Q&A With Brad Smith: What's With The In 'N' Out?

I'm sure I'm not the only person who's been wondering why Brad Smith pulled the quizzical move of pulling out of the City Council race and then getting back in again just a week later. So I quizzicaled him, and here's what he had to say.

GGH: Why did you drop out of the race, and then get back in again?

Smith: Because like everyone else in this economy, I had to weigh very real family obligations -- I’m the sole income earner in my family, and for the first couple of months, I could work during the day and campaign at night and on the weekend. But when I got the endorsements from the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley and the L.A. County Democratic Party, it made it a very different type of campaign. My employer had been very supportive, but it came to a point where I had to make a very, very tough decision. I want to serve our community, but simply put, Maria and I are not millionaires. We have only one income. We have kids. We need health insurance. I would expect any working person, especially any working parent with young children, can understand that.

GGH: So you decided to quit the campaign. Then you got back in again. What happened?

Smith: Thankfully, my employer is a very civic-minded company, and I was able to take an unpaid leave of absence. Once that was in place, I was able to make this a full-time campaign. I can’t ask our supporters for their time and money without making this an 100 percent effort from my side.

GGH: And now you’re in it to win it? Do you think you can beat Englander? He’s got crazy resources.

Smith: Yes, we are in it to win, and we think we can do it through a grass-roots campaign funded through small donations and clean money -- not through a campaign run by and for City Hall insiders, and with hundreds of thousands of dollars from special interests. As you know, Councilman Greig Smith ran unopposed in 2007, and won with a turnout of less than 15,000. Councilman Smith was Councilman Hal Bernson's top aide and replaced Bernson, and now Councilman Smith's top aide, Mr. Englander, is running to replace Smith.

We're talking about an individual who has never had a career outside of politics, who moved into our community specifically for this position, and who has received the endorsements of the majority of the sitting City Council members -- some of whom have literally known Mr. Englander since he was a child. Last time I checked we were not a monarchy, and he was not the crown prince. He expects to win this in a walk, and if he does, we can expect exactly the same sort of City Hall-centered leadership and lack of attention to the district, no matter what's said on the campaign trail, that we've received over the past 32 years under councilmen Bernson and Smith. As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. I think it's time to try something new.


  1. Actually Mitch has lived for many years in Granada Hills - to say he moved in the district to run for this office is untrue.

  2. I know Mitch, and he actually has had a career outside of politics - he had his own carpet business. I doubt Mitch thinks he's winning this in a walk, since he's working his butt off in 18 hour days, 7 days a week. Oh, yeah, and Mitch has the majority of his contributions from individuals.

  3. Mitch has $400,000 in the bank. You are saying he has $200,000+ from individuals (residents of CD12)? Show me your data.

  4. I'm sorry, but Mitch is the poster child for what is wrong with Los Angeles politics and representation!

  5. The answers make no sense to me. You get the endorsement of the major Democratic organizations and then drop out? If he really intended to make it a campaign, wouldn't he have arranged for a leave of absence from work at the get-go? Sounds to me like he wasn't serious until he got the endorsements.

  6. How can you believe Brad Smith is going to be absolutely dedicated to his position after he bailed out like that? He just quits, just like that? And then he-unquits? How is he going to hold up to the huge pressures of being in the leadership of running a city of 4 million? He doesn't have the chops for this job.

  7. He was trying to stay absolutely dedicated to his prior employer and his family, it seems like. You think he should "just quit, just like that" his paying job? What if he doesn't get elected? Then how does he feed his kids?

  8. Taking a leave of absence is not the same a quitting. Seems to me he could have arranged for a LOF for the six or eight weeks prior to the election if he was serious in the first place. It's called "planning ahead".

  9. Yeah, but what if the early days of the campaign yielded nothing, no support, no endorsements, just a lot of time and expense and no momentum? Presuming the campaign would be a huge success without taking the temperature first is called "counting your chickens."

    There's six candidates in this race, and they all want to win, but they're not all going to. Keeping your day job is called "being realistic."

    The only people who can afford to quit their jobs to campaign are usually millionaires and trust funders. Are those then the only people who should be entitled to run?

  10. Well, in that case, if you have no support, no money and no prospects, you drop out of the race, cancel your planned leave of absence, go to work and move on. You don't get major endorsements, then drop out, then go to your employer at that point asking for a leave of absence, then get back in.

  11. The leave was planned, and if it wasn't for the short Sh** (Cough, Cough) Mr. Englander feeling scared then Parsons would not have made it tougher for Brad to take the leave. What the Englander Campagin fails to tell you is that they called parsons and put pressure to top officials. What everyone should do is really look at the facts. When it comes down to it. The money Mr. Englander has raised is mostly from Special Interest and Developers. You have to be real stupid to not see that. His uncle is a big part of that special interest. Look at the financial records posted on the city ethics website and look through all of Mitch's campaign contributors. You will see where the dirty money leads. So if you want another possible 12 years of the same bull shit you know who to vote for, but if you want real change then Vote Smith for City council.

  12. Really, you know for a fact that Englander called Parson's and argued against Smith getting a leave of absence? I suppose you have a tape of the phone call, or at the very least, a sworn affidavit from Smith's boss at Parsons? No? Didn;t think so.

  13. http://ethics.lacity.org/disclosure/campaign/totals/public_election.cfm?election_id=42#S164

    Click on the amount of money raised and you'll get an alphabetized, detailed list of where the money comes from.

  14. Do you want to maintain the quality of life in CD12.
    Elect Brad Smith For Council.
    If you want to change the business as usual.
    Elect Brad Smith.
    He has carisma, honesty and integrity.
    Brad Smith is a family man, a church goer, believes in family values and morality.

    YJ Draiman for Mayor


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