L.A. Times Editorial Page Continues to Fail to Follow Through on Villaraigosa Endorsement
In what looked like a savvy move at the time, during the primary campaign, the LAT endorsed both Villaraigosa and former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg for spots in the runoff, wisely rejecting the reelection of the inept present mayor, James Hahn.
So, then, when Hertzberg failed narrowly to make the runoff, and Hahn did, running behind Villaraigosa, one would have thought the reasonable course would have been for the Times to say, "Well, one of our choices made it to the runoff, Villaraigosa, and he is our choice in the runoff."
But Michael Kinsley is the man who criticized President Bush throughout the 2004 campaign, even endorsed John Kerry in a Time magazine column, but then failed to endorse anyone in the actual election on the Times editorial page. This made the Times and Kinsley himself look weak and ridiculous, not to mention hypocritical.
Now, judging from the latest mayoral editorial in the paper Tuesday, March 29, the Times has more good to say about Hertzberg than either Villaraigosa or Hahn, and doesn't even mention that it once supported Villaraigosa.
Villaraigosa is probably going to make it in the election this time, and the Times may yet endorse him. But its failure to do so thus far raises the question whether somewhere, like the Tribune Co. offices, there is reluctance to see Los Angeles overcome its resistance to a Latino mayor.
The Tribune Co. continues to intensify its weakness in Los Angeles by making it clear it is not willing to take steps to show that it wants the Times to continue to be a respected paper.
Now, in the mayor's race, the Times continues to appear irresolute. Even its regular political coverage of the race is less voluminous than in past mayoral contests, reducing respect for the regular political writers.
However, the coverage there has been makes it clear that Hahn is waging a somewhat racist campaign, trying to suggest that the Latino Villaraigosa is too dishonest to be mayor. It's not as bad as the Yorty campaign against the black Tom Bradley in 1969, but there is a little odor about it, and Times editorials should have denounced it.
Come on, Kinsley, stiffen up. Show some courage for once, and go along with your original course: Villaraigosa for mayor.