The Hutchinson Report
No free pass for the 26th District Senate contenders
Here’s a political trivia quiz for the voters who will decide who’ll fill the vacated twenty sixth district state senate seat formerly held by Mark Ridley-Thomas. What does the district encompass? What committees does the senator sit on? Did you receive a newsletter, e-letter, bulletin, or attend a townhall or meeting from the senator telling you what legislative bills, motions, hearings, initiatives he introduced or passed? Did he invite you to a community event, activity, or meeting to give you an update on his legislative actions?
If you answered no to these questions you’re not a political flunk out. Politicians have infinite dodges not to inform, engage, and involve their constituents. The political fog they envelop themselves and their Sacramento tenure in is a self-preserving defense mechanism to ensure election and re-election. This has effectively turned holding a political office and the race to get it into endless deal making, and self-promoting political careerism. This mocks the notion of accountability and enshrines regal entitlement on black elected officials.
Take the two purported front runners for the twenty-sixth senate district seat, Mike Davis and Curren Price. Both are our state assemblypersons. One has barely warmed the seat for his first term. The other is barely into his second term. The obvious question is how does abandoning their barely warmed seat to seat hop at their first chance serve the constituents who backed them for the assembly? And if another seat, say a congressional seat, opens up say next month will they seat hop again? Then there’s the campaign. This tells even more about what’s wrong with careerism politics in L.A. The front-runners jockey to grab all the cash they can, and nab the usual suspect endorsements from politicians, special interest business groups and labor unions. One front runner boasts that he’s a shoo-in because he got the incumbent and the L.A. County Labor Federation’s endorsement. The idea is to scare anyone without either, which is everybody else, away. Entitlement Again.
The self-designated front-runners then blitz district voters with showy, photo-op brochures touting their accomplishments, make the rounds of the black churches, people a last day phone bank, and send blaring car caravans around on election day. This will likely be the first and last time that any other than the union and business special interest donors who bankrolled them see their recycled elected official until re-election time.
This take their constituents for granted mind set is hardly unique to black politicians in L.A. It’s endemic in American politics. And that’s all the more reason to put a word that’s been sorely missing back into the race for the twenty sixth senate district seat and that’s accountability.
- Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a political analyst and author of “How Obama Won,” a comprehensive dissect of President-elect Barack Obama’s journey to the White House.
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Memorial services for veteran news cameraman Artie Williams III, who may rank as the most beloved local camera journalist ever, were pending Wednesday. Williams, who was 59, died Saturday during a diving accident at the Santa Catalina Island isthmus, it was reported. He would have turned 60 on Sunday.
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County officials will work with Homeboy Industries, a nonprofit, gang intervention program founded and run by Father Gregory Boyle, a Jesuit priest.
The effort will involve "tattoo removal, job development, and re-entry services (for) high-risk, high-need probationers and at-risk individuals between the ages of 14 (and) 30,'' said William Fujioka, the county's chief executive officer.
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"This is a timely and critical development for the health, productivity, and well-being of the residents of South Los Angeles,'' Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said.
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The violations, described in an independent audit released Monday, involve "potentially dozens" of child fatalities, County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told the Los Angeles Times.
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