The presidential campaign season filled The Times' mailbag many times over, but not always with the kind of commentary suitable for a letters page. Criticism was plentiful, pointed and often unfair. Praise was rarely offered, and when it was expressed, it typically resembled campaign talking points or punditry memes.
So far, the local campaigns for the three citywide offices and eight odd-numbered City Council districts have been different. The commentary sent to firstname.lastname@example.org has been less abundant but more issue-specific and insightful, perhaps because Los Angeles elections are nonpartisan. It's not uncommon for writers to cite their personal experiences with the candidates.
Bart Braverman of Los Angeles, a self-described news junkie, is dismayed by the lack of information readily available about the race:
"All I learned from The Times' lengthy, detailed endorsement of Eric Garcetti for mayor is that I haven't a clue who to vote for. Though I consider myself a newshound (I watch the news every day, national and local), I have no knowledge of the inner workings of City Hall.
"Following the political activities of mayoral contenders over a long period of time, and then coming to a careful decision about who is best qualified, is a full-time job. The average citizen, even a newshound, has to choose based on nothing but the last few weeks of political ads and the endorsement of a local newspaper. This doesn't say much for the democratic process."
Selby Jessup of Studio City agrees with the endorsement and adds some of his own reasoning:
"Eric Garcetti for mayor -- because he actually wants to do the job. It is a nice change.
"In Antonio Villaraigosa, we've had a mayor whose career has been devoted to keeping an eye on the next job. Some of Garcetti's opponents bear that same trait. Garcetti's opponents also seem more interested in talking in vague generalities rather than how they would tackle the city's problems. With Garcetti we will get an experienced, 'roll up your sleeve' approach."
Regular mailbag contributor George Epstein of Los Angeles declares his support for a long-shot outsider:
"I am a longtime Democrat who has decided to vote for Kevin James.
"Yes, Garcetti is bright and personable, but I totally disagree that he has served our citizens by promoting more and more development in Hollywood. I speak for many others who once enjoyed visiting Hollywood but now avoid it like the plague. Who wants to deal with the awful Hollywood traffic and inadequate parking that Garcetti and the developers have given us?
"I did consider City Controll Wendy Greuel for mayor -- until I dealt with her staff. Her office's conduct with me left me with the impression that she lacks leadership and management capabilities essential to be our city's leader."