Here we thought the L.A. City Council was getting cozy.
But those old boys got nothin' on the five City Councilmembers of Alhambra — a sweet stretch of suburbia just east of Glendale and south of Pasadena, population 86,000, apparently so content with itself that the November municipal elections have been canceled entirely.
That's right: not a single challenger. And the across-the-board shoo-ins can't exactly blame it on their own good behavior.
One of the five unopposed incumbents — Barbara Messina, in charge of City District 2 — paid a $14,000 fine this month for violating California's Political Reform Art in the 2006 municipal election. The California Fair Political Practices Commission accused Messina of smuggling $20,000 in unreported campaign funds through an org created by her husband/campaign manager to fund mailers smearing opponent Dan Agruello.
It's really a wonder nobody wants to run against her.
Messina — who was first elected to the council in 1986, and has served as mayor three times since — is playing dumb, of course. “My husband had no knowledge of what that committee was doing,” she told the Alhambra Source, an online newspaper run by students from USC's journalism school. (Even if Mr. Messina was indeed stupid enough to fork over $20,000 to an unknown cause, no questions asked, he still didn't report the sum in his wife's campaign total. So that argument is sort of moot.)
The butthurt councilwoman went on to wonder why she was being targeted for playing dirty when she herself has been the target of “much dirtier campaigns.”
“Nothing ever happens to the other people,” the Valley girl whined to the Source.
Messina also has a pretty hilarious theory as to why nobody's running against her — or any of her colleagues — this November: “Everything is running smoothly, everything is running well, why would you look to change it?”
We received a letter last week from “An Alhambra Voter” who expressed dismay that even after the campaign scandal, a lyin' cheatin' politician like Messina would still be allowed to fill her semi-permanent seat over at City Hall. The letter reads:
“Her opponent at one time worked for former disgraced Los Angeles city councilman Richard Alatorre and she was using guilty by association, tarring her opponent with false information that he would 'allow Indian Casinos into Alhambra' as one of many false scare tactics. Her opponent eventually lost, due to these false and scare tactics.”
To end on a dramatic note, Voter added: “Being an Alhambra resident, I fear retaliation from city government, so unfortunately I have to remain anonymous.”
Where we think you're mistaken, dear concerned citizen, is in thinking that the Alhambra City Council is capable of actually doing something.
Then again, they do look kind of crafty: