The chasm in the District 3 supervisor’s race

An illustration with closeup photos of a man and a woman
State Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath are vying to replace outgoing Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
(Photos by Rich Pedroncelli / AP; Myung J. Chun / L.A. Times; illustration by Lorena Iñiguez Elebee / L.A. Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, Nov. 3. I’m Andrew J. Campa 👋🏼, a Metro reporter writing from the San Gabriel Valley (home of the 626 Night Market!).

While much attention has been focused on the Los Angeles mayor’s race, the contest for the next Los Angeles County supervisor in charge of District 3 will likely be a close call heading into Tuesday. State Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath, both Democrats, are vying to replace outgoing Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who decided against running for a third term.

It’s easy to understand why this contest can be confusing, simply beginning with the role the county plays in city and local governance. Fortunately ☘️, our Jon Healy provides an excellent breakdown on the roles of city councils, the Los Angeles mayor, the county and state for those wanting to know more.

As for the district itself, the boundaries can be problematic.


The 3rd District covers parts of two huge areas — the San Fernando Valley and the Westside — but is not all-encompassing of either. Cities including West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica are familiar Westside bastions of the district and are joined with the communities of Canoga Park, Chatsworth, North Hollywood and Pacoima from the Valley.

In total, 10 cities, 25 unincorporated communities and parts of 50 Los Angeles city neighborhoods comprise the water-pistol-shaped district.

Within the district, communities such as Fairfax, Hancock Park, Hollywood, Lake View Terrace, Pico-Robertson and various others are split, leaving residents and businesses on adjacent blocks with different representatives.

Confusion aside, the stakes are relatively high.

The district is home to 2.06 million residents, larger than San Diego (1.4 million), and stretched over 431 square miles. The 3rd District is about 43% white, 37% Latino, 12% Asian and 4% Black.

The next supervisor would become one of five voting members — currently all female — who direct a budget of nearly $39 billion 💰.

By comparison, expenditures for the states of Nevada and Arizona were listed at $16.3 billion and $45.1 billion, respectively, for 2021.


I’ve reported on this race since the spring, when there were six candidates, including state Sen. Henry Stern (D-Malibu). Last week, The Times 📰 published a profile of the candidates and details on the race, which centers on several issues, including homelessness and reproductive rights.

Our Katie Licari also wrote a piece looking at the funding behind each campaign, which is also worth a read.

Although many things have interested me about this race, it’s on the issue of law enforcement where I’ve come to see not just differing answers but also differing worldviews.

Hertzberg has portrayed himself as the conciliator, the man who can find the middle ground.

It’s a talent that, he says, led him to be voted unanimously as speaker of the Assembly from 2000 to 2002. Hertzberg often speaks about building diverse coalitions from the left and the right throughout his time in the Assembly and Senate.

A central topic in the District 3 race is the opponents’ stance on Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who is running for reelection. In September, the Sheriff’s Department searched Supervisor Kuehl’s home as part of a highly controversial investigation. Kuehl has been a vocal opponent of Villanueva, calling for his resignation in 2020. She also backs an amendment on the ballot that would authorize the board to remove an elected sheriff.

Four of five supervisors support the amendment.

But at a Sept. 29 debate at UCLA’s Hammer Museum, Hertzberg refused to denounce Villanueva, saying he “didn’t see the value in putting a finger in someone’s eye if you have to get up and work with them.”

Hertzberg said the same in interviews with The Times in March and October. He added in October that he thought the search was “horrible” but didn’t see the value of “the Twitter troll game.”

“I don’t just swing for the fences; I don’t just try to grab headlines,” Hertzberg said of a public denunciation.

He added there was a “real possibility” Villanueva would win reelection and that comments made against him would make working together difficult.

“My job is to fix problems the taxpayers sent me to deal with,” Hertzberg said. “I didn’t vote for him in the first place, but I’ll work with him if that’s what the voters want.”

At the UCLA debate, Horvath called out the sheriff, saying she didn’t “know anyone who feels safer after four years of Alex Villanueva” and “would not support” his reelection campaign.

The statement followed the candidate’s most scrutinized move of the campaign season.

Horvath caught the ire of Fox News and other conservative media in June when she voted to trim one sheriff’s deputy position and add 30 unarmed security ambassadors. The measure passed by a 3-2 vote but was seen by some residents as “defunding the police.” West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce threw their support behind Hertzberg after the vote.

For Horvath, a gay-marriage and abortion-rights activist, the move was about doing right by her community. Horvath said she believed in local police being “properly funded” but added that social services that help the homeless, among some vulnerable groups, “didn’t need to be defunded along the way.”

“I’ve seen firsthand the impacts when law enforcement is called upon to respond to issues for which they are not uniquely trained,” Horvath said. “It can cost people their lives; it can cost the county many dollars and high liability costs. And it costs the public trust as people start to lose faith and confidence in the services that are supposed to be delivered.”

One vision will win out Tuesday evening. Please vote.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.


Closeup of a smiling man with gray hair wearing a button-up shirt and suit jacket.
A new report documents a coverup by high-ranking CBS officials and a Los Angeles Police Department captain regarding a sexual harassment allegation made against former CBS chief Leslie Moonves.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision / Associated Press)

CBS and an LAPD captain led a coverup of a sexual assault report against Les Moonves, the New York attorney general says. A report released Wednesday documents an elaborate coverup by high-ranking CBS officials and a Los Angeles Police Department captain regarding a sexual harassment allegation against the former CBS chief. According to the document, the coverup took place in 2017 and 2018 and involved the captain providing Moonves and CBS executives with updates on the LAPD investigation for months. Los Angeles Times

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The key to the Los Angeles mayoral race may not be downtown but in the Valley. Although neither Rick Caruso nor Karen Bass is a Valley native, they both have ties. Caruso’s first development was a mall in Encino while Bass was married to a Cal State Northridge alumnus. Whoever wins the race will likely have to capture the Valley, whose 1.46 million residents make up 38% of the city’s population. Los Angeles Times

Security cameras for the Pelosi home weren’t being “actively monitored,” the Capitol Police admit. When Nancy Pelosi is home, the government agency says her San Francisco home is monitored “around the clock.” That wasn’t the case Friday, when a home invader attacked her husband. The security vulnerability has raised questions. Los Angeles Times

President Biden will stump for Democratic Rep. Mark Levin on Thursday at Oceanside’s MiraCosta College. Levin is in a tough battle with Republican Brian Maryott for California’s 49th District, which includes coastal communities in north San Diego and south Orange counties. Biden is looking to shore up support for Democrats in the area, including Rep. Katie Porter. Orange County Register


A judge has ruled the civil corruption trial against Santa Clara County’s sheriff will continue. Laurie Smith had abruptly resigned Monday and asked the court to dismiss the case because she could no longer be removed from office. The longtime San Jose-area sheriff is accused in a bribery scheme that allegedly traded concealed-carry permits for political donations. The judge said: “Why would this case allow the defendant to just, on her own, stop a case from going forward because she has resigned? She was not removed.” San Jose Mercury News

A record amount of drugs was seized in Madera County. The county sheriff announced Wednesday that Operation Trifecta was very successful. The drug seizure was the largest in county history as 1,300 pounds of methamphetamine, 4 kilos of heroin and 2 kilos of fentanyl were captured. Nearly 30 arrests were made over a three-week period, with the operation ending Oct. 26. Labs were also discovered in Fresno and Madera counties. Fresno Bee

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A woman stands at the door of a modest home, speaking with a man in a leather vest.
Resident Leonila Leon speaks with Miguel Espinoza, manager at Barrio Senior Villa.
(Ana Ramirez / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Barrio Logan biodiesel plant has been ordered to mitigate “putrid” odors. After receiving 20 complaints over a year’s time, the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District board has ordered the plant in San Diego’s Barrio Logan neighborhood to start mitigating “vomit-like” odors that have affected local residents. The smell is strong and bitter and locals say they smell it from their homes. The plant, New Leaf Biofuel, converts cooking oil from restaurants into biodiesel. San Diego Union-Tribune

The Oxnard City Council may have the money to fund a new park thanks to a foundation it established with a local power plant. The plant will kick in money for the creation of the park at Ormond Beach, site of the power plant, when that facility closes. The only catch is that the facility’s life will likely be extended beyond its closing date of Dec. 31, 2023. Ventura County Star


The pride of Quartz Hill High School is tucked away in an unassuming portable classroom. It’s not an athletic or academic team that has brought the school recent glory but its esports squad. The team is considered one of the best in California, and the school has invested tens of thousands of dollars into state-of-the art equipment. Read The Times series on the explosion in popularity of esports. Los Angeles Times

Where do Fresno’s blue “tourist info” signs seen off Highway 41 lead visitors? A Fresno Bee columnist followed the white arrows, which led him on a trip to the town’s historic Old Fresno Water Tower, which has been closed behind a chain-link fence since 2020. Twelve years earlier, the city’s visitor bureau located nearby closed up, but the signs never came down, promoting tourist information but delivering “only frustration.” Fresno Bee

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Los Angeles: 67, sunny. San Diego: 63, scattered showers. San Francisco: 61, sunny. San Jose: 61, sunny. Fresno: 57, partly cloudy. Sacramento: 55, partly cloudy.


Today’s California memory is from Thomas D. Penberthy:

I was born in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1948. In 1957, my parents took the family on a road trip vacation to Disneyland. I was 9 years old. I was fascinated with the California sunshine, palm trees, blue skies, orange groves and, of course, Hollywood. I vowed I would someday relocate to beautiful California. Unfortunately, it never happened. But to this day I LOVE reading the stories of people who were fortunate enough to either be born in, grow up in, or relocate to California. I sure do envy them.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

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