Times Endorsements in Tuesday's Election

T he Times policy is to endorse selectively, on a case-by-case basis. Only those races in which this newspaper is endorsing in Tuesday's election are listed below. We are taking a position in only one statewide race, for superintendent of public instruction, because it is the only nonpartisan statewide contest. The Times normally does not endorse in partisan primaries in statewide races.

State Offices

State Superintendent of Public Instruction--DELAINE EASTIN. The Fremont assemblywoman offers the experience and legislative savvy needed for this important post.

Propositions

Proposition 175 (Renter's Income Tax Credit): NO. This measure would embed the renter's tax credit in the state Constitution and require a two-thirds vote to change it. Not prudent.

Proposition 176 (Tax Break/Nonprofit Organizations: NO. Would amend Constitution to exempt qualifying nonprofit organizations from locally imposed business license taxes or fees based on income or gross receipts. Amend the Constitution for this?

Proposition 177 (Tax Break/Disabled Person's Access): YES. Federal law requires owners of commercial properties that are open to the public to make improvements for disabled persons. But by complying with that law, owners can be penalized with higher taxes for their improved properties. Proposition 177 would amend the Constitution to exempt such future structural modifications.

Proposition 178 (Tax Break/Water Conservation): YES. Similar to Proposition 177, this measure would exempt new water conservation equipment installed on agricultural land from property tax reassessment until that land is sold.

Proposition 179 (Murder Punishment): YES. This measure increases the minimum sentence for second-degree murder resulting from a drive-by shooting from 15 to 20 years. (The proposition amends an earlier constitutional amendment; of course all of this should have been done by the Legislature and not by constitutional revision).

Proposition 180 (Park Bonds): YES. The 1994 Parks and Wildlife Initiative authorizes up to $1.98 billion in general obligation bonds for state parks.

Proposition 1A (Earthquake Bonds): YES. Provides $2 billion to meet earthquake-related needs, including repairing or rebuilding schools and other public buildings, utilities and streets and roads damaged in the Jan. 17 quake.

Proposition 1B (K-12 Bonds): YES. Makes available $1 billion for construction, reconstruction and modernization projects at elementary and secondary schools throughout California.

Proposition 1C (Higher Education Bonds): YES. Authorizes the state to borrow $900 million for capital investment in higher education, including earthquake retrofitting.

Los Angeles County Offices

(Nonpartisan)

Supervisor District 1: GLORIA MOLINA. Molina is running unopposed for a reason: She represents her constituents well and has given county government a much-needed shake-up.

Supervisor District 3: ZEV YAROSLAVSKY. The experienced Los Angeles City Council member is the best choice to represent the Westside and parts of the San Fernando Valley, replacing retiring Supervisor Ed Edelman.

Sheriff: SHERMAN BLOCK. Block, seeking his fourth term, has in his own quiet way tried to nudge reform along in a department that has had more than its share of trouble. The sheriff's community ties are improving, but need to improve even more.

Assessor: JOHN CARL BROGDON. The assessor's office, which determines property tax bills, has long suffered from serious leadership and morale problems. It is too important to be embroiled in pettiness. Brogdon, a retired veteran of the office, could bring needed calm and direction.

L.A. County Superior Court

Superior Court Office No. 2: TERRY B. FRIEDMAN. The state assemblyman was a lawyer at the Western Center of Law and Poverty and executive director of legal services at Bet Tzedek, which aids the elderly and poor. He has the patience, fairness and compassion to be an excellent judge.

Superior Court Office No. 4: TERI SCHWARTZ. Schwartz is a prosecutor with the hard-core gang division of the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. She has won the respect of lawyers and judges for her skill, intelligence and demeanor.

Superior Court Office No. 23: H. RONALD HAUPTMAN. Superior Court Commissioner Hauptman is a capable jurist, with 10 years of hearing mostly criminal cases.

Superior Court Office No. 39: RONALD S. COEN. This incumbent has a reputation as a tough, no-nonsense judge whose rulings have held up well on appeal.

Superior Court Office No. 51: IRVING SHIMER. Judge Shimer, the author of widely used legal guidebooks, is known as knowledgeable, hard-working and fair.

Superior Court Office No. 93: MITCHELL BLOCK. Block, a municipal court commissioner for the last seven years, has heard criminal and civil matters. His experience gives him a slight edge.

Measures in L.A. County

Altadena--Proposition A (Special Assessment): YES. Authorizes an annual special assessment for five years to provide funds for the Altadena Library District.

Downey--Proposition C (Charter Amendment): YES. Amends the City Charter to make the date of municipal elections the same as state general elections in even-numbered years.

Hawthorne--Proposition B (School Bond): YES. Provides for the issuing of $15 million in Hawthorne School District bonds to fund safety and other improvements to school facilities.

Long Beach--Proposition M (Campaign Reform): YES. Would limit contributions, limit overall spending on a voluntary basis, provide limited public funding and impose strict rules of contribution disclosure.

Santa Monica Proposition D (Adopts Civic Center Specific Plan): YES.

Santa Monica Proposition E (Amends City's General Plan): YES.

These measures in tandem would act as a referendum on Santa Monica's Civic Center Specific Plan. The plan grew out of desires of the city, the county and the RAND Corp. to upgrade city-center facilities. RAND would pay $14.9 million for public improvements, and the city would spend $12.2 million to build a parking garage, with that money coming from tax revenue earmarked for transportation. A "yes" vote on Proposition D approves adoption of the plan; "yes" on Proposition E amends the city's general plan. For passage, both propositions must be approved.

South Pasadena Proposition L (Library Tax): YES. Institutes a five-year library special tax to maintain current services at South Pasadena's library.

Orange County Offices

(Nonpartisan)

Supervisor 2nd District: LINDA MOULTON PATTERSON. Moulton Patterson is the mayor of Huntington Beach and also is serving with distinction as a member of the California Coastal Commission.

Supervisor 4th District: WILLIAM STEINER. The appointed incumbent deserves a full term after serving out the remainder of Don Roth's term.

Supervisor 5th District: MARIAN BERGESON. Bergeson, a state senator, would offer a rare case of a freshman arriving with the mantle of leadership.

Assessor: BRAD JACOBS. Jacobs, the incumbent, has been slow in reassessing property during the recession but has some help now and is a far better bet than the in-house challengers.

Clerk-Recorder: GARY GRANVILLE. Granville, the county clerk, has cleaned up after incumbent Recorder Lee Branch before and can be counted on to do it again in this combined job.

Judge, West Muni Court: DANIEL C. DUTCHER. Dutcher, the incumbent, has some detractors, but his reputation for hard work and competence is established.

Judge, Central Orange County Muni Court: DENNIS PATRICK O'CONNELL. Many questions have been raised about incumbent Claude E. Whitney, who has been criticized for his handling of criminal defendants' rights and is under investigation by State Judicial Council.

Judge, South County Muni Court: PAMELA L. ILES. Incumbent Iles is competent.

Judge, Superior Court: BARBARA (TAM) NOMOTO. Voters can't lose in this race between two well-regarded judges; Nomoto has the edge.

Public Administrator: WILLIAM A. BAKER. The incumbent is a solid performer in a low-profile post.

Treasurer-Tax Collector: ROBERT L. CITRON. Citron, the incumbent, has been getting a bum rap from the challenger.

Superintendent of Schools: JOHN DEAN. A reform superintendent, the incumbent has become a leader for education in Orange County.

State Assembly

(Primary)

70th District: MARILYN BREWER (Republican). Expect reasonable, moderate representation from this aide to outgoing Supervisor Tom Riley.

Recalls

Westminster: NO. Reject the recall of four City Council members over reductions in Fire Department budget. We prefer regular election cycles.

Fullerton: NO. Reject a recall of three City Council members and the city clerk over enactment of a utility tax. As in case of Westminster, regular election cycles are preferable.

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