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.