|"Masthead?" More like "meathead."|
Who? Jim Newton is the employee of the still-bankrupt local newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, who has decided to provide far more coverage on the campaigns of the three indistinguishable career politicians vying to succeed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (i.e., Garcetti, Greueul and Perry) than to the campaign of Kevin James.
Why is Newton snubbing Kevin James, an attorney and former federal prosecutor who has raised more than enough money to qualify for matching funds well ahead of the election? Well, Newton himself recently explained why: Newton is very, very smart, and he understands local politics way better than you, so he can already predict, just sitting in his office, who will get a significant share of the vote in March 2013, and, alas, James just hasn't passed the Newtonian threshold.
But here's the problem: Newton is absolutely terrible at predicting who will get a substantial share of the vote. That's not an opinion, it's a fact. Allow me to explain.
Let's start by agreeing on what constitutes a substantial share of the vote. Back in the 2005 mayoral primary, the Los Angeles Times covered the campaigns of some, but not all, of the candidates. The chosen few were: James Hahn (the Mayor at the time), Antonio Villaraigosa, Bob Hertzberg, Bernard Parks, and Richard Alarcon. No other candidates, it seems, were worthy. Here is the percentage of the vote each of the chosen candidates received:
- Villaraigosa - 33%
- Hahn - 23%
- Hertzberg - 22%
- Parks - 13%
- Alarcon - 13%
So the threshold for being a coverage-worthy candidate is, judging from these numbers 13%.
Now let us move to the 2009 Mayoral campaign, during which yours truly, like Kevin James, raised more than enough money to qualify for matching funds. Despite my having done so, Newton ignored me and my campaign because, well, you know, he's just so very smart and good at politics, that he knew there was no point wasting readers' time on my campaign. So what if hundreds of people flocked to my rallies? So what if people of every political persuasion contributed money to my campaign, and put supportive signs in their yards and bumper stickers on their cars. Newton "knew" all my grassroots support was not worth mentioning. Instead, essentially the only coverage I got in the L.A. Times was a dismissive article just a few days before the election, featuring perhaps the worst photograph ever taken of me, and that's saying something:
|Was the photographer's regular seeing-eye dog sick that day? Weirdest picture ever.|
Having intentionally suppressed any information about my campaign for month after month, thereby preventing voters from knowing they had any choice, Newton's last-minute prophecy was that I wouldn't win. And, surprise, surprise, I did not win.
But guess what? In the 2009 election, I got a greater percentage of the votes than Bernard Parks (13%) and Richard Alarcon (13%) did in 2005. In 2009, I got a greater percentage than Bob Hertzberg (22%) and even Mayor Hahn (23%) did in 2005. I, a candidate Newton deemed unworthy of coverage, received over 26% of the vote -- with, in the newspaper's own words, a budget that was "a fraction of Villaraigosa's war chest." Villaraigosa avoided a run-off by less than 6% of the vote.
Did Newton candidly admit, after the election, that he had completely misjudged local politics? Hell no! Rather than acknowledging he had been dead wrong, he doubled down on his dismissive, arrogant editorial attitude and called me "goofy," and said the 2009 election "doesn't count." Really? That's the best you can do, Jimbo? A lawyer and Ivy-league graduate with a degree in public policy runs for office, and gets a greater percent of the vote in 2009 than the incumbent Mayor got in 2005 is "goofy?" Hey, Jim, did you notice how talk of Villaraigosa running for governor ended on the night of that election? Did you catch the cover of Los Angeles Magazine shortly after the election -- the one with Villaraigosa's picture with the word "Failure," that one?
Oh, and Jim, remember my warning, three years ago, about the City hurtling towards bankruptcy? Remember how your article pooh-poohed my warning as one of my so-called "rote campaign lines?" Would you care to acknowledge that I was right? Of course you wouldn't. You likewise won't recant your opposition to my proposal to deny "sanctuary" to gang members who are illegal aliens, even though President Obama later adopted a policy of deporting criminal illegal aliens. Care to accuse him of racism, Jim?
Newton has learned nothing from his mistakes. Instead, Newton has opted to be consistent: a candidate is worth mentioning only if he has already been elected to office, like Garcetti, Greuel and Perry, or has oceans of his own cash to spend. Jim, let me share some Ralph Waldo Emmerson with you: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." Then again, why listen to me. I'm just "goofy." But here's the thing, virtually all of the 72,000 "goofy" people who voted for me are going to vote for Kevin James, too, and he's going to be in the run-off.