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High-Vis and Low-Vis in the Mayor's Race

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Two major events dominate the week in LA politics–Bob Hertzberg’s introduction of the first TV ads in the mayoral campaign, and Laura Chick’s secret meetings with the mayoral challengers. (Sorry, fellow hacks–the Hahn signs at the sanitation yards aren’t that important.)

Attack of the 50-foot Mayoral Candidate

Bob Hertzberg released his first campaign ad to a variety of reviews. Boi from Troy says “Message gets an "A" but the imagery gets a kinda-spooky "C",” while there are a variety of comments, positive and negative, on Mayor Sam’s Sister City blog.

We did some field research on this, asking some of our very non-politically inclined friends what they thought of it (since that’s who TV ads are intended for–not the hacks. Sorry, kids). They seemed to get the (rather obvious) message that the Mayor of Los Angeles has to be a big presence with big ideas, and that “Big Bob Hertzberg”, or “Bobzilla”, or the “Stay Puft Bobmallow Man” was the right guy to fill that role.

We think it’s a good ad; certainly it stays on message. However, we tend to dispute the fundamental premise that Angelenos are looking for a big mayoral or governmental presence. We hacks love the fights, and the intrigue, and the personalities, and indeed they are exciting, but most people don’t care. They want to have problems solved and have government get the hell out of the way. They don’t want a presence; they want results. Ironically, Hertzberg clearly recognizes this, and said as much in Steve Lopez’s hilarious column the other day. But they don’t want a “mayor who takes risks,” as Hertzberg says. They don’t even know what constitutes taking a risk in the first place, because they don’t care one bit about the Mayor’s political career. Our advice to you, Bob–stay on message, but don’t get too wedded to taking risks or encouraging civic activity. Hollywood doesn’t want a star for its Mayor, they want a Mayor who can get things done and get out of the spotlight. LAist believes that this is why Jim Hahn has never lost a citywide election.

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The Secret Life of Laura Chick
You know, most of the time, when a top City official and her staff decide to write a memo itemizing the corruption, fraud, and waste that goes on inside a City government, and then give it to politicians challenging the ruling mayoral administration, that’s considered newsworthy. To our relative surprise, we don’t even think this stunner merited anything more than an “in brief” look in the Los Angeles Times after the LA Weekly broke the story last week.

While it’s widely known that Controller and former Councilwoman Laura Chick has it in for the Hahn administration, retracting her endorsement and releasing stinging audits periodically, this is taking her involvement to a new level. What’s her thinking here? Is she so confident that one of the challengers will get elected that she figures to have a close ally in the Mayor’s office? Or does she figure that she’s pissed off Hahn’s office so much that she has nothing to lose anymore? Or is she setting herself up for a Mayoral run in 2008? Any of these could be possibilities.