Updated: Feb 19
I attended the LA Jolla Town Council mayoral forum yesterday evening at the LJ Community Center. In summary, it turned into a fiasco. The moderator, Ann Kerr-Bach lost control of the meeting about a third of the way through. I don’t know who was responsible for deciding which candidates would be invited, but they made a huge, yes huge mistake including two of the candidates for two major reasons: 1) it took away substantial time from the candidates we wanted to hear from, and 2) Ann Kerr in the end had lost her objectivity cutting off candidates before they could finish or skipping candidates who simply did not want to address a question. They, meaning the event organizers, did a poor job of screening those who were allowed to ask questions directly or the candidates.
In any case, I learned very little from the two hours plus I spent at the forum. One point was cleared up for me. In Todd Gloria’s position statement on short term rentals, he states that he would enforce the code, but also would bring stakeholders together to try to reach a compromise. Those two ideas sound incompatible to me; you can do one or the other, but not both. But it turns out that using Gloria political speak, it is possible. Because his definition of enforce the code is that he would use existing nuisance laws to crack down on offenders; it does not mean he would use existing code to shutdown all rentals of less than 30 days in residential neighborhoods. Nice try Todd!
Todd Gloria was most damaged on his position on AB 05, which apparently has the unintended consequence of shutting down many independent contractors’ careers, most notably Santa Claus. Gloria was pounded on his position supporting this bill in the State Assembly. His best response was that it has problems and needs to be changed.
Otherwise, the forum played out without any surprises. Sherman was Sherman, meaning he was straight forward and to the point on most issues, except for his position on short term rentals. He tried to pull the same slight of hand that the mayor used in his STR regulations proposal — one plus one, which in reality is one plus as many as you like. Bry tried to take on Gloria directly, but he was having nothing to do with that, as strategically he was well aware, thanks to the venue as well as Ann Kerr comments, that he was in Bry country, and of course, he is the current front runner.
I think what many republicans who will vote blindly for anyone with the letter “R” behind their name, don’t get is that Barbara Bry with her MBA will define and manage the City budget as a fiscal moderate, which means that she will force those proposing projects to provide enough data and information to ensure that the City is getting good deals.