Saturday, September 26, 2009

Why I Am Supporting Christine Essel for CD 2 City Council (by Zuma Dogg)

First of all, read this if you haven't yet:
ELECTION STRATEGY: Zuma Dogg Writes His Own Christine Essel Campaign Speech (based on his own probing interview with her on the phone.)

(In response to people saying ZD should wait on all this up-front, early support for Chris Essel.)

Sorry that Krekorian and Essel made it into the run-off, but those are the two options and I do not agree that you can just sit out and not vote. You have two distinctly different candidates and a decision must be made.

So now we have a fresh slate, and I am not going to take the easy way out and just say, "Forget it...not going to vote/say anything."

And people know I have been kicking the tires on Chris Essel because I wasn't taking a good look at her during the primary because I was supporting another grass roots candidate (me).

And I have already made the decision I am not going to support Paul Krekorian and I have given the reasons why. So for the purpose of this blog post, I am going to focus on reasons why...I guess I have to come out and say it...why I am supporting Christine Essel in this run-off -- in the context of Chris alone, and not at the expense of Paul.

People tell me I am supposed to "play both sides" and try and set up meetings with both sides; and don't say anything yet; and don't give it away for free; and see what you can maybe negotiate first, and all of that.

And if anything good comes out of my support down the line, then that would be nice and I'm sure a lot of people would be happy for me.

BUT the MAIN thing is...neither candidate, nor any candidate could get me to support them publicly if I didn't feel comfortable.

And Zuma Dogg suffers from "the-clock-is-always-ticking, frenetic energy syndrome."

Kevin James was hammering her in REAL TIME, this week on his radio show.

The other candidates and opinion leaders are making their decisions as we speak.

And I know it would be easier for me to say nothing at this point and see how things play out; and calculate things; and not offend people who will be mad at me for being supportive of Ms. Essel because of the Central City board position, people who donated to her campaign, and her support from Wendy (yes, some of us think that's a negative) and the whole Anti-Essel sentiment out there at the ZD community activist level.

But again, it is surprising to me, as well, that I feel it is important that Chris makes it into the seat over Paul. And I am factoring in all those things that turn off people like ZD in my support when contrasting between the two candiadates on the ballot.


So what was it then that has caused me to look at the money and connections of both candidates and go with Essel.

(Gag alert): She just impresses the hell out of me as an outstanding career business woman and has a good vibe and energy and I admire her as an individual. (She can write sheet music and that's not something anyone can do. A lot tougher to master than baking cookies!)

And she tells me she wants to do all the good community-based things she said during the campaign and I am just going to have faith that the short year and a half term will cause her to actually take on the challenge of representing the community spirit, at least MUCH MORE than we are used to seeing in the horseshoe.

And again, I wasn't SEEKING out to support anyone, and was maybe not going to get involved, even though I think YOU, as individuals need to make a decision for yourself and vote. I just wasn't going to be public and get involved and go into "Zuma Dogg" mode for either of these two.

But first, Chris was very warm and friendly to ZD during the forums, even though I would hammer her at times. Now the other Big 3 were nice and friendly to ZD, too (Paul and Tamar), but Chris really put out the most "down home" vibe and just that pure joyous personality that people like ZD and Tamar and Wendy have to fake to put on. A lot of times people are nice to ZD but it has a fake, political vibe and you know they would loosen my brakes if they could get away with it.

Here's how I started to get sucked into feeling good about Chris Essel:

Chris was making the rounds calling the other candidates and community opinion leaders and asking for their support in the run-off.

She asked me, flat-out, "Can I count on your support?" I said, "HELL NO, you can't COUNT on it," but since you asked, let's talk and I'll see.

So I called her later in the evening to set up a time for coffee somewhere...but you know me...I couldn't wait, so I just started firing away questions, asking her what I was curious about.

I ended up typing up highlights from the conversation in my blog post from Friday where I wrote a speech in her voice of the things that impressed me most. Things about her career achievement that didn't come out in the primary.

Chris needs to work on getting fired up and sticking up for herself and selling people on her career path and achievement as a woman rising through the ranks in Hollywood at Paramount.

So later in the evening, after the phone call with Chris that really impressed me, Kevin James was on the air, just before 11pm and was hammering Chris, once again, for not appearing on his show and he was hoping she wasn't going to dodge him, this time (in the run-off) -- and it was going south, real quick.

So Zuma Dogg calls Chris at 11pm on her cell phone, and she picks up, and I immediately start in, at frenetic Zuma Dogg pace, "Kevin is HAMMERING you on the air...are you going to go on the debates, this time? You HAVE to...if not...(blah, blah, blah)..." And I add, "You gotta call in!" (Hey Garcetti, what's your cell phone number, again?)

It didn't occur to me that she might have been sleeping at 11pm the night after the election wrapped up, and she said, "I can't, right now, I'm sleeping."

SLEEP???...WHO CARES...BETTER TO GET OUT THERE SOUNDING SLEEPY, THAN TO CONTINUE TO GET HAMMERED UNTIL YOU SOUND FRESH. (I literally was saying that.)

But...I have to remember...not everyone can do interviews in their sleep like Big ZD, so I said, "Well can I call and tell him you'll do it, so he'll stop saying you won't."

She gave me the green light and told me I could call in.

So I called Kevin and they are working it out and Chris says she will be on Kevin's show for the run-off.

SO THAT'S GOOD!!! ZUMA DOGG WAKES HER UP AT 11PM, AND SHE LISTENED TO ZD AND THE OTHER CANDIDATES WHO TOLD HER SHE SHOULD DO IT, AND SHE AGREED!!! AND...ZUMA DOGG WOKE HER UP AT 11PM, AND SHE IS STILL TALKING TO ME!!! Imagine if I called Wendy at 11pm at night on her cell phone.

I think it's a very good sign that I already like Chris a lot more than I ever liked Wendy and even before Wendy REALLY hated me....she was never warm and nice to me and never would accept feedback, like this.

So I think the fact that Chris is NOT a career politician; and kind of green in some GOOD ways means she may be a little more vulnerable in having to rely on the community and will need to do a lot for the people during this short term. And if she turns out to be insincere, we can vote her out in a year and a half.

AND THE PEOPLE HAVE TO KNOW...Zuma Dogg is always EXTREMELY skeptical listening to ANYTHING a candidate has to say during an election, and I'm pretty harsh in my scrutiny and that's what people LOVE about me.

BUT SOMETIME, that can cause you to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and that is something I am ALWAYS...MOST CAREFUL not to do. And when I see other people doing it, it sometimes makes ME look harder (which I did with Chris, since she asked me to) and I was pleased at what I have seen so far, so the guy who hates to be bamboozled, DOES have to do what he HATES to do in politics....HAVE A LITTLE FAITH that the person before me is the sincere, warm person who intends to do what she says.

I always have negative nicknames for other people, and Chris' new on is "Samsonite" cause she's got a lot of baggage. And in the future, I'll address some of the concerns I had that I have to get over in this election, because this is supposed to be about positive things about Chris, in this post, without attacking Paul Krekorian...but again, that factors in. Because if it was Chris Essel versus Pete Sanchez, I would probably be pushing hard for Pete.

But it's Essel vs Krekorian, and Zuma Dogg IS supporting the outsider, grass roots candidate in this election: Chris Essel. I hope it doesn't come back to bite me in the butt in two years if she stinks as a CM. But the things I am concerned about with Chris are problems you have to deal with when you have a upscale, classy lady on your hands who isn't used to shamless campaigning.

And seriously, Chris IS the outsider, grass roots candidate. She's just successful at it because she raised a lot of money and has the endorsement of the previous councilmember. OF COURSE a candidate like Chris is going to go for Wendy's endorsement. I heard Wendy DID wait because Lisa Sarkin and some others were thinking of running. But when some of the others didn't run, Wendy went with Chris. It's not like Wendy called Chris and said, "Chris, Wendy Gruel. I need someone to take over for me and do everything I say and be my puppet and screw the community."

If Zuma Dogg is finally seeing Chris for the outstanding business leader that she is, at least as a career woman...I can't blame Wendy for endorsing her.

Not to say she is going to tell Wendy to go screw herself, either.

But I think with Chris, she's a sincere and nice person who doesn't have that "political grandstanding juice" running through her like Wendy, Garcetti, Zuma, Krekorian, Alarcon.

So in this case all we can do is support her, be all over her the second she walks in the door, she seems to be listening to things I am trying to tell her.

So maybe we have a "Good" Wendy in Chris. And if not, then she get the Academy Award for suckering Zuma Dogg. She can't be THAT good. She may have worked at Paramount, but it was on the financial/business side.

I know a lot of people may be surprised I feel this way, and I was told to wait, but I don't like to hold back and be calculated in this stuff. It's not about YOU and what YOU get out of it. If the position of Councilmember is important to the future and the lives of the people...then the clock is ticking and no time for game playing on my end. And I HATE when people pull certain "cards." And ZD NEVER picks a candidate on if they are a man or woman...but man, this is THE "Girl Power" candidate if I ever saw one. And luckily not JUST because she is the female candidate. (Janice Hahn PLAYS that card, but Chris really IS.)

What can I tell you, now ZD got way too sensitive and his feminine side came out too much from all of you ladies who made ZD your little "fixer upper project" during the candidate forums. YOU TURNED ME INTO A SENSITIVE YOU KNOW WHAT!!!! LOOK AT THIS!!! Oh no...where's my AC/DC "Back in Black" LP.

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