Spent a lot of time yesterday talking about Council District 15 and also interviewed a candidate down there. There was a releasing of Cracker Jack prizes from two camps' boxes. Sheriff Baca endorsed Warren Furutani. Pat McOsker was able to deal with his own union, as Brother McOsker takes a "leave of absence" (shades of Brad Smith)--after facing pressure from "dissatisfied members of United Firefighters Local 721" to do just that--and thereby gets the endorsement of the bucket brigade. And word from a poll indicated weak internals on the McOsker side.
But my favorite line of yesterday was delivered at candidate Rudy Svorinich's expense. A community development watchdog--of which San Pedro is loaded--said:
The 'politicos' in San Pedro all have differing opinions as to which candidate might win, but they are all making sneering faces whenever Rudy's name comes up.To state the obvious: San Pedro is not like Hollywood or Downtown or the Westside. It pays attention. It has bigger docks and bigger shoulders. Its blue dogs are bluer than in other parts of town; ergo Jane Harman. It has pitchfork people, like the Anglo part of the Valley. And not many of any of these are especially fussy for former Councilman Rudy Svorinich's ties to developer Bob Bisno and Bisno Development.
Svorinich had acted as lobbyist for Bisno while he was out of office, and is having a hard time living it down. Even though he's offered plenty of penance, apparently not many are buying it.
Presently, Bisno Development has a project of staggering scope on the table: a 60+ acre mini-me Playa Vista called Ponte Vista, which has in various incarnations seen as many as 1900 homes. Councilwoman Hahn opposed that plan in 2008 and asked for a downsize. Presently the project is at EIR stage and one proposal will provide half as many homes. (The EIR is expected to come out right around the time of the election, perchance before and perchance after.) Bisno Development has had its share of intriguing financial moves in the recession, including a Chapter 11 excursion in 2009.
The feeling Svorinich is now having a difficult time escaping is that if elected as Councilman, he would simply become the Councilman from Ponte Vista. No matter how hard he tries to insist otherwise, the questions pop up, and questions are as tough to face as answers in blue collar Pedro.
The odd factor that is double trouble for Svorinich is that San Pedro's unions have generally supported Ponte Vista. But with one union head and another candidate backed by the Mayor's office, there will be little meaningful union support left over for Svorinich.
Even with 20 candidates, the McOsker and Furutani camps are both trying to frame the race as exclusively between their two candidates. Both want into what seems now like a certain runoff. But McOsker has enough of a thuggish reputation and Furutani enough of a career politician rep though that the field could change if any other candidates distinguish themselves sooner rather than later. With Svorinich having a tough time getting traction in the district he once represented, the field is potentially open for a sensible alternative candidate.