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EDITORIAL HAHN'S REPORT CARD.

IT almost seems unfair to grade Mayor James Hahn's performance for December, seeing that he spent so much of the month on vacation.

He did, however, make it back to City Hall on Christmas Eve for the annual photo shoot with city employees and their children, although he abandoned the tradition of wearing a Santa suit for the occasion. As always, Hahn is a man of half-measures.

December was another go-it-slow month for the Hahn administration. Hahn's grade for the month: D.

Topping the list of highlights was the mayor's decision to follow our advice and try to broker a peace between Los Angeles Police Department Chief Bernard C. Parks and Police Protective League President Mitzi Grasso. Hahn brought the antagonists in for a photo-op at his residence, and got both to make happy sounds about working together for police reform.

What he obviously didn't do, though, was get the two sides to bury the hatchet or resolve their old disputes. Not long thereafter, the PPL was carping about Parks once again.

So much for a lasting peace, or a successful foray into police reform.

Now Hahn is left with the decision about what to do with the chief, whose contract soon comes up for renewal.

Whether because of an uncooperative union or his own foot-dragging, Parks has been ineffectual at rehabilitating the department. But African- American groups have rallied behind the chief, and Hahn is not one to resist the pressures of identity politics.

So rather than commit himself to a real decision ahead of time, Hahn has vacillated, saying only that he'll base his decision ``on the merits'' - whatever that means.

Judging Hahn ``on the merits'' means looking through a magnifying class at the touch-up work he's doing on the wreckage of L.A. government. The problem isn't that he's doing much wrong, but that he's doing so little right.

In the last month, Hahn has boasted about creating a measly two neighborhood councils, even as every other neighborhood in the city waits for the supposed jewel of charter reform.

He has met with local chambers of commerce to tell them how much the city can do for their businesses, while making no effort to reform the city's Byzantine tax structure.

He has set up a commission to examine the LAPD's troubled discipline system - by replacing it with civil-service commissions like the ones have proved so ineffective throughout the rest of city government.

Hahn has done a million and one small things, none of which can ever add up to the sort of big work that Los Angeles requires.

Tinkering won't save the city, or get Hahn on the honor roll.

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L.A. MAYOR'S MONTHLY REPORT CARD

This month's overall grade: C-
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Dec 30, 2001
Words:458
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