Hahn and Rosendahl; ‘No’ on LA Measure A

BY DAVID ASPER JOHNSON

In its Sunday editorial, the little downtown daily urged voters in the City of Los Angeles to “resist the urge to stay home and pull the covers over your head” on Election Day, Tuesday, May 17th.

We have to admit it is tempting to do just that.

This has been an excruciating election campaign and about the best thing one can say about it is that it will soon be over.

Voters in the local Los Angeles City Council District 11 have an ironic situation in Tuesday’s election — the need to choose between two candidates for mayor who are both pretty awful and two candidates for local City Council District 11 member who are both pretty good.

The choices come down to personalities.

OUR CHOICES — We have decided to pick James Hahn for another four years — rather than his opponent, Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa — for mayor.

And we will stick with our primary choice in the local Council District 11 race ñ Bill Rosendahl ñ rather than his opponent, Flora Gil Krisiloff, although we have to admit it’s a close call in this race.

MAYOR’S RACE — We are far from suggesting that Hahn deserves another term.

But we are impressed by the series of comments we are hearing about why Hahn is the better choice in the mayor’s race, including:

– Stick with the devil you know, rather than the devil you don’t know.

– Four more years of Hahn will be a lot better than eight years of Villaraigosa; and, our optimistic favorite:

– Maybe after being re-elected, Hahn will go back to snoozing through his second term as he did his first.

A snoozing Hahn is a lot safer choice than a wired and an awake Villaraigosa.

The fact is that Hahn and Villaraigosa aren’t that much different on the major issues.

Both have support of labor and labor has the ears of both candidates.

And, despite the claims that Villaraigosa would do a better job of “coalition building” than Hahn, the fact remains that the movers and shakers downtown seem to have no problems running to whoever is in charge and able to serve their special interests.

Money has been thrown at both candidates by those whose self-interest would be served by supporting the winner and even more money will be thrown at whoever wins the mayoral term Tuesday.

Hahn’s first term has been tarnished by allocations of “pay to play” — charges that you have to donate to Hahn if you want to get city contracts.

But Villaraigosa wasn’t even elected before he got mired down in allegations of campaign donation money laundering from Florida.

Hahn and Villaraigosa have been trading charges about which would be the best for safety and security.

Campaign rhetoric aside, the fact is that during the first four months of this year, the rate of serious crimes in the LAPD Pacific Area fell 35 percent when compared to the same period two years earlier.

Give Hahn credit for bringing in a new police chief and for the dramatic drop in serious crime in the city and in our local communities.

As for redevelopment of Los Angeles International Airport, we have not been a fan of Hahn’s proposals for redeveloping LAX. Hahn’s Alternative D plan is especially onerous.

But we don’t have any confidence that things would be different at LAX with Villaraigosa as mayor.

Villariagosa’s fans tell us that “Antonio has promised to oppose Alternative D.”

Villaraigosa showed the same enthusiasm when he promised his City Council constituents that he would never, never run for mayor during this, his first term.

We just don’t have any faith in much of anything Villaraigosa says, considering his past efforts to jump anywhere it serves his “purpose of the moment.”

So we’re sticking with Hahn, with the confidence that the city can survive another four years of Mayor Yawn and the knowledge that in four years, he’ll be gone.

COUNCIL RACE — We wish that we could take our TiVo and just erase away the general election campaigns of both candidates in the 11th City Council District.

Our mailbox, phones and e-mail have been alive with an endless parade from critics of both candidates, rushing to tell us some horrible thing that the other candidate did in the previous 24 hours.

We have to believe that both Rosendahl and Krisiloff are much better than the rather sordid campaigns that the candidates and their supporters indicate.

Campaign chatter aside, we still believe that Rosendahl would be the better choice for the 11th Council District.

As we wrote in our primary election endorsement, the problems we have locally — traffic, development, housing and airport expansion — require regional solutions and it is Rosendahl who offers the better opportunity to gain such regional solutions to local problems.

He already has the strong regional connections necessary to achieve such regional solutions.

POWER GRAB AT LAPD — City of Los Angeles voters will also be asked Tuesday to approve a city charter change that would allow the City Council, if it chooses to do so in the future, to merge the police forces of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the Port of Los Angeles into the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

Despite all the campaign rhetoric being tossed out by the LAPD that Measure A is about improving safety and security at the airport and port, this measure is really about turf.

The LAPD wants to take over the airport and harbor police departments to beef up its own status. A bigger police department would give the LAPD more clout at budget time.

The danger, of course, is that the LAPD would move its airport and port officers around, the same way it has diluted the police force at the Pacific Community Police Station.

As City Council candidate Krisiloff has said:

“The City of Los Angeles recently spent nearly $1 million to learn that the LAX Airport Police Department is one of the best trained police forces in the nation.

“Through years of day-to-day experience securing LAX, they have gained a unique expertise in protecting the safety of passengers and airport employees.”

We urge our Los Angeles readers to join us in voting “no” on Measure A.

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