Don't sit this election out. It's true that there's no high-profile mayor's race or marijuana ballot measure, but Tuesday's election could lead to one of the most significant changes to local government in years. If Charter Amendments 1 and 2 pass, city and school board elections will move, beginning in 2020, from March and May of odd-numbered years to June and November of even-numbered years — to coincide with state and federal elections. The idea is to increase the dismally low number of people voting in local L.A. elections.
But, wait, there's more. If the amendments pass, the city and school board officials elected Tuesday (or in the May 19 runoff) will serve an extra 18 months in office on top of their regular four-year terms in order to switch to the new 2020 schedule. So, choose candidates wisely, because they could get a super-sized term in office.
The Times spent more than a month researching the issues, interviewing candidates and attending debates. Here are our endorsements, in summary form. The full text of each is available at latimes.com/endorsements.
Charter Amendments 1 & 2: Yes. Over the last decade, voter participation in city elections has ranged from 10% to 34%. It's bad for democracy — and it empowers special interest groups — when so few Angelenos are making the decisions for everyone. The fastest, easiest way to increase participation is to change the election dates to coincide with gubernatorial and presidential elections.
City Council District 2:
City Council District 4. Sheila Irani. The race to replace termed-out Councilman
Council District 6: Cindy Montañez. In this rematch between incumbent
Council District 8: Marqueece Harris-Dawson. Termed-out Councilman
Council District 10:
Council District 12:
Council District 14:
Board of Education District 3: Tamar Galatzan. In her years on the board, Galatzan has often taken independent positions and asked the right questions. But she reflexively followed
Board of Education District 5: Andrew Thomas. Both challengers are stronger than incumbent Bennett Kayser, who has been a constant vote against reform and charter schools. Our choice is Thomas, an educational consultant and LAUSD parent, whose job entails studying what works in schools and what doesn't.
Board of Education District 7: Richard Vladovic. As president of the school board, Vladovic has tried to lead by common sense, rather than ideology, but he has too often ended up blowing with the prevailing winds. Still, he is better equipped to serve than his challengers.
Community College District trustee seat 1: Andra Hoffman is an administrator and part-time teacher who understands the world of higher education.
Community College District trustee seat 3: Sydney Kamlager has a deep understanding of how community colleges can better serve minority and special-needs students.
Community College District trustee seat 5: Incumbent Scott Svonkin has been a strong advocate for transparency, oversight and financial prudence.
Community College District trustee seat 7: Mike Fong is a policy wonk with a focus on improving the colleges' job training and placement.