Column by Nick Antonicello
According to the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, a political independent expenditures committee has raised $550,000 to support council candidates Soto, Price and Greg Good, the ex-mayoral aide to Eric Garcetti and former president of the Los Angeles Department of Public Works Department where he was earning nearly $250,000 until his resignation to enter the race in CD-11 earlier this year.
Good, the left-leaning liberal who’s positions on rampant homelessness and rising crime mimic outgoing Councilman Mike Bonin who left the race several weeks ago when a recall effort netted 95% of the required signatures to be placed on the ballot turned what looked like an easy reelection to early retirement and denying him a third and final term of office.
Good, who did not sign nor support the Recall Bonin effort is a longtime supporter of bridge housing in Venice and campaigned door to door with both Mayor Eric Garcetti and Bonin to support the failed project universally despised by most Venetians which is probably the reason the race to succeed Bonin has four residents from Dog Town in Mike Newhouse, Jim Murez, Traci Park and Erin Darling, who like Good is to the left of the outgoing incumbent.
“Working Families for Soto, Price and Good for Council and Kevin de Leon for Mayor and opposing O’Farrell for Council 2022,” is sponsored by UNITE HERE, Local 11.
A deposit of $250,000 was made on March 31 and a second for $300,000 on April 1st, which is designed by this committee to support the prescribed candidacies mentioned separate and apart from the candidate committees.
Such fundraising is not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate for office.
We saw independent expenditures committee fund’s play a critical role in the special election to succeed Assembly member Autumn Burke on April 5th that saw Mayor Robert Pullen-Miles of Lawndale and Democratic activist and party operative Tina McKinnor receive independent funding from energy companies and nurses and educators which financed a good portion of direct mail and other campaign expenditures.
The two will face each other in a June Primary runoff which eliminated Venice local Nico Ruderman from contention after finishing third in a field of four.
Those handicapping the race believe Good’s strong labor connections will make him a formidable contender while others believe his past support of Mike Bonin on issues like rampant homelessness and rising crime will hurt his chances greatly, and cause voters to prefer someone else. All the candidates in this race have no prior elected experience, little name identification with CD-11 voters and a sense his (Good) approach to those issues once known by voters will disqualify him from serious contention, especially in places like Venice and Westchester, both hit hardest by homeless epidemic.
While Good is a former Venice resident, his positions on more homeless housing located in Dog Town is out-of-step, and in dire opposition with most Venetians.
While the issues themselves seem to be Good’s Achille’s Heal, his ability to raise campaign dollars will seemingly keep him competitive as most observers believe a runoff is self-evident.
And while LA city council races are officially non-partisan ballot measures, one’s political designation and affiliation plays a huge role in the structure and dynamics of campaign messaging and Good has the key endorsement of the LA County Democrats and Young Democrats too.
Mike Newhouse, who is a member of the West LA Democrats and a former delegate to the state’s Democratic Convention has support with many party activists, while Good was an executive board member of the West LA Democrats. Candidate Traci Park seems to have little party organization support while Jim Murez doesn’t seem to be even participating for those endorsements. Darling, probably the most far left of the candidates has not secured any political party support to date.
CD-11 is arguably the most affluent of LA’s fifteen council districts and least diversified in terms of race and probably has one of the larger number of registered Republicans and independents in a place that has become the most gentrified, and many believe the reason why it has the largest number of homeless encampments citywide outside of downtown’s Skid Row. 50% of all homeless individuals in CD-11 are located in Venice with estimates at 2,500 to 3,000 unhoused and living on the streets and other public spaces illegally like Centennial Park here in Venice just due east of the Free Public Library.
Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian covering the CD-11 council race as well as other campaigns as they effect Venice. He can be reached at (310) 621-3775 or via e-mail at email@example.com