Last week the Beverly Hills Courier endorsed Nancy Krasne for City Council. She was the newspaper’s only endorsed candidate in the local race even though seven candidates are in the running for three open seats. The Courier calls Krasne a “strong supporter” of the police. And she did vote to extend to officers a 10% raise in the latest contract. But with $330M in unfunded pension liabilities, the normally conservative paper’s endorsement was curious.
When it comes to fiscal conservatism, the Courier is usually the bullhorn that calls attention to the city’s bloated salaries and enormous pension liabilities. The Courier’s candidate should have been John Mirish: he is closely aligned on that value. The Courier must have gone out of its way not to endorse Mirisch!
Instead the Courier made only one City Council endorsement and it went to Krasne. Maybe it is because Krasne and Courier publisher Marcia Hobbs are buddies? Or because Krasne is an establishment figure?
Krasne’s signature proposal is to put city power lines underground. That’s very laudable! But she can attach no price tag to that likely expensive program. Even still, she has advocated that the city should float a bond to fund it. One would think that would bother the normally fiscally-prudent Courier.
“We appreciate Krasne’s desire to push the City forward technologically,” the paper said in its endorsement.
If technology-minded leadership is what this city needs, arguably John Mirisch is the guy. He has been a big booster of gigabit ‘fiber-to-the-premises.’ That forward-looking program will do much to change the city’s competitiveness, and it will pay dividends for businesses and residents who locate here.
The endorsement continues, “She is a steadfast champion for transparency at City Hall.”
That may be. But again, Mirisch has been the most prominent Council supporter of local government transparency. Along with Lili Bosse he convened a ‘Sunshine Task Force’ when he was last Mayor; Task Force recommendations included the tightening of lobbyist registration requirements and the extension of public document retention from 30 days to two years. The Courier supports both policies.
The Courier also credits Krasne with “inventive ideas” for traffic management because she’s proposed a DASH-type shuttle system. John Mirisch not only proposed a city shuttle but called for it to be autonomous. That’s the leading edge in mobility today and Mirisch was out front before anybody else.
Other examples of Krasne leadership surface in the endorsement, including free parking in city garages for example. But the city ran up a $20 million deficit in the parking authority fund precisely because it was building expensive garages but charging zero dollars for two hours of parking. City Council rightly saw that as unsustainable and tried to raise the price to some dollars.
But certain business interests like that parking subsidy provided by the city. They liked it so much they threatened to sue and pursue a ballot initiative to keep it. City Hall then capitulated on free parking. Yet Krasne was a supporter of giving parking away.
We will see how the Courier endorsement plays for Nancy Krasne. The paper has gotten it wrong in the past. This time it may be the kiss of death!