Sunday, June 12, 2011
Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s Big, Bad—and Irritating—Campaign Against Republican Craig Huey for Congress
By Diana L. Chapman
I open my mail and find a campaign brochure with headlines that scream:
“Huey Wants to Put Doctors in Jail”
“Huey Called Planned Parenthood a “‘Murder Mill’”
“Huey Opposes Separation of Church and State”
It’s an ugly Saturday morning, gray with a chill in the air, as I stare at the brochure. Couldn’t Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn, a Democrat, come up with something a bit smarter in her attacks against Craig Huey?
Huey, a Republican, shocked everyone as he came out of nowhere in the May primary election for the 36th congressional district and edged Secretary of State Debra Bowen for second place. He now vies against Hahn in a runoff.
This upcoming special election on July 12 has me in a quandary. I’m a Democrat, but I can’t bring myself to vote for Hahn, our Los Angeles councilwoman, because I know all that she has not done for our community.
After Hahn’s more than a decade on the City Council, Los Angeles continues to struggle with financial issues and a pile of other nasty problems while she fiddles with issues such as the Arizona boycott because of the Grand Canyon state’s stance on immigration. But what disturbs me the most are all the things Hahn could have done in her own backyard.
Hahn has done so little about serious issues that it’s hampered growth in our area. Yet she deplores Huey in her campaign for his anti-abortion stance and claims he’s too much like Sarah Palin.
That must mean she can’t dig up better, more worthwhile issues.
As I’ve watched our community deteriorate under Hahn’s watch, I can’t imagine what she could do for us in Congress–if anything. You get what you vote for.
I won’t list everything she hasn’t done, having written about it many times already. But two issues cropped up recently that Janice just seems to have botched.
Recently, I wrote a story about the proposed Taco Bell expansion on 11th and Gaffey streets in San Pedro, where the food chain wants to double its size, remove half the parking and eliminate one of the entrances from Gaffey Street. Somehow, the views of residents living nearby were bypassed in the process, and they are upset, as they should be.
Hahn’s office, however, is totally supportive of the expansion. She hasn’t suggested any conditions that could be placed on the project to address residents’ concerns while still making it work.
Residents were given only two weeks’ notice before the issue moved to the Planning Commission in downtown Los Angeles. Yet they have been complaining for nearly 20 years about the eatery attracting a bad clientele with fights, drug deals and other gang clashes.
The residents’ complaints went unheeded – and now that there’s an opportunity to place conditions on the project, where is Hahn? I’ve talked directly with residents and I don’t see her.
The same is true for downtown San Pedro, which has been economically depressed for years. Scores of businesses have closed, many due to parking problems. Two years ago, Hahn supported a quadrupling of parking rates, which nearly killed what business remained.
It was one reason that Susan McKenna, a community-oriented businesswoman, closed the doors last month at Nosh– a restaurant that was well regarded for its scrumptious food and delectable lattes. But struggling to find a parking space was like a mad hornet buzzing around your head.
Due to scores of complaints, Janice finally woke up and called for eliminating the parking meters in downtown San Pedro and Wilmington.
It’s much too little, too late.
I admit I don’t know Huey. I’ve heard he’s a small business owner who made it on his own, spent $500,000 of his own cash in the primary and is a member of Rolling Hills Covenant Church. But I do know Janice. I was disgusted by her obnoxious campaigning--first against Bowen and now against Huey, where she claims he calls his enemies “the forces of Satan” and calls him a “fanatic.”
Really, Janice? Please give us something worthwhile rather than ridiculous generalizations. Give us some substance.
I’m afraid I will find myself sitting at home this election day, something I haven’t done since college. I don’t want to vote for a candidate I don’t know at all. And I don’t want to vote for someone I know all too well.