With the November midterm election just days away, locals on both sides of the aisle are busy educating themselves on ballot measure language and campaigning at home and in districts where favorable voter turnout could give their parties a foothold.
In recent meetings of the Republican Club of the Foothills and the Cañada Crescenta Democratic Club, members have been discussing key issues and races most likely to impact local constituents.
“Basically, what we’re trying to do is endorse our candidates and do a little precinct walking,” said Leo Walker, an Alhambra resident who hosts monthly Republican Club meetings at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge the last Friday of every month.
Walker said a particular area of focus for local Republicans is California’s 28th Congressional District, where nine-term incumbent Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) faces newcomer candidate and businessman Johnny Nalbandian.
“Nalbandian actually has a plan to help homeless people get off the streets, and the membership is pretty excited about that,” he said. “Schiff is ignoring the issues — he’s so busy with a massive case of ‘I hate Trump and you should, too’ he’s not really gotten much done that’s practical for his district.”
Area Democrats take a different view.
Susan Mastrodemos, vice president of the Cañada Crescenta Democratic Club, arrangers speakers and sets monthly agendas for meetings that take place every third Sunday at La Crescenta’s Center for Spiritual Living.
The La Cañada resident said area Democrats feel solidly represented in Congress and the state Legislature by politicians like Schiff, so are instead canvassing in nearby swing districts where voters supported Hilary Clinton for president in 2016 but elected Republican representatives to Congress.
“It’s big-picture thinking, because the party that controls the Congress [appoints] the chairman of every committee and the Speaker of the House,” Mastrodemos said.
Other issues getting local attention are Proposition 6 — an effort to repeal the SB-1 gas and vehicle registration tax implemented last November to fund transportation projects — and Proposition 10, which would let cities expand rent control by lifting restrictions of the 1995 Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act.
Walker said Republicans support Proposition 6, because it’s a financial drain on all Californians but only benefits a few, while Proposition 10 is an idea that would worsen the housing crisis by putting the squeeze on landlords.
“It has been said the quickest way to destroy a city is through rent control,” he added.
Mastrodemos said Democrats see Proposition 10 as a first step in allowing cities that may wish to establish rent control measures for units built after 1995 but are currently barred from doing so by Costa Hawkins. Alternatively, they’re against repealing a gas tax, whose coffers have already earmarked $12 million in sound walls for La Cañada Flintridge.
“That’s one place where we can see the gas tax is important to our lives,” Mastrodemos said.
Another ballot measure attracting vocal supporters and critics is Proposition 3, the Water Supply and Water Quality Act, would approve an $8.-billion general obligation bond to provide drinking water supply and services for disadvantaged California communities.
Supporters — including Foothill Municipal Water District, the Arroyo Seco Foundation and the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy — say the measure would help increase storm-water capture and help protect supplies from earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Opponents include the Sierra Club of California, the California League of Women Voters and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. Their claim is the $17.3 billion it would take to pay back the bond with interest would go mainly to special interest groups and not building dams to capture water.
Locally, statistics provided by the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder’s Office show the total voter registration for La Cañada Flintridge at 14,781 as of Tuesday, a decrease of 271 voters from data provided just before the 2016 presidential election.
An analysis of party preference shows a continued decrease in the number of La Cañadans registered as Republicans — from 6,182 in 2016 to 5,468 this year — while registered Democrats increased by just eight voters from 4,822 to 4,831 in the same time period.
County registrar figures also show the number of voters who declined to state a party preference has steadily risen in the past decade, from 2,486 in 2008 to 4,070 in the current election cycle.