Community activist Cary Brazeman to run for L.A. City Controller

Cary Brazeman, the public face of a community group aimed at improving the quality of life for Angelenos, told the Jewish Journal that he declared his candidacy on Tuesday, Nov. 1, for Los Angeles City Controller.

Brazeman is not registered with a political party, and he is joining a race that so far includes just one other candidate, Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis P. Zine. According to the Los Angeles Times, Zine, a long-time Republican, changed his party affiliation earlier this year to “decline-to-state.”

The controller’s office is currently held by Wendy Gruel, who is running in a crowded field to succeed Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The open elections for mayor, controller and other citywide offices are all scheduled for March 2013.

Brazeman, 45, is a public relations executive and a member of his local neighborhood council. Born and raised Jewish, Brazeman is openly gay and is a member of Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood.

To observers of Los Angeles city politics, however, Brazeman is likely best known as the face of the group LA Neighbors United, a loosely knit organization that he founded in late 2009 with the mission of “making Los Angeles a better place to live and do business.”

To that end, In July, and again in September, Brazeman’s group took out full-page advertisements in local newspapers—including the Jewish Journal—making the argument that any new NFL football stadium built in Los Angeles had to be built in a way that would benefit citizens and that would not cause environmental harm.

If elected to the post of controller, a job that Brazeman described as “part-chief auditor and part inspector general,” he hopes to incorporate a “public advocate” role into his work, in an effort to “develop better solutions to our core problems.”

In an interview with the Jewish Journal this summer, Brazeman described himself as “a question-asker,” and that quality is apparent in the section of his campaign website where he promises that as city controller he will “ask hard questions that challenge the status quo.”

On the website announcing his candidacy, Brazeman pledged not to accept contributions from “for-profit companies or unions.” He will have to make up some ground in the fundraising race; Zine’s campaign notified the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission in mid-October that it had raised over $100,000.

Brazeman expects to spend between $500,000 and $1 million on his campaign, and said he is confident that he can raise that amount from individuals and making use of matching public funds. He intends to launch his campaign in earnest in March 2012, one year before the open election.