Friday, December 10, 2004

Steve Lopez, one of LAT's Best Political Writers

Steve Lopez's column of Friday, December 10, on the Board of Supervisors' ultimate responsibility for doing little or nothing effective about the mess at the King/Drew Medical Center establishes once again that he is one of the L.A. Times' best political writers, among his many other exploits.

Steve offers at the outset of the column to buy fish tacos at Senor Fish "for the first reader who can tell me the last time a Los Angeles County supervisor was run out of office." ( Well, I might immodestly claim the tacos, because, as a political writer, I had quite a bit to do with inducing then-Supervisor Ernest E. Debs not to run for a fifth term in 1974. Of course, Ed Edelman getting into the race also had something to do with pushing Debs out.

The King/Drew issue marks the second time in just the last week or two that Lopez has performed a political tour de force in his column. He's also been writing very incisively about the crisis in state worker's comp, and, as usual, he's not been over-impressed by the performance of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Lopez is not the only columnist in the country who often outshines the regular political writers, and one thing that allows him to do that is that he has permission to write subjectively. This is also the reason Time magazine often has superior political coverage. The objectivity to which the regular political writers are often compelled to adhere amounts to a straitjacket in which they are playing a game which prevents them from being straightforward and honest.

Of course, it's up to the reader to decide individually what the columnist's bias is, and whether it's a sound analysis.

When Otis Chandler, Bill Thomas, Ed Guthman and Mark Murphy were fashioning Times political coverage along independent lines in the 1960s, one of the key things they did was to allow the political writers of that day, Carl Greenberg, Dick Bergholz, Bill Boyarsky, me and the Washington writers more latitude to be interpretive. In effect, we became more like the columnists and were often free to say quite a bit of what we thought in the news columns.

Things began to change when Noel Greenwood became metro editor. He wasn't as interested in political coverage, for one thing, and he instituted more restrictive editing policies for a second. But this had its stops and starts. When Narda Zucchino was political editor, for example, I felt freest to write of any time in my political writing years.

Times political coverage now has become too bland. The regular writers are often held on too tight a leash, and the Sacramento bureau in particular has frequently been too rigidly supervised out of Los Angeles.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are incorrect about the last Supervisor who lost re-lection or was run out of office. It was Baxter Ward who was beat in 1980 by Michael Antonovich. That same year, Deane Dana beat Yvonne Burke who had been appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the Fourth District seat that was vacated when Jim Hayes left office without ever disclosing why.

12/13/2004 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder why James Hayes left office when he did. He was originally appointed by Ronald Reagan to fill the vacancy of Burton Chase. When he resigned, he left the vacancy to be filled by Governor Jerry Brown who appointed Yvonne Burke. Why would Hayes, a former Republican Assemblyman resign from that powerful and lucrative position and leave it to a Democrat?

12/13/2004 8:30 PM  
Blogger ...Joe Shea said...

I think I had something to do with running Pete Schabarum out of the Hall of Administration. I investigated a Riverside County board and care firm called Bridges that the County had paid about 200,000 to open four homeless mentally ill board and care facilities that in fact were never opened. Then I learned that Schabarum had just intervened in an audit of the outfit and asked the auditor-controller's office to pay them despite the audit. Just a few days (like three) after that information was presented to the special investigations division chief over at the DA's office, Schabarum resigned. No one ever discussed it at the Times, despite the fact that several reporters knew. So that was the last time a Supervisor was run out of town. Bridges was fined $250,000.

12/22/2004 12:53 AM  
Blogger 贝贝 said...

The Tax Return Crack-Up<3>
Granted, there are usuallyMicrosoft Office 2010write-ups when presidential contenders make their tax returns available, but the coverage falls far short of the Office 2010
full court press (pardon the pun) that the Clintons have received. What's Microsoft Office 2007different now?Office 2007One possibility is that most upper middle class Democrats, and therefore most Microsoft OfficeOffice 2007 keyeditors and reporters of our nation's big papers as well as Office 2007 downloadtelevision producers, are Obama supporters who think that Hillary should hurry up Office 2007 Professionaland drop out of the race already.Microsoft outlook
Microsoft outlook 2010Whom elite liberals are pulling for really does shape political coverage in ways

11/11/2010 12:14 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home