Friday, January 08, 2010


By Diana L. Chapman

After releasing a relentless stream of what I’d call “I’m-so-great press releases,” Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn officially launched her campaign this week to run for lieutenant governor.

Even though she was one of our illustrious leaders to turn the Los Angeles city council posts from two -- to three, four-years terms so she could run and win a third term --she will abandon the council position if she’s elected.

“Together we'll set a new course for California,” Hahn stated in a campaign release from her office asking for more donations to help her with the challenge. “With strong leadership, ingenuity and creativity, we'll bring a fresh perspective to Sacramento. With an attitude of inclusion and a focus on problem-solving, it's time to put Californians first.”

Really. How can we believe that when we are still waiting to see this type of leadership from Hahn in Los Angeles?

No matter which way she goes, she won’t lose – for herself anyway. If she fails to win the lieutenant governor bid, Hahn will remain in what’s left of her four year term, which pays her $179,000 a year. We can – and have – lost however.

Los Angeles remains flatly in financial dire straits and has bundles of problems that need attention right now. Due to the largess of the metropolis, many communities that fall within in the beleaguered city of the angels consider themselves Cinderellas with one ugly stepmother and step sisters running the show miles away from their homes.

We are still waiting for our prince – or princess-- to come along and save us. It didn’t come in the form of Janice, or her predecessors, so one wonders if it can come at all.
Many of us who worked the trenches with Hahn for nearly a decade now have come to one sad conclusion: she has done little for her communities beyond giving glamorous smiles that ultimately led to much-to-do-about-nothing.

Her decision to run seems another slap in the face to her constituents, but especially those who worked closely with her during her term – many of whom are Neighborhood Council members who have turned into nasty critics.

Wrote one City Watch reader, Kreston Jordan, about some of the pieces that ran on the site: “You have hit the nail on its head. You are absolutely right. Particularly concerning how people feel about Janice Hahn who live in her District and/or people who actually met her. She only comes to various neighborhood watch/council meetings when she is running for something.

“ I am a stakeholder in District 4 of the Harbor Gateway North. She was nowhere to be found, when it came to supporting her constituents, concerning WES Pack (propose jet fuel line) running through parts of her constituents District… Please, keep up the good work. I give you a standing ovation and high-five. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for sharing your experiences with Janice Hahn with the public.”

Another reader, Curtis Walker, scoured the internet looking for reasons he should vote for Hahn to become lieutenant governor and said he found none.

“Several top Google hits were news stories related to her plan to run for Lt. Governor, complete with multiple angry constituent comments concerning her announcement,” Walker wrote. “The constituent comments did not paint a good LEADERSHIP history and one comment that tells me a lot concerned telling readers to vote for Candidate Hahn TO GET HER OUT OF THE LOS ANGELES AREA. Not good by any standard, no matter how many glowing press releases are issued by the candidate/campaign!”

Here are a list of her recent releases Hahn’s office has issued:

  • --Recently, Hahn requested the Los Angeles City Attorney to craft an ordinance to enlist our Port Police to prevent diesel trucks from idling for more than five minutes to reduce poor air quality conditions. The ordinance would tie into a bill passed in 2007 that prevents trucks for idling more than five minutes under the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and is meant to help secure clean air in the Harbor region.

  • --In another release, Hahn announced that downtown San Pedro will receive a $400,000 project for sidewalk repairs and other improvements such as replacing broken terracotta pots that grace the sidewalks – a plan Hahn instigated recently found funding for from the Community Redevelopment Agency. The city’s department of general services will make all the improvements which will include replacing trash cans and weathered benches.

  • --Hahn garnered another additional $90,000 from the CRA to fix the Gaffey Street Pedestrian Bridge, a gateway to San Pedro, perched over the southern tip of the 110 Freeway – and most often considered an eyesore. The funds will be transferred to the Department of Public Works “ to enable technical studies and design services for the bridge.” “This bridge serves as the gateway to San Pedro – it is the first thing residents and visitors see when they come into our town,” Hahn said in a release. “These much-needed improvements will not only make the area more pedestrian-friendly, they will also highlight its beauty and will serve as a symbol of a revitalized San Pedro.
  • --Last, a grand opening ceremony will unveil the new park at 22nd Park Street – San Pedro’s newest recreational site. A community picnic launches the park’s opening and will be held Saturday Jan. 9. The dedication ceremony starts at 11 a.m. The 4 ½ acres of grass will have walking and bike paths and games such as bocce ball.

I’ve seen this site and it’s stunning.

But as I look at the stream of press releases, I can’t help but wonder why Janice only garnered many of those improvements now – when she’s had years to accomplish them sooner – long before she announced her run for lieutenant governor.

Diana Chapman, a long time journalist and writer, can be reached at