Newsletter: L.A. Times endorsements for the March 5 Super Tuesday primary

A voter casting his ballot at a vote center
A voter casts his ballot at a vote center at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles in 2021.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. I’m Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, March 2, 2024. Let’s look ahead to election day.

Californians head to the polls on Tuesday — or, more accurately, that’s the final day they vote in the March 5 primary. Starting around 2010, a majority of Californians began casting ballots by mail, and in this election, the state sent out ballots to registered voters last month. For those who prefer to mark a ballot in person, vote centers have been open since Feb. 24; additional ones open today. Voting ends at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

And if you’re expecting all results that night, don’t stay up too late: In a state as large as California that makes every effort to tabulate all eligible votes, we may not know the winner for weeks in some races. Recall that on election night in 2022, Rick Caruso had a clear lead in the race for L.A. mayor, only to lose it by the end of the week to Karen Bass as county officials updated the vote totals. You might not get your election night catharsis, but that’s just the way it works in California.


That said, there are still important choices for many voters in Los Angeles to make. And The Times’ editorial board is here to help.

The editorial board endorses selectively, choosing to focus on local and state races that are more helpful to readers and skipping the presidential primary. Before making their endorsements, members of the editorial board (a group of experienced, prize-winning journalists whose names and biographies can be found here) interviewed candidates and researched the ballot initiatives over many weeks. You might not agree with every position they take, but their opinions are deeply reported and carefully considered. I’m not a member of the editorial board, but having watched how they work for years, I cannot recommend strongly enough that voters read the endorsements, if only to make their ballot selections more informed.

Here are those endorsements, taken directly from

Los Angeles city

Yes on Measure HLA
The initiative would force L.A.’s leaders to enact their own visionary Mobility Plan, which aims to make the city’s car-dominated streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and, yes, even drivers.

Adrin Nazarian for City Council District 2
Nazarian is an experienced lawmaker and a thoughtful, collaborative leader who is willing to take on difficult, weedy issues.

Nithya Raman for City Council District 4
Raman has been a smart and courageous leader, particularly on housing homeless people, and a strong advocate for government accountability.


Imelda Padilla for City Council District 6
Padilla has been in the seat for only half a year, but has done what she said she would do. She deserves a full City Council term.

Marqueece Harris-Dawson for City Council District 8
Harris-Dawson has been an influential progressive voice on the City Council and a smart leader for his South L.A. district.

Eddie Anderson for City Council District 10
Anderson, an ordained minister and activist, has the vision for a safer, healthier, more equitable district and organizing skills to help make change happen.

Serena Oberstein for City Council District 12
Oberstein, a nonprofit executive and former president of the L.A. City Ethics Commission, is refreshingly forward-looking and will help to guide District 12 into a better future.

Miguel Santiago for City Council District 14
Santiago has earned a reputation as a responsive and diligent lawmaker. He has shown leadership and persistence in tackling the issues that matter most to his constituents, including housing, homelessness and environmental justice.

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Los Angeles County

George Gascón for district attorney
Gascón is making the criminal justice reforms voters elected him to carry out. Ignore the law enforcement establishment’s resistance and keep him on the job.

Holly Mitchell for the Board of Supervisors, District 2
Voters should appreciate Mitchell’s focus on the big questions, such as the structure of county government and equity in the delivery of county services.

Janice Hahn for the Board of Supervisors, District 4
Through COVID and a historic shift from jails to social services, Hahn has served the county well in her first two terms. Her challengers would not bring her values and experience to the board.

Kathryn Barger for the Board of Supervisors, District 5
Barger has been the voice for political and fiscal reality that the Board of Supervisors needs. Voters should give her a third term.

Los Angeles Unified School District

Sherlett Hendy Newbill for Los Angeles Unified school board District 1
Newbill has worked more than two decades at Susan Miller Dorsey High School as a basketball coach, teacher, dean of students and in other roles. She has on-the-ground experience and an independent-minded approach to tackling complex problems.

Scott Schmerelson for Los Angeles Unified school board District 3
Schmerelson, a retired principal, has helped bring about an era of reason and stability at L.A. Unified. Voters should give him another term.


Fidencio Gallardo for Los Angeles Unified school board District 5
Gallardo articulates the clearest vision for improving student achievement and well-being in the wake of the pandemic lockdown. And his breadth of experience, including as a teacher and administrator, puts him in the best position to actually get things done.

Tanya Ortiz Franklin for Los Angeles Unified school board District 7
Franklin has helped make the board a calm, well-run group that operates through collaboration and common sense rather than ideology.

L.A. County Superior Court judges

Office No. 12: Lynn Diane Olson
Olson is an even-tempered judge who demonstrated that she knows how to manage a courtroom. The challenger has offered poor justification for challenging Olson for reelection.

Office No. 39: Steve Napolitano
Napolitano is a Manhattan Beach council member and an attorney who serves as an administrative law judge and represents prison inmates in their parole hearings. His breadth of experience would make him an asset to the Superior Court.

Office No. 48: Ericka J. Wiley
Wiley, a deputy public defender, is a standout. She has handled capital murder and other special circumstances cases, and served as a supervisor in the Bellflower courthouse. Her demeanor is calm but commands respect, and makes her well-suited to the bench.

Office No. 93: Victor Avila
Avila, a deputy district attorney, is running unopposed. He is a well-regarded prosecutor and is likely to be a good judge.


Office No. 97: Sharon Ransom
Judges and defense lawyers note Ransom’s unflappable manner in seeking resolution of cases in the district attorney’s mental health unit, and previously in prosecuting elder abuse and child molestation.

Office No. 115: Christmas Brookens
Brookens, a deputy district attorney, is particularly impressive when discussing the role of victims in criminal cases, displaying a depth of thought and analysis that would likely make her excel on the bench.

Office No. 124: Kimberly Repecka
Repecka is a capable and well-regarded deputy public defender. She is challenging incumbent Judge Emily Theresa Spear, who was publicly admonished by the Commission on Judicial Performance in 2023.

Office No. 130: Leslie Gutierrez
Gutierrez has a reputation as an ethical and hard-working deputy district attorney and is a skilled trial lawyer. She would make an outstanding judge.

Office No. 135: Steven Yee Mac
Mac is a deputy district attorney and also a member of the Judge Advocate General Corps, serving as a legal advisor to the Army. He earns high praise for his work as a trial lawyer.

Office No. 137: Tracey M. Blount
Blount represents Los Angeles County in Dependency Court, where judges must decide whether to remove children from their homes because of abuse or neglect, and then work with all the parties involved to eventually reunify the families.



Yes on Proposition 1
Proposition 1 is an important step forward in meeting California’s responsibility to the most vulnerable homeless people and those housed Californians with behavioral health problems most at risk of ending up on the street.

U.S. House and Senate

Adam B. Schiff for the U.S. Senate
Schiff stands out for his extraordinary leadership in the last several years in helping to protect the nation’s institutions, the rule of law and American democracy itself from former President Trump.

Laura Friedman for the 30th Congressional District
As a state legislator and former Glendale City Council member, Friedman has been a smart, principled policymaker who takes on difficult issues and finds ways to solve problems.

Kim Nguyen-Penaloza for the 45th Congressional District
Nguyen-Penaloza, a Garden Grove council member, has demonstrated that she can work across party lines to get things done for her community. She has expertise and passion for improving healthcare and medical insurance, and she is a strong advocate for reproductive rights.

Dave Min for the 47th Congressional District
Min’s experience as a law professor and state senator make him the most qualified for the seat being vacated by Rep. Katie Porter.

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