L.A. on the Record: The summer doldrums and post-primary notes

Karen Bass smiles while standing next to two men who are smiling.
Karen Bass at last week’s L.A. Pride celebration.
(Care Dorghalli / Los Angeles Times)
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Good morning, and welcome to L.A. on the Record. Ben Oreskes here bringing you a slimmed-down summertime edition of the newsletter.

Here in Los Angeles, our June primary is firmly in the rearview mirror, the City Council is out on recess for much of July, and most everyone is trying to sneak in some vacation before the fall general election battles begin. Despite relishing the relative quiet, our two mayoral candidates have been doing a smattering of events, and the reporters who cover them have still been writing stories — albeit at a slower clip.

Eunisses Hernandez, who won a City Council seat last month, described this time the best in a recent radio interview. In one of the progressive wing’s most resounding victories, she beat Councilman Gil Cedillo head-to-head and will take office in December.

“We’re just taking one quick breath in July, and in August we’ll start strategizing and building up our team, figuring out how we’ll work in City Hall, how we’ll build out our community district offices,” she told KCRW-FM, noting that she’d be campaigning this fall with other candidates because she “can’t do it alone on the council.”

Now, really quickly, let’s run through a few stories from the last two weeks and then let you get back to enjoying a beautiful summer Saturday.


— In a recent interview with my colleague Julia Wick, Hernandez didn’t say whom she voted for in the primary for mayor, beyond noting that her position was aligned with that of activist candidate Gina Viola. This came up because Julia wrote a great story wondering whether the 7% of voters who supported Viola would come into the Karen Bass fold.

Viola has continued to blast Bass on Twitter and wouldn’t rule out a write-in campaign this fall. She’s also been a regular attendee at anti-Caruso rallies — including one this week outside Caruso’s Brentwood home. The question now is whether the city’s far-left voters will rally behind Bass in the general election, or potentially sit out a head-to-head matchup between a centrist former Republican businessman and a relatively progressive candidate who would make history as the city’s first Black female mayor.

Side by side photos of a man in a suit with dark, graying hair and a blond woman in glasses.
Bob Hertzberg and Lindsey Horvath are headed for a runoff for the Los Angeles County District 3 supervisor’s race.
(Rich Pedroncelli / AP; Myung J. Chun / L.A. Times)

— One of the most interesting races this fall will be for L.A. County supervisor in District 3, where state Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) faces off against West Hollywood City Council member Lindsey Horvath. My colleagues Jeong Park and Hailey Branson-Potts explore why Horvath isn’t highlighting her tenure serving in West Hollywood city government. They note her campaign website for Los Angeles County supervisor leaves out one thing: West Hollywood.

— The other exciting race at the county level is the reelection run of controversial Sheriff Alex Villanueva against former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna. The contest has drawn a lot of attention, and it may not be the only sheriff-related topic that voters will have to decide this fall. Under a proposed change to the county charter, one that would need approval of voters in November’s general election, the Board of Supervisors could force out a sitting sheriff if four of the five supervisors agreed the person was unfit for office.

— Los Angeles Magazine columnist Jon Regardie has a rundown of what he thinks both Bass and Caruso need to do to win this election in the fall. With the certification of results last week, we also got a huge new trove of precinct-level data. The information shows in incredible detail what parts of the city and by how much each candidate won. Go check out how your neighborhood voted.

— Finally, I checked in with Bass and Caruso to see how they spent July 4. Bass did some campaigning and then had family over to her Baldwin Hills home to watch fireworks and grill. Having the family over is a yearly tradition for the congresswoman, and spokeswoman Anna Bahr tells me that Bass’ “son-in-law Michael is an amazing cook, who this year made ribs and macaroni salad, which the congresswoman looks forward to every year.”


It’s not clear where Caruso spent the holiday, but he told The Times that he had a family barbecue. His wife, Tina, and their kids make side dishes and presumably the golden retriever Hudson was begging for scraps. “We always have marinated garlic chicken, Italian sausage freshly made from Sabatino’s Sausage Co., burgers, hot dogs and steaks,” Caruso said. We “also grill bell peppers and onions.”

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  • Who’s running the city? Still Eric Garcetti. His confirmation as ambassador to India awaits a Senate vote. He was nominated to the post by President Biden on July 9, 2021 — a year ago today.
  • The latest in mayoral endorsements: United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 770 endorsed Bass for mayor.
  • And other city endorsements: Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin and former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa endorsed Sam Yebri in City Council District 5. The Plumbers, Pipefitters and Welders Local 761 endorsed Traci Park in Council District 11. Former L.A. City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo endorsed Hydee Feldstein Soto for the same office.

(If you have an endorsement you’d like to flag for next week, please send it to us.)

  • Dig of the week: “It was an awful cognitive shock,” said Tom Zoellner. The Chapman University English professor was referring to the Orange County university’s recurring relevance in the Jan. 6 insurrection probe — the result of former law professor John Eastman‘s role in trying to keep President Trump in office after he lost in 2020.
  • On the docket for next week: Not much, but yeah, let us know.

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