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March 8 Endorsement

Paul Krekorian for City Council's 2nd District

February 03, 2011

When City Council District 2 held a special election in 2009 to fill the seat vacated by Councilwoman Wendy Greuel (who left to take the job of city controller), this page endorsed former Paramount Pictures executive Christine Essel for the post. Voters disagreed. The man they chose, Paul Krekorian — who, we had said, would "do a credible job as a councilman" — has turned out to be quite credible indeed, and deserves more time in office.

Krekorian served three years in the Assembly before his election to the City Council, and also held posts on the city Ethics Commission and the Burbank school board. His victory over Essel came as a surprise to political insiders because he raised and spent a fraction of what she did. But her strong backing by the Department of Water and Power's labor union seems to have done more harm than good in a district that's distrustful of the utility and its union, and Krekorian's support from the Armenian community was enough to put him over the top in a low-turnout contest.

Krekorian has proved a bit nettlesome for the DWP. In April, he was among the minority on the council who opposed a 4.5% rate increase, and he was among the members who consistently called for the appointment of an independent ratepayer advocacy office charged with reviewing proposed rate increases and making the utility's finances more transparent. That proposal will appear on the March 8 ballot as Measure I.

Aside from his tough stance on the DWP, Krekorian generally gets high marks from council observers as a thoughtful decision-maker who asks a lot of questions and seeks a thorough understanding of issues before voting. His years in government service have provided him with broad knowledge of the process. He seldom goes in for grandstanding, and he is not an ideologue.

District 2 comprises a big swath of the San Fernando Valley that stretches from Tujunga and other communities north of the 210 Freeway to North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks and a chunk of the Hollywood Hills. For whatever reason, Valley political contests tend to attract unknown candidates motivated by a deep dislike of local government but lacking public sector experience and often laboring under fuzzy notions of how government works. That sums up Krekorian's sole opponent, entrepreneur Augusto Bisani. He has abundant complaints about poor city services, but no practical suggestions about how to improve them at a time when the city faces a $350-million budget shortfall.

The district deserves better, which is why The Times endorses Paul Krekorian for City Council.

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