The Passion of Dan Stroncak

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It’s difficult not to like Dan Stroncak.   Aggrieved homeowner.   Crusader against street prostitution and unlicensed pot shops. On Saturday he brought his kamikaze run for City Council to Fatburger on Roscoe Blvd, for a meet-and-greet.   His heart bled for the Valley. He worked himself into outrage at the petty tyrannies and corruption of the city bureaucracy. If elected, he vowed to camp out at the Building Department personally to see to it permits in his district were expedited.  He was the earnest, young Willie Stark in All The Kings Men, before he got wised up.  The irony being Willie was an unwitting tool of the party establishment, hand-picked to divide the hick vote and keep the incumbent in power, and Dan is quite the other thing.  He’s running against a pair of machine-backed Latinas who moved into Los Angeles within the past year, solely to succeed Tony Cardenas in District 6, and who have been biding their time serving on state boards collecting six figure salaries for once-a month meetings.  They have campaign money. He does not.

Like I said, it’s hard not to like the guy.   He speaks without the platitudes and banal catchphrases one is used to from the mayoral candidates.  There’s only one problem. He’s not actually on the ballot.   Five hundred signatures are required for ballot placement. Of the 600 he submitted,  one hundred and four were rejected by election officials as having signatures not matching addresses on voter records.  So he’s four short of qualifying.  Make of that what you will.   He asks folks to write his name in.

**UPDATE** Dan demurred at my characterization of him as an ‘angry man’:

“I see myself more as a worried father, frustrated homeowner, and when I’m out on neighborhood watch it’s as the “guardian at the gate” if you will because in my area the drug and prostitution traffic is heavy after 2am unless someone is out there with a flashlight and camera getting the license plates numbers, which is what the police dept recommends we do because it deters them, at least until I go back in then it starts again. 
 “The best case scenario is for the police to have the resources they need to take care of the crime without community help, but right now they are actually reaching out to neighborhoods looking for more people to get involved with neighborhood watch because times are tough when you consider the budget cuts and increased crime due to AB109 (realignment).  That said, we all need to be vigilant in our own communities.  The perfect example of the out of control crime (and how dangerous it is) is the fact that the Fatburger is across the street from the alley where the security guard was murdered a week ago.
“Finally, the only thing I would ask you to add (if possible) is that while I do truly want people to vote for me via writing in my name on their absentee ballots in the next couple of weeks or in May, I personally consider this a two year campaign.  The partial term filled by this special election is over in 2015 so candidates for the 2015 race can file this August and start campaigning.  I will most definitely be in the race and ON the ballot in 2015.”

Last White Man in Van Nuys

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Well, not exactly.  Plenty of white folks left in those areas of Van Nuys now known as Valley Glen, Lake Balboa and Sherman Oaks.  But Old Van Nuys, in its working class, starter home glory,  is now the landing place for strivers from Central America and Asia.  At the time of Prop. 187, they were hot-racking it in boarding houses or sleeping on a cot in the back of a store. Today they hold mortgages.  Happily they perambulate the aisles of big box outlets, they fill the pews, the maternity wards and car pool lanes.  To walk the dogs on a Saturday night in springtime is to have one’s olfactories titillated by unfamiliar barbeque and to hear three different languages in the space of a block. A landscape of bouncy houses and childrens balloons, of men drinking beer around a television in the breezeway broadcasting futbol and UFC.

Slide over to tyhe leafier landscaping of Northridge or Studio City and the houses are bigger, the lawns better tended, but you don’t hear or see the neighbors quite in the same way. No one is kicking a soccer ball in the street. And far fewer are sitting in the pews.