Times Endorsements

Mayor: Antonio Villaraigosa. In this nonpartisan election, the two Democratic candidates — Villaraigosa, a city councilman and former leader of the state Assembly, and incumbent Mayor James K. Hahn — share virtually identical policy positions. Where they differ significantly is in style, and here Villaraigosa's dynamism and proven political skills give him the edge.

Aside from hiring a reform-minded police chief, Hahn's record at meeting the modest goals he set when he was elected four years ago is mixed. One example among many: He focused on installing 25 left-turn signals a year but spurned the chance to wield real influence on the region's transportation authority.

It was Villaraigosa who rallied the state's congressional delegation to clear funding for an Eastside light-rail line and stepped in when Hahn didn't to help halt the 2003 transit strike.

Villaraigosa has his weaknesses, many of which have been chronicled in our news pages and shown in their worst light in television attack ads by Hahn and his supporters. But he owns up to lapses in judgment and takes lessons from them. He is the candidate able to engage a city divided as much by ethnicity and class as by geography and freeways.

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City Council District 11: Flora Gil Krisiloff. A passionate civic activist, Krisiloff helped found the Brentwood Community Council. She has been a key player in battles over commercial development in the Westside district. What gives her the edge over her opponent, with whom she shares similar stands, is her ability to listen, discuss and build consensus between community groups and builders.

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Charter Amendment A: No. This measure would amend the City Charter to allow the "reorganization of security and law enforcement authority" at city airports. By setting the stage for the Los Angeles Police Department to take over security at Los Angeles International Airport, it assumes that the understaffed, stretched-thin LAPD can do a better job than a police force dedicated to the airport, which is what LAX has now. An independent study found a merger unnecessary, airport administrators strongly oppose the idea, and the chief proponents of the takeover can't say what it would cost or how it would be structured. We oppose a change, at least for now.

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Charter Amendment B: Yes. This simple housecleaning measure clarifies vote-counting procedures for recall elections.

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