How Is The Hahn Campaign Racist In Nature? Let Us Count The Ways.
But there is evidence, plenty of it, and to find the racism in the Hahn campaign against Villaraigosa, all you have to do is look at the Hahn advertisements and listen to his speeches. They are designed to fix Villaraigosa in the voter mind as a stereotyped Latino, soft on crime, easy on corruption, untrustworthy. It is a desperate campaign that fixes on the notion that Latinos are still very much a voting minority in Los Angeles, and they can be targeted and treated in a discriminatory way, with the view of reelecting a white man who otherwise would stand no chance.
All these charges, soft on crime, easy on corruption, untrustworthy, are code words. They do not describe Latinos as a whole in Los Angeles or elsewhere, and just as Sam Yorty tried to do with Tom Bradley, saying in 1969 and 1973 that he was soft on crime and a black power advocate, they do not fit the challenger at all -- they play to the prejudices of some Angelenos. They are designed to give people an excuse to vote for an incumbent, in this case, Hahn, who has done little to actually deserve their votes.
It's fairly easy to find, in any past legislator's record, votes that can be distorted or taken out of context. That's certainly the case with Hahn advertising, trying to make something out of a single Villaraigosa vote years ago against a child abuse bill in the Legislature. For one thing, anyone who knows the record of the Legislature in this state knows that simply authoring bills lengthening prison terms isn't effectively fighting crime.
Villaraigosa has had the courage to be a member of the Southern California ACLU and to try to fight crime in more expeditious ways than simply voting for every higher prison sentence that comes along.
The Hahn mail, with its simplistic evidence for the mayor's "crime fighting," by using the endorsements of police and fire unions, is an insult to the public's intelligence and implicitly racist in itself. Anyone who knows about the police and fire unions know they usually support candidates who are going to give them higher pay and pension benefits, at the expense of the taxpayers, and that has nothing to do with fighting crime.
The police and fire unions also support Hahn because he got rid of Police Chief Bernard Parks for them, and why didn't they like Parks? Basically, because he was tough on police misconduct, a black police chief who was out of sync with the white police and fire unions. He didn't treat misbehaving officers with kid gloves.
So, this mail is just more of the Hahn racist campaign, set up by his cynical managers, Bill Carrick and Kam Kuwata. Can't my questioner recognize this for what it is?
And the Hahn phone campaign, directed mainly at Republicans and whites, that's just more of the same. The same thing as the Yorty campaign against Bradley.
Who do they think we are in the Los Angeles electorate? Naive simpletons?
And the really scurrilous thing about this racist effort is that James Hahn is descended from a man, Kenneth Hahn, who fought all his life for minority rights and who hated stereotypes. I've written before that Kenny Hahn must be rolling over in his grave to see how his son is campaigning now.
When any such campaign is waged, it is certainly the obligation of a newspaper, and an editorial page editor, which claim to be liberal, to struggle against it, and more effectively than a weak editorial calling Hahn a "ho hum" mayor and not explicitly naming the kind of campaign he is waging.. But of course, the Times, under absentee Chicago ownership, editors from the East, and the half-absentee editorial page direction of Michael Kinsley, isn't the newspaper of Dorothy and Otis Chandler any more. Again on Sunday morning, its "Times Endorsements" editorial refuses to call the Hahn campaign for what it is.
And who does my questioner think I am? An inexperienced political novice who can't tell racism when he sees it?
No, I have some political writing experience, going back to 1967 for the L.A. Times. I personally covered the Yorty campaign. Both before and after going down South as the paper's Atlanta correspondent, I covered George Wallace. In college, I read V.O. Key's "Southern Politics in State and Nation." I was in the South in 1970 when Richard Nixon formed his Southern strategy, and again in 1976 when Jimmy Carter ran in the Florida presidential primary against Wallace.. I covered those campaigns. Here, in Los Angeles, I covered the disgraceful Robbins campaign against Bradley, who was then the incumbent mayor.
I know racism when I see it, and I see it right now in Los Angeles in the Hahn campaign. Let's hope the electorate doesn't fall for this crap again, as it did in 1969 when Yorty came from behind and beat Bradley in Bradley's first bid for mayor.
I hope that answers the question that has been posed.