Los Angeles Council District 2: When political blogging goes bad

Note: I’m the political director of an organization that has endorsed Tamar Galatzan in her race for Council District 2 in Los Angeles.  The election is this upcoming Tuesday.

It’s a damn shame that Mayor Sam is one of the best-read blogs in Los Angeles politics.  First and foremost, many of its posters (unlike our frontpage Caliticians, who have decided to disclose their identities) remain anonymous.  Now, as someone who blogged anonymously for years before feeling comfortable disclosing my real name, occupation and other aspects of my identity, it would be hypocritical of me if that were the sole source of my complaint.  Rather, Mayor Sam’s real problem is that the frontpage posters, whoever they are, peddle conspiracy after conspiracy theory about power politics in Los Angeles.  It was Mayor Sam’s posters, after all, who took Eric Hacopian’s work in CA-32 as evidence that Emanuel Pleitez was doing Mayor Villaraigosa’s bidding just to punish Gil Cedillo).

It’s one thing when such lies and distortions happen to people you don’t know.  But when your real-life friends start popping up in posts like this, it requires some pushback.

As background, the relationship between current School Board Member and CD-2 candidate Tamar Galatzan and Mayor Villaraigosa has been a point of issue in a campaign centered around certain portions of the San Fernando Valley where the Mayor is not very popular.  Tamar Galatzan was first elected to her School Board seat in the 2007 municipals with significant aid from Villaraigosa’s so-called “Partnership for Better Schools”–a campaign account he set up to elect allies to the school board.

Since then, however, Galatzan has apparently had a falling-out of sorts with the Mayor (and who hasn’t?).  But it appears that one of the chief tactics of whoever on Mayor Sam seems to have such a vested interested in attacking Galatzan is to try to do his (her?) best to link Galatzan with the mayor.  And this is where it gets a little personal.

In the first post by this “Higby” individual, it is mentioned that many members of Galatzan’s staff used to supposedly work for the Mayor, including Policy Director Pamela Burga.  Now, Pam has been a good friend of mine for a couple of years, and has devoted her life to educational equity.  Her supposed “work for the mayor”?  Working for the Villaraigosa-funded Partnership for Better Schools” for a few months before joining Galatzan’s staff in 2007, where she has worked ever since.  She didn’t deserve to be brought into this, much less lied about.

But the idiot is not done.  In yet another post on the same issue, this same duplicitous hack goes even further, except this time he can’t even get the names right.

Haley Green is has been paid $2,000 to date for consulting work by the then Galatzan. Previously Green was on the payroll of Villaraigosa’s Partnership for Better Schools, the Mayor’s political committee that helped to elect Galatzan to the School Board with a $2 million boost.

Galatzan’s day to day aide Devin Orisri is a former employee of the Mayor’s Partnership for Better schools. Her Policy Director Pamela Burga is another former employee of the Mayor.

Besides the aforementioned Pamela, Hayley Greene and Devin Osiri are also friends of mine from the local Young Democrat clubs.  Devin, age 26, has worked on numerous campaigns–before joining Galatzan’s team, he was also an aide to Ron Galperin, who was a candidate for Council District 5.  Hardly what I’d call loyalty to the head honcho.  And yes, a couple of years ago in 2007, he also worked for Tamar’s campaign–but the checks came from the Partnership.

But it’s with Hayley that this gets the most ridiculous.  Hayley Greene, the so-called “consultant” and mayoral loyalist, is a 20-year-old who is about to enter her junior year of college.  She is helping with volunteer coordination as a summer job.  And yes, she helped with the 2007 campaign as a high-school student.

When all is said and done, this post isn’t about supporting or defending Tamar Galatzan or trying to prove anything one way or the other about her connections to Mayor Villaraigosa, which, in whatever capacity they exist, would exist at levels far higher than the individuals mentioned here.  I cite this not only to defend my friends, who have no business being used as political footballs by anonymous insiders trying to spread crap about candidates who are running against the one that particular insider is supporting (how else, after all, does one come by such specific information about a high-school coordinator?) but also as a signal that the Los Angeles area needs an honest progressive blogosphere that will do better coverage of our local races, since most of the important ones are Dem against Dem primaries and we deserve to have an honest media that can follow these races and cover them with honest efficiency.

5 thoughts on “Los Angeles Council District 2: When political blogging goes bad”

  1. I remember Mayor Sam’s blog back in 2003, when I started trying out blogging when living in LA. They have morphed over the years in a number of ways, but the thing was they were always playing off this mystique that some of ’em were like, way high up at City Hall or something, and it kinda fuels the site and the weird theories they come up with sometimes.

    the blogging culture in LA is so different than San Francisco’s and I don’t mean that in a perjorative way. It just seems like many of the popular blogs down there focus on other things, and while there is a political blog landscape, it often takes a back seat to sites about things more related to lifestyle or the industry, which makes sense.

    I think distance also plays a part too. I noticed when I moved back home to SF, it was not that hard to establish a blog that people would actually read once I put in the time, and then make an in person connection, whereas in LA you really have to work at it as you’re dealing with an area that’s so big and so diverse. Again, that’s not a bad thing and that is based solely on my own experience from 6 years ago and yes I know things have changed.

    But there are also some cool ones. LA Observed is one of the ones I’ve been reading since the beginning.

  2. When all is said and done, this post isn’t about supporting or defending Tamar Galatzan

    Then what is it about? You’ve yielded the substance, if not the implication, of all their claims. And when you get down to it, you don’t even seem to be denying the implication – that Galatzan, nominally running an “outsider” campaign, is filling his staff with “insiders” with connections to the existing power structure. Your “pushback” consists of what – pointing out that they failed to note that the local political figures in question are your friends who are into local politics?

    That said, the best part of Mayor Sam is the comments, where – mixed in with the rabble – the consultants and power brokers who run the city but don’t get any public attention for it try to compensate by constantly and dramatically spilling the secrets and oppo research they can’t figure out how to weaponize.

  3. This is all about Democratic Machine inside stuff and never a mention of Mike McCue, who is a real alternative and is a real outside.

    Oh… I called him Mike and not Michael.  Does that make me an insider… Guess not.  

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