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Lost in San Pedro


"A newspaper should have no friends." Joseph Pulitzer

I'm sure I got that tenet of wisdom right, anyway.

What follows is not award winning coverage, nor even journalism at all; it's writing about the political life of the City, such as it is.  As I said on another election eve in March: I am not an editor, or a blogger, or even a journalist; I'm a writer. And this is what I believe writers must do vis-a-vis politics: they must work to inform and occasionally to transform the way people perceive the very environments, tangible and virtual, of the places they call home. Against this measure, I will gladly put up my own record as a writer and a citizen in matters involving our present civic election.

So what follows is indeed a summary with links to everything I wrote about the open seat race in Council District 15--San Pedro, Wilmington, Harbor Gateway--to-date. And sure, I'll stand it up against anyone else's paid coverage, even though I did it untethered to either editor or salary, in otherwise idle hours, and even paid for my own onion rings along the way.

The campaign started like the Calgary Stampede but ended like a candy-assed harness race. The first brahma out of the chute was Pat McOsker; now Joe Buscaino's team is predicting finishing first.  McOsker looked like he might provide a barrel of laughs at first but he became so humdrum that issues themselves disappeared from the race.  Buscaino is a boll weevil Bush-Republican-turned-Democrat who's been running for this seat for two years.

The Times endorsed an aide to the former Councilmember, but characteristically endorsed him too late to make any kind of difference.  The Daily Breeze, which covered the race as minimally the Times did, did not endorse.  These newspapers have paid staffs and actually bitch and moan about how thinly they are stretched; stretched so thinly that they can't even offer as meaningful coverage as every unpaid political blogger in LA can offer.  These Council Districts are nearly the size of Pittsburgh or St. Louis, and we can't get local media to express much interest in them.  And then when they do, they blow the coverage of immediate issues in the race entirely.

There were not one but two former Councilmembers in this race (one failed to qualify!) and neither figure to break even fifteen percent, although Rudy Svorinich may come close. It was disappointing to see a race that began wide open and wild break into tedium and answer to machine politics in the end.  I liked Rebecca Chambliss most among the candidates, and said so a few times.

Nonetheless, I can't wait to file this one away for good.  I'll lay it in the archives next to March 2011, &c.  And on Wednesday, LA will wake up and mostly like find the same old same old on display in the runoff. And that goes for print media too: it was weak, weak, weak.

Anyway, here's what I said about this race along the way.  It may indeed have carved a few fillets from this turkey of a race here and there.

Make no bones: it was meant to.  The winners tomorrow, so bought off they might as well be wearing NASCAR driving suits, are only poised to take LA with its real unemployment rate nearing 20% and its public safety obsessive politics still closer to Cleveland than it's ever been before.  And commercial media was party to it all, and let it all happen, yet again, yet again, as it busied itself with other things.

A near-endorsement: Rebecca Chambliss
Not a lot of money backing her, but a lot of what LA could use right now.

Two contenders turning tables in San Pedro
Rebecca Chambliss and Joe Buscaino are giving the top two moneybags fits in San Pedro.

Furutani considers arts, language optional
The Mayor's pet candidate, a former education adviser to Fabien Nunez, seeks an immigrant-friendly public school curriculum that allows a student to substitute vocational education for arts and foreign language requirements.

Millionaire fire captain hitting Chambliss too
A fire captain who won a large judgement from the City that antagonized some women is hurling tweets at Rebecca Chambliss.

GOP Buscaino supporter stalks street-hassle
John S. Stammreich, the only living politician in California to lose a race to a deceased woman, hits street-hassle with more than a dozen tweets in a few hours, and doesn't get much right in any of them.

Joe Buscaino, doing well
Reports that candidate Buscaino, an LA cop and candidate well-liked in San Pedro, is significantly under water in his $600K property.

Brash with a backbone
A profile of candidate Rebecca Chambliss.

Has time passed Rudy by?
Svornich's relationship to Bisno Development has become a problem for the former Councilman candidate.

Dissatisfied UFLACs urge SEIU 721 not to vote for McOsker
Some in the candidate's own union break ranks.

Bucket brigade douses McOsker momentum
The candidate fails to nab the endorsement of the union he heads.

Orlov: Firefighters urge McOsker to step down
The Daily News reports that firefighters are not pleased that their union boss is running for Council.

McOsker campaign off to predictable start
The surly side of the candidate.

Where are the women in San Pedro?
Someone had to ask, so I did.

Shallman, McOsker leap at chance for CD 15
The duo files papers even while the outgoing Councilmember prepares for her mother's funeral.

Nick Nuch for CD15 rumors swirl
Son of Nuch in San Pedro?