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Los Angeles City Elections 2013

L.A. mayor's race: The world isn't watching either

April 24, 2013|By Patt Morrison
  • Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel exchange a fist-bump before a debate this week.
Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel exchange… (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles…)

This Los Angeles mayoral election isn’t exactly setting the city's electorate on fire. Nor the world, for that matter.

It’s so low key that I was surprised to see a very focused piece in the Guardian, Britain’s liberal national newspaper -- an intense analysis of the methodology of a Times-USC poll about a race that even the candidates’ hometown isn’t paying much attention to.

Former Mayor Sam Yorty once told me, in what I think was the last interview he gave, that when he traveled the world as mayor in the 1960s, people would say to him, “Los Angeles … Los Angeles … is that anywhere near Hollywood?”

ENDORSEMENTS: Los Angeles City Elections 2013

Hollywood, a mere neighborhood within Los Angeles, used to be a prim little town that banned liquor, yet it still eclipses, in the world’s imagination, the vast quarters of the rest of regular-folk L.A., and is still a cliche that, in strangers’ minds, characterizes the whole of the city.

That, along with the dreary fact that the runoff candidates are battling to find differences between themselves, and the reality that L.A.’s mayor has less clout than the mayors of New York and Chicago, doesn’t help to muster up attention that goes much beyond the journo cliches of laid-back, quirky and glam.

The Guardian story -- which concluded that, after all, the poll’s findings are probably right -- got me wondering how, or even whether, newspapers elsewhere in the world are covering an election that can’t even bestir the good townsfolk of Hollywood-is-not-the-total-of-Los-Angeles.

WATCH: Garcetti video interview | Greuel video interview

“You wouldn't know it on the U.S. East Coast, where the focus is on who will win the contest to succeed Michael Bloomberg as mayor of New York,” the Guardian tells us, “but the election to be mayor of the nation's second most populous city is also occurring this year.” Give the Guardian the benefit of the doubt -- you wouldn’t know it 10 miles from City Hall either.

Get a load of a couple of comments on the Guardian’s online story, one from “Profangus,” that asks “Who cares unless you live in LA? As a friend once said to me / it's not like Madrid!” and the answer, from “follard,” “Everybody reading the Guardian. We're obsessed with the US. Without it we would have no life -- with no chance of getting one.”

Then I skipped over to the website for the Telegraph, Britain’s establishment paper. The latest stories I could find that mentioned the L.A. mayor -- Antonio Villaraigosa -- were all about the Chris Dorner killing spree, and before that, about Villaraigosa’s role at the Democratic National Convention last September.

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