Times endorsements for the March 8 city elections
City elections tend not to attract a large voter turnout, but just because Tuesday’s municipal contests don’t involve big bucks or big names doesn’t mean they’re not significant. At stake are several seats on the Los Angeles City Council and some key taxation measures, including a test of Angelenos’ tolerance for medical marijuana.
FOR THE RECORD:
Ballot measures: The summaries of The Times’ endorsements in the March 8 elections listed Measures G through Q as ballot initiatives. They were ballot measures.
The Times has endorsed in some but not all of the March 8 races. This is a summary of the editorial board’s recommendations, which have run on this page over the last month. The full endorsements are available at latimes.com/cityelection.
District 2: Paul Krekorian. First elected in 2009 to fill the council seat vacated by Wendy Greuel after she was elected city controller, Krekorian has proved to be a thoughtful decision-maker who deserves more time in office. (Read the full endorsement)
District 4: Tomas O’Grady. Incumbent Tom LaBonge is well liked and attentive to constituents, but he has a thin record of accomplishment on deeper issues of city government. We think O’Grady’s devotion to environmental issues and work as a school activist make him a better choice for the job. (Read the full endorsement)
District 6: Rich Goodman. The youthful Goodman doesn’t have much practical experience, but he’s highly knowledgeable about municipal issues, and we suspect he would be a more dynamic councilman than incumbent Tony Cardenas. (Read the full endorsement)
District 8: Bernard C. Parks. One of the only members of the current City Council willing to stand up to L.A.'s powerful public employee unions, Parks has boundless experience and an unusual willingness to challenge the status quo. (Read the full endorsement)
District 10: Herb J. Wesson Jr. A well-liked consensus-builder on the council, Wesson is a strong incumbent whose opponents have little to recommend them. (Read the full endorsement)
District 12: Mitch Englander. As chief of staff to outgoing Councilman Greig Smith, Englander is intimately familiar with both the dynamics of City Hall and the workings of his district’s umpteen neighborhood organizations. He’s the best prepared among a strong slate of candidates. (Read the full endorsement)
District 14: Rudy Martinez. He’s in a tight race with incumbent Jose Huizar, but we think Martinez could be something increasingly rare on the City Council: a representative who focuses doggedly on the community that elected him. (Read the full endorsement)
Measure G: Yes. Intended to undo an excessively generous pension deal for public safety workers approved in 2001, this measure would offer lower retirement benefits to newly hired police officers and firefighters. It won’t end the city’s problems with unfunded pension liabilities, but it might help convince other public-employee unions to come to the table. (Read the full endorsement)
Measure H: Yes. By banning bidders for city contracts larger than $100,000 from contributing to candidates for city office, this measure takes a step in the right direction, even if it doesn’t go nearly as far as we’d like in removing conflicts of interest from political campaigns. (Read the full endorsement)
Measure I: Yes. This measure creates an office of ratepayer advocate to oversee accounts at the Department of Water and Power. Although we’re skeptical that the office could be more successful than past consultants and auditors in prying open the utility’s impenetrable finances, it could bring a measure of transparency to the department and boost public trust. (Read the full endorsement)
Measure J: Yes. By coordinating the DWP’s budgeting process with the city’s, this measure would prevent a repeat of last year’s apparent extortion attempt in which the utility threatened to withhold a surplus payment to L.A.'s general fund unless the City Council approved a big rate increase. (Read the full endorsement)
Measure L: No. This measure raises the amount of city revenue dedicated to library operations, but it doesn’t increase fees or taxes to pay for the increased library spending. Thus, it asks voters to make budgeting choices without knowing what other services would be cut to pay for libraries. We love libraries, but not ballot-box budgeting. (Read the full endorsement)
Measure M: No. It’s dangerous to get in bed with a quasi-legal industry, as this measure asks Angelenos to do by imposing a steep city business tax on operators of medical marijuana dispensaries. If these facilities are truly operating as nonprofits, as we think they’re legally required to do, then taxing them is unfair, and if they aren’t, they should be shut down rather than taxed. (Read the full endorsement)
Measure N: Yes. This is a housekeeping measure that would remove from the City Charter three provisions governing campaign contributions that have been declared unconstitutional. Leaving them intact exposes the city to lawsuits. (Read the full endorsement)
Measure O: No. Los Angeles would impose a tax on oil drillers under this measure, which isn’t an unreasonable step; but the city went a little too far by proposing an unnecessarily steep and possibly duplicative tax, which would have a minuscule effect on city revenue. (Read the full endorsement)
Measure P: Yes. This measure amends the City Charter to require contributions to the existing emergency reserve fund and would make it harder for the City Council to draw money from it in non-emergency situations. It’s a fiscally prudent move. (Read the full endorsement)
Measure Q: Yes. Another housekeeping measure, this one allows city personnel managers to limit the pool of applicants tested for civil service jobs, thus saving time and money. (Read the full endorsement)
L.A. Unified School District board
District 1: Eric P. Lee. He’s more reform-oriented than incumbent Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte.
District 3: Tamar Galatzan. The most independent-minded member of the board, she deserves another term.
District 5: Luis Sanchez. He’s knowledgeable about the issues and committed to improving school performance.
District 7: Richard Vladovic. Another incumbent, he’s a strong advocate for the mainly poor and minority students in his district.
Bell City Council
Ana Maria Quintana.
Nestor Enrique Valencia.
Teresa Jacobo recall: Yes. The only incumbent council member fighting for her recall, she richly deserves to be ousted.