These are difficult days for Assemblyman Warren Furutani. The veteran pol is running for L.A. City Council against a fresh-faced upstart, LAPD Officer Joe Buscaino.
After a big showing in the primary, Buscaino has raised more money and earned more endorsements. And with the Jan. 17 election coming up soon, Furutani's labor allies have yet to open up their checkbooks for him. At this rate, Buscaino is looking inevitable.
So Furutani needs to shake things up. Why not claim the endorsement of an alligator?
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This, for those fortunate enough to have missed this story, is not just any alligator. It's Reggie the Alligator, who swam unobtrusively and evasively around Machado Lake in Harbor City for a couple years, bothering no one. With each foiled attempt to capture him, his legend grew, until reporters banged their heads on their laptops at the thought of him, and until he was finally pounced upon by park rangers and hauled off to the zoo.
Reggie has suffered enough anthropomorphizing to last several reptile lifetimes, mostly thanks to ex-Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who never missed a chance to get herself in the middle of a Reggie story. But this alligator must have been very wicked indeed in a previous incarnation, because his penance is not over yet.
On Furutani's latest mailer, Reggie makes a campaign pitch: "As a (former) resident I know that you need a City Council member who will fight for Harbor City and Harbor Gateway. You need Warren Furutani. He has lived here for almost 20 years -- about 18 years more than I did!"
This is akin to using a hand puppet to potty-train a child. It is an attempt to speak, as it were, to the electorate's lizard brain. If it doesn't work, nothing will.