The battle for the soul of the Democratic party is entering its final days, and it’s getting ugly. Establishment favorite Hillary Clinton is close to nabbing the nomination by any metric. Former Secretary of State Clinton has 1,776 of the required 2,383 pledged delegates. Senator Bernie Sanders has only 1,501 pledged delegates. Despite Former Secretary of State Clinton’s lead, there are signs that her supporters are eager for her to clinch the nomination.
With 475 pledged delegates on the line, California has become the ultimate battleground state for both Democratic candidates. Sanders and Clinton are in a statistical dead heat in California. Both Senator Sanders and Former Secretary of State Clinton have held many events in California over the past few weeks. Unfortunately for Senator Sanders, even the location of campaign events has become a battle.
According to YAHOO! News, Senator Sanders planned to host concert and campaign event at Greek Theater in Los Angeles. The day before the event, Senator Sanders’ campaign emailed supporters to inform them of a change of venue.
“Unfortunately, after reaching terms with the professional staff at the Greek to host our rally, interference from a local Los Angeles City Council member forced us to move from this iconic venue.”
The email did not name the Los Angeles City Council member who allegedly vetoed the Sanders event. However, a source close to the Sanders campaign claimed that Councilman David Ryu put the brakes on the event. The source also claimed that Ryu has not raised objections to a similar event being held by the Clinton campaign the following week.
Councilman Ryu is a Democrat representing Los Angeles City Council District 4. Several neighborhoods of Los Angeles make up Council District 4 including Koreatown, Mid-Wilshire, Hollywood Hills, and Los Feliz. District 4 also includes popular tourist attractions such as Hollywood Boulevard, the La Brea Tar Pits, Griffith Park, and the Hollywood sign. Councilman Ryu is an open supporter of Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign and attended a recent fundraiser held in Koreatown on her behalf.
Councilman Ryu’s spokesman Estevan Montemayor firmly denied the Sanders campaign’s accusation. According to the Los Angeles Times, Montemayor called the statement by the Sanders campaign “an inaccurate depiction of the last 24 hours.”
From the Councilman’s perspective, the botched campaign event came down to logistics. Ryu’s office claims that the Sanders campaign refused to develop a plan to address traffic congestion and ticketing, a requirement for any booking at the Greek Theater. The theater is in a part of Los Angeles that is full of hills and winding roads. It’s not uncommon for traffic filing into the theater to back up major thoroughfares nearby including Los Feliz Boulevard and Interstate 5.
“Any person or organization that chooses to have an event at the Greek Theatre needs to follow all the same guidelines. The Sanders campaign was asked to work with L.A. city staff on a traffic mitigation plan and a ticketing system, just as the Clinton campaign has done for their event on Monday evening. The Sanders campaign chose not to move forward.”
But Montemayor went further, saying that the Sanders campaign was never asked to cancel the event. In fact, according to Montemayor, Mayor Garcetti and City Attorney Mike Feuer works diligently on Friday to secure the space with the Sanders campaign. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has previously expressed support for Hillary Clinton.
The Sanders campaign fired back, saying that organizers had already reached an agreement with the Greek Theater’s management before Councilman Ryu intervened. Sanders Campaign sources say that the deal was so close to being completed that money was about to be wired to secure the site.
Whether a case of political insiders gone wild or a campaign neglecting public safety issues, one thing is clear. The Democratic Primary race has gotten ugly, and neither candidate will head into the convention unscathed.
[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]