The May 21 Los Angeles city election features 13 contests: six runoffs for citywide and council district races, one primary contest for a council district race, one Los Angeles Unified School District runoff, one Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees runoff and four ballot measures. Voters can request and cast ballots by mail beginning April 22.
To make our recommendations, the editorial board goes beyond our face-to-face discussions and studies the candidates, the districts and the issues and weighs them against the needs of the city. Editorial writers offer some thoughts and questions about the contests in our blog, Opinion L.A., and we invite readers to share their thinking.
How do you decide which candidates to interview?
A: We invited all 77 candidates who qualified for the March 5 ballot to meet and interview with us. For the May 21 runoff, we have re-interviewed the two candidates for the 9th Council District seat, neither of whom we endorsed in the first round. The same is true of the two runoff candidates for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board race for District 6 and the two for the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees race for seat 6. We have interviewed each of the six candidates for the 6th Council District seat.
Have you always interviewed every candidate?
No, not always. City elections usually have dozens of candidates and it's a very time-consuming process to meet with each of them. In some recent elections we concentrated on only the open-seat contests or only those candidates whose support made them appear the most viable. We continue to endorse selectively. But over the last several years we have expanded our commitment and have selected every Los Angeles contest and every candidate who qualifies for the ballot. We believe that wherever voters must make a choice, we should do our best to examine the candidates and issues and to make recommendations. Because we weigh in on, for example, each City Council district when each voter must make a decision in only one district, we spend a great deal of time on endorsements.
What do candidates get in exchange for meeting with you?
A cup of coffee or a glass of water, and the undivided attention of at least two members of The Times' editorial board.
When will you publish your endorsements?
Later in April. The election is May 21. Early voting begins April 22.
Are your decisions based solely on your meeting with each candidate?
No. If we did that, we'd be endorsing based on a performance rather than a more complete assessment of the candidate and his or her fitness for office. We do a lot of reporting, looking into the abilities of the candidates, the needs of their districts and the city at large, and our own evaluation of what's best for Los Angeles. We often, but not always, meet separately with candidates, on the record, to learn more about them and to share what we learn with our readers. We attend and sometimes participate in candidate forums. And as always, we invite our readers to share their thoughts and comments.
What about ballot measures?
In the May 21 election, there are four ballot measures -- three dealing with medical marijuana and one dealing with campaign finance reform. We are meeting with the proponents of each measure. Because there are no formal campaign committees organized to oppose any of the measures, we are meeting with the authors of the ballot arguments against the measures.
The contests and candidates are as follows:
Wendy J. Greuel
City attorney (runoff)
Carmen "Nuch" Trutanich
Dennis P. Zine
Council member, District 1 (runoff)
Jose A. Gardea
Council member, District 6 (primary)
Walter Alexander Escobar
J. Roy Garcia
Council member, District 9 (runoff)
Curren D. Price
Council member, District 13 (runoff)
John J. Choi
LAUSD school board member, District 6 (runoff)
LACCD board member, Seat 6 (runoff)
Proposition C: Political campaign spending and rights of corporations
Proposition D: Medical marijuana regulation and taxation
Initiative Ordinance E: Medical marijuana regulation
Initiative Ordinance F: Medical marijuana regulation and taxationCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times