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Ballot Recommendations

April 11, 1999

The Times endorses selectively, on a case-by-case basis. Below are the races in which The Times has a recommendation in the Los Angeles election Tuesday.

L.A. UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

District 1: Genethia Hayes. Hayes, the executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, has based her career on building coalitions and getting the tough work done. This thoughtful leader would be a huge improvement over incumbent Barbara Boudreaux, who for all her rhetoric simply hasn't delivered better public education for her constituents. In addition, Boudreaux has been a no-show at some debates; the voters should give her the heave-ho.

District 3: Caprice Young. Young, with a background in both public and private finance, would bring a desperately needed real-world sensibility to the school board. Incumbent Jeff Horton talks about accountability but also believes that the district's performance (in the bottom one-third of the nation) isn't that bad. Young knows better.

District 5: David Tokofsky. Tokofsky is the one incumbent up for reelection who actually understands that the district cannot continue the status quo. A former coach of the national academic decathlon champions at Marshall High, he raises the right questions about district spending. His understanding of what needs to be done trumps challenger Yolie Flores Aguilar's.

District 7: Mike Lansing. Lansing demonstrates the vigor required to help turn the district around. A former parochial school teacher who now runs the San Pedro Boys and Girls Club, he knows the school board job is not one for the type of me-too leadership exhibited by incumbent George Kiriyama, who has petulantly refused to debate Lansing.

CITY COUNCIL

In most council races there are incumbents who face only minor opposition or there are open seats (the 7th District in the San Fernando Valley and the 14th District on the Eastside), with an array of political talent and the likelihood of a runoff. One district merits specific comment:

District 10: Madison Shockley. This pastor, a man with fresh ideas and deep roots in community politics, deserves to take the seat from incumbent Nate Holden, who had promised before his current term that he would not run again. Sexual harassment allegations, some dismissed and some pending, dog Holden. Now add to that some hard questions about his and his staff's campaign fund-raising tactics. Holden's out-of-left-field campaign to bring the Raiders back to L.A. is typical: It offered nothing to either his district or the city. He has even resorted to claiming that the late Mayor Tom Bradley, a bitter rival, made a virtual deathbed endorsement of his candidacy. Shockley stands the best chance of uniting this ethnic kaleidoscope of a district. He has sharp, specific ideas for revitalizing business districts and improving housing.

PROPOSITION 1

Yes: This Los Angeles police, fire and paramedic bond would modernize outmoded, crowded, even unsafe police and fire stations and other public service facilities and build new ones. The $744-million measure is earmarked to replace 17 fire stations and four police stations, to build two new police stations in the mid-Wilshire area and San Fernando Valley and to replace Parker Center, the unsalvageable downtown police headquarters, among other projects. True, earlier city and police bond measures promised things that still haven't been delivered, including a new 911 system, or that dragged on forever and went way over budget. The key difference between those measures and this one is that this measure has many built-in safeguards and better independent oversight than previous measures. The benefit would be citywide. It absolutely deserves a yes vote, for the sake of public safety.

L.A. COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT

District 1 and District 3 have more than one good candidate in large fields headed for probable runoff elections in June.

District 5: One-term incumbent Georgia Mercer has helped launch reforms that are already halting decline in the city's nine community colleges. She has put forth good ideas for reorganization and found new revenue streams to tap. She has increased the district's lobbying clout in Sacramento.

District 7: In the contest for this open seat, Warren T. Furutani displays a good knowledge of education issues and the community college system. Despite the fact that he was a member of the Los Angeles school district's dysfunctional board, he's clearly the choice over businessman Mark Isler, who lacks understanding of community college issues.

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