May 20, 2022 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Column: “You Got Mail”

Prepare for the deluge of direct mail as the various campaigns for council, supervisor, and other state offices comes to a crescendo!

By Nick Antonicello

I was out of town for a week, visiting my Dad in New Jersey and confirming my nephew to come home to a mailbox crammed with campaign fliers and brochures from numerous hopefuls for public office as the candidates come to the top of the proverbial stretch so to speak, as the all-important June 7thPrimary is just weeks away. 

The ballot is chock-full of candidates and offices some very competitive, and many are not, leading with the US Senate, US Congress, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, Board of Equalization and Secretary of Public Instruction. 

The race for mayor consists of twelve candidates of which billionaire developer Rick Caruso of the Palisades has spent $23,000,000 of the $35,000,000 raised in what what is becoming a lopsided contest from a spending perspective. 

There are eight additional candidates for city controller as well as another eight for city attorney. 

All three offices are open seats. 

Locally, we have a fairly uncompetitive race for the California Senate while in contrast a barn burner to replace Autumn Burke in the Assembly with Lawndale Mayor Robert Pullen-Miles and Democratic activist Tina McKinnor. For County Supervisor we have a newly drawn district featuring Bob Hertzberg, a longtime legislator to fill an open seat and potentially add a man back to that five-member board. 

But the feature attraction is the race to succeed outgoing Councilman Mike Bonin here in CD-11, where we have eight candidates of which four are from Venice (Mike Newhouse, Erin Darling, Traci Park & Jim Murez) and the race is highly competitive with seven of the candidates seeking public office for the first time. 

Sources tell us that the race in all probability is headed for a run-off, which means the two-top finishers will appear on a November ballot. 

With low name identification among the challengers, the one name they do know is the outgoing incumbent Mike Bonin and the only issue that really matters is rampant homelessness and getting individuals off the streets of Venice and the rest of the district. 

Only Allison Holdorff-Polhill, an unsuccessful candidate for LAUSD has seen her name on the ballot before. 

To date, $1,300,000 has been raised by the CD-11 council candidates and $423,000 has been distributed in matching funds. 

As the mail begins to be delivered, I took the time to review three fliers recently received from CD-11 council candidates Greg Good and Traci Park, along with Bob Hertzberg, a candidate for Los Angeles County Supervisor Bob Hertzberg. 

Hertzberg would represent Venice should he be successful. 

GREG GOOD:

Greg Good is a first-time candidate with a long resume of public service. The brochure is four-pages in length, and is an introduction of sorts to the voters as to who Good is and what he stands for. 

Page one starts with a quote that says, “The City got it wrong on homelessness. I pledge to you to get it right.”

On page one there is QR code that takes you to Good’s plan on homelessness as well as his web address, photo and references to Social Media. 

But let’s get back to the quote. 

Greg Good clearly separates himself from the current Administration of Mayor Eric Garcetti who he served as a mayoral aide and member of the Department of Public Works and earned roughly $250,000 a year!

He blames “The City,” but doesn’t seem to believe his service was part of the same city he blames!

I remember very clearly then city mayoral aide Greg Good supporting Bridge Housing here in Venice and attending that Town Hall supporting both Garcetti and Bonin’s policies. 

He even was part of an organized effort of canvassing by both Garcetti and Bonin in Venice pushing these failed homeless policies and proposals!

I know that because I was there that day and we spoke briefly. 

How does one who was part of the very administration pushing failed homeless policies now sees himself as the solution to the problem the Garcetti/Bonin policies created in the first place? 

Page two is basically his story, how he came to Los Angeles from Texas, and talks about his long public service as a teacher and how he pursued a law degree and volunteer service. 

Page three speaks to his record of public service further and how he was appointed as President of the Board of Public Works, but never mentions who appointed him, which was Mayor Eric Garcetti. 

In fact, Garcetti’s name nor image is nowhere in this mailer. 

Page four talks to Good’s “Day 1 Plan” on homelessness as he will hire a “chief of homelessness,” and work with various public safety departments, prevent “more folks” from falling into homeless, and wants to expand emergency rental assistance. He talks to a “homelessness bed inventory,”expansion of mental health services and the restriction of camping in what he describes as “sensitive areas” like around the Venice Bridge Housing. Good ends with endorsements from the LA Democratic Party, LA League of Conservation Voters and the LA County Federation of Labor. 

TRACI PARK: 

Like Good, Traci Park is a first-time candidate and this brochure introduces her brand to the voting public. 

This is an eight-page, saddle-stitched brochure that uses images to present her story. 

Page two is a full-bleed image of Park receiving her law degree, while page three tells her personal story of coming from a working-class family and doing odd jobs to pay for her education. 

She cites herself as a municipal law attorney for twenty years, and states she has “advised countless businesses and city officials on complex policy issues.” 

This is seemingly a vague description of her legal background and how this somehow serves as a prerequisite for becoming a city council member of a major American city like Los Angeles since she has no prior elected experience or noted  legislative background.

Park claims to have “saved taxpayers millions of dollars in costly litigation,” again a vague descriptor with no specifics of actually how much, and what municipalities were involved. 

Page four starts with Park describing City Hall as “broken by rising crime, rampant homelessness and corruption scandals.”

Park claims that “neighbors and small business owners – not political consultant and City Hall insiders,” urged her to run for City Council. But Park fails to name the political consultants, City Hall insiders or the candidates that were influenced by such. 

Park then describes some of her opponents in this race as “government insiders,” and again fails to mention these individuals by name. 

Not only does she not name them, but refers to them as “architects of disastrous policies” that placed our quality-of-life at risk. 

One can only assume she is speaking about Greg Good, the former full-time & salaried mayoral aide to Eric Garcetti  and ex-President of the LA Department of Public Works (appointed by Garcetti as well). 

Park stated “she dared to enter the race” to defeat Mike Bonin “when it still looked like Bonin would be a shoe-in to win reelection for four more years.” 

Bonin, already unpopular over road diets and now under the threat of a second recall which took place last summer was hardly a shoe-in by any political standard. 

Here in Venice a VNC sponsored community survey in 2019 already had Bonin’s disapproval ratings at 0ver 70%!

Bonin would face yet another recall attempt that garnered 95% of the signatures necessary to spur a special election that ultimately drove him out of the race and into retirement. 

Bonin was never a shoe-in for a third-term. 

Park did state some significant endorsements such as the LA Police Protective League (LA Police Officers Union), the Association for LA Deputy Chiefs and the LAX Police Officers Association. 

Missing from her resume is any community-based involvement in Venice such as the neighborhood council or any other volunteer organizations. 

The phrase “government insider” needs to be defined in this race as Park speaks of twenty years of experience with business and government. 

Couldn’t such a background be described exactly as a government insider? 

On page seven Parks speaks to “closing down homeless encampments near our parks and schools,” but does not speak to all encampments. She mentions getting “people off the streets and into to shelters where they can get job training,” but there are no specifics to that statement. 

Park claims she “will stop the City from wasting our tax dollars” on expensive homeless housing and states “I will invest in public safety, not defund the police.”

Park speaks to supporting local businesses “crushed by the pandemic” and says she will “fight for affordable housing so people can live near their workplaces.” But the statement of intent lacks any specifics or proposals.

Park on page eight closes with a positive message of community and neighborhoods and sees herself as the “strongest voice possible” for voters at City Hall. 

BOB HERTBERG:

This longtime legislator and statewide power broker is making a run for the vacant LA County Supervisor’s seat and finds himself running in parts of LA County he has never represented in his past legislative career. 

Page one opens with Hertzberg describing himself as “Decisive. Accountable. A proven problem-solver.”

Page two is an introduction to Hertzberg’s long government service as the Majority Leader in the California Senate and speaks to “fix the mess in LA County,” without really identifying the issues or the problems with this gigantic county bureaucracy.

Describing himself as a “businessman, clean energy entrepreneur, former state Assembly Speaker and State Senate Majority Leader Emeritus,”Hertzberg claims he has created jobs his entire life while making sure government works for people. 

Again, seems more like opinion then any reference to actual accomplishment. 

Herzberg claims LA County has “squandered resources,” but is not specific in his accusation. 

Hertzberg states he has “embraced commonsense solutions and directed millions,” to solve the homeless issue, but does not state where this took place as it is obvious to most the homeless situation here in LA County is worse today than yesterday. 

Hertzberg stated he “authored billions for school construction bonds,” but it is the voter that approves or reject such funding. 

Hertzberg wants to “identify the county’s failures on mental health,” then fix them, again just typical campaign rhetoric you will read in almost any candidate flyer or brochure.

Hertzberg closes his messaging with a plethora of endorsements from “nurses, workers, police, doctors, business leader and Democrats,” packaged in such a way that he is the odd’s on favorite in the June 7th Primary. He also touts endorsements from the Lt. Governor, Congressman Tony Cardenas, the State Treasurer, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon as well as Assembly member Evan Low and former Assembly member Autumn Burke who represented Venice until her resignation earlier this year. 

Hertzberg also received endorsements from the SEIU, National Union of Healthcare Workers, Association of Deputy Chiefs, the LA Police Protective League and LA Chamber of Commerce.

Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian who is covering the CD-11 Council race as well as other contests and how they impact Venice. A member of the Outreach and Oceanfront Walk Committee’s of the Venice Neighborhood Council, you can e-mail him at nantoni@mindspring.com

in Opinion
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