In a whirlwind of last-minute stumping, candidates vying to succeed termed-out Los Angeles County Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Gloria Molina crisscrossed opposite sides of the county over the weekend, shaking hands, posing for selfies and otherwise trying to scoop up votes before Tuesday's primary election.
On the Westside, West Hollywood City Council member John Duran, who was mayor when he helped pass that city's anti-declawing law in 2013, mingled with animal lovers viewing a documentary film on the issue. Former state lawmaker Sheila Kuehl thanked volunteers making get-out-the-vote calls on her behalf from the sun-filled Santa Monica home of longtime friend and advisor Torie Osborn.
Former Santa Monica City Council member Bobby Shriver on Sunday, meanwhile, attended an early breakfast in Granada Hills before rushing off to church services with his family in Santa Monica. In the afternoon he met with potential voters at Pick Pico, a Westside street fair.
In the eastern county, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis rallied her volunteers, placed phone calls and walked precincts with prominent supporters that included U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) and United Farm Workers union co-founder Dolores Huerta. Her two opponents, El Monte Councilman Juventino "J" Gomez and school police Officer April Saucedo Hood, made their own final push to turn out supporters.
With a governor's race considered a slam-dunk for incumbent Jerry Brown and no compelling statewide initiatives to draw voters into the ballot booth, candidates for county races are trying to increase the turnout. The five-member Board of Supervisors is one of the nation's most powerful local government panels, overseeing a $26-billion budget, the nation's largest jail system, its second-largest public health system and more than 100,000 workers.
In at least two races — Yaroslavsky's 3rd District seat and the hard-fought contest to replace retired Sheriff Lee Baca — a November runoff appears certain. Apart from races for supervisor, sheriff and assessor, voters in various parts of the county will cast ballots for Superior Court judges, a Los Angeles Unified School District board member, and local officials in the cities of Long Beach, Glendale and Torrance.
Fifteen judicial seats are up for grabs, although in three of the races, only one candidate filed to run. Seven candidates are seeking to fill a Los Angeles Unified School District seat left vacant by the death of Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte.
Long Beach voters will cast ballots in a runoff election to choose a new mayor, city attorney and two council members.
In the mayor's race, Councilman Robert Garcia and real estate investor Damon Dunn are vying to lead the county's second-largest city. If Garcia is elected, he would be the city's first Latino and openly gay mayor. Dunn, a former NFL player, would be the city's first black mayor.
In Torrance, residents will pick a mayor, City Council member — 16 people are running for the position — city clerk and treasurer.
Glendale is holding a special election to fill the seat vacated by former CouncilmanRafi Manoukian, who was elected city treasurer in April 2013.
Local propositions are also on the ballots in several cities, including one in Whittier that would convert election of four of five council seats to district-based rather than at-large in response to a voting rights lawsuit.
More than 4,600 polling places will be set up around the county for voters to cast ballots or turn in their prefilled vote-by-mail ballots. Ballots can also be cast before Tuesday at the registrar-recorder's headquarters in Norwalk.
County Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan this year introduced measures aimed at making voting easier for nonnative English speakers. Kiosks with voter information in 10 languages will be set up at every polling place and, for the first time, permanent legal residents — green card holders — are being recruited as volunteer translators.
They are allowed to volunteer as poll workers as a result of a recent change in state law. The county also has set up a hot line with voter information for non-English speakers at (800) 481-8683.
Los Angeles County has more than 4.8 million registered voters, but turnout in primary elections is typically low. In 2012, a presidential primary, just under 22% of voters cast ballots. However, the three supervisorial seats up for election that year all had incumbents running.
Both of the supervisor offices on Tuesday's ballot are open as a result of term limits. The candidates running to fill them are hoping that voters will embrace the rare opportunity to select two new faces to replace supervisors who have each served for more than two decades.
Madison Wellington of Culver City, who came to the Pick Pico street fair to watch her 15-year-old son perform for the crowd, said she was voting for Shriver. "I like his views on the environment, and he's a very liberal guy,'' Wellington said after posing for a selfie with the candidate. "I've followed him and his family for a long time."
Lora O'Connor, sitting down to a four-hour shift of dialing voters for Kuehl, called the former legislator a "grass-roots leader for everyday people."
"It's critical to have more women leaders,'' O'Connor said. "And she's been a strong leader forever."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times