Candidates Greuel and Garcetti.
Voters don't care about, have confidence in or believe what you say needs to be done, what you say you will do or even what you know, until they know what you have already gotten done for people like them in the situations and crises they are facing now.
As we approach the mayoral election in May and we are called upon to put our trust in a candidate, I am reminded of President Reagan's admonition regarding the Soviet Union that we "Trust, but verify," before accepting anything they say. He said that because he realized that trust is important, but before you do that, you needed to check whatever the other party was saying. This may similarly be a time to do the same with our mayoral candidates before we vote for one.
For us to make the best decision regarding who to vote for, maybe it's time for us to adapt Reagan's words and "verify then vote." To accomplish this, we can use the following 10 steps to vet each candidate before we vote for them:
- Verifiable -- "Please provide us with specific people who can verify what you say." And we shouldn't be lazy about checking with those people. We shouldn't necessarily believe what someone says about themselves until we check with the people they have done it for and with.
- Recent -- "What have you gotten done in the recent past, as in four years?" If it's longer than that and too far in the past it's ancient history.
- Relevant -- "Whatever it was you got done, what about that makes you believe that is relevant for your position as mayor?" Knowing this involves our knowing as much as possible about what the mayor's position we're voting for requires.
- Positive -- "What positive and negative outcomes(s) did you achieve and what did you learn from each?" It's OK for people to make mistakes. We just don't want people who keep repeating the same mistakes and not learning from them.
- Measurable -- "What were the measurable achievements that you were able to achieve?" Metrics, metrics, metrics. We can't truly believe what can't be measured and this will tell the candidate to expect that whatever they do as mayor will need to be measured.
- Results -- "What were the actual results you achieved?" You don't want to hear things that are too subjective and intangible.
- Because of you -- "Which of the positive, measurable results above were you actually key or instrumental in achieving as opposed to merely being in the right place at the right time and what exactly did you do?" We want to identify which of the results they were actually responsible for vs. riding along on the coattails of a positive trend they weren't responsible for.
- Judgment calls and taking initiatives -- "What is your ability to make tough decisions and your track record to get things done when you hit obstacles and setbacks and give some examples of each?" We want to see how they responded to walls and bumps in the road. What are the steps they take to get things done?
- Accessing resources -- "What is your ability and what has been your track record of accessing resources outside yourself and outside a group that you are working in to accomplish something and give an example of how you went about doing that?" We are looking for people that can tap into resources outside themselves and their office if they need to.
- Sustainable without and beyond you -- "What have you been able to accomplish things or set things into motion that will last without you and please give examples?" Look for people who not only work collaboratively and cooperatively with others, but do so in a way that what they do can smoothly be continued after eight years.
I will leave it to political analysts and experts to fill in the information for us. But we then owe it to both Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti to vote on May 21 instead of staying away in droves as we did in the primaries. We also owe it to Los Angeles.