Column: No matter who wins the L.A. mayor’s race, here’s the perfect job for the loser: Mayor to run the city.
It’s not the job for a Republican, not even a Trumpian. After all, if the L.A. mayor were a Democrat, that would be the perfect place for Richard Riordan to start his political career.
Riordan was an ambitious politician before he was elected mayor of the fourth most populous city in the U.S. A Republican, Riordan came within less than 20 percentage points of making it onto the ballot for mayor. In the most competitive city in California, it’s a sure thing to be the first, if not the only, non-incumbent to enter the general election without having to run as a write-in candidate. In a world where the average voter casts about 300 votes in a general election, having only one write-in candidate is a surefire way to win.
And, unlike most places that elect nonincumbents, Riordan could take a step back after being elected, and work on improving the city, rather than having to constantly re-start the process from scratch. The L.A. native has built businesses in the region, he’s been a big city mayor, and he has earned a strong reputation as a leader. His lack of experience running a large city is also a plus, as he could learn on the job. Unlike someone who has never run or served in office, Riordan has a solid understanding of how a city runs.
Here’s the job description Riordan would fit perfectly at, even though he doesn’t yet have the full-time job: The City of Los Angeles has the potential to be the most interesting and diverse city in the nation. From artists to actors to politicians, and from musicians to athletes to poets, L.A. could become the cultural capital of the world, or a cultural backwater. Either way, it’s a big place. On the scale of 500,000 people, L.A. is bigger than any large metropolitan area in America.
Yet, for someone who would be well-suited to become a mayor of a city of that size, Riordan would have a lot of challenges. To become the leader of such a city is a lot like running a car