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When people were discussing the CA-36 special election, some of them called the Democratic candidate, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, a moderate or even conservative Democrat.  I usually replied by referencing this statement from Gene Maddaus on Calbuzz:

1. Janice Hahn is no moderate. Along with Jose Huizar and Richard Alarcon, she is one of the three most liberal members of the (quite liberal) LA City Council.

Ok, but that's just someone saying something.  Is there a way to check that it's true?

To find out, I decided to use the DW-Nominate method developed by Poole and Rosenthal (the program also uses the PSCL package developed by Jackman).  If you're not familiar with DW-Nominate, the basic idea is that you input a bunch of roll call votes for a legislature, and you get back a coordinate for each legislator.  For example, if that's how the votes split up, an economic and social liberal might be in the top right, with an economic liberal and social conservative in the bottom right, and an economic and social conservative in the bottom left.  Of course, liberalism and conservativism are about more than voting records--how a Councilmember works as a local power broker, their public statements, and so on, are all very important too.  But let's just see what we can get from voting records.

The Los Angeles City Clerk maintains a pretty good database of city council votes.  I decided to use all of the non-unanimous roll call votes covering the period when the City Council consisted of Alarcon, Cardenas, Garcetti, Hahn, Huizar, Koretz, Krekorian, LaBonge, Parks, Perry, Reyes, Rosendahl, Smith, Wesson, and Zine.  That was 256 roll call votes from January of 2010 to June or July of this year, when Englander was elected to replace Smith (Smith and Zine are the two Republicans).

I think the easiest to understand is with two dimensions (I lost this version of my worksheet, but as far as accuracy goes, it got over 90% of the yea votes and something like 64% of the nay votes).  Here is the ranking for the first dimension:

1. Koretz   0.93719816
2. Rosendahl  0.81596053
3. Hahn   0.78070289
4. Alarcon   0.76844990
5. Huizar   0.68893397
6. Krekorian   0.68403184
7. Wesson 0.41718554
8. Reyes  0.34818116
9. Garcetti  0.28581905
10. LaBonge   0.24602304
11. Cardenas   -0.05470585
12. Zine -0.17166252
13. Parks  -0.78856319
14. Perry -0.78784156
15. Smith -0.85530823

and here is the ranking for the second dimension:

1. Cardenas  0.8761148
2. Alarcon 0.6399099
3. Hahn 0.5396467
4. Parks 0.4402239
5. Huizar  0.3588524
6. Perry  0.3016354
7. Wesson 0.2420398
8. LaBonge 0.2045514
9. Reyes -0.1883332
10. Zine -0.2451584
11. Koretz -0.3487975
12. Garcetti -0.4932601
13. Smith  -0.5181195
14. Rosendahl -0.5781076
15. Krekorian  -0.7294521

What this means is that there are some issues where people like Alarcon and Rosendahl vote against people like Parks and Smith --and there are other issues where people like Alarcon and Parks vote against people like Rosendahl and Smith.  

In fact, let's break it up that way.  I'll call a "liberal" someone who is among the first 8 in the corresponding dimension, and the others are "conservative".  Keep in mind that this is just mathematical, and I haven't yet discussed what the dimensions actually mean, so these are just labels for now.  Councilmembers in each category are listed alphabetically.

Liberal/Liberals:  Alarcon, Hahn, Huizar, Wesson.
Liberal/Conservatives: Koretz, Krekorian, Reyes, Rosendahl.
Conservative/Liberals: Cardenas, LaBonge, Parks, Perry.
Conservative/Conservatives: Garcetti, Smith, Zine.

The two Republicans on the Council at the time--Zine and Smith--end up in the Conservative/Conservative category, so that is a good sign, analytically speaking.  (Oddly enough, so does the well-liked Garcetti, perhaps due to his position as Council President.)  

LaBonge, Reyes, Wesson were both close to the center by both estimates, and LaBonge and Reyes would have changed categories if I used top 7 for "liberal" instead of top 8 (and, roughly speaking, Wesson, who was described as a "charming seat-warmer" in this entertaining and acerbic look at the Council, which you should definitely read as a companion piece to this diary, seemed to vote "yes" on almost everything).  

So we can see that Calbuzz was right, provisionally: Alarcon, Hahn, and Huizar were the most "liberal" members, taking both dimensions into account.  Which makes me wonder if they've seen an analysis like this--or, more interestingly, if the analysis just reproduces, in a purely quantitative way, what reporters like Calbuzz know qualitatively.

Of course, that still leaves open the question of what, exactly, these dimensions mean.  Maybe they don't mean liberal/conservative in any familiar sense!  But I think I will look into that in a follow-up diary, as I am curious to see what people think they might mean, I am getting tired, and this is probably long enough for now.  I am not sure how often DW-Nominate is used for nonpartisan municipal roll calls, but it is pretty interesting.  I'd be happy to look into it with other reasonably small city councils.  I don't think even my hyperfocus is enough to get me through the New York City Council with its 50+ members.

(Note: This is using all contested roll call votes--when I set it to try to exclude roll call votes that were 12% lopsided or more, the order changed a little in both dimensions, but not much.  Notably, Rosendahl and Smith moved closer to the center, leaving Hahn as the second most liberal and Parks as the most conservative in the first dimension.  That version got 92.7% of the yea votes correct and 73.1% of the nay votes correct.  Of course it eliminated 92 of the 256 votes--Los Angeles City Council votes are seldom contested very much.)

(Citations: Wnominate program is from "Scaling Roll Call Votes with wnominate in R", Keith Poole and Jeffrey Lewis and James Lo and Royce
      Carroll, Journal of Statistical Software,  PSCL is from Simon Jackman (2011). pscl: Classes and Methods for R Developed in the Political Science Computational Laboratory, Stanford University. Department of Political Science, Stanford University. Stanford, California. R package version 1.03.10. URL

Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 1:18 PM PT: On the advice of davidshor, I ran the votes through a similar program, Ideal, in the PSCL package.  This yielded some other first and second dimension rankings, one of which was similar to the diary's, but some of which are very different--see the comments.  I'll leave this up, but there's much more to figure out.

Thu Jul 21, 2011 at 3:54 PM PT: davidshor pointed out in comments that some of the "different" dimensions might be the same basic plotting, just rotated.  Having run ideal on the roll call data again, with 150,000 iterations, I got a d=1 plotting of: Koretz, Rosendahl, Alarcon, Hahn, Krekorian, Huizar, Wesson, Garcetti/Reyes, LaBonge, Zine/Cardenas, Perry, Parks, Smith.  Using this dimension to orient the d=2 map gives more or less the dimensions in the original post.  The main change is that, if the classification into four groups was repeated, Garcetti is now in with Rosendahl, Koretz, and Krekorian; while Reyes is in with Zine and Smith.  Which makes more sense--and perhaps explains Meteor Blades' dissatisfaction.


Where would you be as an L.A. Councilmember?

53%17 votes
34%11 votes
6%2 votes
6%2 votes

| 32 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

    by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 03:57:21 PM PDT

    •  I should add (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That it's not too surprising that the Republicans ended up in Conservative/Conservative: The program doesn't tell you which end is up, and I oriented the lists so that Smith was on the "conservative" end.   But that was no guarantee that he and Zine would end up (almost) alone in the category.

      25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 06:30:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm actually not sure about the Reyes/Garcetti (0+ / 0-)

      switch (seems silly to update again)--I was kind of eyeballing it.  They're not that far apart, so it's easy to get mixed up.

      25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

      by Xenocrypt on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 08:08:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For those unfamiliar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    with the districts, here is a map showing population changes, but also identifying each member's district:

    with this redistricting writeup:

    Notes for those who can't click the link:

    -Alarcon represents a far-north-into-the-valley district, so do Zine and so did Smith (now Englander's district).
    -Hahn, as we know, represents some coast and the Port.
    -The redistricting writeup describes Garcetti as representing "Hollywood, Silver Lake, Echo Park and Atwater Village".
    -Parks and Perry represent South L.A., with Parks' district right by Inglewood.
    -Rosendahl represents some more coast, his district wraps around Santa Monica.
    -Koretz and LaBonge get the rest of the Hollwood area, with Koretz's district wrapping around Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, and LaBonge's touching Burbank.
    -Reyes and Huizar represent East and presumably Hispanic L.A. (I remember my B.F. guessing he could pair L.A. Congresspeople to districts purely by race.)
    -Wesson's district is in between Parks', Koretz's, LaBonge's, and Reyes'.
    -Cardenas and Krekorian have some more of the Valley, with Krekorian's district getting some more Burbank area.

    (I have often found that using what non-L.A. cities parts of L.A. are near to be a good mnemonic for the city's crazy jigsaw-puzzle neighborhoods, but I could be wrong.)

    Electoral questions that might be suggested by understanding these dimensions: Is anyone out of step with their district?  Is anyone out of step with what their district might be post-redistricting?  Is anyone out of step with a Congressional seat they might be interested in? I know LaBonge wants to run for Congress.

    25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

    by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 04:29:32 PM PDT

    •   A bit more detail (0+ / 0-)

      though you are doing surprisingly well for a non-Angeleno.

        Smith (and now Englander) are from the 12th District, which is the Northwest San Fernando Valley. It is the most conservative district in the city.  Zine, who used to be a cop, is from the SW SFV (CD3), which is not as right-leaning as the 12th, but not too far behind. The West Valley is the whiter and wealthier part of the SFV. The East SFV is more mixed and lower income, especially in the Northeast 7th District of Richard Alarcon. The 6th (Cardenas) is somewhat like the 7th but not as poor. The 2nd (Krekorian) is more of the Southeast Valley and middle to upper income mostly, with entertainment industry types in Studio City and Sherman Oaks and lots of Jews and Armenians.

           The "Fightin' Fifth" (Koretz) where I live is a cross-mountains district that has parts of Van Nuys and Sherman Oaks in the SFV and stretches down to Beverlywood and Fairfax. We usually have among the highest voter turnout in the city. It is one of the richest districts in the city but votes fairly progressively perhaps partially because it is probably the most Jewish district in L.A.  The Fourth (LaBonge) is even more of a mishmosh than CD5 with parts of North Hollywood all the way to mid-Wilshire.  I am not as good on the ones farther south and this is getting too long so I'll stop with it now.

            What's this about LaBonge wanting to run for Congress? I hadn't heard anything to that effect and he doesn't seem the type for that. Tom LaBonge seems like the last of the old-time L.A. politicians and has always been all about the city issues and not national things.

      Diehard Swingnut, disgruntled Democrat, CA-28 (Berman Oaks) before redistricting, CA-?? afterwards,

      by Zack from the SFV on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 07:19:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Zack from the SFV, MichaelNY

        For both the compliment and the info.  I am not an Angeleno (I've only been there once or twice) but I've read about it a fair bit, both out of general interest in cities and because it has a special place in my heart, since my guy was born and raised there and is there now with his his mother (actually now in Inglewood, a few blocks south of the border--but he was born and raised in the city proper!  I don't elide these things.)  I don't know what district or districts he lived in, but he'll be amused or disgusted if Parks and Perry turn out to simply be right-wing.  Even native Angelenos can get confused by the area's crazy geography--my guy doesn't seem to have much sense of the overall city layout (and who can blame him?  It's not like there's a subway map at every corner) and when I flew in to LAX and we went to In-N-Out with his mother and a friend, they started disagreeing with each other about whether we were driving around a neighborhood in the city of L.A., a seperate municipality, or unincorporated L.A. county, and/or where that changed.  (Meanwhile another friend, a lifelong Northeasterner until recently, was surprised to learn there are places which are not in any town.)

        My own limited knowledge stops around the mountains, though, so I am glad your knowledge is complimentary.  That makes sense about the West/East SFV--I had never tried to reconcile the "Valley girl" valley stereotype with what I guess is the "Hilda Solis" valley stereotype I also have from reading about politicians like her.  If you look at the population change map, you can see that Los Angeles seems to have followed the apparently-sad pattern of many cities, with the whitest and/or most conservative areas gaining the most population.

        Perhaps I was wrong about LaBonge--I can't link easily on my phone, but I'll try to find a link when I'm at a prooper computer.  It was some Valley councilman, I think.

        25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

        by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 07:28:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tony Cardenas is running for Congress (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Xenocrypt, MichaelNY

               He is from the mid-Valley 6th district and is running in the ESFV riding (maybe CA-28 after it gets a number). This is the seat that Howard Berman now has but it is being pushed farther into the northeast SFV. Berman is going to try to run in the WSFV district (which also includes the SE SFV) against Brad Sherman. If Berman doesn't blink that will be a hotly contested primary.

                 From Howard's perspective the new ESFV district is less welcoming; it is much more Latino and less Jewish. I can't imagine that Cardenas will have it uncontested; the other day I heard that maybe Richard Alarcon is interested in it.

                Hilda Solis is from the other Valley, the San Gabriel Valley to the east, which is in the county but not city of L.A. Her Latino majority district (CA-32) is now represented by Judy Chu, so people don't just vote their ethnicity. The most famous Latino from the SFV is still probably Richie Valenzuela (aka Valens) the 50's rock and roll star (La Bamba, Come on Let's Go, Donna) who died in the plane crash with Buddy Holly. The top Latino politicians from the Valley are Alarcon, Cardenas and Padilla. My favorite was former Assm. Cindy Montanez, but she lost a primary for State Senate to Padilla back in 2006.


          Diehard Swingnut, disgruntled Democrat, CA-28 (Berman Oaks) before redistricting, CA-?? afterwards,

          by Zack from the SFV on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 10:06:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, whoops (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            See, I told you I'm not a local :).  This valley, that valley...and does everything in your state has to be named after a saint?  

            What did you like about Montanez?  I've read a bit about some of those primaries in L.A. Weekly archives, but obviously I get mixed up.

            25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

            by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 12:14:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I liked Cindy Montanez in that race (0+ / 0-)

                 because she is smart, friendly and accessible, and she was supportive of many progressive and environmental issues. Also, I like to see more women in elective office and I have to admit as a straight man that she is very attractive, which is not important but doesn't hurt.

                   The political differences between most of the politicians in this area aren't usually that great, but some are more towards the side of the "Business Dems"  and some are  more a part of the Progressive Dems.

                   Blame the California places nomenclature on Father Junipero Serra and the other Spanish missionaries who named a lot of places as they travelled north from Mexico. There are many other places in the state that have more generic American English names like Glendale, Riverside, Bakersfield, Springfield, Oakland and so forth. The Spanish names are clustered mostly near the coast along the route of the Padres.


              Diehard Swingnut, disgruntled Democrat, CA-28 (Berman Oaks) before redistricting, CA-?? afterwards,

              by Zack from the SFV on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 01:30:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  It's a little bizarre that Garcetti (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, nklein, MichaelNY

    ended up as "conservative/conservative", but otherwise it's looks about right, and I spend a lot of time in City Hall.

    •  Good to know (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I was surprised too.  Hopefully in the next diary, when I actually look at specific votes, I can try to figure out what's up with that.

      Do you have any thoughts about what the difference is between the two dimensions?  

      25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 04:50:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You don't spell out in the diary (4+ / 0-)

        whether the first dimension is economic or social, but assuming it's economic . . . you have two South LA Councilpeople (Parks and Perry) who were economic "conservatives" and social "liberals". That might be explained because South LA is in desperate need of business, whereas other parts of the City are mostly fighting development pressures.

        I have no explanation for Rosendahl and Kerkorian being social conservatives though.

        I wonder what the nature of these votes are anyways, if they even fall along the left/right continuum. The most salient thing to know about LA City Council is that it operates in terms of fiefdoms. They are each almost completely deferential to anything that is perceived to be within the geographic purview of another councilman. That ethic transcends ideology, race, or anything else.

        For citywide issues, the most salient thing to know is that they are dysfunctional. They consistently fail to enact any sort of citywide policy, left, right or center. I don't even know that there is any particular desire that they do so.

        So, for those reasons, I suspect that trying to find ideological indicators in their voting records could be something of a fool's errand. Ideology is just not that important of a factor in their activities.

        •  I don't know what the dimensions are yet, actually (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          But I'm going to look into it.  Everything you say reminds me of the L.A. Weekly article that I linked to, so I was actually curious if I was going to get any patterns at all.  Certainly, there does seem to be a lot of deference, as you say--there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of unanimous votes that I didn't include, as I said.  The dimensions don't have to be social vs. economic, though.  Are there any issues that do divide Rosendahl and Krekorian from Alarcon and Hahn or Huizar?

          25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

          by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 05:34:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not that I know of really (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY, Zack from the SFV

            There might be the occasional big-picture development issue where somebody like Huizar or Hahn would line up with the pro-growth Business-Labor-Government coalition, whereas Rosendahl and Krekorian might be more included to support neighborhood groups and environmental concerns. But mostly they all just try not to step on each other's toes, and nothing really happens policywise.

        •  There's no way in which either Bill Rosendahl (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Xenocrypt, MichaelNY

             or Paul Krekorian are "social conservatives" in any meaningful sense of the word.

                 Rosendahl is the only openly GLBT person on the current council. (Interesting trivia: he used to host a cable TV public affairs show on which L.A.'s first out gay councilmember, Joel Wachs, came out publicly.) He represents parts of the Westside and is considered to be on the liberal to progressive side.

                 Krekorian is a straight man of Christian background (Armenian-American) but he is no religious rightist or anything. Prior to serving on the Council he was a Democratic Assemblymember in Sacramento, and before that a local school boardmember. His background as an entertainment industry attorney and local Democratic activist doesn't exactly seem like that of a social conservative. For example, he is fully supportive of reproductive rights.

                   It is hard to put many city issues on an ideological scale, though some votes are more obviously ideological than others. With the budget crises often the councilmembers aren't making choices that they are happy about in funding programs. As others have noted, development issues are different between the more affluent overdeveloped areas and the poorer areas starved for jobs and services.

          Diehard Swingnut, disgruntled Democrat, CA-28 (Berman Oaks) before redistricting, CA-?? afterwards,

          by Zack from the SFV on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 06:48:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Arrow. Zing. Bullseye. n/t (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pilkington, MichaelNY

          Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:12:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Nope (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The two dimensions in roll call analysis are basically never social and economic, because those two things are very heavily correlated.

          Generally, the first dimension covers ideology and the second dimension is usually either noise or some sort of regional issue like civil rights or Quebec seperatism.

          •  Well that might've been useful for diarist (0+ / 0-)

            to spell out!

            •  I'm sorry! (0+ / 0-)

              I was just trying to use a familiar pair of dimensions.  Plus I didn't know that those are never the dimensions--just that in U.S. history, for Congress, the dimensions have been as davidshor described.  Although if you look at Poole's blog, he has a mapping of the American public (using the election survey) as if they were legislators--I think the dimensions were left/right and...approval of John McCain/Iraq war.

              What is interesting is that people who advocate for alternatives to two-party systems usually say they want to be able to decouple social and economic issues, and one or two such people said to me recently that, even if such issues were correlated in the general public, this is an effect of the two party system.  If what davidshor says is correct, then they might be correlated even in multiparty countries.

              25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

              by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 07:56:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Very neat! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, nklein

    I've done a lot of roll-call stuff, I'd really recommend you use the Ideal function from the PSCL package. There are all sorts of nerdy technical reasons to think it's better, and it just works a lot better when you have a low number of legislators. I could get more into it if you want.

    Besides that, it has really awesome graphing capabilities that you could post up.

    •  Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Are you any relation to Boris Shor, btw?

      I will check Ideal out for the next diary.  I wouldn't mind some awesome graphic capabilities.  But I will be sad if it yields completely-different orderings.  (Of course, most of the difficulty here was that I've never used R before.)

      25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 04:54:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Is it nerdy that I get asked that a lot? He's Moldovan and I'm Moroccan.

        Anyway, the rankings should be stable, but you should get a clearer view of things.

        The OC package also is pretty easy to use and creates some neat graphs.

        •  I just wish (0+ / 0-)

          He would put those rankings of state legislators that he has in a database, or a paper, or something--instead of just the averages with occasional tidbits ("Sharron Angle is the most conservative, not just legislator, but human being, ever to even be in Nevada"--or something like that.)

          25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

          by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 05:18:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Ok, I couldn't wait (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
                      D1    D2
      Alarcon   -0.39 -0.81
      Cardenas    0.05 -0.52
      Garcetti    -0.13 -0.02
      Hahn   -0.40 -0.35
      Huizar  -0.31 -0.32
      Koretz  -0.48  0.09
      Krekorian -0.21  0.20
      LaBonge  -0.09 -0.20
      Parks    0.65 -0.35
      Perry  0.58 -0.29
      Reyes -0.11 -0.09
      Rosendahl  -0.25  0.26
      Smith   0.67  0.17
      Wesson  -0.15 -0.23
      Zine  -0.03 -0.06

      I think this is right:
      D1 ranking:
      1. Koretz
      2. Hahn
      3. Alarcon
      4. Huizar
      5. Rosendahl
      6. Krekorian
      7. Reyes
      8. Wesson
      9. Garcetti
      10. LaBonge
      11. Zine
      12. Cardenas
      13. Perry
      14. Parks
      15. Smith

      D2 ranking:
      1. Alarcon
      2. Cardenas
      3. Hahn
      4. Parks
      5. Huizar
      6. Perry
      7. Wesson
      8. LaBonge
      9. Reyes
      10. Zine
      11. Garcetti
      12. Koretz
      13. Smith
      14. Krekorian
      15. Rosendahl

      A few flips, but very similar--and the four categories are all preserved.  Phew!  Pretty pictures to come, hopefully.

      25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 05:15:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Awesome (0+ / 0-)

        Something you could do to figure out which votes determine what, is to look at the correlation between each vote and ideology in dimension 1 and in dimension two. Then you just look at which votes have high correlations to get a good idea.

        It also has the added bonus of being easy to do in excel. You just drop your ideology and do a correl([roll call],$[ideology])

        I hope you keep on this, I'd be really interested in ideological space in a city council.

        •  I keep trying ideal (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and getting very different results from that and from each other.  In particular, Smith is always ending up close to Parks and Perry today, in both dimensions, as opposed to yesterday, when in both Ideal and DW-Nominate they were close in one dimension and far apart in the other.  What's up with that?  I might have to revise this categorization pretty heavily.  Or does it just mean the data is noisy?

          Ideal Points, Dimension 1 (sorted by posterior means):
                      Mean Std.Dev.  lower  upper
          Alarcon   -0.617    0.172 -0.958 -0.258
          Hahn      -0.425    0.103 -0.630 -0.240
          Koretz    -0.332    0.128 -0.597 -0.097
          Huizar    -0.328    0.102 -0.573 -0.154
          Wesson    -0.155    0.082 -0.335  0.012
          Cardenas  -0.084    0.127 -0.283  0.226
          Labonge   -0.082    0.080 -0.224  0.066
          Reyes     -0.045    0.080 -0.192  0.126
          Garcetti  -0.031    0.070 -0.199  0.065
          Rosendahl -0.014    0.113 -0.259  0.173
          Krekorian -0.003    0.105 -0.203  0.162
          Zine       0.046    0.088 -0.167  0.182
          Perry      0.540    0.120  0.286  0.754
          Parks      0.585    0.165  0.199  0.896
          Smith      0.853    0.122  0.659  1.109

          Ideal Points, Dimension 2 (sorted by posterior means):
                      Mean Std.Dev.  lower  upper
          Parks     -0.608    0.182 -0.846 -0.127
          Perry     -0.511    0.177 -0.788 -0.119
          Alarcon   -0.503    0.157 -0.776 -0.266
          Cardenas  -0.465    0.097 -0.697 -0.282
          Huizar    -0.150    0.073 -0.310  0.011
          Smith     -0.144    0.229 -0.548  0.336
          Hahn      -0.140    0.086 -0.288  0.056
          Wesson    -0.125    0.066 -0.248  0.027
          Labonge   -0.108    0.064 -0.236  0.002
          Reyes     -0.020    0.072 -0.155  0.102
          Zine      -0.018    0.094 -0.215  0.156
          Garcetti   0.060    0.068 -0.085  0.154
          Krekorian  0.288    0.078  0.106  0.422
          Koretz     0.329    0.076  0.163  0.448
          Rosendahl  0.380    0.080  0.229  0.544

          Ideal Points, Dimension 1 (sorted by posterior means):
                      Mean Std.Dev.  lower  upper
          Koretz    -0.333    0.071 -0.460 -0.187
          Rosendahl -0.295    0.109 -0.519 -0.102
          Krekorian -0.217    0.102 -0.454 -0.042
          Garcetti   0.003    0.086 -0.191  0.185
          Hahn       0.041    0.104 -0.131  0.219
          Reyes      0.056    0.076 -0.092  0.182
          Huizar     0.074    0.099 -0.098  0.280
          Zine       0.089    0.091 -0.093  0.259
          Wesson     0.117    0.089 -0.093  0.260
          Labonge    0.134    0.092 -0.019  0.366
          Alarcon    0.314    0.178 -0.024  0.704
          Cardenas   0.458    0.135  0.259  0.734
          Smith      0.505    0.286 -0.036  1.046
          Perry      0.773    0.228  0.317  1.130
          Parks      0.891    0.280  0.441  1.472

          Ideal Points, Dimension 2 (sorted by posterior means):
                      Mean Std.Dev.  lower  upper
          Alarcon   -0.659    0.182 -0.997 -0.318
          Hahn      -0.395    0.098 -0.577 -0.193
          Huizar    -0.292    0.093 -0.479 -0.107
          Cardenas  -0.214    0.140 -0.463  0.107
          Wesson    -0.138    0.074 -0.265  0.025
          Koretz    -0.128    0.121 -0.371  0.115
          Labonge   -0.067    0.081 -0.207  0.062
          Reyes     -0.025    0.069 -0.153  0.113
          Garcetti   0.031    0.071 -0.079  0.193
          Zine       0.063    0.086 -0.085  0.250
          Rosendahl  0.146    0.121 -0.101  0.359
          Krekorian  0.159    0.096 -0.025  0.354
          Parks      0.350    0.187  0.009  0.672
          Perry      0.351    0.167  0.113  0.661
          Smith      0.784    0.201  0.439  1.105

          25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

          by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 12:02:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is one reason (0+ / 0-)

            I do combinatorics instead of probability.

            25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

            by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 12:35:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  How many runs did you do? (0+ / 0-)

            Ideal uses MCMC. It's pretty interesting. Basically, instead of explicitly computing the joint distribution, it specifies a "Bayesian Network", where the RV's are nodes and the links are conditional probability distributions, and then proceeds to construct a Markov chain whose probability distribution eventually converges to the target distribution.

            But you need to do a lot of iterations. It seems to me that the issue is that you didn't let the model run long enough. I'd try to do about 100k of them.

            The other issue (You won't have this in 1D), is that the two-dimensional model isn't identified (IE, you could rotate or dilate the map without changing the likelihood), and so you might need to post-process  the output (It's easy to do! pscl's documentation is fairly simple).

            I'd be happy to help more if you need, I had some trouble figuring it all out at some point too.

  •  Hahn is going to be a good liberal Democrat (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, drobertson, MichaelNY

    The reason though she was labeled as more centrist or moderate is because of her connection to the business community, especially with regards to the LAX renovation.  In addition, there are some questions about her plan to improve the environment around the port, then opposed at the Council during the vote and then promoted again during her congressional campaign.

    Like I said, we have a solid liberal Democratic voice in Janice Hahn, but some felt Bowen was better.  But we do not need to go further than what Huey was trying to attack her on to show that she is a good progressive.  The gang intervention program has been successful and represents a much better path than the tough on crime b.s. we see from the Republicans.

    "Now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."

    by nklein on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 05:21:25 PM PDT

    •  Do you have any thoughts on the other (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nklein, MichaelNY

      Councilmembers?  In particular, I am wondering what is up with Garcetti--is his reputation really that out of step with his voting record and positions?  Or does he just see the role of Council President as a conservative one (in the classical, "show caution" sense)?

      I hope you're right about the program (I don't doubt your local knowledge--I just hope nonviolent gang intervention is successful in general!).  And I agree with you that it's certainly not the kind of thing you see Heath Shuler get attacked over (as I've said before--well, maybe you do, in Glenn Beck's most bizarre fantasies).

      25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 05:28:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't get the Garcetti score. . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I always really liked Garcetti and I do not see him as conservative at all.  I guess it is just the natue of being the Council President.

        "Now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."

        by nklein on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 06:51:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If I have time (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nklein, MichaelNY

          I might repeat the analysis with an earlier Council, to see if Garcetti's predecessor (Alex Padilla?) comes out similarly.  Once again, these dimensions might or might not be ideological/conservative in any sense we recognize from state or national politics.

          25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

          by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 06:55:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Garcetti is in the 13th District (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

               which is Hollywood based. Padilla was from one of the Northeast Valley districts, I think the 7th.  IIRC the previous CD13 member was Jackie Goldberg, who was a former LAUSD school boardmember. Jackie is a strong progressive by most measures.

            Diehard Swingnut, disgruntled Democrat, CA-28 (Berman Oaks) before redistricting, CA-?? afterwards,

            by Zack from the SFV on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 07:57:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Very interesting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, MichaelNY

    Overall, if I had to guess, it seems like the two dividing lines here are liberal/moderate and wine-track/beer-track. The liberal/liberal group is beer-track liberals, the liberal/conservative group is wine-track liberals, the conservative/liberal group is beer-track moderates, and the conservative/conservative group is wine-track moderates. That's not a great fit, though, especially for Garcetti, Reyes, and LaBonge.

    Male, VA-08, Born CA-36, SwingStateProject expat

    by drobertson on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 07:28:39 PM PDT

    •  That's about what I'm thinking (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If you look at the coordinates, and not just the ranking, Reyes, Garcetti, and LaBonge are pretty close (and I know I encouraged looking at the rankings!).  Just how closely does that second dimension correlate to median district income?  Anyone have those numbers?  I should read davidshor's post on estimating them.

      25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 07:35:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A better breakdown might have been (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Liberal/Liberal: Alarcon, Hahn, Huizar
        Conservative/Liberal: Cardenas, Parks, Perry
        Liberal/Conservative: Koretz, Krekorian, Rosendahl
        Conservative/Conservative: Smith
        Middle: Garcetti, LaBonge, Reyes, Wesson, Zine.

        25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

        by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 09:26:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sadly, Reyes... (3+ / 0-) the councilman from my district. If I were there, I'd probably be in my own category, proposing never-going-to-get-approved stuff and causing eye-rolls from my colleagues at least twice per meeting.

    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:11:06 PM PDT

    •  From what people say about the council sometimes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      (At least the L.A. weekly article and Pilkington) I am not sure that "provoking eye-rolls from colleagues" would be quite enough to put you in your own category.  And why "sadly"?  Is he crooked or just ineffective?  His scores are kind of middling.

      25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

      by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 07:08:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know about crooked... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Xenocrypt, MichaelNY

        ...but "middling" is something we could do with less of. He replaced a guy who was doing blow in his car during work hours.

        Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 01:15:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Haha (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          What happened to that guy?  Did he move and join the Bridgeport, Providence, or Philadelphia city councils?  

          25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

          by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 01:17:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jncca, MichaelNY
            An effort to recall him fizzled, "mirror[ing] the more general state of politics in his 1st District, where a majority of residents are routinely excluded from having a say on matters of common concern because they are noncitizens who cannot vote and are on the lower rung of an electoral caste system that leaves a minority in charge",[2] and he served out his term until 2001.


            Ah, city politics.  Then again, I don't actually think people should lose their jobs for doing cocaine.

            25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

            by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 01:23:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Incomplete (3+ / 0-)

    This little exercise is a bit incomplete when you consider that a lot of these folks have had careers outside of the City Council...Wesson, Koretz, Krekorian, and Cardenas were all in the state legislature, for example, and all have records that you can parse.

    Additionally, you're going to run into a bit of a wall when you try to map municipal issues onto the left-right spectrum.  The issues cities faced--especially one like Los Angeles--are just too idiosyncratic to draw too many larger extrapolations from.

    •  Doubt it (0+ / 0-)

      Everything is ideological.

    •  That's an interesting point (0+ / 0-)

      about Councilmembers who have had state legislative careers.  I believe that other research has shown that these scores (at least the first-dimensional scores) stay pretty much the same when a politician moves from U.S. House to U.S. Senate or from a state legislature to Congress.  But City Councils, as you say, might be different.  The ideal points of the California Legislature have been plotted but I do not know if it is public--I do recall one paper by Shor or Masket comparing district to legislator ideology, so that has it or some of it.

      And I am not necessarily looking to draw larger extrapolations--I would be more interested the more idiosyncratic the explanation is.  It would be more interesting if the Council votes had their own independent ideology (maybe the growth vs preservation angle that M.Y. suggested, or something more L.A. specific) than if it was just the left-right spectrum.

      25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

      by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 07:36:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  interesting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zack from the SFV, MichaelNY

    I'm not sure I understand what the two dimensions were and how they measured differently from each other. Personally, I think of Koretz, Krekorian, Huizar, and Rosendahl as the four most liberal members of City Council though perhaps I am overlooking certain issues where Alarcon and Hahn were leaders.
    Frankly, my complaint about Hahn has more to do with the fact that she's simply dumb. She once said that she did an informal poll at a restaurant the other night and that's why she decided she was against vote-by-mail. Uh??
    Anyway, thank you for this analysis. I certainly hope to read more about LACC and I appreciate your dedication to this local interest story.

  •  this would be more meaningful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    as a qualitative rather than a quantitative analysis. lay out the major issues of the LA city council, which interests and ideological groups lined up on which sides, where each of the council members derived their core funding and political support, etc.

    just tossing numbers around without anything to tie them to is close to meaningless. the whole project presupposes some mathematically binary liberal-conservative aspect to council votes, which i suspect is far from the political reality of such things.

    not that there isn't a place for quantitative analysis, but it has to be rooted in squishy real world issues and coalitions to have much meaning.

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