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ENDORSEMENTS 2008

Just to recap

Recommendations on bonds, taxes, runoffs and measures that make up this year's ballot.

October 11, 2008

It's often called the Nov. 4 election, but many Californians began voting by mail this week, and many more will vote in the 3 1/2 weeks between now and election day. The Times began rolling out its recommendations early, to help inform those who want to vote early. A recap of our endorsements so far is set forth below.

Voters have their work cut out for them. In Los Angeles County alone, ballots in various communities include 16 school bonds, three community college bonds, five sales tax increases, nine utility tax increases, two parcel taxes, two City Charter changes, a restriction on water softeners and five land use measures. That's in addition to the 12 state measures, five Superior Court runoffs, and congressional and state legislative races. We chose those with the broadest effect on the largest number of people.

But we're not finished. In coming days, The Times will endorse a candidate for president and offer opinions on candidates and measures in some areas of Southern California outside Los Angeles County -- so watch this space. Meanwhile, the online version of this editorial includes links to the full endorsements we offered for each of these candidates and ballot measures. Or you can go to latimes.com/endorsements.

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Los Angeles Superior Court

Office No. 72: Hilleri Grossman Merritt Office No. 82: Cynthia Loo Office No. 84: Pat Connolly Office No. 94: Michael J. O'Gara Office No. 154: Michael V. Jesic

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Los Angeles County supervisor

(Second District voters only)

Bernard C. Parks

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California measures

Proposition 1A: Yes. It's a tough time for more bonded indebtedness, but this $9.95-billion bond to build a high-speed rail system is forward looking and a good investment.

Proposition 2: No. A measure to curtail the suffering of farm animals would be most welcome if crafted properly, but this one would simply outsource farm cruelty -- and California's egg production.

Proposition 3: Yes. This $980-million bond for public and private children's hospitals would take enormous pressure off embattled public general hospitals.

Proposition 4: No. Under this abortion-curtailing measure masquerading as child protection, a girl would be barred from getting a legal abortion unless she could prove that she either told her parents or turned them in for child abuse (or obtained permission from a court).

Proposition 5: No. Well-intentioned drafters may have wanted to make drug treatment a viable alternative to prison, but their measure would undermine drug courts and allow addicts to continue committing dangerous crimes.

Proposition 6: No. The latest tough-on-crime measure requires new bureaucracies, imposes astounding new financial obligations and would pack already overcrowded jails and prisons, driving California to the brink of fiscal ruin.

Proposition 7: No. One of the top clues as to how wrongheaded this supposed environmental initiative is comes from major environmental groups, which are opposed. In the name of increasing renewable energy mandates, it could slow the transition to solar power.

Proposition 8: No. If this measure to bar same-sex marriage passes, California voters would revoke what the state Supreme Court has recognized as a basic constitutional right. Assertions that it would require schools to promote gay marriage are utter nonsense.

Proposition 9: No. This purported "victims' rights" measure would give enormous and inappropriate power over the criminal justice system to families of crime victims.

Proposition 10: No. Yet another false environmental measure, this $5-billion bond -- promoted by oil and natural gas billionaire T. Boone Pickens -- asks Californians to subsidize Pickens' company and favor it over environmental innovators.

Proposition 11: Yes. No redistricting measure is perfect, including this carefully crafted compromise, but it would finally revoke the power of political parties and incumbents to shape state districts to their own advantage.

Proposition 12: Yes. This $900-million bond to help veterans buy homes is the best deal on the ballot. In 26 previous similar bonds, veterans' mortgage payments -- not the taxpayers -- have always repaid bond buyers.

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City of Los Angeles

Measure A: No. City Hall has recently turned over a new leaf and is preparing to evaluate its gang-prevention programs. Funding new ones with this $36-a-year tax on every parcel of property in the city is premature.

Measure B: Yes. Voters must pass this if the city is to get its share of state funds for affordable housing.

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L.A. Community College District

Measure J: Yes. The nine-campus college district can help keep classrooms and programs available for academic and job training with this $3.5-billion bond.

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L.A. Unified School District

Measure Q: No. The school district has failed to make the case for this fifth, but extraordinarily large, bond. Leaders can't even specify the projects to be built or repaired with much of the $7 billion it would bring in.

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L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Measure R: Yes. The sales tax increase of a half-cent on the dollar will fund transportation projects that will relieve traffic congestion and vehicle pollutants throughout the county.

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Los Angeles County

(Unincorporated areas only)

Measure U: Yes. Ratifying this utility tax lowers the rate from 5% to 4.5%, although it extends the tax on phone calls to newer technologies.

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