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Sourcing Trujillo, Soucing Stewart




Lots of pundits who have almost no real knowledge of Council District 14 have taken a stab at vilifying Michael Trujillo's happy hour email to a mailing list of people involved with Jose Huizar's campaign. Most of these jobs have been botched, and I suspect it will take a week or so for people new to the race to figure anything real out about it.

Nobody has done a worse job at reading between the lines as the LA Weekly's Jill Stewart, who is unusually detached even for Jill Stewart in her takes on Trujillo, the race, and the District itself.

For starters, she says that the Mayor listens to Trujillo (he doesn't) and wonders with complete irrelevance if staffers sent the email were on City time (of course they were, as staffers are always on City time--but the weren't on City office time).

She similarly is under the grand illusion that Michael Trujillo personally researches any dirt that might come his way on his opponent. Like his former counter in the race, Eric Hacopian, and most political campaign consultants, Trujillo doesn't research dirt so much as contract it. There are a few people in town, sometimes wed to the financial service industry and sometimes former market researchers, who know where to look for information on people and make a living doing so. It's hard work, but work taken from public records, almost all of it.

Stewart also shows her ignorance when she calls the Huizar/Martinez race "inconsequential, small-time, local political races like the one in Council District 14." It must be even harder for Stewart to see CD 14 from her Culver City sugar cube than it is for Sarah Palin to see Russia from her house. However, in point of fact, the District has produced one Mayor and there's good reason for that: it's one of the rare purebred middle-class districts in Los Angeles that has it all, from Anglo bedroom communities to Latin labor to artist lofts to an Historic Core and big development stakeholders. That's why a consultant like Trujillo, who has worked on races from Villaraigosa's to Hillary Clinton's last presidential bid, has teamed up with a consultant like Parke Skelton, veteran of about 200 various races, in this all-important District campaign.

Beyond Stewart, Westside Anglo media in general have a propensity to dismiss eastside Latino district races as infrared, as pitches only canines can hear. This is a difficult proposition: in fact, the condescension of the pose, pretending that Latino districts and races don't quite matter as much as races as others, is precisely why Latinos are actually over-represented on both Council and in the State Assembly. The dismissive Anglo slackitude fuels minority-driven organizations like the SEIU into enthusiastic support of races in places that are "inconsequential."

As for the rhetoric of the Trujillo memo, some of it is easy to explain when you know the heroes and villains in the District. In fact, the whole memo seems a parody. One self-proclaimed Huizar nemesis of decent profile in the district is recently installed Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council president Jose Aguilar, a Christian libertarian fascinated by conspiracy theories that blend theology and the occult, and who blathers about these without shame or reticence. In large measure, Trujillo's missive was satire, found fairly hilarious by many, of Aguilar's ALL CAPS rantings on Facebook about Christianity, the occult, and spooky "OBAMANATION", whatever that is.

Another over-the-top campaign groupie in Council District 14 is one we've expressed concerns about before, Scott Johnson, the underoccupied 44-year-old Rec and Parks employee who strings together posts composed of questionable syntax for the rightwing MayorSam site. Scott has been attacking Trujillo ceaselessly for months; he dreams not merely of Rudy Martinez beating Jose Huizar, but of carpetbombing him, complete with photos of B1 bombers [ed: they are B-52's, says Johnson in comments, and adds "There was never any bomber thoughts that targeted Jose Huizar"] with bombay open and bombs spilling out on his various postings.

The recipients on the email list know all of this nuance; inside of the context, the Trujillo email simply looks as silly as anything on the MayorSam site, or on Aguilar's Facebook page. But it gets more involved when candidate and crumb are obliged to share space. Johnson, for instance, recently took the opportunity of a rather docile candidate forum to snap "about thirty" photos of Trujillo--Trujillo was obliged to ask him to back off. [ed: "there are no pictures of Michael trujillo from Glassell Park", says Johnson in comments].

If media linger at the accident scene for much beyond Rudy's fifteen minutes, they'll find that more than one vehicle was involved, and, unlike the willfully confused Stewart, may even report it.