Wow, Chris Essel really seemed out of her element and the "deer in headlights" cliche applied during the recent CD 2 City Council candidate forums throughout the city.
Although I was a grassroots candidate who was running against the top money raiser in the election, I still felt really bad for her in the way she was received by the local community at these forums that are attended by many of the more politically aware community members, as opposed to the people who voted for her based on fliers. (Tough rooms.)
But she certainly didn't really go into Zuma or Tamar mode where you really pour it on and stick up for yourself.
And I teased Chris throughout the campaign, "Like you really need this? Like you need to sit here and schlep it out with Zuma Dogg and Miriam Folger at these forums. You had NO idea it would be like this, did you?"
And despite what she said in response each time (at least she appreciated my humor and wasn't offended by it, like some other uptight politicians)...it's true!
Chris may be good at what she is good at, but that doesn't mean she is an experienced political campaign debater. She doesn't have that slick Assemblyspeak ability like Alarcon, Wesson, Villaraiogsa and Krekorian.
She isn't good at firing back with slick, smooth answers like the career politicians.
Chris called me to personally let me know she appreciated my blog post from yesterday where I wrote a campaign speech ZUMA DOGG thinks she should say, based on a phone conversation I had with her that turned into a Zuma Dogg "grill-fest" where I fired away with the questions on things I was interested in knowing in my decision about her as a city council candidate.
And as I previously mentioned, it didn't come across in the forums or in fliers the way it came across in a real phone conversation; and it was just that...a conversation. It wasn't before a crowd and it wasn't part of an official conversation. I called her on her cell phone to let her know it would be good if she went on Kevin James' show, this time. (More like it would be disastrous if she DIDN'T.) And as we were wrapping it up, I just asked her some questions about her career at Paramount, because I'm interested in the industry know it's a tough nut to crack. And when I hung up, I felt THAT was the stuff that people should be hearing in the way that she was saying it.
So the fact that she isn't a slick politician with a lot of experience in front of debate crowds like experienced and trained politicians like Krekorian and Galatzan (and Alarcon and Garcetti and Villaraigosa and the rest of them) might make her a bad candidate, but doesn't mean she would be a bad councilmember...even though I'm not saying it means she would be a good one, either.
I really think Chris just isn't used to having to be a shameless self-promoter like like Garcetti, Greuel, Dogg, Hahn and the rest of us. Maybe she has a little class and dignity and didn't want to describe her career achievement publicly the way Zuma Dogg was able to get her to admit to.
So next thing I can tell you in my evaluation of Chris as City Councilmember: I think she's a lot more on the ball and far more outstanding and impressive than just about all the other current councilmembers, including Wendy. (Sorry Wendy.) I can see her outshining most (if not all) of the other current councilmembers.
I know people are concerned about city hall connections and contributions from developers and whatnot, and that's still to be evaluated and weighed.
But seriously, must be pretty frustrating for Ms. Essel who has such a distinguished career at such a high level to have to be dragged through the muck with ZD, Miram and all the haters who like a good WWE show.
I think we have someone who is inexperienced at running in elections, who hired the same old tired political hacks to make it happen for her. And these outside candidates, like Chris don't know how to run a campaign so they are beholden to the advice of their political advisers. And the consultants tend to scoff at and discount the grass roots crowd.
So ZD has been trying to get to Chris to try and let her know the value of things like Kevin James' show and that I hope her operatives don't blow it, this time around, because it's a different dynamic and different election entirely now, and her political consultants didn't get out any of the things that impressed me most about Chris based on the phone conversation.
Chris told me she is going on Kevin's radio show, and she knows she tanked in the forums. So, I told her to watch some Zuma Dogg "public comment videos" from City Hall and try to be more outgoing and shameless like the rest of us because you HAVE to be able to turn it on and deliver when the room is DEAD and AGAINST you. (Just ask ZD!)
Maybe I'll take Chris to the library and make her sing "I Will Always Love You" in front of everyone. Or walk through a shopping mall singing and dancing like Justin Timberlake in the food court. THEN, maybe she'll be fired up and ready to be herself and stick up for herself in public forums and on the radio. (Maybe she can sit in with me and Matt Dowd at Venice Beach for a song...she's a musician!)
So for now, there is a lot of vetting for the community to do on Essel vs Krekorian. But I really do feel a lot of community members are overly nutty and wacky and irrational and that always causes me to dig deeper and not get reverse-bamboozled and throw the wrong candidate under the bus because a bunch of Jerry Springer fans like to see a bunch of chairs thrown around.
SUMMARY: At this point, in my evaluation of Christine Essel in the context of HER only, not contrasting her to Krekorian, but on her own merits, I feel she must be one hell of an outstanding individual to rise through the ranks in the business world the way she did. WOW...Corporate Hollywood on the financial side...NOT an easy crowd to impress. I mean, common people, seriously...look around the room at these forums who is passing judgement on HER. LOL! She really DOES have a hell of a lot of class for not just telling off the whole room.
And when I look around the horse shoe, I'd rather have her on my team than about 13 others. In other words, I think she possesses the skill and ability lacking most in council chambers.
I know this sickens a lot of my fans and readers that I am saying nice things about Chris and not hammering her. But the other opponent isn't Zuma Dogg or a grassroots canidate, it's Paul Krekorian, so you are going to have to do better than, "She's endorsed my Wendy." I don't think Krekorian is some guy who is going to be standing up to the machine or saying "No" to anything. So I don't think I'm exactly screwing it up for any true reformer. If anything, an argument can be made that Krekorian is much worse than Essel.
But for now, this post is just called as seen from a political strategy standpoint. And I'm just trying to pass along what I am finding, as I am finding it out, as someone who is taking time to research my decision by going direct to the source, as usual, instead of having everything filtered.
Organic political info: ZumaReport.com