The Times has offered its recommendations in many of the races in the June 3 elections and has posted them at latimes.com/endorsements. We endorse selectively, and this year have focused on the county and statewide races, on judicial elections, and on the races to replace two longtime members of Congress who are retiring — Democrat Henry A. Waxman and Republican Howard “Buck” McKeon.
As a result of two recent initiatives, primaries are no longer controlled by political parties, and voters can vet all candidates regardless of political affiliation.
Here are short summaries of our choices:
Governor: Jerry Brown. Most of California’s challenges remain before us, but Brown has been able to take action on many of them, moving the state from deep financial distress to a welcome, if temporary, surplus. Voters would be wise to keep him on the job.
Lt. governor: Gavin Newsom. Newsom has been unable to do much more with the office than have his predecessors. Still, he’s a competent understudy and better suited to assume the role of governor than any of his challengers.
Secretary of state: Pete Peterson. Peterson, a Republican, is the candidate best suited for the kinds of tasks entrusted to this office: safeguarding and promoting elections, and making campaign and business data available to the public in a useful form.
Controller: Ashley Swearengin. Fresno Mayor Swearengin has demonstrated her skill in leading her city through its economic crisis, and is the candidate most likely to perform well as the state’s chief financial officer.
Treasurer: John Chiang. Chiang, a tax lawyer, has worked his way up through California’s financial offices, from the Board of Equalization to state controller. As treasurer, he would likely do a responsible job managing the state’s investments.
Attorney general: Kamala Harris. Harris’ highest-profile move during her first term was getting Californians better terms in a settlement with banks over improper foreclosures. None of her challengers makes an adequate case for removing her from office.
Insurance commissioner: Dave Jones. Jones has proved to be an active but thoughtful regulator of the insurance industry, fighting for consumers without driving insurers from the state.
Superintendent of public instruction: Marshall Tuck. School reformer Tuck is a better choice than incumbent Tom Torlakson, who has brought too little vision or leadership to the job.
Office 22: Pamala Matsumoto
Office 48: Charles M. Calderon
Office 54: Debra L. Losnick
Office 61: Jacqueline Lewis
Office 76: Alison Matsumoto Estrada
Office 87: Andrew M. Stein
Office 97: Songhai “Sunny” Armstead
Office 107: Emma Castro
Office 113: Stacy Wiese
Office 117: James B. Pierce
Office 138: Donna Hollingsworth Armstrong
Office 157: Andrew Cooper
Assessor: John Morris. The L.A. County tax assessor’s office needs a competent administrator to move past the single term of John Noguez, who is currently facing corruption charges. The best choice is Morris, a deputy district attorney.
Sheriff: Jim McDonnell. The Long Beach police chief and member of the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence is easily the best of seven candidates to remake the Sheriff’s Department and end a culture that has allowed abuse of jail inmates and mismanagement of resources.
Supervisorial District 1: Hilda Solis. The former U.S. secretary of Labor and member of Congress remains something of an unknown quantity in her approach to county government, but is far and away more qualified than her two opponents.
Supervisorial District 3: John Duran. West Hollywood City Councilman Duran offers the best combination of fiscal responsibility and passion for the needs of county residents living on the margins.
School board: George McKenna. In the race to fill the Los Angeles Unified School District board seat left vacant by the death of Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, the best choice is McKenna, for his independent thinking.
Proposition 41: Yes. This measure would convert a housing bond for veterans into funding that would also help house low-income and homeless veterans in rental units, putting the same money to use for the vets who are in the greatest need.
Proposition 42: Yes. The measure would compel local governments to continue fulfilling their duties to make meeting agendas and other documents available to the public.
U.S. House of Representatives District 25: Lee Rogers. Rogers, a Democrat, supports raising the federal minimum wage and believes in comprehensive immigration reform, unlike his conservative opponents.
U.S. House of Representatives District 33: Matt Miller. Miller brings creative proposals for rejuvenating teacher selection, education and retention, bringing down healthcare costs, reforming campaign finance laws and a host of other issues.