Thursday, May 21, 2015

Clean Campaign, Issue Based Run wins in So. Cal. (Not an Onion Story)

Shocking as it may seem, a good guy underdog candidate won a long shot campaign to be Los Angeles' newest City Council member, and this in an off-year special election.

This is not an Onion story, but a case of savvy campaigning, good, selective, fundraising (listen up all you wanna-bes. Money is not all bad; just the "bad" money) and a strong campaign message. Here are some highlights from the Beverly Times story on underdog newcomer David Ryu's surprise victory:
 Councilman-elect David Ryu (second from right) was joined by supporters at a victory party on Tuesday, including former L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky (right) and his wife, Barbara. (photo courtesy of the David Ryu Campaign) 

Ryu defeated Carolyn Ramsay Tuesday night in the election to succeed Councilman Tom LaBonge. When the mail-in ballot results were announced shortly after 9 p.m., Ryu took a lead he never relinquished — winning with 53.83 percent of the vote. The final unofficial tally was 11,269 votes for Ryu and 9,657 votes for Ramsay.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Ryu said Wednesday morning. “Even coming up to Election Day, I knew, and my team knew, what an awesome responsibility this would be.”

Ryu was fairly unknown coming into the race. He established himself early on as a master fundraiser and organizer, and his campaign team concentrated on signing up new voters and encouraging mail-in voting.

A son of Korean immigrants, Ryu majored in economics at UCLA and studied public policy and administration at Rutgers University. He is currently the director of development and public affairs at the Kedren Acute Psychiatric Hospital and Community Health Center. His past political experience included working as a senior deputy for former Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Burke.

In the race against Ramsay, who previously worked as LaBonge’s chief of staff and garnered endorsements from the majority of local government officials, Ryu often cited himself as an outsider versus an insider, or as David versus Goliath.

He said the three main issues that dominated the election, and where he resonated with voters, were access to the council office, infrastructure repairs and development (including mansionization and large scale development concerns).

“Residents feel they are never consulted, or consulted after the fact — just show and tell,” Ryu said.

Instead, he ran on a platform of neighborhood inclusion — crediting his one-on-one conversations with voters as a reason he was able to win. Ryu only made it to the runoff election against Ramsay by several hundred votes, and he said he was determined to create more individual connections with voters.

“Literally, this election was going to come down to 50 or 100 people, and the people in those rooms (at forums and meetings) will dictate the office,” Ryu said. “I took my personal friends as a template. When I asked them why they didn’t vote, the reoccurring theme was that, ‘My vote doesn’t count, my vote doesn’t matter and even if I did vote nothing ever changes.’”

Ryu sought to change that perspective, and positioned himself as a real change to LaBonge’s actions and policies.

“It’s not about the big things, I was running to be your neighborhood council member,” Ryu said. “Your little problem isn’t insignificant to me.”

To show that he was serious about change, Ryu announced during the campaign that he would decline any money from developers currently building in the district and throughout his time as a councilman. He also vowed to create a community advisory group to help him properly spend the district’s discretionary funds.

So  no developer money (OK,  maybe it wasn't going to come to him anyway), issues that mattered to the people, respect for the voters and a real effort to include them even to find out why they don't vote. Showing that their vote matters made a difference against strong odds for this candidate, now Councilmember. 

You can do it too. With the right message, enough money to get the message out and a recipe for success.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Democrats Can Cook in California

Your campaign cook is dishing with the politicos at the California state Democratic Convention this weekend in Anaheim, home of Disneyland.  The food is a mixed grill of savories and sweets served with lots of spice. Many events, parties and celebrities are in the house.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren rocked the house; they were eating out of her hand. Gavin Newsom added some herbal touches, along with former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank at the Brownie Mary Democratic Club.

Brews of all sorts on hand from thirsty delegates. The Party shows progressive taste by dissing the Trans Pacific Partnership. That would not be good food for Democrats and other living things.

S.F. Congresswoman and former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi brought us tasty delights and flavorful news of DC and beyond as she mixed and mingled with all the delegates throughout the day.

And State Attorney General, now candidate for U.S. Senator, Kamela Harris, provided food for the soul at an outdoor rally with hungry Democrats.

And though I missed their party down the street, I am ready to join Close the Gap with some smokin' hot races this fall and next year!

Mmm brownie recipe! (No, not that kind):


Original recipe makes 16 brownies Change Servings
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease an 8x8 inch square pan.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter and water. Cook over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the chocolate mixture. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies set up. Do not overbake! Cool in pan and cut into squares.