The Daily News grits its teeth and endorses Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa again this time, just as it did four years ago (saying then "Villaraigosa...represents the future.") This time, there's less enthusiasm behind the choice:
Not one of the nine challengers to Villaraigosa comes close to having the experience of that group four years ago - not to mention the necessary political or financial support to launch a serious challenge to Villaraigosa. Their belief - that one can be elected to manage the second largest city in America and its $7 billion budget on the basis of having a good idea or two - might work in the movies that L.A. produces, but not in its real civic life....
Oh, it's fun to imagine Walter Moore, the clear front-runner of the challengers, taking over City Hall and the explosions that would occur once he started dismantling the long-entrenched political machinery: the long line of fired department heads (which would include the very popular LAPD Chief William Bratton); the political power brokers shown the door; the epic battles with the City Council.
It would be great fodder for the city's journalists and historians. But we don't believe that entertainment value should be the main reason - or even one of them - to choose a leader for the city, especially during a tremendously difficult time. And the prospect of the ensuing mess from such mass destruction should scare any responsible Angeleno who wants the city to work better, not fall apart.
In short, Villaraigosa has been an OK mayor. Not great. Not terrible. And certainly not bad enough to throw over for a political novice.
What the L.A. Times said, in summary: "The mayor has so far fallen short of his potential, and his performance has not caught up with his talk, but he has done a good job of supporting public safety, expanding transportation funding and promoting the city. The Times found no one among the nine challengers ready to lead Los Angeles in a better direction."
La Opinión's endorsement is more upbeat: "Mayor Villaraigosa’s administration has been positive. He has fulfilled his electoral promises to give priority to public safety, to take steps to improve our city’s schools, and to make a greener Los Angeles." The Spanish-language paper sits out the Westside council race and goes for Measure B.
Blowback: On the Times website, neighborhood council veterans David Bell and Robert Blue argue the LAT should have covered the City Council challengers more seriously.