Friday, March 1, 2013

Silly Season Arrives In The Race To Be LA Mayor

Jan Perry attacks Wendy Greuel for not being an in-utero Democrat,  Greuel attacks Eric Garcetti for making  $1.25 off an oil-lease that's never been used, Garcetti attacks Greuel for fudging her numbers, Gruel attacks Perry for fudging her personal finances, the lone Republican candidate Kevin James accuses both Garcetti and Greuel for being grave robbers and long-shot candidate Emanuel Pleitez is literally running around like a chicken with his head cut off.

With 5 days to go until the March 5th election, silly season has officially arrived in the race to be Los Angeles' next mayor.

Although conventional wisdom says it'll be Garcetti and Greuel in the runoff, the candidate's behavior this week indicates they think the race may be more of a tossup than is being reported. So with independent expenditures reaching into the stratosphere and voter turnout descending into the basement, candidates are clawing for any advantage they can get.

So far, independent groups and SuperPACs have poured more than $3 million into the LA mayor's race, $2.5 million of that in support of Wendy Greuel - with the lion's share coming from Working Californians, a SuperPAC formed by IBEW local 18, the union which represents over 8,000 employees for the Department of Water and Power.

What has all that money bought? TV ads. Lots and lots of TV ads. Including this one, which shows footage of Garcetti singing an off-key version of "White Christmas" while a narrator hits the councilman for staying at “five-star hotels,” having “seven city cars” and for taking “money from neighborhood streets for more personal staff.”

Watch it:

Pretty funny stuff. Garcetti may have a musical background, but a great singer, not so much. The added mic feedback is an especially nice touch.

And it would be a pretty standard attack ad - except for one thing -  the footage of Garcetti came from a 2011 charity event at the Garden Crest Rehabilitation Center in Silver Lake.

He was singing to Alzheimer's patients.

Garden Crest is (Pay It Forward Volunteer Band founder) Gary Gamponia's model nursing home. The staff cares. The schedule is varied and full. They welcome outsiders, and on this day, even L.A. City Councilman Eric Garcetti pays a visit to take a turn on the keyboards and sing.

Garcetti's grandparents were musicians, he says, and with his grandmother, "I just remember some of the last ways we ever connected were through music.".....
A few years back, Gamponia, who has mostly earned a living selling insurance, tried to create a cooperative that would help musicians out and then have them return the favor by performing at community events.

He lent equipment, negotiated deep discounts on instrument repair and drove people to gigs when their cars broke down. But the giving was one-way, he says.

Then, around Christmas 2009, he had a simpler notion: Why not just form a band to bring music to the places that could use it most?

He called the office of his councilman, Garcetti, for ideas and got the names of several nursing homes. And he enlisted a ragtag band of old friends and new acquaintances made on Craigslist.

Here's an excerpt of that performance here, put up by Garden Crest:

So welcome to silly season in the LA Mayor's race. Where anything can and will be held against a candidate to be used in the court of public opinion - even singing to elderly Alzheimer's patients at Christmas.

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