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Galperin for City Council

Ron Galperin hopes to improve accountability and fiscal prudence at City Hall. He's the best choice to replace Jack Weiss in the 5th District.

February 21, 2009

More than half of the Los Angeles City Council's seats are up for election on the March 3 ballot, but only in the 5th District, where Jack Weiss is leaving to run for city attorney, is the outcome in serious question. Six candidates are vying for Weiss' job. All are well funded and well connected, and all have at least a shot at landing a spot in a May 19 runoff.

The Times looked for a candidate who would take seriously the concerns of residents about the quality of life in their mostly wealthy district, which nearly surrounds Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, runs south across the Santa Monica Freeway, then north to Century City and Westwood, over the Hollywood Hills and along Ventura Boulevard through Encino and Sherman Oaks. We want someone who understands the effects of traffic and development, but who also embraces a view of the district as part of a city that often has greater needs, in other neighborhoods, for the police officers and other services that Westside residents help pay for.

The best candidate to balance these often competing goals is Ron Galperin. The Times endorses Galperin for the 5th District City Council seat.

Like the other candidates, Galperin places the needs of his constituents at the top of his agenda. But he also has a keen interest in improving accountability and fiscal prudence in City Hall, and that's something that all council members must grapple with, for their own sakes as well as for their constituents. The 5th District has a tradition of electing people -- Zev Yaroslavsky and Mike Feuer come to mind -- who served their constituents while also leading on issues of citywide concern. Galperin has the best potential to follow in that tradition.

In interviews and at various forums, all the candidates complain about the same things -- the unchecked proliferation of illegal billboards, the mishandling of the one-way traffic proposal for Olympic and Pico boulevards, high-rise development in spite of Los Angeles' land-use regulations rather than pursuant to them. Some have adopted a batten-down-the-hatches stance and would say no to any kind of development and any kind of traffic plan without virtually unanimous approval among residents. That's not practical, and it would result in gridlock on the streets and in City Hall. Galperin, by contrast, impresses us as someone who would take stakeholder interest seriously without abdicating his own responsibility for leadership.

He gets the nod over Robyn Ritter Simon, also a strong candidate with a balanced approach, because of his easy grasp of a wide variety of issues affecting every part of the district and his ready response for how to deal with them. Paul Koretz, by virtue of his experience as a West Hollywood councilman and member of the state Assembly, also would prove an asset. Charges that he is a "carpetbagger" because he served in another city before moving back to the neighborhood where he grew up are just silly. But Koretz represents continuity at a time when new ideas are called for. The substantial know-how he would bring is more than matched by Galperin's fresh and enthusiastic approach to city politics.

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