We on the Los Angeles Times editorial page generally think of our endorsements as being smart and comprehensive rather than skewing right or left, although there are conservatives and progressives who might take issue with that characterization. Endorsements from the Daily News and the other papers in the Los Angeles Newspaper Group tend to lean, by comparison, to the right of The Times, although it’s usually a fairly moderate version of right. So how do we compare this year?
You can hear me and the terrific LANG editorial pages editor, Mariel Garza, compare notes and sometimes verbally duke it out on Deadline L.A., the KPFK program hosted by Barbara Osborn and Howard Blume. It’s an election-season ritual for Barbara, Howard, Mariel and me.
Links in this post, by the way, are to LANG endorsements. For The Times’ endorsements, click here, and then to each editorial on each measure.
On the ballot measures, The Times and the LANG papers came out the same on Proposition 30 (yes on Gov. Jerry Brown’s temporary tax increases), Proposition 33 (no on Mercury Insurance’s self-serving auto insurance discount), Proposition 34 (yes on ending the death penalty), Proposition 36 (yes on reforming three strikes), Proposition 37 (no on labeling some genetically modified foods), Proposition 38 (no on Molly Munger’s schools tax) and Proposition 40 (yes on keeping redrawn state Senate districts).
We also saw things the same way on Los Angeles County Measure B (no on condom requirements for adult film performers), and County Measure J (yes on extending the sales tax for transportation projects).
What were they thinking? What were we thinking?
The LANG pages liked the pay-as-you-go provisions of Proposition 31 and were hopeful about provisions that allow local governments to substitute their own regulations for state rules. “Ideally, this initiative would be clearer and simpler, but government is messy,” they said. True enough, but we tend to think government is messy in large part because of measures like these. We thought this one had too many loose ends and could easily make budgeting and the state regulatory scheme worse instead of better.
The LANG papers weighed in on Proposition 31 early, so that endorsement is archived and there is no link here.
We pretty much knew we were going to differ on Proposition 32, which is labeled as campaign finance reform but actually is the third version of a measure to cripple union politicking. The LANG folks cite union spending in state elections, and we get it; we in the past supported a measure that was carefully tailored to affect only public sector union spending. We believe this one casts too wide a net but only against labor interests, not against corporations, insurers or public utilities. It’s too one-sided.
On Proposition 35, human trafficking, The Times sees a system that actually is working and an ill-conceived, feel-good, tough-on-crime vanity ballot measure that would subvert the current enforcement program adopted by the Legislature. LANG sees a growing problem that requires voter action.
I was surprised we disagreed on Proposition 39, a measure to correct a dirty budget deal that favors out-of-state corporations. LANG pointed out that a deal that’s brokered by the Legislature can be fixed by the Legislature. True, but it hasn’t been. I wonder if they could use our argument in support of Proposition 35 -- leave it to the lawmakers and don’t mess with voters -- against us on Proposition 39. And vice-versa.
Measure A is the advisory vote on appointing, rather than electing, the L.A. County assessor. Or, as I like to put it, the measure to increase the power of the Board of Supervisors to set your property tax rates. LANG says yes; The Times says no. Although I should note that once upon a time we also said assessors should be appointed.
The LANG news outlets, in addition to the Daily News, are the Long Beach Press-Telegram, the Pasadena Star-News, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the Daily Breeze (Torrance), the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the Whittier Daily News and the San Bernardino Sun.