Time will tell if he will be embraced or rejected by either Republicans or gays in what is a non-partisan race. James said in a recent New York Times article, “Depending on what room you’re in here, sometimes it’s easier coming out gay to Republicans than it is coming out Republican to gays.”
Many think James has a real shot at winning a runoff spot. He is a political outsider who has the support of mega radio station KFI640 talk show hosts John and Ken.
James agreed to answer a few questions for Examiner.com. This is part one of a two-part interview.
Q: What separates you from a field that includes the current city council president, the immediate past city council president, and the sitting city controller?
James: I am the only candidate that did not bankrupt the city. I am the only candidate that is independent enough to negotiate fairly and at arms-length with our city unions. With current City Hall leadership, the unions are essentially negotiating with themselves. I am the only candidate with an accounting degree, with 25 years of experience as an attorney involved in high-stakes negotiations, that has also run one of the city's largest local non-profit agencies (AIDS Project Los Angeles), and has more than 10 years of media experience (good communication skills are important for any big-city Mayor to be successful). I have also served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Los Angeles, which is important since our city government has allowed a culture of corruption to grow at City Hall.
Q: Two of your opponents have criticized the IE that's backing you for mayor, claiming that they're right-wing out-of-state extremists. How do you respond, and do you welcome that support on your behalf?
James: According to the LA Times, the independent expenditure supporting my candidacy is backed by major Obama and Romney fundraisers. I welcome the support from people who are concerned about the solvency of America's second largest city, and it shows that there is real confidence in my candidacy. As Mayor, I will not be paying the salary out of the city's budget for any of the people that are supporting the independent expenditure committee, unlike Wendy Greuel for example, and her DWP-backed SuperPAC which is funded almost entirely by people who receive the taxpayer's (and ratepayer's) money in LA. That is a conflict of interest.
Q: Your campaign seems to be attacking Wendy Gruel the hardest. Why do you feel an opponent other than Ms. Gruel is easier to beat?
James: I don't feel that any one of my City Hall insider opponents is any easier to beat than the other ones. To a certain extent, it really doesn't matter who I draw in a run-off scenario. All of my opponents have been in elected office for over a decade and they are nearly identical in terms of voting record.
Q: No Republican has won a mayoral race in twenty years. Why do you feel Los Angeles, a city that went 67 percent for Obama, would support you over a Democrat?
James: My solutions for the city are common sense, non-partisan solutions, and this is a non-partisan race. It's not Republican versus Democrat, it's three failed city hall insiders versus one problem-solving outsider. Democrats, Republicans, and decline-to-states from all across the city, every income level and ethnicity, are fed up with City Hall. My opponents have been running City Hall for the past decade (which Joel Kotkin described in the Wall Street Journal as a decade of decline) and Angelenos are looking for someone other than the status-quo. I provide the new independent leadership LA needs.
Q: As a Republican, what issues do you agree with regarding the RNC platform and which planks do you oppose?
James: I believe in a more efficient government, as well as fiscal responsibility. I differ from my party on certain social platforms, such as same-sex marriage.
Q: What faults do you have with Mayor Villaraigosa, and what praise do you have for him?
James: His administration, which has included my opponents go-along-to-get-along leadership for the past decade, has left Los Angeles a city in crisis. We have a jobs crisis, a budget crisis, an infrastructure crisis, an education crisis, a corruption crisis, a transportation crisis, and a public safety crisis. Los Angeles is now on the brink of bankruptcy and this is the result of a leadership crisis. I commend him for his advocacy for same-sex marriage equality and his willingness to make public transportation a priority.
For additional information about Kevin James’ campaign, check out these sites/social media:
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