Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Loose Lips, Sink Ships . . .

“You sunk my battleship,” is what Suja Lowenthal would be saying right now if she were playing the classic game by Milton Bradley Co., Battleship. Luckily for Suja, she’s not playing Battleship, and her campaign for the council seat for the Second District hasn’t begun in earnest yet. When it does, I suggest keeping a tighter lid on things.

Until the Press-Telegram article appeared on February 25th, the worst kept secret in Long Beach politics for the last two weeks was that Suja Lowenthal was going to drop out of the Long Beach Unified School District campaign in order to run for City Council. Last Wednesday, I even received an e-mail telling me that Ms. Lowenthal had decided to run for City Council and was opening a campaign office. I’m sure the e-mail was inadvertently scattered around town, or maybe it was a little balloon to gauge public opinion.

I already know the local media will have their knives out on Ms. Lowenthal’s decision to run for City Council (check out this LBReport editorial). More importantly, though, will be how the voters will react to Ms. Lowenthal’s decision to serve on the City Council with her mother-in-law, Bonnie Lowenthal, from the First District. It would be politically naïve to believe that at least a few voters won’t have their eye-brows raised. But, in a “first-past-the-post” election, a few voters with raised eyebrows might not matter.

Kosher Ham


Blogger Ham (on Wry) said...

Ms. Lowenthal (Suja, not her mother-in-law Bonnie) declared her candidacy the afternoon that LBReport published a morning report announcing Bry Myown's run for the seat.

It may have been a bit hasty. If Suja had waited another day, she might have been able to come up with a reason for seemingly switching horses in mid-stream that would have been more effective than her assertion that she was now running for council (and abandoning her school board constituents to an opponent she characterized as "a roving candidate" in search of an election) because of her concern for "stability" in the district.

It just seemed, despite the sincerity of her intentions, disingenuous. I doubt that she rushed into the decision, but the announcement (coming on the heels of Myown's declaration) may have left the impression that the action was a hasty one. If Suja Lowenthal's "battleship" has, indeed, been damaged, part of the responsibility may lie with the perception that Lowenthal rushed to declare candidacy.

Subsequent mailings from "Suja Lowenthal, Your Neighbor Running for City Council" contained only reminders that she was withdrawing from the school board race.

And now, this "neighbor" of mine, who lives some 20 city blocks away from me, has opened her campaign office two blocks away from my home. I'm flattered ... and wildly curious. I hope she puts in an appearance there, as it will be the first time I will ever have seen her in my neighborhood in the 12 years I've lived here.

It's not that I have my knife out for her ... it's just that I've come to distrust the rhetoric and the stinky process of politicking. And a "neighbor" who opens her campaign office in the heart of the gay ghetto, without having ever taken a public position on GLBT equality or parity, seems to be setting herself up (yet again) for more self-inflicted damage to her battleship.

I wish her well ... I'm just not sure what she really wants, or who is providing her the financial support for her campaign. I know who has endorsed her, but I have an uneasy feeling that the party leadership (in an 11-person race) may have directed a little financial assistance her way, with an eye toward currying favor with her father-in-law (Alan, who still occupies a state Senate seat).

Then again, there's a bit of a reaction against her candidacy on the grounds that it would tend to cement into position a developing political dynasty. As a friend observed, in the light of an article about Suja's husband (Daniel) having an interest in running for a judge's seat ... "Would a family Sunday dinner at the Lowenthals' violate the Brown act?"

8:38 PM  
Blogger Kosher Ham said...

So, Suja has won the seat. I think she'll be good for the district. While I think there will people who won't want to give her chance . . . she'll clearly bring more dignity and respect to the 2nd District than Dan Baker did.

11:34 PM  

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