Someone recently told us they hate elections, which they said never seem to end.
We can understand their frustration, and feel their pain. It’s not easy to decipher the campaign rhetoric and ever changing views on where we are as a community, city, state or nation. As community newspapers, we tend to take a more local view of what the important issues and stories are on any given day, a view likely taken by the average voter.
In the city of Los Angeles, a long list of community based mayoral debates and forums have attempted to get candidates for the city’s highest office to detail where they stand on a host of local issues, from street cleaning to where traffic lights should be placed, at the same trying to figure out how the problems of the city as a whole will impact their daily lives.
It’s not easy to take a larger view when things aren’t perfect in your backyard.
But, because we are all in this boat together, a larger view is what we need. So in making our endorsements, we looked for the candidate who in our view had a good grasp of local issues, but could at the same time articulate how those issues could or could not be addressed in the larger scheme of things.
These are our recommendations:
Mayor City of Los Angeles
Our endorsement goes to Eric Garcetti for Mayor of Los Angeles.
In our view, Garcetti is well versed on the day-to-day quality of life issues that are important to Angelenos, at the same time he understands that Los Angeles must have a bigger vision for its future.
Garcetti has impressed us with his willingness to accept criticism while not backing down on the progress the city council has made in its efforts to bring Los Angeles’ budget out of the fiscal crisis it has faced the last few years. Could he have done more as city council president? Probably, but would it be disingenuous to say no progress was made while he was in that role.
The city’s deficit, not too long ago projected to be $1 billion has been reduced to somewhere between $100 and $200 million depending on whose calculations you believe. Garcetti has called for the rest of the city’s public employees to do what police and firefighters already have, pay a greater share of their pension and health benefits. While he supports doing away with the city’s gross receipts tax, he has proposed that it be done over a period of time rather than all at once.
Unabashed about his love for Los Angeles, it is our view that Garcetti has the ability to address the problems of the different districts in our city, but still keep his eye on what is in the best interest of all of L.A., not just the 15 different “kingdoms.”
While other candidates have either proposed outlandish new expenses to the city’s payroll or been extremely strident in their assessment of the city’s fiscal condition without detailing any real fiscal solutions, it is our view that Garcetti has articulated a balanced approach for bringing Los Angeles’ budget into a better balance.
We believe Garcetti will not only be a good technical administrator, he will also be a great booster for the city, which is also an important mayoral function.
City Council District One
Our endorsement goes to Gil Cedillo.
While we are impressed by Jose Gardea’s knowledge of the issues facing the district, having learned them as chief of staff to the current council member, we believe the district, and the city for that matter, would benefit from having a representative who can also be an outspoken and dynamic advocate for his constituents.
Mr. Cedillo has proven himself that type of representative in the State Legislature, and we feel that he can bring that to the city council. In every political office it is the staff that do the ground work, but it is the office holder who must be able to articulate his or her vision. That holds true for the city council, where each district is vying for their local needs.
Much has been made of Cedillo’s references to his connections at the state capital and his acceptance of campaign contributions from Standard Oil, but those connections under the right circumstances can work both ways, and prove beneficial to his district as long as they don’t take precedence over local residents or the needs of the business community in the district, which we don’t believe will be the case with Cedillo.
Cedillo’s experience on the State Legislature we believe can prove beneficial to acquiring added funds to improve both CD-1 and the city of Los Angeles.
L.A. Community Colleges
We recommend Mr. Ernest Moreno for Board of Trustee District No. 4.
Few can argue that Moreno’s administrative skills as president of East Los Angeles Community College were behind much of the success of the college that grew from an outdated run down campus to one of the most fiscally sound colleges in the district, while at the same time expanding both its physical and academic footprint in the region,
Moreno’s experience and background in nearly every area of district operations proved invaluable at ELAC, and we believe those experiences will be equally invaluable on the Board of Trustees.
When Mission Community College in the San Fernando Valley was sorely in need of new leadership to deal with an on campus racial crisis and staggering budget issues, the Community College District called on Moreno, a pragmatic leader, to turn things around. Today, Mission College is better off for Moreno’s work there.
The Community College Board of Trustees needs Ernest Moreno and his insight on how to improve the district.