If you’ve opened your November 8 election ballot, you’ve no doubt noticed it’s a whopper! If you’re not sure whom to vote for, I’m offering recommendations for some of the more important and competitive seats. You can check them out below.
Los Angeles Mayor — Karen Bass
Karen Bass is the Mayor Los Angeles needs. Progressive and pragmatic, she runs towards a crisis like a first responder, determined to help. She looks at a problem, identifies real, substantive solutions, and builds coalitions to solve it. She doesn’t look for the limelight or the credit; she looks for the best way to make lasting and structural change. A former physicians’ assistant in an emergency room, Karen later founded the Community Coalition, one of the most impactful non-profits in Los Angeles. As California Assembly Speaker, she steered the state through the worst of the Great Recession. In Congress, she has been a leader and a bridge builder. She has led the Congressional Black Caucus, and was on Joe Biden’s short-list for vice president. She is one of the finest public officials I have ever known. As the LA Times said in its endorsement of Karen last Spring, “For this race and this moment, no other candidate can match Bass’ experience, track record, sophisticated grasp of the problems plaguing Los Angeles and her vision of how to move forward.
Especially now, at this moment of crisis and racial reckoning, Karen’s decades of experience, from the founding of Community Coalition to the present day, forming multiracial coalitions, bridging divides, and bringing people together, makes the the leader we need.
Los Angeles City Attorney — Faisal Gill
Faisal Gill is the candidate for City Attorney I trust to keep our families and our neighborhoods safe. An accomplished civil rights attorney, he will focus on real solutions, breaking the cycle of crime and poverty. He will demand compassion and real, long-term solutions to help house the unhoused. He will take on police abuse and corporate polluters, and will stand up for immigrants and consumers. Faisal is guided by a vision of inclusivity, as well as social and economic justice. He will provide real solutions to help break the cycles of crime and poverty, and create a city where all of our families and our neighborhoods are safe. I believe he is the best choice for L.A. City Attorney. I am proud to endorse him.
Los Angeles City Controller — Kenneth Mejia
Kenneth Mejia is the fresh, independent voice we need to hold City Hall accountable. He is an accountant and an organizer who is dedicated to using data to help Angelenos understand their government and make it more responsive to their needs. As a candidate, he has shown how he will do the job. He has been providing data-driven analysis of LA government that is insightful and piercing, exposing dysfunction and revealing who benefits and who suffers from an unfair system. His commitment to transparency has shown voters why city government matters, and inspired people to engage in new ways.
Los Angeles City Council, 11 District — Erin Darling
Erin is the progressive candidate in the race, and because he’s a fresh face with a fresh perspective. Smart, humble, and principled, he’s the only candidate talking truth and proposing real strategies to address our homelessness crisis, provide more affordable housing, improve public safety, and combat climate change. He is determined to end homelessness, not push encampments from one neighborhood to another, like his opponent. Erin loves our neighborhoods and cares about our future. He is a lifelong resident of Venice, where he grew up skateboarding and surfing, and where he and his wife are raising their young son. He’s a lawyer who has spent years fighting for civil rights, for renters, and for justice. He’s also served as a county commissioner, protecting our beaches and our coast. You can find out more about Erin here.
Los Angeles City Council, 5th District — Katy Young Yaroslavsky
Katy has the experience and vision to be LA’s climate champion. An environmentalist and climate attorney, for the past 7 years, Katy has served as Supervisor’s point person on environmental issues. She crafted Measure W: The Safe, Clean Water Program.She led the effort to create the Clean Power Alliance — a coalition of thirty-two local cities and counties which provides a green energy alternative for Southern California Edison customers. And she pushed for the successful creation of LA County’s first Office of Sustainability.
Los Angeles City Council, 13th District — Hugo Soto-Martinez
Hugo Soto-Martinez is one of the best community organizers in LA. He’s been fighting for workers, renters and our most vulnerable neighbors for years, building grassroots coalitions to defeat powerful special interests. He knows how to make real progressive change. And he is running against an incumbent who fought against the increase in the minimum wage and necessary renter protections, and who has been the architect of some of the city’s cruelest, most counterproductive strategies of criminalizing homelessness.
Measure ULA — VOTE YES
Approving the United House LA (ULA) measure is one of the biggest things we can do to end homelessness in Los Angeles. It will pay for a range of smart solutions to homelessness by placing a small one-time tax on luxury real estate sales — sales over $5 million. It will provide for the quick purchase or lease of hotels and motels and apartments that people can move into immediately. It will provide cash assistance to low-income seniors and people with disabilities at risk of homelessness. It will provide funds to preserve existing affordable housing, and build even more. You can learn more about ULA in this episode of my podcast.
Measure LH- VOTE YES
This would allow the City to create thousands of more units of public low-income housing. Why do voters need to approve that? Because of a racist California Constitutional amendment passed to keep Black families out of white neighborhoods. Article 34 of the state Constitution requires cities and counties to get voter approval before building or acquiring low-income housing
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
Los Angeles County Sheriff — Robert Luna
It is imperative that Los Angeles remove the dangerous demagogue Alex Villanueva from office, and voting for former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna is the way to do it. Villanueva is a threat to the public. He is accused of directing a cover-up of an incident in which a deputy pressed his knee against the head of a handcuffed inmate for three minutes. The state is investigating LASD for a history of civil rights violations. Villanueva is and his top aides are refusing to comply with subpoenas. There is a well-documented record of deputy gangs operating within LASD, which Villanueva denies. Villanueva’s agency threatens and abuses people who are vulnerable and voiceless — like the families of people they have killed. Villanueva is showing preferential treatment for gun permits to campaign donors. Villanueva is scared of civilian oversight, defies civilian oversight, and is seeking revenge on those who exercise it. Luna, by contrast, earned praise and a solid reputation as head of the Long Beach Police Department.
Los Angeles County Supervisor, 3rd District — Lindsey Horvath
To my great dismay, my friend Supervisor Sheila Kuehl is retiring after a remarkable career in public service. She and I agree on so many things, including on the right person to succeed her: West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath. I have worked with Lindsey for years, especially in regional transportation issues. She is smart, determined, creative and fair. She will be a strong leader on homelessness, affordable housing, public safety and climate change. As Sheila said when she endorsed Lindsey, “Lindsey is exactly the kind of leader this district will need. From helping unhoused residents get the critical services they so desperately need, to leading her City’s recovery efforts for working families and small businesses, to standing up for justice for LGBTQ people and minority communities — Lindsey is a leader who fearlessly takes action for the people.”
Los Angeles Superior Court — The Defenders of Justice slate
Choosing who to vote for in judicial races is tough for voters because the campaigns don’t draw a lot of attention and very few people get to meet the candidates. Most elected judges tend to be former prosecutors, which prejudices the judicial process. This year, a slate of candidates, including three public defenders, are running together. I fully endorse “The Defenders of Justice” slate of four women below, as well as one other candidate:
Office 60 — Anna Reitano
Anna is a Deputy Public Defender with a background in felonies and misdemeanors. She also has experience in juvenile courts, solely representing children. She is a union representative for other public defenders at the Public Defender’s Union, Local 148.
Office 67 — Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes
Elizabeth has been a Deputy Public Defender for nineteen years. It has allowed her to understand the legal system firsthand and made her deeply passionate about serving the public and working closely with individuals and their loved ones.
Office 70 — Holly Hancock
For the past 15 years, Holly has served as a Deputy Public Defender of Los Angeles County. She was previously an elected union official for the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA)
Office 118 — Carolyn “Jiyoung” Park
Jiyoung is the daughter of Korean immigrants and was born and raised in Los Angeles. She is a private attorney who handles civil rights, labor, and tenant matters. Previously, she was a union-side labor attorney for SEIU 1000 and member of UAW Local 2350.
Office 151 — Patrick Hare — a deputy public defender with more than three decades of experience. He has worked extensively in the collaborative courts providing treatment and alternatives to incarceration, including the HALO program (Homeless Alternatives to Living On the Streets), the Rapid Diversion Program (for defendants with mental health and substance abuse issues), and has collaborated with the Bail Project, a non-profit agency seeking to minimize economic injustice by bailing out poor clients charged with non-violent offenses. He has worked at the Mental Health Court, and Juvenile Court.
County Measure A — YES
This would amend the County Charter to grant the Board of Supervisors authority to remove a Sheriff from office for cause, including a violation of law, flagrant or repeated neglect of duties, misappropriation of funds, willful falsification of documents, or obstructing an investigation, by a four-fifths vote of the Board of Supervisors.
FEDERAL AND STATE RACES
U.S. Representative, 37th District — Sydney Kamlager
Sydney is running to succeed Karen Bass, who is giving up her congressional seat to run for mayor. She is currently the State Senator for parts of the 11th District, and before that, she served as the Assemblywoman for the same 11th District communities. She has authored landmark legislation in the areas of criminal justice reform, health care equity, environmental protections, and affordable housing. In Sacramento, she has been an aggressive advocate for the services and health care we need to address our homelessness crisis.
California State Senate, 28th District — Lola Smallwood-Cuevas
This is the seat currently held by Senator Kamlager, and it includes Mar Vista, Del Rey and Westchester. Lola is an educator, labor organizer, and community advocate. She is director of the Center for the Advancement of Racial Equity at the UCLA Labor Center and is co-founder of the LA Black Worker Center. She currently serves as the treasurer of the Los Angeles County Workforce Development Board, an Employment Equity Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles, and a taskforce member for the United States Department of Labor Hiring Initiative to Reimagine Equity (HIRE).
California State Senate, 20th District — Caroline Menjivar
Caroline Menjivar is a once-in-a-generation leader and we sorely need her voice in Sacramento. She is a former Marine, former emergency medical technician, trained social worker, and member of he LGBTQ community. The child of immigrants from El Salvador, sheshe now runs a nonprofit that provides food and support to needy families. She is dedicated to uplifting families and ensuring everyone has access to a quality education, good-paying jobs, and affordable housing. Her track record of advocating for vulnerable communities makes her a much needed voice on the State Senate.
California Assembly, 51st District — Rick Chavez Zbur
Rick is an environmentalist, a feminist, and a civil rights leader. Until recently, he served as executive director of Equality California, the state’s leading LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. Under Rick’s leadership, Equality California has fought to protect and provide healthcare to immigrant communities, enact commonsense gun safety and criminal justice reform, defend workers’ rights and raise the minimum wage to $15, provide universal healthcare coverage, protect reproductive choice and healthcare and finally end the ineffective and broken death penalty system.
California Assembly, 61st District — Tina McKinnor
Earlier this year, Tina won a special election to fill the remainder of the term of Autumn Burke, who resigned. She is now seeking re-election. The new district (61) includes Venice, Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista and Westchester. I’ve known and worked with Tina for years, in her capacity working for: LA Voice, a multi-racial, multi-faith community organization fighting for progressive change; members of the State Assembly; and the California Democratic Party. She has the right experience, and the right heart, to get things done. Tina will lead in the effort to confront the homelessness crisis and provide the services and support people need to stay in their homes and off the streets. She is the leader we need on public safety, climate change, health care and education.
California Assembly, 65th District — Fatima Iqbal-Zubair
California Assembly, District 40 — Pilar Schiavo
State Proposition 1 — Reproductive Freedom — YES
State Proposition 28 — Arts & Music School Funds- YES
State Proposition 30 — Electric Vehicle Subsidies — YES
OTHER CITIES AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS
Lynwood City Council — Juan Munoz-Guevara
Culver City School Board — Triston Ezidore
La Puente City Council — Ricardo Martinez
If you have any questions about how to vote in this election, visit the County Registrar’s site at lavote.gov. You can see your sample ballot here, and you can track your ballot here. Remember — return your ballot by November 8!