Between the Lines: Black Community Can’t Afford to Pick Wrong Again LA Mayor’s Race

wendy greul

Wendy Greul

*The 2013 Mayoral Election takes a significant step next Tuesday as the community gets a chance to narrow the field for an office primary which has no incumbent.

The office of Mayor is being vacated after tolerating eight years of a Mayor who took the black vote for granted, exploited the community and forgot who his friends were.

Los Angeles changed significantly in the past eight years. Koreatown. Hollywood. The Westside. Downtown. Even Westchester, grew exponentially under Antonio Villaraigosa. Not South L.A. Truth be told, not East L.A. They know it. We know it. And he knows we know it. Both communities have been left disappointed.

Hell, I’m disappointed. I believed in Antonio Villaraigosa and nobody worked harder to get him elected (both times) when backed him in 2001 when 95% of our community backed Jimmy Hahn, who I knew wasn’t going to do anything. He wasn’t his Daddy. When Villaraigosa lost, Jimmy Hahn turned his attention to L.A. Police Chief, Bernie Parks, part II of the black chief experiment, and got even for everything Parks ever did to him. Then the black community lost its mind, ran Parks for City Council just so he could exact revenge on Jimmy Hahn. Parks, not in office two years, ran for Mayor in 2005—not to win, but to cause Hahn to lose, and the black community been losing every since. Why rehash that bit of institutional history trivia? Because it’s not trivial. It’s significant to note how we got to this point in the community’s arrested development. Villaraigosa lost the black vote in 2001. Hahn lost it in 2005. His loss was Villaraigosa gain in 2005. The rest of the city voted just as it did in 2001. The only shift in the citywide vote. That was in South L.A. The black community put Antonio Villaraigosa in office.


What did the black community get out of a Villaraigosa administration? The same thing we got from Hahn and from Dick Riordan. Nothing…besides a few strategically placed commission appointments, which is nothing more than a few people to raise their profile, network and make some money after their commission is up. Mayoral candidates know all they have to do is make a few promises of grandeur to a few people who can deliver blocks of votes and they rewarded for their influence peddling. Infrastructure and schools in the black community crumbled under the last three mayors; all promising to be “Education Mayors” and all promising jobs. In the 20 years since Tom Bradley left office in 1993, the no other community has gone as backwards as the Los Angeles African American community.

It’s a sad case study in political leadership secession failure, ignorance in regional urban planning, the absence of competent social advocacy and entrenched economic subjugation. Every community has progressed more than South L.A. Even East L.A., which is still underserved and has many of the same ills as South L.A. has built more community centers, job training centers …read more
Source: Electronic Urban Report