By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
ASSESSOR RICK AUERBACH
Auerbach has endeavored to make the workings of his somewhat mysterious office more accessible online and by phone to L.A. taxpayers.
SHERIFF LEE BACA
Lee Baca continues to impress. No local law-enforcement leader has done remotely as much to break down the “us vs. them” mentality that has enduringly characterized L.A. policing. Of his own volition, he’s established a cultural-sensitivity program for deputies and, more far-reaching, an Office of Independent Review, consisting of six civil rights attorneys, to investigate and adjudicate alleged officer misconduct. This office not only goes well beyond anything the LAPD has contemplated; it marks a welcome departure in big-city policing virtually anywhere. Lee Baca is one of America’s foremost police reformers — and a welcome, if all too anomalous, addition to the L.A. law-enforcement scene.
SUPERVISOR, 1ST DISTRICT GLORIA MOLINA
Though Molina is still on occasion a gratuitously difficult figure for her colleagues to get along with, she has fought effectively to improve the access of the indigent to medical care in the San Gabriel Valley. She has also led the county’s program to develop a master plan for greening the L.A. River.
SUPERVISOR, 3RD DISTRICT ZEV YAROSLAVSKY
Zev Yaroslavsky remains the indispensable figure within county government. Whether he’s working to impress upon his MTA colleagues that the future of local transit is buses, or looking ahead to consolidating specialized services in L.A.’s chronically underfunded health system, he has become something of a one-man reality principle in the county. And though we might differ with him on certain county labor issues, he played a key role on behalf of L.A.’s striking janitors two springs ago. Of the five county supes, Yaroslavsky is one we generally trust with the workings of the county.
LOS ANGELES CITY SPECIAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION
MEMBER OF THE CITY COUNCIL, 2ND DISTRICT WENDY GREUEL
The race to succeed Joel Wachs in this far-flung and diverse Valley district has come down to a runoff between term-limited Assemblyman Tony Cardenas and DreamWorks SKG public-affairs executive Wendy Greuel, a onetime aide to Mayor Tom Bradley and two of Bill Clinton’s HUD secretaries. Both candidates are L.A. centrists. Greuel, unfortunately, has taken a wait-and-see attitude toward Valley secession that must have her mentor, Mayor Bradley, spinning in his grave.
But the most significant difference between the two candidates is in their records — and there’s a good deal in Cardenas’ record that should give the city the shakes. His rise to power in the Assembly and as a player in local politics has been fueled by his cultivation of wealthy special interests, most especially California’s Indian casinos. At their behest, he’s made it more difficult for casino workers to unionize. In return, they’ve dropped major bucks into Cardenas’ favored campaigns. Last spring, out-of-town tribes spent a cool $350,000 on a scurrilous independent campaign against mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa. Until several weeks ago, Cardenas steadfastly denied any responsibility for the attacks — until District Attorney Steve Cooley documented the contrary.
As an aide to Bradley, Greuel created the city’s first AIDS task force and helped shape L.A.’s Best, the after-school program for low-performing schools. At DreamWorks, she worked with the L.A. Metro Alliance on a program of inner-city hiring. Despite DreamWorks’ Playa Vista controversy, she’s backed by the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters. Greuel is our clear choice.
40 — YES
This $2.6 billion bond measure would provide money for open-space preservation, river protection and inner-city parks — programs we need.
41 — YES
This is the first of two No-More-Florida measures on the ballot. Prop. 41 floats $200 million in bonds to help counties buy voting equipment and scrap those punch-card machines that spelled Al Gore’s demise. With bipartisan support, this measure strikes us as a small price to pay to ensure majority rule.
42 — NO
What price transportation? Currently, the state levies an excise tax on gasoline and diesel fuel, and two distinct sales taxes, one on diesel fuel and the other on gas. The proceeds from the first two taxes go to roads and transportation needs, but the proceeds from the gas sales tax go to the state general fund. Proposition 42 redirects this last tax to specified transportation uses only — which would cause a reduction (of about $1.2 billion, currently) in spending on other state programs, such as health care and emergency services. We like roads as much as the next guy, but not at the expense of other public services.
43 — YES
No-More-Floridas, Part 2. This measure creates an explicit state constitutional mandate to count every vote. The practical consequences of this measure are murky, but it at least would create constitutional sanction for the state to go into overtime to finish tallying everyone’s ballot.
44 — YES
About 80 years ago, Californians passed an utterly ludicrous initiative requiring that all changes in laws governing chiropractors be submitted to the voters. Hence, Proposition 44, which requires the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners to revoke for 10 years the licenses of practitioners convicted of at least two counts of insurance fraud. We’d feel even better if the Legislature could decide this kind of thing without bringing us into it.