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Politics

Whoops! Compton politician posts endorsements -- from people who didn’t endorse him

Isaac Galvan

Compton City Councilman Isaac Galvan posted endorsements on his website from at least four politicians who say they have not endorsed him.

(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Isaac Galvan, who made waves two years ago when he became the first Latino elected to Compton’s City Council, is off to a bumpy start on his state Senate campaign. 

Galvan is running for the open 35th Senate District seat and went live this weekend with a website detailing his candidacy. One little problem: at least five local politicians listed on his “endorsements” page say they never endorsed him. 

“I definitely did not endorse Isaac Galvan,” City Councilwoman Janna Zurita, who was listed as a supporter over the weekend, told The Times. She said her colleague did not return a call or a text message she sent him over the weekend but that her name was eventually taken off Galvan’s site Monday afternoon. 

“I was very upset about that, it creates a problem,” she said. “This is serious. Politics is all about relationships, and if you don’t keep good relations with others in the field you can’t maneuver." 

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Compton Mayor Aja Brown, Carson City Councilman Jawane Hilton and Hawthorne City Councilman Alex Vargas also are listed as having endorsed Galvan — even though that isn’t the case. 

Hilton and Vargas already had pledged their support to former Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). 

“Someone had called me and said ‘Hey, I thought you were with Steve,’ and I was like, ‘Well I am,’” Hilton said Monday.

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Hilton said he texted with Galvan and asked to be removed, adding that the candidate did not offer an explanation for the error. 

“We are friends, sometimes you do things and don’t ask your friends,” Hilton said. “Sometimes you automatically think your friends are with you.”

Vargas was perplexed when made aware that his name appears on both Galvan and Bradford’s campaign sites. He endorsed Bradford a year ago. 

“It is just a big mess,” he said. “Hopefully, [Galvan] will take me off soon.”

Brown, the mayor of Compton, has not made an endorsement in the race, according to spokeswoman Jasmyne Cannick.

Brown and Vargas remained listed on the site as of Tuesday evening. Hilton — whose first name was misspelled "Juwan” on the page — was removed sometime Monday night.

Former Los Angeles School Board President and Assemblyman Warren Furutani also is running for the seat.

Isadore Hall, who holds the seat, is running to succeed U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn, who is running for the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Hall has endorsed Bradford.

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Galvan approached Bell Councilman Nestor Valencia about a possible endorsement Monday night, and the two decided to talk about it another day.

So Valencia said he was shocked when he discovered he was also listed on the page after The Times story went online Wednesday.

“I’m completely completely disappointed in him and he should take my name off,” he said. “I don’t think this is a very ethical thing for Galvan to do.”

Valenica, who has not yet picked a candidate, added, “I may just endorse Bradford now.”

The endorsement page was taken down Wednesday after the story ran online. The page now displays the message, “We’re sorry, but the page you were looking for doesn’t exist.”

Galvan has not responded to calls or an email.

To many, Galvan’s 2013 election at the age of 26 was a triumphant moment — the result of a decades-long struggle to get a Latino candidate elected to office in a city that is nearly two-thirds Latino.

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But within weeks of his taking office, the city manager fired Galvan’s community liaison after The Times published a story revealing the aide’s criminal history.

Galvan also failed to file required campaign finance disclosures for the primary and runoff elections until after state officials threatened to open a formal investigation. By the time he filed the paperwork, he missed several deadlines and was facing thousands of dollars in fines.

Follow @jpanzar

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