Council District 15: How to judge the winner
Whoever is elected to the City Council in the Jan. 17 special election will have to run again in about 18 months. LAPD officer Joe Buscaino and state Assemblyman Warren Furutani are competing to fill the vacancy left by Janice Hahn, but her unfinished term ends in June 2013. So how should the winning candidate's performance in that year-and-a-half mini-term be judged?
Members of The Times' editorial board put that question to Buscaino and Furutani when we met with them earlier this month. Below are audio clips of their answers, together with partial transcripts.
The Times has endorsed Buscaino. Still, we're sharing these discussions to provide voters -- and Angelenos outside the district -- more information about the candidates. Whichever of them is the victor, we intend to develop our own criteria for judging success. At the very least, we expect to hold the new councilman to account according to his own criteria. You should too.
Accessibility. Responsiveness and having the ability in a short time frame to pave the streets, put up sidewalks, cut some trees. Being visible out in the community.
Bringing people together. From the private sector. To talk and problem-solve together. Being visible, being accessible to neighborhood councils. Very similar to what I've been doing as a senior lead officer the last six years. And not going to change one bit, Robert....
I think there would be, quantifiably, this issue of quality of life and filling potholes and all of this stuff that seems pretty mundane. We're going to be very active and aggressive on that because I don't think anybody's going to win this election with a huge margin. And people are going to be waiting in the wings to see if someone falters, someone can't do the job. So one of the first things we're going to do is physically, quantifiably, show people things can change, things can change, things can get done. I mean, even if I use some of my salary to do it, we're going to get things done. We just have to.
The other side is more qualitative in that I want to be on the budget committee. I want to actively jump into this thing and use hopefully new clean fresh eyes to look at this whole issue of how the budget works in the city. I don't claim to be an expert. I don't have a predetermined solution to everything, but I have the experience and the wherewithal to look into the nooks and crannies, look into the other bits and pieces if there are things wrong…
This whole issue of we can't do government the way we've been doing government. This is what I've learned…
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-- Robert Greene
Photos: Joe Buscaino, left, and Warren Furutani. Credit: Robert Greene / Los Angeles Times