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Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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Monday, February 28, 2011

The LA Times CD 4 endorsement - what it's really about

The Los Angeles Times finally got around to publishing its complete list of endorsements  in the upcoming March 8th election.

The section for CD 4 goes like this:
"Vying to succeed him are candidates who show promise but come with drawbacks. Stephen Box has valuable experience with the city's neighborhood council system, but he's so immersed in the minutiae of city government that it's hard to understand what his larger vision consists of. "

This part of the Times' endorsement may be code for 'we don't want someone who really understands how the City works.'  If that's the best the Times comes up with in their dismissal of Stephen Box's proven activism over the past half-decade, then they need some new journalists. But then, a lot of people think the Times needs a lot of new... well.... erm... everything.
"Tomas O'Grady, meanwhile, is energetic and likable..."
Unless you've witnessed his world-class temper in person.
"...but his proposals for the budget — cutting the salaries and budgets of council members, making selective cuts elsewhere — are more symbolic than meaningful.

"Nevertheless, O'Grady's background in business, devotion to environmental issues and hard work as an activist in L.A. Unified schools make him the most appealing alternative to LaBonge. The Times endorses O'Grady."
There's a question - what exactly is O'Grady's background in business? No one ever really says. We'd love to see some detailed disclosure in this regard.

As for the devotion to environmental issues, O'Grady is an environmental lightweight, seemingly happy with playing Don Quixote to leaf blowers (which are already illegal - get it enforced) and planting trees in plain sight where others will be certain to take note of his volunteer work, rather than fighting any number of truly hard enviro battles. Like this, for instance. Or this. Or even this.

Neighborhood tours showing off how green one anothers' solar-powered hot tubs are, or teaching classes in grey water uses does not a hard-core enviro make.

In reality, the LA Times endorsement of O'Grady is likely far more about not completely adopting LA Clean Sweep's slate than it is about O'Grady as a candidate. LA Clean Sweep has gained amazing amount of political traction in the relatively short amount of time the political action committee has existed. The Times' choices for CD 6 (Rich Goodman), CD 8 (Bernard Parks) and 14 (Rudy Martinez) are LA Clean Sweep candidates.

Coming from a paper that has a bureau located a few doors away from the Mayor and publishes City Hall press releases almost wholesale, going with even a few LA Clean Sweep candidates is really putting themselves out there. It's surprising they went that far. They did call LaBonge a legendary "pothole politician", so that in itself makes the endorsement worth a read.

So Stephen Box is endorsed by the Daily News, and Tomas O'Grady is endorsed by the LA Times.  Looks like career politician Tom LaBonge has a lot of well-earned trouble on his hands.

Update: Here's the LA Weekly's take. Some of it sounds familiar.