89.3 F
San Fernando
Monday, Aug 15, 2022
-Advertisement-

When Do You Get to Ask Candidates Some Questions?

When Do You Get to Ask Candidates Some Questions? From The Newsroom by Michael Hart Successful runners, like all successful athletes, know to always expect one more obstacle. Regardless of what may have been required to win one race, one game, something else you didn’t anticipate always stands between you and winning that second race, the season, the championship, whatever it is you want. The best learn to anticipate what others never saw coming. The same appears to be the case with secession campaigns: It’s always something. Much of 2001 and early 2002 was taken up with questions about money: What is this alimony business, how much is it and can a Valley city afford it? Can we be assured that, following secession, water and electricity rates will remain where they are? Would a new city have enough money coming in and going out to survive? The answer, as far as I’m concerned, is yes. The next step: Is there the public support for secession? Can it win on Nov. 5? The answer to that is probably yes too, assuming a few things happen: First, that the overwhelming majority of Valley voters in favor of a breakup actually get to the polls, and get there in such numbers that they overwhelm the no votes and the no-shows in the rest of the city (which is entirely possible given the Valley’s voting record in past elections relative to most of Los Angeles). Second, that the Valley secession campaign successfully neutralizes the irrational scare tactics demonstrated by the anti-secession side in a recent debate in front of Valley realtors between Valley Independence Chairman Richard Katz and City Council President Alex Padilla. (Katz got it right and Padilla got it wrong, but before long the debate will be in front of all of Los Angeles, not just a couple of hundred real estate agents, most of whom had already decided which side they were on.) So, what’s the next obstacle? Making sure the kinds of people who read a publication like this get what they want out of a new city government, before it’s too late. Here’s what bothers me. Elsewhere in this issue you’ll read about the chances that a new Valley city could accept or reject the current living wage ordinance that requires just about anybody who does business with the city in even the most remote way to pay workers at least a couple of dollars over the federal minimum wage. It’s one of dozens of issues a new city council will have to take up within its first four months in office. No one would argue it’s the most important one but still, when Business Journal reporter Jacqueline Fox last week asked state Assemblyman Keith Richman, the most serious candidate for mayor of a new city, his position on a living wage ordinance, his answer was, “I really don’t think the issue should be discussed until after a new government is in place.” What then is an issue that should be discussed before “a new government is in place”? Up to this point meaning the last couple of years this secession campaign has had a wait-until-next-year feel to it that made it easy for all the various interest groups who thought they could benefit from a breakup to get along. Those who thought their neighborhoods were being neglected because resources were going to other parts of L.A., who felt their children suffered because resources went to schools in and students from other parts of town, and who believed their businesses suffered because of a City Hall that has an anti-business bias could find common ground. Things, however, get dicier as it gets closer to the time to close the deal and, I believe, business interests have to begin to watch out for themselves. Maybe you can decide the living wage doesn’t affect enough companies to make a difference, but what about all the other issues an inexperienced new city council might have to make snap decisions on in its first few months in office? Shouldn’t that have anything to do with who you vote for in these maybe-kind-of city council elections? Wouldn’t it help if you knew your candidate’s position, for instance, on business tax reform before the election? You’d expect no less in a city council election where history wasn’t being made. Or how about his or her ideas for streamlining the city bureaucracy that business operators have to deal with? Isn’t that one important reason why many want to break away? What about specific plans for economic development? For keeping companies from leaving the Valley for greener, more efficient, cheaper-to-operate pastures? What can candidates tell you they’re going to do to protect business interests when they come into conflict with those of homeowner associations (and, believe me, they have their own horse in this race, even if business doesn’t)? Secession advocates wanted voters to pick a mayor and city council at the same time they said yes or not to a breakup, and they got it. They’re the ones who decided we would shape the ideology of a new government while we were deciding whether we even wanted it. They put this obstacle in front of themselves and business interests should demand more from these candidates than just “I really don’t think the issue should be discussed until after a new government is in place.” Michael Hart is editor of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. He can be reached at mhart@sfvbj.com.

-Advertisement-

Featured Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-

Related Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-