevent raids on the reserve fund, and two measures that could rein in the power of the Department of Water and Power, whose leaders infuriated City Council members last year by threatening to withhold a $73.5-million transfer that the council was counting on to balance the budget.
"This election is going to be about a reform agenda, putting the city back on track and giving the residents of Los Angeles faith in their government," said City Council President Eric Garcetti, who is campaigning for the library measure, among others. "In communities around Los Angeles, people are very focused on defining what [the city's] core services are."
In a year in which there are no citywide races and incumbents are facing underfunded opponents in five of the seven council contests, the ballot campaigns also offer a hint of political intrigue. They test the persuasive powers of several potential contenders in the 2013 mayor's race, including Garcetti, Councilwoman Jan Perry, City Controller Wendy Greuel and state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) — all of whom plan to make the case to voters for certain initiatives over the next six weeks...........................
* Downtown News: "Poll Position" - "When It Comes to Bruising Questions in the 14th District Election, What Matters Is Not What You Ask, But How You Ask It" - From the DTN:
In the five weeks remaining until the March 8 election, voters in the 14th District may be repeatedly hit with three messages from the campaign of challenger Rudy Martinez:
1) Martinez is the greatest American hero since Obamaman, having saved an entire family from a burning car while the rest of the huddled masses sat and watched, doing nothing. It’s a bird! It’s a politician! It’s SuperRudy!
2) Incumbent José Huizar is just a shade shy of Beelzebub, with a propensity for using taxpayer money for his own benefit and for a Grinch-like pilfering of thousands of dollars from poor angelic nonprofits.
3) One of the most pressing issues in the district is the need for more ducks in public parks, and SuperRudy is the one to make that happen.
I hold these thingamajigs to be self-evident, because on Tuesday, Jan. 25, I spent about 20 minutes on the phone answering questions, many of them incredibly leading, for a pollster working for the Martinez campaign (I live in the district, and, lucky me, got a call). While the questioner never said he was part of Team Martinez — he only identified himself as with the firm California Opinion Research — the 19 zillion queries about Rudy as a guy who created hundreds of jobs, and the fiercely negative Huizar questions (more on those later), made it clear who the queries will ultimately benefit.
When it comes to campaigns, polls with leading questions are de rigueur. You generally pay a firm a lot of money to provide whatever answers you hope to spin in a press release, while using the rest of the results to determine what to include in hit piece mailers.
Huizar was the first one to strike with a poll. Over five days in late December, 400 district voters answered questions, leading to a Jan. 4 press release giving Huizar a 58%-15% lead over Martinez, with 27% of voters undecided. It ranked Huizar high in a number of demographic categories and basically said people love him as much as they do puppies and the movie Babe. Then again, he’s paying a Santa Monica polling firm $28,500 (according to campaign disclosure statements filed with the City Ethics Commission — and couldn’t he find someone in the city of Los Angeles for the job?), meaning he got what he paid for, or paid for what he got, whichever way you want to put it..........................
* Los Angeles Times: "Producer, stadium developers donate to group backing Villaraigosa's school board candidates" - "Stephen Bing and Anschutz Corp., whose sister firm wants to build a football stadium in downtown L.A., join familiar names in the fundraising wars over school reform." - From the LAT:
Developers seeking city approval to build a football stadium downtown as well as Democratic financier and producer Stephen Bing were among the major contributors to a committee set up to support Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's favored candidates for the Los Angeles Board of Education, new filings show.
Bing and the Anschutz Corp. joined familiar names in the fundraising wars over school reform, including philanthropist Eli Broad ($150,000), former Mayor Richard Riordan ($25,000) and Spanish-language media executive Jerry Perenchio ($250,000). All told, the informal Villaraigosa slate — he is actively raising money for three candidates but has yet to endorse them officially — has collected more than $1 million on behalf of Tamar Galatzan, Luis Sanchez and Richard Vladovic.
Villaraigosa's drive to maintain control of the school board is expected to take center stage March 8, when four of seven board seats will be on the ballot. In a recent speech, Villaraigosa branded the teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, an obstacle to reform. The mayor began raising money about a month ago, seeking donations from as far afield as New York and Chicago, an aide said.
Some of the largesse may relate to issues before the city. The Anschutz Corp. donated $100,000 to the Coalition for School Reform. Its sister company AEG has a plan before the city for a privately financed $1-billion stadium next to Staples Center. "Our education system is a mess and Phil [Anschutz] wants to help" said Tim Leiweke, president and chief executive of AEG. Leiweke said the mayor spoke directly with Anschutz, the corporation's chairman.
Four other entities that contributed a total of $100,000 to the Coalition for School Reform — AP Properties Ltd., APDS1 Properties LLC, 78 Development LLC and the Constellation Land Ltd. Partnership — listed the same Chicago-based address as JMB Realty Corp., a major landlord and developer in Century City. City records list JMB Realty as being affiliated with AP Properties. Several years ago, Villaraigosa's appointees on the Planning Commission approved JMB's proposal for two 47-story condominium buildings in Century City. The project has not yet been built....................