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The lefty OC Register and U-T? Some interesting endorsements

October 29, 2008 |  7:57 pm

The Sacramento Bee has pulled together state proposition endorsements from 10 California newspapers and some results are predictable, like the fact that every editorial board went for Proposition 11, the redistricting reform measure. Newspaper ed boards just love redistricting reform. It remains to be seen whether anyone else does.

All papers were against Proposition 8, the same-sex marriage ban, as well.

But some results are surprising. The Orange County Register, which generally produces the most reliably conservative editorials (often with a libertarian twist), was the only one of the 10 to endorse Proposition 5, the measure to promote rehab and diversion from jail for drug offense. Prosecutors, judges, some rehab specialists and all the supposedly liberal papers, like the San Francisco Chronicle (OK, and the Los Angeles Times) oppose the proposition as a potentially dangerous measure that would remove incentives for kicking an addiction. The Register ed page sees it differently:

It is becoming increasingly clear that the expensive and counterproductive "war on drugs" is not working. Drug addiction can be tragic for individuals and their families. But most of the ancillary damage to society – increased street crime, funding gang activity, fundraising crimes like burglary, robbery and mugging – are caused by the laws against drugs rather than the drugs themselves. Prop. 5 is a modest step toward a more humane and productive approach to the problem of drug use than the strictly punitive approach that has failed so abysmally.

The San Diego Union-Tribune's ed page, also reliably conservative, weighed in for Proposition 2, the measure to mandate more wing-room for caged chickens kept for egg-laying. The L.A. Daily News - moderate-to-conservative for Los Angeles, perhaps - went to bat for it as well (so did the San Jose  Mercury News and the Oakland Tribune, but that's less of a surprise). The Times went the other way, making many of our readers none too happy.

Here's part of the U-T's take:

In the end, Proposition 2 is about the basic humane treatment of animals, even those raised for food. There are an estimated 40 million farm animals raised for commercial purposes in California. Every one of them deserves at least that much civility.

The Sacramento Bee was especially crotchety, saying no to everything - except, of course, Prop. 11. The Merc was the one that said yes the most - to five of the 12.

So who has the best, most useful, clearest and most thoughtful endorsements? Besides the Times, of course?

Opinions about opinions are matters of opinion, but I'm a big fan of the (Riverside) Press-Enterprise editorial page when it comes to election endorsements. In addition to obvious thought and analysis, I'm impressed with the sheer volume of endorsements, including council races and local ballot measures. That doesn't mean the P-E is always right. But check it out.

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