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For local ballots

TUESDAY’S ELECTION is a modest local affair, a kind of breather between last fall’s statewide campaign and the national presidential campaign that will descend upon California this fall. Still, modesty does not imply insignificance, and for anyone who lives in Los Angeles or has children who attend the district’s schools, this election is as important as any other.

City of Los Angeles

All city voters will see two proposed charter amendments on the ballot, and voters in eight of the city’s 15 council districts also will choose candidates. Council members in Districts 2, 4, 8, 10 and 12 are running unopposed except for some write-in campaigns; the Times offers no endorsements in those races. Races in which no candidate gets more than 50% of the votes cast will result in a May 15 runoff between the top two finishers. The Times recommends:

Council District 6: Tony Cardenas. The former state senator, seeking his second term on the council, is the best of four candidates to serve this long-neglected San Fernando Valley district.

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District 7: Monica Rodriguez. She has experience working to fight gang crime and blight, and she exhibits a passion for improving the quality of life in her Valley district.

District 14: Jose Huizar. He has had a shaky start but has the potential to be an excellent councilman.

Charter Amendment L: No. Adding term limits to school board members moves in the wrong direction; a salary review commission comes at a time when the board’s role is up in the air, and the improvements offered by this measure -- campaign finance rules -- are half-baked.

Charter Amendment M: Yes. Firefighters and police officers should have the same opportunity to buy back service time as other city employees do, and this program is financially responsible.

Los Angeles Unified School District

Voters will choose school board members in odd-numbered districts, some of which extend beyond city boundaries. The Times recommends:

District 1: Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte. An advocate for African American students, the incumbent is a better choice than her challenger, who is burdened by a conflict of interest.

District 3: Louis Pugliese. The teacher and teaching instructor is focused on clearing up bureaucratic foundering.

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District 5: Yolie Flores Aguilar. The chief executive of the county Children’s Planning Council is the best choice to move the board toward policy-oriented discussions.

District 7: Richard Vladovic. He demonstrates an eagerness and ability to use innovative techniques to improve the schools.

Los Angeles Community College District

The district includes and extends beyond the city, and voters will cast ballots for four at-large seats. The Times recommends the incumbents:

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Seat No. 1: Sylvia Scott-Hayes

Seat No. 3: Mona Field

Seat No. 5: Georgia L. Mercer

Seat No. 7: Warren T. Furutani

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