From left, City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, City Council member Dennis Zine,… (Francine Orr / Los Angeles…)
You won’t see politicians lined up at the unemployment office, but every election means that some defeated officials wind up out of work.
It happened again in this week’s L.A. city election.
So let us ask not what the city can do for them, but what they can still do for the city.
FULL COVERAGE: L.A.'s race for mayor
Wendy Greuel, for one, who lost to Eric Garcetti in the mayor’s race.
She’s served on the City Council, she was a business executive at DreamWorks, and she spent four years as city controller, L.A.’s official pinch-penny auditor. And we heard a lot during the campaign about her family’s hardware store in the San Fernando Valley.
So why not create a city version of the Small Business Administration and put Greuel in charge of it? L.A.’s Chamber of Commerce endorsed Greuel as “the only candidate in this race who has signed the front of a paycheck and not just the back.”
The city’s reputation as business-hostile needs a smart makeover. The dissolution of the state’s 7-decades-old redevelopment agencies has created both crisis and opportunity; Greuel could step into that breach and become a matchmaker and a rainmaker between projects and plans, between ideas and funds -- local, state, federal, private and public, tax breaks, grants and partnerships -- to make them work. Wendy, Tsarina of Biz, Dollar Duchess of the San Fernando Valley!
Next, Dennis Zine. He’s a Hollywood native, onetime city charter commissioner, termed-out City Council member and former L.A. police officer. He ran to succeed Greuel as controller but lost. He’s also an accomplished pilot and former motorcycle officer.
So let the Garcetti administration invite him to reinvest those skills in the city. He’s mastered the motorcycle, why not the bicycle too? Zine could become the city’s two-wheeler ambassador, a liaison to the growing and influential bicycling community, integrating the two- and four-wheeled cultures, taking bicyclists’ case to every city and regional agency that has a hand in the wheel-spinning. Call it the Harley-Schwinn Coalition Directorship. Zine would also admirably fill the role of motorcycle outrider, marshal and escort for the city’s parades, like Lakers championships or when the Dodgers win the pennant. Which will be any day now. Yep, aaaany ol’ day now.
And lastly, Carmen Trutanich. The city attorney from San Pedro got the electoral boot after one term, in part because he broke his pledge not to run for district attorney. Trutanich had been vehemently against the proliferation of medical pot shops. Now the same election that saw him defeated brought passage of Proposition D,which means that more than 70% of the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries will have to shut down, leaving only the 130 or so that opened before the city’s 2007 moratorium effort.
Yet Proposition D describes no mechanism for shuttering these newly banned pot shops. Trutanich could be that mechanism -- the Eliot Ness of Sinsemilla, out on the streets in his double-breasted Chicago-style topcoat, hammering on pot shop-speakeasy doors, demanding, “Shut 'er down!” I think he’d love it, and I know the TV news cameras would love it too.
Doesn’t every mayor want to do something about jobs? Well, here you are, Mr. Garcetti -- three, right off the bat.
Where Greuel went wrong
Is voting for mayor a pointless ritual?