Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Despite Ghastly Coverage And A Grudging Times Endorsement, Villaraigosa Wins. A Great Day For Los Angeles

City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa has won an impressive victory and it seems it will be a new day for Los Angeles, with a dynamic, ambitious mayor.

But in view of its ghastly political coverage of the mayor's race and the very grudging endorsement the Los Angeles Times gave Villaraigosa, the newspaper's editorial on his victory seems inappropriate.

Adopting a peremptory tone, the Times editorial this morning makes assorted demands on the new mayor and tells him, "Learn something from this election, even if the lesson is ultimately about humility."

There is absolutely nothing, based on his campaign, on which to assume that Villaraigosa will be anything but appropriately circumspect in office. In any case, a 59% victory is, as the Times headline said, a "landslide," not a lesson in humility.

I've said before, and do not hesitate to repeat here: The Times is presently, very regrettably, owned by outsiders. It is not the newspaper it was under the Chandlers. It has an editorial page editor who apparently has little knowledge of politics and has precious little claim to make demands on anyone in the city, much less the new mayor.

Just underneath the mayoral editorial, the Times again this morning takes the absolutely silly position of supporting Republican ideologues on altering the American system of majority rule but minority rights by abolishing the filibuster in the Senate. If there ever was clear evidence, the editorial page editor, Mike Kinsley, is a phony liberal, this is it, because he is, in effect, supporting the opening of the court system to religious and political fanatics of deplorable stripe.

I referred to Times political coverage of the contest by the regular writers as "ghastly." It ignored the most serious issues of the race for the most part. It took the day after the election before the writers gave the question of the city's first election of a Latino mayor in more than 100 years the prominence it deserved. It sacrificed meaningful coverage to many mundane stories, some of which ran on Page 1. I suspect this was mainly the fault of the political editors, who have grown weak and tremulous, when they used to be highly competent. Only Steve Lopez, the columnist, distinguished himself for the most part in the coverage.

Perhaps, there should be important personnel changes before next year's gubernatorial and Congressional midterm elections.

Most citizens of Los Angeles will wish the new mayor good fortune, because our own destinies as Los Angelenos are tied to his. He is well qualified through experience to do a good job, and, knowing him, I'm sure he will bend every effort in that direction.

It is a cause for satisfaction that the divisive campaign the incumbent mayor, James Hahn, tried to wage to maintain his own inept administration in power was not successful.

Also, I believe, the election, by a good margin, of the dynamic Bill Rosendahl in the contested West Side councilmanic district represents a gain for the City Council and the city, and shows the independence of the electorate in that part of the city.

On Thursday, when all the election results were in, the Times by the way doesn't seem to have had any story on the Rosendahl victory. At least, I looked through my edition of the paper repeatedly and couldn't find such a story. Another example of either bias at the paper against Rosendahl or just mindless editing by the hapless Metro desk.


Blogger Matt Weinstock said...

I join you in wishing mayor elect Villagarosa success in office. I think he is a pragmatic, somewhat open minded guy and I voted for him.

You are correct about the TIMES having a condescending attitude from high in their well insulated offices downtown.

But, as a political fanatic of deplorable stripe, I believe the judiciary needs to be reeled in. They have usurped much of the power of the legistlative and executive branches of the federal government, upsetting the intended checks and balances. Unfortunately, they have been allowed to get away with this due to inattention and neglect by the other branches. If the fillibuster rule is so important, those wanting to block appointments should follow past practice and send judges up for a vote. The senate will survive a rule change in any case.

I don't recall what editorial editorial position the TIMES took during the anti-civil rights fillibuster, but I would not expect consistancy from them over that period of time.

I also wish Mayor Jimmy good health in his political retirement.


5/18/2005 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the new mayor isn't going to illustrate the law of unintended consequences, or the idea that one should be careful in what he wishes for.

And if Kinsley isn't liberal enough for you, Ken, then you must have some pretty damn liberal beliefs coursing through your view of things. After all, the real political fanatics that have had the greatest impact on the judiciary for years and years have been those associated with organizations like the ACLU, or people like the idiots who not long ago, via the armlock of a lawsuit and the court system, goaded the supervisors into removing the tiny little cross from LA County's official seal.

5/18/2005 2:41 PM  
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