My friend Eric Garcetti won. July 1st he will be the Mayor of the 2nd biggest city in the USA. I’ve been feeling on the verge of emotion for days, and had hoped to bawl last night… wine or lose. However, it didn’t work out that way.
The large venue held a few of the people I’m use to seeing at his events and about 900 more I didn’t know. Mark was with me as were my sister Cecily, and her daughter Lily. They had made calls for the first time for Eric that day. My other sister is out of the country, but my nephew Charlie was there. He has gone to Eric’s valley office often after school to volunteer. He will probably be a senator one day and they said Lily worked the phones like a veteran Chicago Alderman.
One of my new friends through the campaign is Leonora Pitts. Star of TV and activist mom. There were times when she would show up to volunteer with her newborn- 2nd baby – strapped to her body. One time I showed up at Eric’s house to make calls and there Leonora was dialing for votes with her 9 day old baby sleeping next to her. That’s my kind of mom!
The party was large that I couldn’t get a good perch or see the TV screens. But, lots of people were tapping on their phones. “Wendy is up by 200 votes.” someone said. Then Mark saw Gil Garcetti, Eric’s father, former DA, all around nice guy.
“We expected that. Those are early absentees. Greuel had a lot of ads up then, we didn’t so, we knew they would favor her.” he said talking about the different ebbs of flows of cash in the race.
“But, you saw the exit poll?” Gil refering to an earlier poll that day that showed Eric up. I didn’t say, “Kerry was up in exit polls too” but I didn’t say it.
Then I saw a man standing next to me smiling. I introduced myself, thinking he was Gil’s buddy. “Hi, I’m Alex” he said, I wanted to get a picture with him.” Meaning Gil. Ah, a friend he hadn’t met yet, got it. I feel like one of my jobs in this race has been to connect people to the Garcetti folk. So, I said, “Gil, this guy really wants a picture with you.” He happily obliged.
Then a loud cheer went up. What?? Someone said, “Eric is up 2 thousand votes.” Cecily took Charlie and Lily home. It was getting late.
I was VERY honored that the campaign asked me to stand on the stage behind Eric. I had a special wrist band. I saw a bunch of the “VIP’s” rushing to the stage. I had to go up a staircase, across a big balcony, down a big staircase. The hierarchy of these things as I see them is
1) candidates family
2) big name supporters, local politicians, community leaders
3) diversity of community groups, different ethnicities, Vets, etc.
4) regular people who worked they hinds off. That’s my group.
People who didn’t have the wrist band were trying to get on. It was a bit like a life boat drama on the Titanic. As I rand up the stairs in my heels with my wrist band showing. I was right behind Councilmember Bernard Parks who is 9 feet tall. Crap. There guys my “Hey mom, I’m on TV” moment. I looked to my right and there was a friend of mine and her husband who are big supporters. Poor thing she is short. I said, “Get away from Parks” I didn’t want to be pushy, cause, hey it’s not about ME, however if I’m going to be part of history I’d like a glimpse. The crowd shifted enough so that I could move away from Parks and behind Councilman Paul Koretz. Yes, he is short. He is also a great councilman, btw, his office was very responsive to some issues we had when The Tar Pit was in his district. After a minute the music went up and out came Eric and his wife Amy.
It was a sort of victory speech. Pretty much what you say when you when, thanking the opponent, but not a “We won!” line. Thus, I didn’t get to bawl as planned. I was just trying to get away from a tall councilmember’s shadow.
I did get a heartfelt hug from Amy who said she was looking forward to what I would write about the last days of the campaign– coming soon. She is such good people.
I found Mark and we spoke to Jan Perry. ME: “it’s going to go on for days?”
No, she said, “It will be over by 3am. Look” she pulled out her phone. “he is trending up, she is trending down.” Then, “I have to go soak my feet.” I agreed with the council woman and limped to the car.
So, sure doing the best for our community is important, but what did I wear? I chose the same dress I wore when I gave a luncheon for Eric last year for mom bloggers. That lunch helped him win support from some smart ladies who were with him till the end ( more later). I had asked for his mom Sukey to be at the lunch, knowing she would be a hit. She was.
When Campanile announced it’s closing I had emailed Eric and said something along the lines of, “well, I’m glad we could help you when could.” He wrote back in part, “Campanile has been the site of so many memories” Writing this, I’m finally, tearing up. Little did I know my husband would make more memories breaking out his grilled press by himself, at our home several more times to help Eric and make Grilled Cheese for Garcetti. For canvassers, to win over undecideds. I worked the room, he worked the press.
I wore a bracelet that Rex INSISTED I wear. You can see it hear on the outstretched arm over Bernard Parks shoulder ( his left, our right). An arm outstretched in hope of good times.