A Mixed Bag of Media Endorsements: What Were They Thinking?

PERSPECTIVE - The Los Angeles Daily News endorsed Wendy Greuel for mayor, but also spoke highly of Kevin James.

The paper went as far as calling Greuel vs. James a “dream runoff.” Eric Garcetti was dissed. 

The Los Angeles Times endorsed Ron Galperin for city controller, but was also complimentary of Cary Brazeman. Councilman Dennis Zine was left out in the cold. Literally, only his tenure and supposed knowledge of city government was mentioned. It speaks volumes that no achievements were cited for the double-dipping, ex-motorcycle cop. 

So, in the aggregate, only one insider (Greuel) was picked and three outsiders. There is some hope for the media. 

It appears that Brazeman almost edged out Galperin for the Times’ nod. Here’s what the Times said: 

Brazeman, who runs a marketing company on the Westside, recognizes just how wide the controller’s franchise became when voters adopted the new charter. His vision for the office is by far the most ambitious: He sees it as a way to prod departments to make the city a better place to live and work. Brazeman says he would use the controller’s performance audits to try to streamline business permits, fix streets, improve how the police and fire departments allocate their resources and hold down salaries and benefits for city workers. 

For someone with no experience in local government, that’s a big lift. But Brazeman has shown as an activist in recent years that he’s adept at analyzing city operations and finances. He was an early critic of the Fire Department’s lagging response times, and his warnings about the city’s exposure to risk on the downtown stadium project led to important changes in the financing. 

Such a statement would garner an endorsement 99% of the time. Instead, Galperin may have been the newpaper’s pick because of his experience as chairman of the Ad Hoc Commission on Revenue Efficiency. 

I am acquainted with both Brazeman and Galperin. Brazeman has the grassroots credentials; Galperin is more connected with City Hall players, but that doesn’t mean Brazeman is unfamiliar with the layout in City Hall. 

Can both of them muster enough votes to force a runoff – preferably a runoff that excludes the more widely known Zine? For the sake of the city, I hope so. 

Greuel’s endorsement from the Daily News is a complete mystery, especially in light of the criticism her plans for hiring 2,000 more LAPD officers has drawn. She does not support the sales tax increase (Measure A) and favors the elimination of the business tax. How is she going to pay for the costly additions to the payroll? 

As broad a consensus as one will ever see in Los Angeles city politics has questioned her math – Council President Wesson, Supervisor Yaroslavsky, Eric Garcetti, Jan Perry and Kevin James. Her plans have also been slammed in a trio of recent Times articles, including pieces by Steve Lopez and Jim Newton

Add to that Larry Mantle, who moderated the KPCC debate, and Austin Beutner, who did the honors at the Daily News/BizFed forum held at CSUN. Granted similar criticisms were aimed at other candidates, too, but Greuel caught the brunt; rightfully so. 

This might be a once in a lifetime convergence of opinions, so what swayed the Daily News? Let’s just say it didn’t take much: 

But in 2013, it was a different Greuel who showed up for a meeting with members of this editorial board. Lightly pounding the table to emphasize key points, she responded to criticisms with polite ferocity; this was the day opponents slammed her call for 2,000 more police officers, a goal she said had been misrepresented in the press as an unaffordable promise. She left little doubt she is sharp enough to realize the next mayor will be made or broken by his or her success at tackling the costs of city government. 

Will the Daily News answer this question: exactly what did Greuel say? Simply stating that her plan was misrepresented by the press offers no more substantiation than her claims of identifying $160 million in waste, fraud and abuse. 

Did her pounding on the table swing the News’ editorial board? She had better be careful with that table; she seems to invoke it enough. She’s almost driven Steve Lopez to the point of threatening to stab himself if she uses the term “going to the table” one more time. 

I expect politicians to make promises that push the envelope, but Greuel’s statements jump the shark. They are intellectually dishonest and represent an insult to the sensibilities of the voters.

 

(Paul Hatfield is a CPA and serves as Treasurer for the Neighborhood Council Valley Village.  He blogs at Village to Village, contributes to CityWatch and can be reached at: phinnoho@aol.com) –cw

 

 

CityWatch

Vol 11 Issue 14

Pub: Feb 15, 2013

 

 

 

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