Kevin James and the Steve Cooley Endorsement

PERPSECTIVE - Mayoral candidate Kevin James does not have the name recognition of his City Hall insider opponents: Greuel, Garcetti and Perry (in all fairness to Perry, she is an insider with a foot hanging outside).

You can buy name recognition if you have millions of dollars to burn, but that is not the case with James. He does not have public unions and developers bankrolling him.

But you can accrue name recognition.

“Accrue” is most often associated with accounting and business.  It means to earn a benefit or incur an obligation as a result of an action or the passage of time.  Kevin James’ undergraduate degree was in accounting; he understands the meaning of the word more than his opponents, at least that’s evident from the city budgets the other three have supported – budgets that ignore the costs of maintaining infrastructure, the true liability of public employee benefits and the deferral of current operating costs to future periods.

“Accrue” is not limited to business parlance.

You can accrue recognition and respect from frank and intelligent communication .  James earned favorable press in the first mayoral debate from media normally accustomed to going light on the local establishment.  

Gaining name recognition, however, is tough – especially for one whose name has seldom appeared in the news.  While Kevin James is well-known to his former radio audience and for his work with AIDS charities and the AIDS Project Los Angeles, his following among the city’s regular voters is nowhere near as broad as that of the trio he faces.

That’s where Steve Cooley’s endorsement can pay dividends. Arguably, the County DA has better name recognition than James’ opponents.  That’s not going to change the votes of most of those inclined to vote for the City Hall side of the bracket, but it could convince their superficial supporters – those whose support is based purely on name recognition – to consider an outsider.

If Cooley goes on the stump for James, some of the 80-85% of the registered voters who customarily sit on the sidelines could be inspired to head to the polls and cast their ballots for the underdog, perhaps even contribute much-needed money to the campaign.

James would still have a considerable hurdle ahead, but the possibility of making it to the runoff would improve, especially when Greuel, Garcetti and Perry will be fighting over the same pool of voters.

A runoff slot would provide the former prosecutor with a chance to shine in a one-on-one debate, where it would be impossible for his opponent to hide from the issues.

(Paul Hatfield is a CPA and serves as Treasurer for the Neighborhood Council Valley Village.  He blogs at Village to Village, contributes to CityWatch and can be reached at:  [email protected])

Vol 10 Issue 80
Pub: Oct 5, 2012