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L.A. mayoral candidates describe what sets them apart

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Click link to jump to a specific candidate's answer to this question posed by The Times: What distinguishes you from the other candidates in the race? (Note: Gordon Turner and Bruce Darian didn't respond.)

Carlos Alvarez
Gordon Turner
Walter Moore
Phil Jennerjahn
James Harris
David R. Hernandez
Bruce Darian
Antonio R. Villaraigosa
David "Zuma Dogg" Saltsburg
Craig X. Rubin

CARLOS ALVAREZ

My campaign is a bit different from others because I am a socialist. As a 22-year-old community activist and member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, I have a socialist perspective. I believe that the vast wealth of society should be enjoyed by the people who create it -- the people who work for a living each day. There should not be exploitation and inequality.

My campaign calls for every person in L.A. to have a job, food, decent housing, access to free, quality healthcare and education, and a clean environment. Every worker should have the right to be in a union. The minimum wage should be $15 per hour. I believe these are not privileges, but fundamental human rights. As mayor, I would fight tooth and nail to make these demands a reality.

Everyone in the city of Los Angeles should have adequate shelter. I demand an immediate end to all foreclosures and evictions. No one should be homeless while luxury lofts sit empty downtown.

The current mayor has only helped increase the wealth of big business while telling workers to accept cuts. My campaign is a vehicle for working-class people to fight back.

GORDON TURNER

Turner did not respond to questions from The Times.

WALTER MOORE

My credentials, experience and platform distinguish me from the other candidates.

I graduated with honors from Princeton University with a degree in public and international affairs. That's important because it means I have the specialized training needed to analyze the costs and benefits of policy proposals. Indeed, I worked my way through college by doing just that. My training includes a year of microeconomics, a year of macroeconomics, plus courses in econometrics, public finance, Soviet-type economies and international trade. If [Mayor Antonio] Villaraigosa has any training whatsoever in economics, he has certainly kept it a good secret.

I graduated with honors from Georgetown Law, where I was an editor of the Georgetown Law Journal. During my third year, moreover, the law school hired me to teach legal research and writing and oral advocacy to first-year students. Villaraigosa, by contrast, attended the unaccredited People's College of Law. I passed the California Bar Exam on the first try. Villaraigosa, by contrast, never passed the bar, despite trying four times.

I have been a business trial lawyer for nearly 25 years and am a licensed real estate broker. That's important, because it means I know how to fight to protect taxpayers' rights from crooked politicians and frivolous lawsuits.

My platform, moreover, sets forth specific proposals to make Los Angeles great again. Examples include: Jamiel's Law, which I wrote; a proposal for bus rapid transit to speed traffic throughout the city, rather than our having to wait 20 years for a "Subway to the Sea" that would traverse just nine miles along Wilshire; an end to "welfare for the rich" and other boondoggles; and much more. You can read all about it at my website, WalterMooreForMayor.com.

PHIL JENNERJAHN

Leadership and trust. Some of the men running for mayor are fine, upstanding citizens and I believe they have honorable intentions. However, I don't think any of them are leaders. They don't inspire me to follow them. I have been chosen by others to be a leader in high school, in college, and in the military. I don't think any of the others have ever been chosen or elected to be a leader of anything.

Even Mayor Villaraigosa lacks leadership. He went running off to campaign for Hillary Clinton this last summer and abandoned his duties to the city of Los Angeles in a naked attempt to gain political leverage and further his own political career. In my opinion, he is a follower, not a leader.

JAMES HARRIS

As a socialist, my campaign is a revolutionary alternative to the politics of the capitalist class. The Socialist Workers Party, which supports my campaign, presents a working-class explanation of the devastating economic crisis that is ravaging the working class.

We say that working people must take political power out of the hands of the capitalist class and organize a workers and farmers government that can fight in the interest of working people. The fight that we have before us cannot be limited to Los Angeles -- it's national and international.

This is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression in the 1930s, and it is getting worse. The capitalist class is reacting to the crisis by increasing unemployment, cutbacks in healthcare and education, and attacks on the social wage. City and state governments around the country are leading the charge. These policies will only worsen conditions for workers. This is why working people need to build a labor party based on fighting trade unions that can defend our interests.

DAVID R. HERNANDEZ

With 10 candidates for mayor, the diverse and varied backgrounds bring many experiences and knowledge to the table.

I believe my 60 years in Los Angeles and 20 years as a community advocate provide me with a perspective not shared by the other candidates, including the incumbent.

As a small-business owner and currently the executive director of the San Fernando Chamber of Commerce, I see firsthand how vital it is to include small business when making decisions that can impact them in a negative manner.

As a former board member of three neighborhood councils and active in the formation of two others, I have had years of experience working with the community stakeholders and city departments in addressing local challenges.

As the president of an established, successful organization working with the homeless of Los Angeles, I witnessed firsthand the value of resources directed to the most efficient areas.

As president of the foundation board of a major community college, I have had to overcome severe budget challenges and still provide students with the ability to receive scholarships.

As an insurance adjuster for over 25 years I have developed the ability to gather facts, experts and experience in order to reach a successful objective.

BRUCE DARIAN

Darian did not respond to questions from The Times.

ANTONIO R. VILLARAIGOSA

When I took office in July 2005, it was the culmination of a dream to serve the city that has shaped my life. My administration has taken the attitude that our future as a great global city depends on our willingness to dream big and to confront our most daunting challenges. This is our chance to expand economic opportunity to every neighborhood and to unite Angelenos behind the idea that our similarities run deeper than our differences.

It's also a chance to create a different kind of government -- one that is fiscally responsible and socially progressive, one that recognizes environmentally sustainable growth is not a luxury, but a necessity, and one that understands we can no longer afford to leave thousands of young people behind without a high school diploma.

I believe over the last 3 1/2 years my administration has laid a strong foundation to build upon and further improve this city. If I am fortunate enough to be elected to a second term, I plan on pushing even further on my goals to ensure Los Angeles is a 21st century city.

DAVID "ZUMA DOGG" SALTSBURG

First of all, I consider my extensive training of Dr. W. Edwards Deming's 14-point management philosophy the single most important qualification that distinguishes me from the other candidates.

I am a firm believer that until the city of Los Angeles embraces these 14 points (methods for management of quality and productivity) under the leadership of the mayor's office, the city will continue to trip all over itself and waste immeasurable amounts of money; just when we need to do more with less.

My interpretation of Deming's 14 points was praised by Deming himself and published internationally in Quality Digest. So the fact that I have an actual 14-point plan (method) in which to operate the mayor's office distinguishes me as a candidate. As opposed to just pointing out problems with no method to achieve the goal of improvement.

Secondly, I am the only candidate who actually attends almost all of the City Council meetings (including a six-month-plus stretch without missing a single meeting), reviews each agenda, item by item; then speaks out "on the record" before council on the shadiest items.

So I don't think there is any other candidate on the ballot, including the incumbent, who is as on top of what is going on in the city on a day-to-day operational basis than myself.

And while attending all of these council meetings and other community meetings, I have met thousands of people (who see me on TV) who grab my ear and tell me about what is most important to them in their community. What issue is the city plaguing them with. These are truly heartbreaking stories from the most diverse socioeconomic and demographic crowd on the planet. The truest melting pot in the world is L.A. City Council chambers on any given day.

So I have sure been "schooled" by nearly all factions of the community in nearly all pockets of the city, from Marina del Rey to El Sereno. I am just as recognized in Highland Park and Woodland Hills. I am certain there is no other candidate who has spent more time in the streets and meeting rooms throughout the city, being educated on the most important issues in the city.

But the most important and unintended quality that I have taken on while connecting with so many people across the city is the actual importance of "compassion" in making decisions as mayor. It's easy to take an idealist, "perfect world" stance on citywide issues as a candidate. But then you have to deal with a real situation, with real people, in real time. And I wouldn't be prepared to be mayor of this city without seeing and hearing things from other people's perspective.

Everything I have ever spoken on or written about has been brought to me by a member of the community either by e-mail, phone or in person. And it has only been through this process of meeting thousands of people over the past three years as I attend these meetings that I am now ready to represent the voice and spirit of the community.

And they don't teach you how to run the mayor's office in an Ivy League textbook. So luckily, I have studied Deming's management philosophy extensively and have attended hundreds of council meetings and spoken with thousands of people, so I probably know what is actually going on and what to do about it more than any other candidate.

CRAIG X. RUBIN

I know that local press has reported that we are not out campaigning, but I was up at 5 a.m. this past Sunday and hit four churches to get the word out that I was running for mayor. Other candidates and I have also been at every local neighborhood council or homeowner's association that has invited us. We are working hard to get the word out and meet the people, but in some ways it seems as if the press is in the tank for Villaraigosa. It is my personal opinion that God decides who will be the rulers of cities and states, so I feel confident that in a David and Goliath fashion the mayor in his arrogance will lose the election to an unknown. There have only been six candidates showing up at these forums, so I'll focus on the other five for comparison's sake, then the mayor and lastly, Zuma.

Phil J. -- He is a nice person, a good dresser, has an interest in the entertainment field and is conservative, economically speaking. These are similarities that we have. What distinguishes us is that I have more experience in the real world, having run a business and worked as a religious leader. As a father with children in public school I have more of an interest in the future of the city. Phil is a transplant; I grew up here and have an intimate knowledge of what our city needs. He seems to be a reactionary conservative, where I tend to be more pragmatic.

Bruce D. -- He is someone who looks good in a suit. In fact, he looks like an attorney or a person who plays one on TV. He seems to know what he is talking about, but if you listen closely he is spouting out cliches and never really takes a stand on anything. He seems like a typical politician, taking both sides of every issue and never answering a question. My personal style is distinct from this in that I give a straight answer, so you know where I stand on an issue.

However if you will hear what I have to say, I know what I am talking about. If I don't know I will keep my mouth shut and say, "I'll have to look into that." I have a constituency that recognizes that in the future our city will still need to grow larger than it is today and that we need to plan an infrastructure to meet those needs. I don't think Bruce gets that fact, so that is how we are different.

Carlos A. -- He is a handsome young man who really represents the future of Latino leadership as he is well dressed, although casually, at the community forums and proudly speaks his communistic mind. Even though his Socialist ideals and goals aren't always in contradiction to mine (we all want more jobs in L.A. and cleaner air) we all have completely different methods for achieving those goals. He trusts the people who created the DMV to create jobs, and I don't. I think it is important to keep business in the community and encourage more film and television production to take place locally.

David H. -- Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez are loving people who have given much of their time to the community as my wife and I have, but the difference between he and I is the fact that he is selling fear and I am talking hope. Much of his speeches are dedicated to creating a sense of fear over the gangs, which are a real problem, but the larger problem is a social problem. I think he would rather lock up young gang members for life, and I'd rather see them get an education, jobs and be productive members of our community.

Walter M. -- He is well-educated, good-looking, articulate and married . . . that is what we have in common. He and his wife are nice people, but somewhat tired of America. They own an apartment building in France and maybe are going to move there if the election doesn't go their way, so they are moving. I have always invested my money in America, so that is something that distinguishes us. He supports what I consider fascist laws that require our LAPD to begin acting like the federal immigration service (that is why Mayor V's people called him "Lyndon LaRouche"). Everyone supports deporting people who are here illegally if they are convicted of a violent crime, but I would not turn our local police into a federal force as they are here to deal with local crimes and cooperate with the FBI on national and federal crimes. In fact, I'll work to end the federal consent decree that burdens our city with 350 full-time officers writing reports at taxpayer's expense rather than patrolling our streets.

Mayor ViagraLaraza -- He loves being on camera and flying all around the country working with the Democrats. As an independent I'll stay here doing the business of the city rather than the work of "my party." Everyone knows the mayor is planning to run for governor, and I realize that I have to really prove myself as mayor before I'll ever get another job in my life. If I do a bad job it would be really difficult for me to get another job, so I have some real pressure to perform for the people of Los Angeles, where the mayor has large sums of money and national name recognition, so he doesn't have to work for the people of L.A. for either their vote (he thinks) or them, if he were to win again. Lastly, as a faithful husband and Bible teacher I would distinguish myself from the mayor in that I think the Ten Commandments are just that, "commandments"; The mayor, in my opinion, doesn't know the Commandments by heart and to him they are just the "10 ancient suggestions." I think the mayor thinks that they don't apply in today's world. If our politicians and business leaders just followed the commandments, our economy wouldn't be in the mess it is, so it is important that we elect leaders who find biblical laws to be truths to live by.

Zuma Dogg -- I like his name, but I have never met him. I am familiar with his videos on the Internet, and he reminds me of a real life "B-Rad" from Jamie Kennedy's "Malibu's Most Wanted." I am not sure why he has not shown up at any forums, neighborhood councils or homeowner's associations, so I have a hard time taking him seriously as a candidate.

I don't know anyone else campaigning (I know there are others running), so . . . that is what distinguishes me from the crowd above.

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