Friends and neighbors

Thank you all for your encouragement, support, and hard work these past few months. We were a true grass-roots effort, dependent on volunteers, and raised less than a tenth of what the insider's campaign received from special interests, and yet we still took more than 25 percent of the vote. That is pretty amazing, folks, and you deserve the credit.
We should all be proud of what we did with so few resources in comparison, and especially in getting out the message of the campaign that our neighborhoods and their residents should come first, not developers or donors from outside the district, the city, and even the state.

Maria and I were honored to have met people in the community and our campaign volunteers - you have proven that you really do put "Neighborhoods First."

All the best,

Voters pick Smith after seeing him in action over "insider"

Daily News:

Voters who see and hear Smith at public match-ups declare their support for him. The news story reports that Brad Smith is the leading alternative to the City Hall insider Englander among voters interviewed following candidate forums in Chatsworth and Granada Hills -- the result of which could be catastrophic to the status quo:
"If someone who is not the anointed candidate even gets into a runoff, it will be an earthquake in the city of Los Angeles," said Brad Smith, a Granada Hills neighborhood-council activist who works as a business-development specialist at Pasadena-based Parsons Corp."

Editorial calls for change and reform in City Hall

Daily News:
Amid insignificant cost-cutting and poor stewardship of the city, Tuesday's election provides an opportunity to undo the status quo.
" ... feeble leadership and long-overdue prescriptions we saw coming out of City Hall last week. Angelenos deserve leaders who will address the city's problems with bold, intelligent action. We want real reform, real change in City Hall."

Columnist decries bestowing CD12 seat to prince-in-waiting

Doug McIntyre:
In hoping for a chain of upsets, the Daily News columnist says "coronations" aren't good things
"The L.A. Clean Sweep campaign deserves our gratitude for making sure Englander earns his seat rather than simply inheriting it."

Final candidates' forum heats up

Chatsworth Patch:
Story keys on Smith and 2 other challengers putting the top money-raiser's feet to the fire. 
"Lord, Singh and Smith said Englander would be the latest in a line of council members that started with Hal Bernson 24 years ago and continued with Greig Smith, who is retiring after eight years and making way for his “son.”

They say business as usual is crippling the city and responsible for a $50-million budget deficit this year and a projected $350-million deficit next year.
Most of the candidates took umbrage at the fact that council representatives earn $179,000 annually and a chief of staff is paid nearly $150,000 a year, another swipe at Englander."
On why Smith will choose no one in now in City Hall for his staff, the Navy vet said:
"USS Los Angeles has run aground, a long time ago."
This ironic sidenote from the story, Englander laments he's the target of others: “So much for a positive campaign” -- context of such a statement is important, and the irony is told here and noted here.

CD12's "smooth-talking insider" takes heat in race

L.A. Times
Quoting Smith making the case for a "a real choice, not a coronation," the story also notes Kelly Lord's point that Englander would be too cozy with developers and includes refutations of by him and his "handlers" of that charge and also the "legacy tag" and his "oozing political privilege." The newspaper cites the facts:

" ... while no incumbent hovers, there is Englander. He is Smith's longtime chief of staff, a savvy, smooth-talking insider whose uncle, Harvey Englander, is a veteran City Hall lobbyist who helped give his nephew his start in politics. 

"Mitch," the candidate's casual campaign handle, is seeking to follow in the footsteps of Smith, who was chief of staff for his predecessor, Hal Bernson.
Politics watcher takes issue with the Times' coverage.
"because a news organization with the reach of the Times was not interested enough to report the biggest story of the CD 12 race."
That "biggest story" is here

Community leader endorses Smith, Lord

Jim Summers, a long-time Granada Hills resident and local business owner, was the first GHSNC president elected by the public after the council was certified by the City of Los Angeles.

"I. . .am co-endorsing Kelly Lord and Brad Smith for CD 12 Councilman based on their previous experience, ethics and the need for change for a councilperson who (is) truly are representative of their constituents," Summers said in a statement released Saturday.
As Granada Hills South Neighborhood Council president, Mr. Summers led the community's sucessful fight against a proposed big-box retail store in the neighorhood supported by incumbent Councilman Greig Smith and the CD 12 staff. Mr. Summers is also a co-founder of the Old Granada Hills Residents' Group.

Mr. Lord and Mr. Smith are also co-endorsees of Los Angeles Clean Sweep, while Mr. Smith has the endorsements of State Sen. Fran Pavley and former Los Angeles Unified School District board member Julie Korenstein. Mr. Smith, a parent of four children in local public schools, including Balboa Elementary, Holmes Middle School, and Granada Hills High School, has also been endorsed by the United Teachers of Los Angeles.

Political watchdog site says "anyone but the 'anointed one'"

Mayor Sam's Sister City
Although the contributors are content to have anyone but Englander, Michael Higby is clear:
"Brad Smith on the other hand is a true blue community organizer, more in line with the mood in that community. Smith apparently scared Englander so much the Englander campaign tried to get Smith fired from his job. That says volumes. Vote for Smith!"

Columnist looks at the campaigns' volunteers

Daily News:

"Renee Anenberg - a volunteer for North Valley candidate Brad Smith - has even offered to hand deliver vote-by-mail applications to people she calls.
A first-time volunteer, she is hoping to help elect her longtime neighbor to the council's one open seat.
"I'm only doing this because he won't take contributions from developers or corporations," Anenberg said of Smith. "I vote with my heart. I have to trust someone. I knew he was honest."

Martha Montelongo radio show eyes public policy issues

KRLA 870
Smith joins a panel of candidates and CalWatchDog discussing public employee pensions, LACleanSweep, consolidation of services and agencies before the segment break then program moves on to other topics.

Radio interview makes distinction among candidates

Cameron Datzker
Call-in interview on LA Talk Radio opens program of Feb. 25 and focuses on putting neighborhoods first, citing the successful fight against inappropriate development.

Englander's feet of clay grow obvious to campaign watchers

Politics-watching website demonstrates how CD12 front-runner is out-of-step with informed opinions on Enterprise Zones:
"And then candidate Mitch Englander, for years chief of staff to Greig Smith, and very much wed to Enterprise Zones, said Jerry Brown, the Times and yours truly were all wrong.
Now an economics prof at CSUN also says that it's Mitch Englander who is wrong, in what has become the defining debate in the race for Council District 12. Democrat Brad Smith and Republican Kelly Lord, both also in the race, are also on record insisting that Republican Mitch Englander is wrong."
KRLA 870:
Host Kevin James says Englander "gave the middle finger to the community" by blowing off the Granada Hills Candidate Forum.

Englander blows off Granada Hills' forum

"Mitch Englander was a no-show at Thursday's candidate forum in Granada Hills, an AOL Patch reports. "That a candidate would not come to one of only four campaign forums is, quite frankly, reprehensible," candidate Brad Smith notes."
Chatsworth Patch:
Even without Englander, his record was the focus... of everyone.

"Singh pointed to "$440,000" in campaign contributions that he claimed Englander has received largely from developers "who have business with the city and want to take advantage of the system," said the 35-year Porter Ranch stakeholder.
Singh claimed the quality of life in Porter Ranch has declined. "Porter Ranch is not the same, and I'm not going to let Granada Hills be prostituted," Singh said."
"Lord indicated that land-use issues would be a priority if he is elected and painted Englander as the more-of- the-same candidate. He gave as an example a project on White Oak Street, claiming the developer was a campaign contributor to Councilman Smith, which led to an "11th hour zoning change," allowing higher-density construction."

Letter to the Editor sets spending priorities

Daily News:

Brad Smith says "Basic services must come first"
"Columnist Doug McIntyre's arguments are on point. The city is willing to sell or lease everything from advertising space in public parks to publicly owned parking garages in a desperate bid to fill this year's $50 to $60 million budget hole. It's worth asking - what is next? At the same time the city was hoping for long-term leases of these facilities, the council approved a deal to provide $50 million in redevelopment funds for improvements in downtown Los Angeles - including a parking facility - tied directly to the proposed Eli Broad museum. Does anyone else see the disconnect?
These funds could be used to assist local government's delivery of services - including for public schools - if the reorganization of California's CRAs proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown goes forward. In the choice between the possible future economic benefit from redevelopment projects and the delivery of basic services today, there can only be one decision."

Radio interview of a serious alternative to the status quo

KRLA 790:
Host Kevin James interviews Brad Smith -- they discussed the city budget, the need for new leadership in the council, and his commitment to use one-third of the $180,000-a-year council salary for the district's needs.
Part 1 Part 2

Newspaper notes rivals to the "councilman-in-waiting"

L.A. Weekly:
 The story documents that Brad Smith has been co-endorsed for CD 12 by Clean Sweep, a civic reform group led by former Daily News editor Ron Kaye that's seeking to challenge the strong influence of developers, unions and other special interests at City Hall. The report gives a short focus to all the candidates for the seat.
"CD 12 candidate, Brad Smith, 46, who is vice president of the Granada Hills South Neighborhood Council, sums up L.A.'s elected political class this way: 'The status quo has proven itself incapable to deal with the realities of the city.'"

"Smith sees taxpayer-subsidized CRA projects as a gamble that should be halted. He says: "I don't see how anyone can argue against meeting the services in the here and now" while handing public money to developers in hopes that "10 to 15 years" down the road, their subsidized projects will create economic growth.
"It's like there's a hole in your roof, but you don't fix it — because you're saving for a pool," Smith says.
Smith makes a fiscal pledge that no sitting City Council member has made: He will give back about $60,000 of his $178,789 annual council pay if elected. "

Website expresses a sense of deja vu

Village To Village:
Valley politics watcher sees the CD12 election much like last year's CD2 contest, the distinction being the "prince in line for succession" -- having the benefits of an incumbent without actually being the incumbent.

"[Englander] can play both sides of the street.
He can say, “My experience as Greig Smith’s chief of staff qualifies me to run the Council District, but don’t blame me for the problems Smith left behind.”
Who can say where Englander stood when his boss wanted to almost eradicate neighborhood council budgets – cutting them from $50,000 to $11,000 (they ended up at $45,000)."

Video of Neighborhood Councils' Candidate Forum

Michael N. Cohen, Reseda Neighborhood Council boardmember and Clean Sweep LA member, has posted video from the Forum on Monday.
Part 1 ; Part 2; Cohen's take:
"Brad Smith set that tone when he said there should be no coronation implying the current CD 12 Council Member's Chief of Staff, Mitchell Englander should not be the heir presumptive."

Smith turns up heat on "heir apparent"

At the CD12 Neighborhood Councils' Candidates' Forum,

Chatsworth Patch:
"The most heated exchange occurred when Brad Smith (no relation to the outgoing councilman) scolded Englander for his office being "surprised" by city Department of Transportation street work on Wilbur Avenue.
'A member of the City Council should not be surprised by LADOT actions in the middle of the night," said Smith, a neighborhood council veteran. "What kind of awareness is that for $150,000 a year? You're surprised?' "
The story misquotes Smith's announcement to dedicate back 1/3 of his council salary to be used in the district. 

Region's newspaper covers Smith campaign

Brad Smith was profiled in the Sunday newspaper, and he discussed the major issue in the campaign -- the pattern of development.
Daily News:
"[It] might have been acceptable when the San Fernando Valley was booming. (But) we are all built out, and you should be doing everything you can for the residents."

Leveraging his job into money from Council members

LA Times:
"The only race without an incumbent — the one involving the northwest San Fernando Valley 12th District seat now held by retiring Councilman Greig Smith — might have proved more dramatic, but Smith's top deputy, Mitchell Englander, has netted endorsements from nearly every council member while amassing almost $443,988 in his treasury. His closest opponent has raised $33,915."
Of course, the Times didn't have enough capital letters to spare to name Brad Smith as that "closest opponent" -- a point highlighted by another who also noted:
"To suggest that "the only fireworks in the City Council races" have taken place in CD 14 strikes us as limited at best and disingenuous at worst. There have been in CD 14 is to ignore, for starters, two of my own most widely read item this month: Brad Smith's departure and re-emergence within the CD 12 race, which may have been forced by the Englander campaign's bullying of Smith through actions taken at Smith's workplace. Smith is now on a Leave of Absence from his employer to address his campaign exclusively."

City-wide website posts candidate interviews

The City Maven:

"As parents of four children in public schools in CD 12, my wife Maria and I are especially concerned about public education, and how the schools and municipal government in Los Angeles can work together to maintain safe schools that are assets to the children and communities they serve.
We have heard the same slogans, again and again, from downtown bureaucrats and City Hall insiders, most of whom don’t live in our community, and who make decisions – not based on what is good for our neighborhoods – but what is in the best interest of themselves and the developers with whom they enjoy financial relationship. I can offer real solutions and will work all the time to meet to the real needs of our neighborhoods and residents."
Interview goes on reveal a promise of better use of resources and a stand against developments that are out of character for the neighborhood.

Q&A from Granada Hills community website

Giga Granada Hills:
"Yes, we are in it to win, and we think we can do it through a grass-roots campaign funded through small donations and clean money -- not through a campaign run by and for City Hall insiders, and with hundreds of thousands of dollars from special interests. "
Report includes details of work status and support from Smith's employer.

We can "Win the Future" in Council District 12

Friends and neighbors --
The Jan. 25 meet-up went well; we had a great cross-section of our community, Republicans, Democrats, homeowners, renters, small business people, veterans, all interested in what both President Obama and Rep. Ryan had to say about our nation's future.
"Win the Future" resonates with me; coming from a private sector background in high technology companies, I know there is a tremendous opportunity to build a new manufacturing economy here in the United States centered on sustainable energy and renewable fuels, and if we do not make it happen in Los Angeles, it will happen elsewhere. 
Talking with people across the region, there are deep concerns in the about what kind of economy our country will have in the future, and whether there will be work and careers for our children and grandchildren that will allow them to enjoy the same American dream our parents and grandparents had, and which so many people are struggling to hold on to today.

Candidate videos on website

Giga Granada Hills: 
"...a serious challenger to presumptive front runner Mitchell Englander."

Newspaper slams deception on ballot identification

Daily News:

"For the past seven and a half years, Mitch Englander has reported for work most days at Los Angeles City Hall, where he is chief of staff for Councilman Greig Smith.
It's a demanding job, with long hours and high pressure to meet constituent needs. That's why he's paid $150,000 a year. So it was surprising to see Englander's occupation listed on the March 8 ballot as "Policeman/Councilmember Deputy."
Englander is running to replace his boss as councilman for the 12th District, which stretches from Chatsworth to Granada Hills. But instead of listing his job in the council office as his primary occupation, Englander chose to emphasize his volunteer work as a reserve police officer - a gig that takes 16 hours or more a month."
 Editorial goes on to say candidates ought to stand on their career and not rely upon "artful" wording.

Website tells of pressure to push Smith out of race

"A source has informed street-hassle that several phone calls were made on behalf of Mitch Englander's campaign, including one by the candidate himself and one by consultant John Shallman, as well as emails sent, to several key figures at Brad Smith's employer, Parsons Corp. of Pasadena, including their government relations staff and their CEO, insisting it would be bad for Parsons if Smith were to continue his campaign."
Comments on the site urge the release of more information.

Mayor Sam's Sister City political website notes "strong-arm tactics" against Smith's employer.

Equating oneself with 24/7 officers

 "Mitch Englander who was criticized for claiming on his ballot designation that he is a "policeman" when he is only a volunteer member of the LAPD reserve."

Smith back in race, newspaper "glad to hear it"

LA Weekly:
"It looked as if there might be another District 12 candidate capable of batting against the big boys: Brad Smith.
Smith (not Greig) is a former LA Daily News reporter and current neighborhood councilmember -- which would make for a winning mix of critical savvy and political know-how. He was able to raise almost $25,000 since September, the same increase as Englander in that quarter, ..."
Simone Wilson's Informer entry notes that district's seat has a succession tendency (Hal Bernson, Greig Smith, Mitchell Englander) where "out with the old" just leads to "in with the old deputy."

Candidate forum

Smith and his daughters riding in our local mountains.
Daily News

"Brad Smith would not be topped.
Promising to protect the character of individual neighborhoods, Smith said of his own family: "We're all about horses, as you can imagine. We ride on a regular basis."
Kevin Modesti's story about the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council public Q&A noted that "When the candidates introduced themselves to the audience, Englander emphasized his work as an LAPD reserve officer but didn't mention his staff position at City Hall."

18 months before the primary

Daily News:
"Mitch Englander, chief of staff to City Councilman Greig Smith, took out papers Tuesday to succeed his boss, becoming the first candidate to declare for the 2011 municipal election.  Smith, who could run for another term, has said he will not seek re-election.  Englander, 39, who is a reserve police officer, long has voiced interest in running for the seat."
Reporter Rick Orlov wrote that story in September, 2009.