Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

The Los Angeles Times has a new look this morning. It's a wider format, which I think is a better layout for news than the narrow three-column they had before - a bit less scrolling on average for the front page than most news sites.

And, as L.A. Observed predicted, the Calendar section has been emancipated for the people and is no longer hidden behind a pay wall.

In other news, incumbent Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn is struggling his way back from an 18-point deficit in the mayoral race; he's now 11 points behind his challenger, City Councilmember Antonio Villaraigosa, the former Assembly Speaker who Hahn bested four years ago. It seems no one who was polled trusts either man, both of whom are under investigation for fundraising "irregularities"; most residents are casting their vote for the lesser of two evils (whoever they feel that might be.)

I happen to be a Hahn girl and I have been since the last election. I can't say I'm thrilled with everything he's done, but I was impressed when he got rid of former LAPD Chief Bernard Parks and brought in Bill Bratton, a leader who has made considerable inroads on crime and has more trust from the community and his rank and file than Parks ever did. I was also pretty happy that Hahn managed to keep the City together in the face of secession, though I know not everyone shares my view on that particular issue. While I am sure Villaraigosa has good intentions, I just haven't been that impressed with his service on the City Council - where he really could have done great things for his district - or his seemingly unquenchable desire to run for any available elected office.

Lastly, and most depressingly, I believe that all five men who originally ran for Mayor were the same guys in different suits. I say this as someone who worked in City Hall and lives and breathes all of this political nonsense. About 50-100 lobbyists, commissioners, and wealthy donors (all major players who've been around forever) surrounded the original five candidates, supporting one and then the other until only two were left. When the election is over and only one man is left standing, these same 50-100 will orbit him as their new sun and nothing will change.

Call me a cynic, but I know how this works...so I'll stick with the devil I know, thank you very much.

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