Breaking with its tradition of ducking the real issues, the LA Times Editorial Board dared to push Council District 15 runoff candidates Joe Buscaino and Warren Furutani for solutions to the city’s budget crisis, asking them: “What
would you do about it?”
And what is hopefully a new tradition, they have started printing the answers — not just printing their pathetic responses but making fun of them as well. Here’s the way it looked at LATIMES.com:
Furutani: “I think
everything’s on the table to be re-examined for government.”
What non-core functions should the city no longer try to perform?
Furutani: “[The city should
continue to work on] potholes, streetlights, cleaning up alleys, getting rid of
Yes, but don’t you think voters
ought to know beforehand what kinds of choices you would make?
Furutani: “In terms of
details, in terms of what city things, services should be provided, I’m just
But surely the new guy, Joe Buscaino, would have a good handle on the decisions
that need to be made? Maybe something somewhere has to be cut, he said, or
maybe we need more revenue, but don’t cut police or fire.
Buscaino: “We just cannot
take a step back when it comes to [public safety] staffing.”
But what trade-offs would you make to ensure that public safety staffing is not
Buscaino: “For me, being
that grassroots candidate, everything is on the table to address that
what would you lead on?
One more time: Because you acknowledge we have to cut something, is there
anything the city doesn’t need to do? Anything we could or should cut or leave
to someone else?
Buscaino: “I leave that on
the table, once again, if I get in.”
Promising to post more outtakes of the Dec. 12 interviews prior to the Jan. 17 runoff for who will succeed Congresswoman Janice Hahn in the San Pedro/Watts district, the Times Opinion Blog concluded:
“The upshot with either candidate is that the council
office becomes a kind of suggestion box, without a leader’s vision, knowledge
or power to mobilize; or perhaps it makes no difference what the candidate says
because the ultimate marching orders on what to cut or what taxes to raise
comes from those other folks — the ones raising the campaign money. So
why, again, should voters choose one candidate over the other?”
This is an historic turn of the screw if the Times editorial writers mean what they say.
After four years of cooking the books and ineffectually dealing with the budget crisis could the mayor or any Council member — other than perhaps Bernard Parks — possibly get the endorsement of the Times.
Has Garcetti, Perry or Greuel — the wannabe mayors — or Cardenas, the wannabe Congressman, or any of the others demonstrated “a leader’s vision, knowledge or power to mobilize” or have they all taken their “ultimate marching orders” from the “ones raising the campaign money.”
The Times has rarely if ever held our elected officials accountable in these terms which in no small measure accounts for how the political machine has become so powerful and made such a mockery of the pretense of democracy in the city.
It’s never too late to start.