Opinion: The Times Editorial Board’s endorsements for June 7
Good morning. I’m Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, June 4, 2022. I am aware that I got the date wrong in the introduction to last weekend’s newsletter; thanks to all readers who brought that to my attention. Let’s look back at the week in Opinion.
There’s an election in California on June 7 — actually the final day of voting in a weeks-long window for citizens to fill out their ballots and mail them in or show up in person at a vote center. At a time when many state lawmakers in other parts of the country throw up more obstacles to fulfilling the duties of citizenship, it’s nice to live in a place experimenting with democracy in ways that increase involvement, not curb it. God bless California.
In Los Angeles, this election also presents several opportunities — to elect as mayor an experienced local leader with a perfect combination of competence and sincerity; to oust a sheriff who has shown contempt for oversight by elected officials and journalists but comfort in the company of far-right propagandist Tucker Carlson; and to reinvigorate Los Angeles City Hall with progressive leadership that has risen from the grass roots of this city. On that last point, The Times Editorial Board’s endorsement of so many newcomers has drawn plenty of attention, some of it negative; in response, the board addressed these objections in a follow-up editorial: “Why take a chance on a newcomer? After years of corruption scandals, weak housing policies, broken promises to make streets safer and a lack of fiscal transparency and accountability, City Hall could use fresh ideas and new leaders.”
In some races, I’ve made no secret of how I’d like to see the results come out. Sheriff Alex Villanueva, of course, deserves to be thumped out of office by voters, some of whom have taken to The Times’ letters page to voice their regret for supporting him in 2018. His most notable qualities — petty authoritarianism, showmanship, mendacity and, yes, vanity — are exactly what you don’t want in a top law enforcement official. In contrast, a candidate voters should feel very enthusiastic about is Rep. Karen Bass, who is running for Los Angeles mayor. She won the editorial board’s endorsement and, for what it’s worth, my praise.
Those aren’t the only races on the ballot — far from it, in fact. The editorial board has endorsements in many of the contests, including (yes) for Los Angeles County Superior Court judges. Below is a selection of the endorsements, with the full list available at latimes.com/endorsements. Endorsements are based on many hours of research and reporting by our editorial board members, including interviews with candidates. To find information on vote center hours and locations, and instructions on dropping off or mailing your ballot, visit LAVote.gov.
LOS ANGELES CITY
Karen Bass for Los Angeles mayor
Bass is an extraordinarily qualified, battle-tested, mission-driven leader, and should be L.A.’s next mayor.
Hydee Feldstein Soto for Los Angeles city attorney
Feldstein Soto would bring deep legal expertise, independence and intellectual curiosity to the job.
Kenneth Mejia for L.A. city controller
For this job, government outsider Mejia is particularly impressive because the 31-year-old certified public accountant and auditor has used his campaign to demonstrate the kind of transparency- and data-driven controller he would be — and that’s why The Times is endorsing him.
Los Angeles City Council
Eunisses Hernandez for City Council District 1
Policy advocate and community organizer Hernandez has a record of moving forward big, complicated systemic reforms. That’s what L.A. needs.
Bob Blumenfield for City Council District 3
Blumenfield has been a steady and conscientious member of the City Council and a good advocate for his district.
Katy Young Yaroslavsky for City Council District 5
Yaroslavsky is a seasoned candidate who has a track record of forming coalitions, listening to people and negotiating complicated issues.
Monica Rodriguez for City Council District 7
Rodriguez is an effective public servant who is well versed in the needs and challenges of her district and committed to making life better for residents.
Dulce Vasquez for City Council District 9
Vasquez will prioritize constituent service and be a visionary yet pragmatic leader in this South L.A. district.
Erin Darling for City Council District 11
Darling will be a smart and thoughtful representative of this Westside district.
Kate Pynoos for City Council District 13
Pynoos calls herself a progressive with practical experience, and she brings new ideas that the district needs.
Danielle Sandoval for City Council District 15
Community organizer and entrepreneur Sandoval is a grass-roots politician who would bring a fresh perspective to City Hall.
Charter Amendment BB: Yes
The amendment would change the charter to let Los Angeles give businesses in the city a competitive edge when bidding for municipal contracts.
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LOS ANGELES COUNTY
Los Angeles County Sheriff
Robert Luna for L.A. County sheriff
The former Long Beach police chief has a stellar law enforcement record from outside the Sheriff’s Department, including leadership roles in national police organizations with a reform bent. After decades of sheriff scandals and ineptitude, and more than three years of Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s attempts to resist civilian oversight and scuttle hard-won reforms, Luna may well be the department’s last best chance.
Jeffrey Prang for Los Angeles County assessor
L.A. County Assessor Prang is seeking reelection this year, and voters would be wise to give him a third term. Prang has worked to modernize the office by upgrading its computer system (a project that is still unfolding) and digitizing records. He has tackled the backlog of assessment appeals and put in place a $45 filing fee to reduce meritless appeals, and is developing new ways to recruit and train assessors to fill the vacancies in his department.
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Hilda Solis for the 1st supervisorial district
Solis has served the county and its people well in the years leading up to and including the pandemic. Voters should give her one more term to complete her ambitious agenda for a county overhaul based on equity and service delivery.
Lindsey Horvath for the 3rd supervisorial district
The West Hollywood councilmember has the drive and creative energy to help L.A. County realize its lofty goals for serving marginalized residents.
LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Maria Brenes for L.A. Unified school board
Voters in District 2 — which encompasses downtown L.A., Los Feliz, Highland Park, Boyle Heights, El Sereno and East L.A. — have two good choices: Brenes, the executive director of East L.A. advocacy group InnerCity Struggle; and Rocio Rivas, policy deputy to school board member Jackie Goldberg.
Voters can’t go wrong by picking either candidate. But Brenes has a slight advantage over Rivas. She has actively worked for years to bring a sense of urgency to improving educational outcomes in under-resourced schools that have had low expectations of their Black and Latino students.
Nick Melvoin for L.A. Unified school board
Voters in District 4 — which includes Hancock Park, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Encino, Tarzana and Woodland Hills — don’t have inspiring options. But in the absence of a stronger challenger, incumbent Melvoin should continue in the job.
He pushed for the district’s one-stop shop for school enrollment — where parents pick from community schools, magnets and other schools — to include charter schools.
Kelly Gonez for L.A. Unified school board
Incumbent Gonez was seen as a reform/charter candidate when she first won office in 2017. But the former charter school teacher is more likely to take balanced positions based on the individual issues, not on a particular ideological bent in placing the needs of underserved students first.
Among other things, she had a hand in tripling the number of dual-language programs in the East Valley, which she represents. The area had relatively few such programs compared with the rest of the school district.
COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT
Office 3: Sherilyn Peace Garnett
Garnett is a well-regarded judge who has been appointed to federal district court. If Garnett receives more than 50% of the vote June 7, the office will be vacant, and the governor would be able to appoint a new judge. The other candidates in the race are not standouts.
Office 60: Abby Baron
Prosecutor Baron has received praise not just from police and crime victims’ advocates but also from defense attorneys, who cite her fairness and desire for a just result rather than a conviction at all costs.
Office 67: Fernanda Maria Barreto
Prosecutor Barreto has earned respect for her sensitive handling of dozens of violent felony cases after a brief civil practice and several years of prosecuting domestic violence.
Office 70: Holly Hancock
Hancock is a deputy public defender who possesses the valuable combination of self-confidence and civility so essential in a judge who must control a courtroom with a firm but careful hand during high-stakes proceedings when emotions are running high.
Office 90: Melissa Lyons
Prosecutor Lyons is noteworthy for her trial experience in the sex crimes division and for the time and effort she devotes to community programs to help law students as well as young people living in areas with high gang activity.
Office 116: David Gelfound
Gelfound is a highly regarded Los Angeles Superior Court judge who is being challenged on spurious grounds.
Office 118: Melissa Hammond
Deputy Dist. Atty. Hammond is the rare candidate whose career includes civil law, criminal defense and prosecution, giving her an unusual and valuable perspective on the legal system.
Office 151: Patrick Hare
Hare is an experienced and widely respected deputy public defender who has handled more than 100 jury trials, as well as noncriminal matters such as conservatorships and juvenile dependency cases.
Office 156: Carol Elswick
Judge Elswick crossed the line in improperly ordering defendants in her courtroom into custody. That earned her a 2018 rebuke and properly so. It also has resulted in a reelection challenge, one that voters might seriously consider, except that her challenger, Carson politician Albert Robles, has also run into problems in the past.
Gavin Newsom for governor
Voters should elect Gov. Newsom to another term and hold him accountable for turning his progressive vision into reality.
Rob Bonta for California attorney general
Bonta is the one candidate of the bunch prepared to uphold and defend the laws that Californians have repeatedly supported. He should be elected to a full term as attorney general.
Lanhee Chen for California controller
We believe Chen is the best choice for this position. Why? Because he is a sharp thinker with experience analyzing large financial systems, and because the controller should be as independent from the party in power as possible.
Marc Levine for state insurance commissioner
Californians deserve elected officials who will operate ethically regardless of whether their name is in the headlines. For this reason and others, we believe Assemblymember Levine will make a better insurance commissioner than incumbent Ricardo Lara.
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