Warren Furutani has a message for voters in Los Angeles' city council district 15.
"I'm running in the whole 15th. I want the votes from top to bottom. And I hope that people see my campaign walks the talk," the State Assembly member said.
If the buzz in Furutani's Watts campaign headquarters is any indication, his message seems to be getting through. Furutani is the only candidate with a campaign office in Watts and he wants voters to know that he understands their concerns.
"San Pedro people say 'Wow, downtown doesn't pay any attention to us, we don't get our fair share.' Wilmington says that about San Pedro: 'San Pedro gets the bulk of the resources from the port'" explained Furutani, who added, "but the Harbor Gateway feels totally ignored. Harbor City feels ignored. Watts really feels ignored, so everybody has this feeling they're not getting their share, everybody has the sort of stepchild feeling and we have to change that fundamentally from top to bottom."
Furutani believes he is the candidate who can make that change. The crux of his campaign focuses on his experience. Furutani has been a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees and for the last four years he has served in the State Assembly.
And he has some heavy political hitters backing him in the city council special election. Furutani's endorsements include the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a county supervisor, two city council members and a slew of other politicians.
While Furutani sees his experience as an asset, some of his opponents say he is a career politician -- something they do not mean as a term of endearment. Furutani is quick to point out that he worked a full-time non-political job until being elected to the State Assembly.
"I appreciate them doing what they need to do in order to make me look negative but in reality I just haven't been a full-time politician very long, just 4 years and I'm 64 years old so it's hard to make that case," Furutani said.
Furutani said he chose not to run a negative campaign, focusing instead on his experience and accomplishments.
"The thing that makes me different is the different endorsements, the different experience. I'm not just talking about what I'm going to do or my vision or all these great things that people are saying. I talk about what I've done," Furutani added.
With the Nov. 8 election a little more than a week away, Furutani hopes his "walkin', knockin' and talkin' " campaign will bring him to victory, though he anticipates a run-off election in January.
Christine Detz is a graduate student at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, which has partnered with KCET-TV to produce this blog about policy in Los Angeles.