As socialists in Los Angeles, we believe that it’s important to contextualize the choices on our election ballots. Who are these candidates and how did they build power? What are the dynamics of the races they’re running in? Will their priorities build socialism, or at least help Los Angeles’ working class? Now you may have noticed we’ve written… a lot for many of these races. That’s by design. We hope this guide will function as an educational tool to understand what it takes to bring working class power to the county, as well as help you fill out your ballot.
DSA-LA has proudly endorsed five candidates this general election as part of our L.A. for the Working Class Slate! Our chapter has voted to support Hugo Soto-Martinez for CD-13, Fatima Iqbal-Zubair for AD-65, Rocío Rivas for LAUSD Board District 2, Ricardo Martinez for La Puente City Council, and Estefany Castañeda for Centinela Valley Union H.S. District Board. We also have two ballot measures endorsed: Measure ULA (United to House Los Angeles), and Measure H (Pasadena Rent Control).
We need your help electing them across Los Angeles County! Click here to sign-up to get involved and help get out the vote before November 8th!
Our endorsements are special. They require our whole membership to vote to endorse a candidate, and an endorsement includes a commitment for the chapter to devote time and money to that campaign. Otherwise, candidates named in the guide are simply recommendations. The candidate might not call themselves or be a socialist, but there are planks of their platform we believe will materially benefit the working class – especially in comparison to other candidates in their race. Or, they are running in a swing district, may not even be a progressive, but it’s the general election and this race could be the difference in keeping the House of Representatives out of Republican control.
We’ve chosen not to make recommendations in races where a status-quo incumbent is expected to coast to reelection. We’ve got to keep building power to take on these forces of capitalism, and we must keep on organizing to make sure these candidates have viable challengers in the future. That being said, there are some races with candidates extremely worth voting for, and in many down ballot votes, your vote and the votes of your friends and family can make a big difference in our collective lives.
Lastly, Los Angeles County has a whole lot of municipal governments and school boards (88 whole cities!). In the coming weeks, we will be updating our guide with more recommendations for municipalities. This entire guide has been produced by thoughtful and tireless member volunteer labor, so if you would like to find out more about races in municipalities that are not listed, feel free to email us at [email protected], and we can either answer your questions, point you towards more information, or help you learn how to do this research yourself!
You can also look up your district here and find a list of voting centers here!
Table of Contents
California State Senate
California State Assembly
Los Angeles County
City of Los Angeles
United States House of Representatives
Los Angeles County Municipalities
In the wake of the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court’s overruling Roe v. Wade earlier this year in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state legislature has placed Proposition 1 on the ballot to affirm California’s commitment to women’s right to reproductive healthcare, including abortion. Proposition 1 would amend the California Constitution to prohibit the state from denying or interfering with an individual’s reproductive freedom, including the right to an abortion and contraceptives. This is consistent with DSA-LA’s healthcare program, which affirms that termination of pregnancies is a basic element of healthcare. While California is stronger on the issue of accessibility than some of our red-state comrades, many rural areas of our state have no abortion clinics at all.
California legal scholars have remarked that this amendment is somewhat redundant and doesn’t actually expand abortion access (but we have seen this happening in our California legislature in the last few weeks of bill passing). As SCOTUS has regrettably shown, it is critical to codify abortion as a right, and ensure that abortion — and reproductive healthcare in general — are free, on demand, and accessible, ideally as part of a system of universal healthcare. Vote yes on Prop 1.
Proposition 26 & Proposition 27
Propositions 26 and 27 both relate to the state of legalized gambling in California. Since the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 passed, Indigenous tribes are allowed to run and operate casinos on tribal land. There are around 75 of these casinos in the state, owned by over 100 local tribes. Currently, these casinos are limited to slot machines and table games like poker or blackjack. (The societal and economic effects of Indigenous tribes and legalized casinos is extremely complicated.)
To boil them down to their core issues, Prop 26 would allow California casinos to offer sports betting, roulette, craps and other dice games, but only on their physical premises. Meanwhile, Prop 27 would legalize online sports betting run via these tribal casinos.
Both propositions promise that increased tax revenue gained would go toward social services. In reality, the use of gambling and lotteries as a means of funding public goods in this country has been an extremely mixed bag. And with over $400 million spent on passing these two bills, it’s clear that companies like FanDuel aren’t pushing for these changes out of the goodness of their hearts. Speaking of FanDuel, there’s an interesting brew of prominent supporters and detractors for both propositions. Unions like CWA and labor activist Dolores Huerta have endorsed Prop 26, while coming out against Prop 27. FanDuel, DraftKings, and Major League Baseball are all in on Prop 27. Meanwhile, both the California Democratic and Republican Parties are against 27. Who says bipartisanship is dead?
Now, for the analysis. It’s hard to synthesize a socialist perspective on the question of gambling and casinos. Would they exist in a socialist state? Are ‘casinos’ the boss? If casinos are “the house,” should we decomidify that housing? Who’s extracting whose labor and capital? We’re not sure, but folks, we like the over on this week’s Rams/Cowboys game.
Ultimately, we can’t really recommend voting for or against either of these propositions. But if you have some itchy palms, want to go burn some cash, and really, really want to vote for one of them, Prop 26 seems slightly better than Prop 27.
Proposition 28 would use state funds to fund full-time arts and music education at our public schools. That’s it! It’s just good, wholesome legislation you can vote on with a clear conscience! What a concept.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office predicts that its passing would increase education arts spending between $800 million to $1 billion each year. It’s also specifically targeted to make sure that economically-disadvantaged schools, which are largely Black and Latine reap the full benefits of the added funds.
There is one slight catch, which is that the proposition is being pushed by former Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent, Austin Beutner. No socialist should be a fan of Beutner. The dude loves charter schools and Eli Broad money, and his actions deeply strained relationships with UTLA during their 2009 strike. Although we might still hold a grudge, don’t let him stop you from voting for Prop 28. It’s also endorsed by labor unions like the California Federation of Teachers, SAG-AFTRA, multiple SEIU and Teamsters locals, and the Actors Equity Association.
The proposition also has a seemingly never-ending list of celebrity backers, and frankly, we could make so many fun jokes. Al Yankovic is there, and it includes Darryl Hall, but oddly, not John Oates. There’s a triple-threat of Jasons, with Alexander, Mraz, AND Mamoa. Jeremy Renner is also listed as a musician, which means we legally have to reference this clip.
As far as we can tell, nobody opposes Prop 28. Maybe John Oates does privately. He just can’t go for it: no can do. But us? We recommend you vote yes.
Oh no. Not again.
Proposition 29 requires a “physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant, with six months’ relevant experience, on site during treatment at outpatient kidney dialysis clinics; authorizes exemption for staffing shortage if qualified medical professional is available through telehealth.” Does that sound familiar? It should. We’ve voted on this same issue before, back in 2018. And then again in 2020. This measure is part of the Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) years-long campaign to organize dialysis workers, running statewide measures like this one to pressure dialysis companies to come to the bargaining table.
It failed 63%-34% last time around, but SEIU-UHW have decided that third-time must be the charm. Since it’s the same basic proposition that we’ve now written about twice, we’re just going to copy and paste some of our 2018 analysis.
Ultimately, we come down supporting union campaigns, supporting profitability caps, rejecting political campaigns that hinge on the threat of a capital strike, and especially opposing the vampiric healthcare-for-profit business. Still, it’s notable that several other unions – such as the California Nurses Association (CNA), National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), California Teachers Association (CTA), and California Federation of Teachers (CFT) have all opted not to make any endorsement – indeed, now that the proposition is already on the ballot, it’s hard to see how any result actually achieves SEIU-UHW’s ostensible goals of unionizing dialysis clinics. More widely, it’s worth recognizing the limitations of a targeted reformist measure like this – that such a capital strike is even possible is a severe indictment of the entire for-profit healthcare system that continues to destroy lives every day in the U.S.
We still recommend voting yes, and we really hope we don’t have to write about this again in 2024.
Proposition 30 would create a new millionaire’s tax to pay for a bunch of initiatives to help deal with climate change. Individual Californians who make over $2 million per year would face a new 1.75% tax that would go towards rebates for electric cars, and funding and training firefighters to deal with the rampant wildfires due to climate change. That comes out to about $3 billion to $4.5 billion a year.
Moving away from gasoline to electric vehicles is an environmental and moral prerogative. Tailpipe exhaust alone is the leading cause of lung disease in our state’s Black and Latine communities. (Of course, moving away from individual car dependency to public transportation is also necessary, but that’s for a different proposition and a different day).
Now, you might have heard about Governor Gavin Newsom’s recently announced plan to move towards 100 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2035. So you might be a little surprised to learn that Gavin Newsom is against Proposition 30. (Or not so surprised, if you’ve seen his deluge of ads). Newsom’s major talking point is that one of Proposition 30’s biggest backers is Lyft, which, dear reader, also made us extremely suspicious. Rideshare companies would certainly benefit from this proposition, helping lower their cost to transition to an all-electric fleet under the new statewide mandate. Newsom has claimed that this resolution is “corporate welfare” designed to unilaterally help rideshare companies.
While Lyft is backing Prop 30, the resolution is also backed by some prominent progressive figures in California politics, including Congressmembers Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna. It’s endorsed by forward-thinking unions like UNITE HERE and CSAEW. Part of making a Green New Deal for LA Public Schools a reality is transitioning our school bus fleet to electric vehicles. Currently, only 80 out of LA Unified School District’s 1,300 bus fleet are electric. That’s a pretty measly 6%. Funding from Prop 30 could make that goal a reality.
While we really, really hate to side with Lyft on a proposition, we are unimpressed with Newsom’s opposition or reasoning. As the San Francisco Chronicle suggests, it has less to do with the nature of the bill, but more a political triangulation for a potential future presidential run. Cynically positioning himself against a new taxation might appeal to “many voters in parts of the country where soaking the rich isn’t a treasured tradition.”
Well, we’re proud of that treasured tradition here in California. Soak the rich. Vote yes on Prop 30, but try not to use Lyft. Take public transit instead!
Back in 2020, Gavin Newsom signed into law California Senate Bill 793, which prohibited the sale of flavored tobacco products and tobacco product flavor enhancers. Yes, folks, we’re talking about vaping. Cloud chasing. Riding that mist.
Before SB793 was allowed to go into effect, a voter referendum process began to overturn the law. Well, that referendum is here! Voting yes on Prop 31 would allow the statewide ban to move forward, while voting no would keep e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco products on the shelves (well, except in Los Angeles City, where Eric Garcetti has already signed off on a local ban).
E-cigarettes and vaping were initially proposed as a tool for harm reduction and to cut down on traditional cigarette usage. Amy Fairchild, dean of Ohio State University’s College of Public Health, argues that “prohibitionist” policies that ban e-cigarettes just might be doing more harm than good, offering that “e-cigarettes are a form of harm reduction, just like 1980s exchange programs that allowed injection drug users to swap dirty needles for clean ones and reduce their chances of contracting HIV through shared needles.”
Beyond vaping, the ban also includes flavored cigarettes, which has been linked to over 370,000 deaths between 1980 and 2018. A Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study study found that “81% of youth and 86% of young adults who ever used tobacco—even once or twice in their lifetimes—reported that the first tobacco product they used was flavored.”
Banning menthol cigarettes would disproportionately affect minority communities in the United States, with the Food and Drug Administration offering that 86% of African American smokers, 46% of Hispanic smokers, 39% of Asian smokers and 29% of white smokers use menthol cigarettes. It’s a fact that the American Lung Association brings up in their support of Prop 31, offering that “the tobacco industry has long targeted communities of color, and the LGBTQ+ community,” and that the measure would “save lives and protect young people from getting hooked on nicotine.”
When it comes to other major proponents for Prop 31, you’ve got big dollar donors like Michael Bloomberg, Kaiser, American Medical Association, and the American Heart Association. Meanwhile, on the “No on 31” roster you’ve got such lovable organizations like the California Republican Party and a litany of various Chambers of Commerce.
There’s a lot of nuance on this issue. We’re not sure banning vaping and e-cigarettes really gets to the core of the health crisis in our country. Passing Medicare for All would do far more good. (Speaking of which, did you know the American Medical Association actively opposes universal healthcare?) On the other hand, we’re also not huge fans of morally reprehensible corporations profiting billions of dollars from selling dangerous products.
It’s clear that our society would be far healthier if people could easily quit smoking. But that reality isn’t really on the table with Proposition 31, so we can’t whole-heartedly recommend either voting for or against.
Gavin’s gonna win here. But let’s talk about what he’s done in office. He’s passed a handful of semi-progressive half-reforms, and entirely failed to fulfill those that could actually offer transformative reforms, like requesting a federal waiver to explore a California single-payer healthcare system.
While Gavin’s been putting up billboards in Florida for some potential presidential run, Joe Biden, so moved by the tireless organizing of the United Farm Workers, bullied him into finally signing AB 2183, which has granted farm workers the ability to more easily unionize. So, while Gavin’s going to still be in office, let’s continue to build worker power and hold his feet to the fire.
Lieutenant Governor doesn’t do a lot except have a bully pulpit and serve as backup to the Governor. Basically, it’s California’s Vice President.
Incumbent Eleni Kounalakis is the daughter of a Sacramento-area real estate developer who’s a major Democratic donor. She then ran some of her dad’s firms and then with no prior political experience (but a lot of wealth, ahem) got herself appointed as US Ambassador to Hungary. She then won the Lieutenant Governor position in 2018 against a labor-backed State Senator from eastern LA county with a ton of real estate money.
Kounalakis won 53% of the vote in the primary, while her second-placed opponent, a “lower taxes” Republican from Lancaster got 19.7%, and other Republicans took about 17% more. Kounalakis will win handily, so we’re not going to bother with a recommendation
The current Attorney General (or known in the California constitution as “the chief law officer”), Rob Bonta, has a reasonable record of supporting progressive causes. He faces Republican Nathan Hochman, a former federal prosecutor. Bonta led the primary with 54% of the vote and is very likely to win the general election.
There is no viable GOP challenge, so the Democratic incumbent is likely to be re-elected.
Secretary of State
The Secretary of State largely is in charge of overseeing California’s elections. Current Secretary of State, Dr. Shirley Weber, is an appointee of Governor Newsom and faces no viable opponents. She took nearly 60% of the vote in the primary and should increase that in the runoff against Republican Rob Bernosky, whose top credential appears to be “operationally savvy CEO”.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction is in charge of overseeing a public school system that has over 9,000 schools and more than seven million students. Along with the California Department of Education, the Superintendent is responsible for student achievement, recruiting and supporting teachers, and monitoring school districts’ compliance for accountability.
When we last voted for this position in 2018, it was a big battle between the pro-Charter school lobby and public school backers. Narrowly, the public school side won out, electing Tony Thurmond. Now, the charter lobby is largely absent from this race. Thurmond’s tenure has largely dealt with administering public school in the time of a pandemic, where most of the calls about masking, vaccines, etc. have been made by Governor Newsom’s office anyway. Policy-wise, Thurmond’s tenure has been mostly inoffensive. Thurmond’s runoff challenger is Lance Christensen, the VP of Education Policy at the right-wing anti-union think tank California Policy Center. Gross. Thurmond is highly likely to win reelection after taking 46% in the primary.
The State Treasurer is an extremely boring position: the responsibilities are almost entirely administrative, at least for now. Maybe if the state moves forward with a California Public Bank (assemblyman Miguel Santiago introduced a now-passed bill to study it last year), then it could get interesting.
Incumbent Fiona Ma was a relatively good assemblymember before she got elected Treasurer in 2018. She’s going to win again after taking nearly 58% of the vote in the primary, despite being accused of sexually harassing a former staffer (which she denies). She will handily beat Trump-loving abortion-hating Republican Cudahy councilman Jack Guerrero, who took 21.8% in the primary.
State Board of Equalization, 3rd District
There is no viable challenge to the incumbent, so the incumbent is likely to get re-elected.
In our primary blurb for this position, we had commented that this race will come down to “which Democrat gets to beat Hoover Institution staffer and LA Times-endorsed Romney 2012 alum Lanhee Chen.” In calculating who the least bad of the Democratic field would be, we recommended San Francisco Police Commissioner Malia Cohen. Cohen, while moderate in her own City, still led the successful effort to make City College of San Francisco free. Lanhee Chen, however, is running a strong campaign, somehow managing to still position himself as The Good Republican (an oxymoron, but especially in a post-Trump world) to naive liberals, and he led the primary with 37% of the vote. He’s unlikely to turn that 37% into a General Election win as Dems consolidate behind Cohen, but this is the only statewide race where the GOP challenger is serious enough that we feel it’s worth issuing a recommendation. We don’t have good choices here, but Cohen is the choice to stop this position from falling into Republican control.
California State Senate
Senate District 20
Covering a large swath of the San Fernando Valley, the newly redrawn SD-20 is an open seat between two seemingly viable candidates. Daniel Hertzberg, is running to replace his dad, Bob Hertzberg, who is termed out and running for the vacated County Supervisor seat. Daniel doesn’t really have any political experience besides being the son of his dad and interning for the occasional congressperson or city councilmember, positions that he likely got because of his dad. So much so, at a recent League of Women Voters Candidate Forum, he said that he has the experience for this position because he convinced his mom to get him a dog as a kid.
We think that a powerful ex-Speaker and Senate Majority Leader who’s worked hard to block climate legislation raising over $600k (including donations from developers, the California Apartment Association, and the maximum from his abandoned campaign for state controller) should not be able to use his resources and network to elect his very underqualified son to his seat. Hertzberg only barely edged his opponent Caroline Menjivar out in the primary, 30.8% to 29.8% despite being the overwhelming favorite, at least by the endorsements game. We think you should vote for Caroline Menjivar, who is an EMT in support of healthcare for all, expanding access to childcare, and ensuring a green future for California.
Senate District 22
Susan Rubio is expected to win against her Republican challenger after taking nearly 60% of the vote in the primary. As she is a huge receiver of oil money, we’ve got nothing more to say about her here.
Senate District 24
Senate District 24 includes all of Los Angeles’ beach cities, from Malibu all the way down to Palos Verdes. Incumbent Ben Allen is expected to handily win, because his only challenger is a write-in Republican who took an honestly-impressive-but-still-meaningless 6000 votes (3.6%) in the primary.
Senate District 26
Senate District 26, previously Senate District 24, covers the eastside as well as portions of central LA – Koreatown, Echo Park, Silverlake, some of downtown, and Atwater. It’s currently represented by María Elena Durazo, who succeeded current-mayoral-hopeful Kevin de Leon. Durazo is a force of nature in Los Angeles politics, though this is her first elected political position. A full accounting of Durazo’s history at the center of the rising Latino labor movement in the 80s, 90s and 2000s would require an entire book, but suffice it to say she was one of several organizers who transformed the LA labor movement into the multiracial powerhouse it is today, by organizing low-wage immigrant workers with the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union (now UNITE HERE Local 11), receiving an award at a DSA Los Angeles dinner in 1993. In any case, she’s unsurprisingly been a champion for labor in her time in the Senate so far, and her reputation is legendary enough that nobody is bothering to challenge her this year. If we had to criticize, Durazo’s stayed a little too loyal to her older allies who have become more conservative tools of real estate and landlords interests (we mean you, Gil Cedillo), and she’s taken some pretty bad actions on housing, like condemning the Reclaim Our Homes reclaimers. Bummer.
In any case, she’s running unopposed (well, technically against a Republican write-in candidate who got 425 votes in the primary), so vote for her. Or write in “Maria Elena Durazo but socialist”.
Senate District 28
Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, a community organizer, is the clear choice in this solid blue district, which covers Culver City, Palms, Mar Vista, West Los Angeles, Crenshaw, Leimert Park, South Los Angeles, parts of Mid-City, the neighborhoods surrounding USC, and parts of Downtown LA . The seat is now open because Sydney Kamlager is running to replace Karen Bass in Congress.
Smallwood-Cuevas co-founded the Los Angeles Black Worker Center and currently serves as project director at the UCLA Labor Center. Her experience with LA’s organized labor informs her priorities: prioritizing public employment, establishing universal healthcare through taxing the rich, upholding a fundamental right to housing. Her challenger is former real estate broker and current attorney Cheryl C. Turner, current president of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, an organization actively spending money attacking most of DSA-LA’s endorsed candidates.
Yeah, no thanks to that. Go with Smallwood-Cuevas.
Senate District 30
SD-30 covers Whittier, Downey, Norwalk, Walnut, and northern parts of Orange County, like Brea. The incumbent, Bob Archuleta, is one of the top four state senate races that have received the largest amount of law enforcement money. On top of that, he takes money from oil, “missed” a vote on a law requiring carbon neutrality in California by 2045 (which is a year, uh, much too late in the first place. Also, “missing” a vote is a cowards’ “no”), and opposed outright a bill allowing tenants’ right to organize (probably because the California Apartment Association looooooves him). On top of that, he currently has a sexual harrasment lawsuit against him filed by a former staffer, which is currently making its way through the courts.
Archuleta’s runoff opponent is Mitch Clemmons, a Republican running on all the standard Republican shibboleths, and also that he is a Trusty Plumber. Seriously.
In any case, Archuleta won with 35.6% of the vote in the primary, and both the third and fourth-place finishers in the race were Democrats running to Archuleta’s left. He should win the runoff handily.
California State Assembly
Assembly District 34
Two Republicans are running for this seat that covers parts of Lancaster, Palmdale, and Victorville, so that’s a “no recommendation” from us.
Assembly District 39
AD-39 includes Palmdale, Lancaster, and parts of San Bernardino County, including Victorville. AD-39 is a brand new district from the 2020 redistricting cycle and now a majority Latino district. This race between Democratic challenger Juan Carrillo and Republican Paul Marsh. Carrillo is the sole Democrat on the Palmdale City Council and has the backing of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, Dolores Huerta, a handful of unions, and the Democratic establishments.
Carrillo took 30% in the primary, perhaps surprisingly beating out Andrea Rosenthal, who held endorsements from several labor unions and other city of LA-centered Democratic party electeds and organizations.
With the large and growing multiracial working class populations of Palmdale and Lancaster, this district is ripe for a future of more strident socialist politics, but in the meantime we recommend a vote for Juan Carrillo to keep this new seat in Democratic control.
Assembly District 40
AD-40 is a newly redrawn district that largely takes what used to be Republican-held AD-38 and places it into a Democrat +11 space, covering Santa Clarita and the northwest San Fernando Valley, including Northridge and Granada Hills.
Pilar Schiavo is running to unseat Republican incumbent Suzette Martinez Valledares, who she trailed in the primary 48% to 34%. Valledares takes money from noted pro-Trump coup-attempter Kevin McCarthy, oil companies, Amazon, and real estate.
An advocate for workers who represented the California Nurses Association as part of a Health4All coalition, Schiavo has long voiced support for broad left policy positions like Medicare for All, a living wage, and housing for all (so much so, her primary Democrat challenger tried to paint her as “too radical” for the district).
This race could very well go either way, either giving us another term for a Republican assemblymember, or instead break for a candidate who would be well into the left wing of the Democratic caucus. This is one of only a few really contested and interesting assembly races this general election, so if you live in Santa Clarita or the northwest SFV, make sure you vote for Pilar Schiavo.
Assembly District 41
Chris Holden is expected to hold (heh) his seat against a Republican challenger, who mounted a write-in campaign against him for the General. Holden ran unopposed during the primary.
Assembly District 42
A district that holds the Malibu coast to Ventura County and into the West Valley, Jacqui Irwin is expected to keep her seat against a Republican challenger after winning her primary with 65%.
Assembly District 43
Luz Maria Rivas is expected to keep her seat against a Republican write-in challenger, after running unopposed during the June primary.
Assembly District 44
Assembly District 44 includes Glendale, Burbank, La Canada Flintridge, and parts of Los Angeles, including Los Feliz and Little Armenia. The district has been represented by Laura Friedman since 2016, who moved up from being a Glendale city councilmember. In those six years, Friedman has been a stalwart progressive vote, championing safe bike lanes and pedestrian connections, co-authoring SB562 for California single payer, and fighting for various environmental protections. She’s running against an army vet Republican who doesn’t have a campaign website, and got over 70% in the primary. She’s gonna win again, and she’ll continue to be one of the most active leftyish progressive votes in the Assembly, so you may as well vote for her.
Assembly District 46
After winning ⅔ of the vote in the June primary, Jesse Gabriel is expected to hold onto his seat against a Republican challenger.
Assembly District 48
Running against a write-in Republican candidate after winning her primary unopposed, Blanca Rubio beat her challenger.
Assembly District 49
After joining the State Assembly in a February 2022 low-turnout election, Mike Fong is expected to coast to re-election in his San Gabriel Valley seat.
Assembly District 51
The newly redistricted AD-51 covers Santa Monica, West LA, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills, Hollywood, and Hancock Park, a large district that mixes renters and some of the most wealthy areas of the city. An open seat in this new district, lawyer and emeritus Executive Director of Equality California Rick Zbur and scientist Louis Abramson face off once again in the General Election, after Zbur came in with 62% to Abramson’s 38% in the primary.
Zbur is situated inside of the political establishment, his endorsements ranging from a wide swath of Democratic clubs, unions, and elected officials (he lists endorsements from both Mike Bonin as well as Mitch O’Farell and Gil Cedillo). Abramson’s endorsements are more limited, with no union support listed, and a handful of grassroots and neighborhood representatives. On the surface, both their websites boast the similar progressive policies in solving homelessness, reducing police violence, and addressing climate change, albeit Abramson’s policies are substantially more fleshed out.
However, when you dig into the money, Zbur has taken the maximum contribution from the California Apartment Association (a group that notably has poured money into campaigns to undermine DSA-LA’s endorsed candidates) pharmaceutical companies, and big real estate. Despite the progressive and institutional laurels that Zbur seems to rest on, the money doesn’t give confidence that he’ll keep his campaign’s promises. Vote for Louis Abramson, who could potentially become one of the few renters in the state assembly, if victorious.
Assembly District 52
AD-52 covers parts of central, northeast, and LA’s eastside, including neighborhoods such as Glendale, Echo Park, Silverlake, Los Feliz, Atwater Village, Highland Park, El Sereno, and Glassell Park. Incumbent Wendy Carrillo has been serving the district since 2017, when Jimmy Gomez vacated his seat for the House of Representatives, and has not had to deal with a viable challenger until this year.
Carrillo’s time in office has been marked by a fair amount of controversies, including an official reprimand from the Speaker of the Assembly over inappropriate physical contact, as well as one of her staff members, George Esparza, making inappropriate sexual comments. Esparza was also federally indicted in May 2020 for his involvement in the Jose Huizar bribe crimes, which he continued after he started working in Carrillo’s office. And, further disrespecting the working people she is supposed to serve, Carrillo was seen in Hawaii in November 2020, during the start of a coronavirus surge.
Still, Carrillo’s past as a communications staffer with SEIU has helped her establish support among most of LA’s organized labor, and she has a few labor priorities, such as preventing workers from being misclassified and ensuring workers can keep their jobs after taking paid family leave. She co-authored the landmark bill, AB257, that, now passed, will create a fast food workers’ council that will raise working standards and hold big corporations accountable.
Challenging Carrillo is Mia Livas-Porter, a Democratic Party activist and longtime organizer for gun control. Livas Porter isn’t publicly calling herself a socialist, but her platform includes many key left priorities including universal healthcare in California, ending mass incarceration, and a Green New Deal for California. We think that AD-52 deserves more than what Carrillo has brought over the last few years and that’s why we recommend you vote for Mia Livas-Porter.
Assembly District 53
Covering Pomona and Ontario, Freddie Rodriguez is expected to keep his seat against a Republican challenger.
Assembly District 54
Miguel Santiago is expected to handily keep his seat against a Republican challenger.
Assembly District 55
Isaac Bryan is basically guaranteed to win this race, seeing his only challenger is a Republican in a very safe blue seat. Replacing Sydney Kamlager after she left to serve in the State Senate, Isaac has stood for the working class of his district, that includes Culver City, Palms, Mid-City, West Adams, Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights, Leimert Park, Jefferson Park, West LA, Westwood, and Century City.
Founder of the UCLA Black Policy Project, he’s voted on such legislation that supports protecting those deemed eligible for prison release from being transferred to immigration detention, establishing a Fast Food Sector Council to set industry wide standards on wages, working hours, and other working conditions, and prohibiting the use of injurious and life-threatening projectiles or chemical agents by law enforcement agencies when dispersing protests. We join DSA-LA endorsed candidates Eunisses Hernandez, Nithya Raman, and UTLA in saying reelect Isaac Bryan.
Assembly District 61
AD-61 covers Venice, Marina del Rey, Westchester, Inglewood, Hawthorne, and Lawndale. Tina McKinnor is a longtime political activist, currently serving as Civic Engagement Director with LA Voice, with roots in her district. She has been recently elected to serve the people of AD-61, having emerged victorious from the special election she won in June 2022. She supports single-payer healthcare, ending oil drilling in neighborhoods, and opposes efforts to further criminalize homelessness.
Both McKinnor and her challenger, Robert Pullen-Miles, previously worked in Autumn Burke’s office, which is maybe a sign that they’re not outrageously far apart, but Pullen-Miles is worse. Currently mayor of Lawndale, he doesn’t seem to have any concrete policy points (and definitely none that would be considered “progressive”) and has taken money from the California Real Estate PAC, a bunch of hotels, and fossil fuels. The clear choice here is to vote for McKinnor.
Assembly District 64
Blanca Pacheco is expected to handily win against a Republican challenger.
Assembly District 65
The new 65th assembly district comprises the communities of: Watts, Compton, Harbor City, Wilmington, parts of South Central, Willowbrook, parts of San Pedro, and Fort MacArthur. This district includes people in some of the most population-dense communities in the state. In addition to this, the district houses the highest rates of air pollution and environmental toxins that include poor water quality and high mortality rates.
What has the incumbent Mike Gipson done to address these issues? He has abstained or voted against environmental solutions that would most directly affect the people of district 65. During the pandemic, Gipson voted against essential workers and received money from healthcare companies. He’s also taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from Big Oil and Real Estate Developers that continue to harm our kids’ health and sell out our neighborhoods. Check them all out at: http://mikegipsonsrecord.com/
AD-65 has the opportunity to elect the unafraid and unbought Fatima Iqbal-Zubair, a Muslim immigrant woman of color and democratic socialist STEM teacher who takes zero corporate, police, developer or fossil fuel money. Fatima ran a DSA-LA endorsed campaign against Gipson in 2020, and is running and working with DSA-LA again, in a redrawn district. She is ready to stand up to the special interests that Gipson has failed to hold accountable. As an educator in the Compton Unified School District, Fatima is already working on the ground in South Central for our chapter’s Green New Deal for Public Schools priority resolution.
Fatima has seen and learned firsthand about the issues in the district and is prepared to advocate for the families in AD-65 and across this state on day one. We need everyone (second cousins, tias, tios, grandma, great-grandpa) in every household in the district eligible to vote to cast their vote for her.
Want to get a DSA-LA member elected to the California State Assembly? Learn more about Fatima and our efforts to get her in office at dsa-la.org/fatima
Assembly District 66
Al Muratsuchi is expected to easily win against a Republican challenger.
Los Angeles County
In 2018, the sheriff’s race was between the incredibly shitty incumbent Jim McDonnell, who proudly turned inmates over to ICE, and Alex Villanueva, a rank-and-file deputy dissatisfied with department leadership and who promised to stop collaborating with ICE. We wrote back then “there are no good cops, and even fewer good sheriffs,” and boy were we proven right.
Since taking office, Sheriff Villanueva has “stopped collaboration” with ICE by making them wait outside the jails while sheriffs bring them inmates, reinstated his buddy and accused abusive stalker to the department, overseen his sheriffs shooting over 100 civilians, harassed journalists, halted internal investigations into the rampant and murderous deputy gangs, taken out paid ads targeting individual activists, baselessly attacked and then attempted to blackmail the LA Metro department, covered up deputy abuse of inmates immediately following the George Floyd murder, the list goes on and on. For some deep reporting on this truly depraved law enforcement department, check out Cerise Castle’s history of sheriff gangs, a history that has led Villanueva to directly and repeatedly harass her. There’s shitty cops and then there’s this dude. Just last month, Villanueva went to a judge, his buddy, to grant him a warrant to conduct a search on the homes of his political enemies, notably Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, one of his most outspoken critics on the Board of Supervisors.
With Villanueva’s establishment support vanishing, Villanueva kept support from the most opportunistic and viciously right-wing elements – the unions that represent rank and file sheriffs (who like being able to shoot civilians with impunity), Republican assembly members, and a ton of cops. Most of the focus of this election has been framed around “get Villanueva out of there,” as he barely cracked 30% of the vote in the primary, a record low for an incumbent. His opponent, Robert Luna, headed up the Long Beach Police Department, is at least not as resistant to accepting civilian oversight, and does not seem like the type of person who would raid his political enemies. He does have an alarming similarity with Villanueva, though, as both of their favorite television shows are “Big Bang Theory.”
Ultimately, we said it last time and it’s still true: there are no good sheriffs. We’re not making a recommendation, just make sure you don’t vote for Villanueva.
Board of Supervisors – District 3
If there’s anything less democratic than the Los Angeles City Council, it’s the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, with only five members overseeing more than 10 million residents. It’s also an incredibly powerful body of government, as shown by their extending of the pandemic county eviction moratorium, which they are now ending by the end of the year. District 3 is currently represented by Sheila Kuehl, who has been a mainstay in California politics since 1994 when she became the first openly gay person elected to the California legislature. Since then, she has bounced from the State Senate to the Board of Supervisors, where she’s now termed out.
It’s a competitive race to fill her spot, now between California State Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg and West Hollywood Councilmember Lindsey Horvath (who Kuehl has endorsed as her successor). Both have strong establishment political and labor support, with progressive organizations going to Horvath, including DSA-LA endorsed future city councilmember Eunisses Hernandez.
Bob Hertzberg’s tenure in the Senate has recently included not showing up to vote to decarbonize California by 2045, excusing himself from a vote to give farm workers more ways to vote in union elections, and taking a lot of money from real estate and gas industries. Hertzberg has also received support from the LA Police Protection League and Sheriff Alex Villanueva has stated that he counts on Hertzberg to be a voice in support of him (granted that Alex Villanueva still has a job in 2023). A Hertzberg seat on the Board of Supervisors would be a drastic step backwards for the working class of Los Angeles County. Vote for Lindsey Horvath.
Look: voting for judges has mostly been a complete mess. Voters have basically no meaningful way to evaluate which candidates are good or bad, seats frequently go uncontested, and the people who get elected are typically well-off prosecutors who’ve spent their careers putting poorer working-class plaintiffs in jail for minor offenses. In general, we do what research we can to find judicial candidates who aren’t ghoulish prosecutors.
In a rare development, however, a group of four progressive women lawyers are running together in a slate, calling themselves “The Defenders of Justice.” Their platform prioritizes care over punishment and opposing mass incarceration. Three of the candidates (Reitano, Lashley-Haynes, and Hancock) are public defenders, while the fourth, Park, was a union-side labor lawyer and progressive activist. Electing progressive judges won’t fix our ultimately broken judicial system, but it sure would help a lot of people to have these candidates overseeing their case instead of the ghouls who built their careers throwing people in jail. Vote for Anna Reitano for Office 60, Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes for Office 67, Holly Hancock for Office 70, and Carolyn “Jiyoung” Park for Office 118.
DSA firmly believes in prison abolition and abolishing our existing policing systems. Our modern day policing is descended from its roots in enforcing slavery and exists to protect private property. Some might say that a few bad cops are just bad apples. That’s not how it works. One bad apple spoils the bunch. (They’re all rotten, anyway.)
There are no “better” ambassadors for our corrupt, punitive and malicious police state than Los Angeles County Sheriff, Alex Villanueva. You can check out our analysis of the sheriff race for more context, but we’ll give you a quick summation. He’s really fucking evil.
When trying to understand Measure A, it is important to note the crucial distinction between the Los Angeles City Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The LAPD “oversees” the 3.8 million residents of Los Angeles City proper. The position of Chief of Police of Los Angeles is appointed by the mayor, and serves at their pleasure and whim. Current LAPD Chief, Michel Moore (no, not that Michael Moore) was appointed by Eric Garcetti in 2018, and can be removed by the mayor at any moment. Meanwhile, the LASD represents all of Los Angeles County, with its expanded population of over 10 million people and its 88 different cities and unincorporated areas. Unlike the chief of police, the sheriff position is elected, not appointed. And just like other elected officials, the only civilian recourse to remove them is to begin a recall process.
Measure A would change that. If passed, Measure A would amend the Los Angeles County charter to give the five-member Board of Supervisors the power to remove any sheriff for “serious violations of the public trust.” It might feel like the ‘A’ in Measure A stands for Alex Villanueva and his actions over the last four years have certainly spurred this movement and ballot proposition. But no matter who’s in charge of the LASD, they’re serving in a morally compromised role and should not be trusted. It’s crucial that democratic representative bodies have the ability to get rid of them. (Now, there’s the separate fact that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is also extremely undemocratic and unrepresentative. There are only five elected seats to represent a massive county with a population level similar to entire countries like Greece, Portugal, Hungary, or Honduras. But that’s an issue for another time.)
We’ll admit we can imagine a scenario where an abolitionist sheriff is elected and a reactionary Board of Supervisors uses this power to oust them. But true change cannot come from within the sheriff’s office. It can only come from abolishing the sheriff position completely. So while Measure A isn’t truly abolitionist, we do believe that increased accountability is a good start. We join our member candidates like Hugo Soto-Martínez and Eunisses Hernandez in recommending you vote yes on Measure A.
When Proposition 64 passed in 2016, marijuana became legal to purchase, use, and cultivate in our Golden State. Since the markets launched in 2018, the state has made around four billion dollars in marijuana tax revenue. (That’s a lot of green, pun intended.) Much of that revenue is earmarked to fund grants to nonprofit organizations tasked with righting the wrongs of the war on drugs through California Community Reinvestment Grants (CalCRG) program.
Locally, In Los Angeles County, the Consumer and Business Affairs’ Office of Cannabis Management is tasked with overseeing and regulating our dank local businesses. While Los Angeles County includes 88 cities, there are still over one million residents who live in unincorporated areas without local control. Currently, the county does not permit marijuana businesses to operate in those areas. So back in the summer of 2021, the OCM presented a plan to the County’s Board of Supervisors to address “the administrative barriers that create inequitable outcomes and to call for investments to bridge the gaps in educational, technical, and financial resources caused by systemic racism and exacerbated by the War on Drugs.” There would have to be two seperate parts: approving business licenses for unincorporated areas and deciding on taxes for those businesses.
That first part happened this February when the Board of Supervisors voted to approve up to 25 retail, 25 delivery, 10 cultivation, 10 manufacturing, 10 distribution, and 10 testing licenses to be permitted for businesses in unincorporated Los Angeles County. The second part, taxation of those businesses, is a little bit more complicated. The Board of Supervisors do not have the power to unilaterally decide tax structure: instead, it’s up to the voters. So the Board of Supervisors has offered Measure C, which would “enact taxes on marijuana businesses in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, including $10 per square foot for cultivation; a 6% tax on gross retail receipts; a 2% tax on testing facilities’ gross receipts; a 3% tax on gross distribution receipts; and a 4% tax on the gross receipts of manufacturing and other marijuana business facilities.” Estimates predict those taxes would bring in an extra $10.36 million a year for the county’s coffers.
While the restorative justice goals of legalizing marijuana in California have failed to yet fully realize, taxing businesses is an important tool for building a fair society. Look, we’re socialists. We believe that capitalism and businesses exist to extract surplus value from their workers. Good taxation allows the people to claw back some of those ill-begotten gains and pay for desperately needed public goods and services. Unincorporated Los Angeles County is now going to have marijuana businesses either way, so there’s no reason they shouldn’t be taxed appropriately. That’s why we recommend you vote yes on Measure C. (The C is for Chronic Capitalism)
City of Los Angeles
The Mayor of Los Angeles is the most powerful figure in Los Angeles city politics, proposing budgets, creating executive commissions and committees, and issuing emergency ordinances, and most importantly for our outgoing Mayor Garcetti, getting into thousands of photo-ops. In recent years, the office is mostly an end-of-the-line job for a politician’s time in politics, with former labor organizer and current scumbag Villaraigosa becoming a shill for Herbalife and occasional loser in bids for higher office, and James Hahn being appointed as a judge by Governor Schwarzenegger. Hopefully this is the end of Garcetti’s political career too, as his failure to address rampant sexual misconduct by one of his key allies is currently sinking his confirmation as Ambassador to India.
Karen Bass is a one-time left community organizer who was tapped as a potential Biden Vice President pick and brought in a wide variety of endorsements from the Black Democratic establishment, labor unions, and electeds from Mark Ridley-Thomas to DSA councilwoman Nithya Raman. Throughout her campaign, Bass sought to shore up support from the center, making overtures to law-and-order policies, doubling down on her commitments not to cut LAPD staffing, and stalling in taking a position on DSA-LA-endorsed proposition, United to House LA (ULA).
Bass’ challenger, billionaire mall-man Rick Caruso changed his party affiliation from No Party Preference to Democrat in January 2022 (he was a Republican until 2012), has spent tens of millions of his own money on a platform of hiring more cops, criminalizing unhoused people, and not releasing his full tax returns, despite running on a platform of “transparency and ethics in city hall.” Which is rich, because he was in charge during multiple egregious cases of sexual assault by USC doctors during his decade-long tenure as chair of the board of trustees. Caruso has tried to pretend to be socially progressive in his campaign, but he was a regular funder of anti-abortion politicians and has sucked up the entirety of the law-and-order constituency from Feuer and Buscaino with promises to massively increase LAPD funding. A Caruso mayoralty would hand even more municipal power to the wealthy interests that already run our city: developers, landlords, and cops.
At the end of the day, there are two viable choices for mayor in the General: a literal billionaire or a status-quo politician who once was able to run with grassroots organizers but has since turned towards the establishment out of fear of job security. Vote for Bass and get involved with DSA-LA’s campaigns and priorities to shift LA’s status quo.
The Los Angeles City Attorney is broadly responsible for the enforcement of city criminal policies, as well as providing legal advice and interpretation to city council. As with other elected attorneys, the office typically attracts centrist Democrats happy to prioritize punishing working class and unhoused people for minor infractions in the name of “law and order.”
The Los Angeles City Attorney Coalition, which DSA-LA is a member of, offers a brief outline of the powers that a progressive city attorney in Los Angeles could use to help working Angelenos. These powers include no longer prosecuting non-violent misdemeanors or anti-unhoused municipal codes and affirmatively prosecuting abuses of the capitalist class, like prosecuting wage thefts, polluting companies, and shitty landlords. The outgoing city attorney, Mike Feuer, is zealously protecting the city’s right to aggressively sweep unhoused residents, a practice that repeatedly has been found by higher courts to be unconstitutional. After the primary, we have a race between business lawyer Hydee Feldstein-Soto and Faisal Gill, two candidates who do not come from the LA City Hall realm.
The only candidate whose platform talks seriously about following the anti-carceral tradition of prosecutors like George Gascon and Chesa Boudin is Faisal Gill. Gill’s got a few warts – he’s a one-time Department of Homeland Security Republican who defected to the left after being spied on by the NSA for being Muslim, and his campaign is largely bankrolled by personal loans from his years as a business lawyer – but he’s running on an unabashedly pro-civil liberties and anti-criminalization platform. Meanwhile, much of the City Hall establishment is backing Feldstein-Soto, many of them property management, real estate individuals, and consultant class. Following the money, Feldstein-Soto looks like another in the status quo of city hall that upholds profits over people. Vote Faisal Gill.
The City Controller is basically the city’s accountant – in charge of keeping track of where LA’s money comes from, where LA’s money goes to, and has the ability to conduct audits of how the city spends money. The audit authority is a very important component of the job, as the controller has the ability to determine how efficient spending is in city departments (such as the police and housing *wink*) and then recommend improvements for efficacy, showing what our tax dollars are ~actually~ used for.
This race has come down to Paul Koretz and Kenneth Mejia. Paul Koretz is trying to find another job in city government after being termed out in CD-5. He has such achievements as (1) completely failing to build new housing in his district while paying cops to kick the unhoused populations off the streets, (2) being actively hostile to expanding bike and bus lanes, despite being on the Transportation and Climate Change and Environmental justice committees and (3) voting against even analyzing the *possibility* of reducing police spending.
You should vote for Kenneth Mejia, a CPA who has twice ran unsuccessfully for Congress on an unapologetically leftist platform, and emphasizes using the Controller’s office to reveal the ways LA’s government wastes money on sweeps and giveaways to developers when the same money could be used to help working people.
Already, his campaign has put out incredible digital tools to track city resources, and has shockingly managed to win the endorsement of the normally-conservative LA Times. Meanwhile Koretz has spent this race trying to smear Mejia with fear mongering mailers about his old tweets. Vote for Mejia, who is already doing the job a controller should do through his campaign’s tools.
City Council District 5
City Council District 5 is a district of a whole lotta homeowners on LA’s Westside, but also a large population of students and workers at UCLA. This race has a lot of money flowing through it from those vying to become Paul Koretz’s successor.
On the establishment candidate end, we’ve got Katy Young Yaroslavsky, outgoing LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl staffer and daughter-in-law of long-time politician Zev Yaroslavsky. She’s endorsed by the LA Federation of Labor and liberal elected officials including Karen Bass and mostly falls on the “progressive in rhetoric, but status quo in action” spectrum of establishment politics, especially in her inability to condemn 41.18, the repeatedly-found-unconstitutional measure the city uses to criminalize our unhoused neighbors, calling 41.18 a “backstop” that can be invoked if “people refuse to accept housing.”
The person with the most money in this race is Attorney Sam Yebri, who is endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles Police Protection League, and the California Apartment Association, and wants to increase the amount of police on our streets, despite claiming to stand for workers’ rights. Much of Yebri’s campaigning has diverted to smearing Yaroslavsky, initially using Yaroslavsky’s time as a lobbyist 17 years ago to call out “conflicts of interest,” which did nothing to move the needle in the primary, with Yaroslavsky gaining 48% of the primary vote. Almost enough to forgo a runoff. Alas, here we are with more of Yebri’s fear mongering and mudslinging, this time with even more money and now his supporters trying to red-bait Katy? Which, uh, no. CD-5 does not need another reactionary term after Koretz. Vote Katy Young Yaroslavsky.
City Council District 11
CD-11, covering the westside down to LAX/Westchester became an open race when Councilman Mike Bonin decided not to seek re-election to prioritize his own mental health and his family’s well being. The political environment of CD-11 is toxic: before his decision to not seek re-election, Bonin had fought off two right-wing recalls over his opposition to militarized police sweeps and promotion of bike lanes and road diets. Though Bonin has not been perfect – it took the unrelenting work of organizing community activists for him to oppose police sweeps – he has regularly been one of the furthest left councilmembers, a notable achievement in the otherwise strongly mainstream-liberal Westside.
It is on this terrain—rising right-wing reaction to a services- and care-first approach to homeless outreach—that we see the CD-11 race play out. On the reactionary side, we have Traci Park, a management side labor lawyer. A major supporter of the recall-Bonin movement, Park entered the race when a hotel was slated to be converted into interim and then permanent housing across the street from her house. Motivated to protect the value of her home above all else, Park is running on a platform of arresting as many unhoused people as it takes to stop our precious wealthy families from having to see poverty, garnering support of the LA Police Protection League in the process.
Erin Darling is a civil rights lawyer who has defended the rights of protesters and workers. Darling’s campaign emphasizes permanent supportive housing, a tenant’s right to counsel, and actualizing a Green New Deal for Los Angeles. Erin Darling has received Mike Bonin’s endorsement as well as those of Isaac Bryan, the California Working Families Party, and ILWU – Southern California District Council, and is our best bet at maintaining a left-progressive councilmember in this affluent district. Keep right-wing reactionaries out of office. Vote for Erin Darling.
City Council District 13
DSA-LA has endorsed Hugo Soto-Martínez, South Central Los Angeles born and raised and son of immigrant street vendors, who became a union organizer with UNITE HERE! Local 11 after helping his own workplace to unionize while he was still a student. Hugo is running in CD-13 on a bold, forward thinking plan which includes addressing homelessness by ending sweeps, and instead embracing a compassionate organizers’ approach to service provision, transforming public safety, and making environmental justice a reality in our city.
Hugo is well-positioned to oust longtime sitting councilmember Mitch O’Farrell if working people mobilize accordingly. As a regressive politician firmly in the hands of private developers and real estate, Mitch O’Farrell embodies the worst of Los Angeles politics. With over half of his money pouring in from real estate, the district will continue to lose existing Angelenos through rapid gentrification and hostile displacement. In the case of Echo Park Lake, this displacement meant the loss of dignity and life for unhoused residents subject to carceral punishment at his hands.
An active DSA member himself, Hugo will advance our commitment to achieve worker power, address the climate crisis through just transition, and radically re-orient power back to the people of Los Angeles. This opportunity to bridge existing gaps and integrate the struggles against police violence, the climate crisis, and labor exploitation is a chance we can’t afford to pass up. Hugo’s history as a UNITE HERE organizer and democratic socialist offers an incredible opportunity to build a true left-labor alliance and political pole in one of Los Angeles’ most progressive districts.
Learn more about Hugo and get involved with electing him at dsa-la.org/hugo!
City Council District 15
CD-15 is an open race due to proud ex-cop and conservative councilmember Joe Busciano terming out and trying to win the “conservative pro-cop white reactionary” lane in the mayoral race and failing miserably. The district is mostly centered on the Port of Los Angeles and San Pedro, with a strange snaking shape up the 110 due to Los Angeles’ historic insistence on maintaining the port as an economic engine. This odd shape has created a district with impoverished black and brown working-class populations in Wilmington, Watts and South LA, wealthy conservative suburbanites in San Pedro and surrounding areas, and well-organized, but relatively conservative unionized port workers. Though Bernie won CD-15 in 2020, the district has historically brought relatively conservative, but pro-union, members to Council.
The currently leading candidate in the primary and anointed Joey Buckets successor is Tim McOsker, an excellent example of the contradictions within the Los Angeles labor movement. McOsker has worked for both UTLA, a relatively progressive union, and the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL), the most conservative recognized union in the city, whose interests are uniformly opposed to those of socialists and oppressed working class people. The LAPPL is spending nearly $100k to support his campaign. McOsker lists support from a few SEIU locals, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), but also the California Apartment Association and Eric Garcetti (look at those heightened contradictions!). He’s taken donations from Great Public Schools Now (a non-profit started by Eli Broad to stick more of LA’s students into charter schools), LA Jobs PAC (a PAC representing chambers of commerce), and a share of real estate developers. Not quite all of organized labor has gone in for McOsker however.
Former Harbor City Neighborhood Council president Danielle Sandoval has won the endorsements of UTLA, a few ILWU locals, and the California Democratic Party Chicano Latino caucus, the LA Times, and Eunisses Hernandez. Sandoval is running on a “labor progressive” platform, which includes elements of left platform planks like strengthening public education and access to good union jobs, but also a strong emphasis on supporting small businesses and other liberal priorities. Sandoval has a past of being a bad boss: The LA Times reported that during Sandoval’s time as owner of a San Pedro restaurant she had committed wage theft to the tune of $12,000. This reporting led to a handful of unions, (none of which have endorsed Sandoval, at the writing of this guide), to write a letter condemning her. And also, during her time on the San Pedro neighborhood council, she voted against supporting a hotel workers living wage ordinance, which City Hall ended up passing in August 2022.
As is the way a top-two general election goes, these two candidates are the only viable options CD-15 has and we’re recommending Danielle Sandoval, the only candidate in this race who is not bankrolled by the LAPPL.
Board of Education – District 2
The LAUSD board is responsible for more than 600,000 students in 1,000 public schools. The country’s second-largest school district, LAUSD has faced a steady onslaught of attempted privatization by charter-school-advocating billionaires like Eli Broad and Reed Hastings, that guy from Netflix.
Board District 2, which covers the majority of central and eastern Los Angeles, has been represented by longtime pro-charter vote Mónica García. García’s anointed successor, María Brenes, is perhaps the prototypical example of the way the non-profit industrial complex is used by the wealthy to erode public services. Brenes is the Executive Director of InnerCity Struggle, a non-profit that advocates for underprivileged students and has some legitimately good work which is undermined by years of grant funding from the late pro-charter billionaire Eli Broad’s foundation and steadfast advocacy for privatized charter schools as a “solution” to underfunded public schools.
On the pro-union side, we have Dr. Rocío Rivas, who DSA-LA has endorsed and is now knocking doors for this General Election. Rivas is formerly the Research and Policy Deputy for socialist school board member Jackie Goldberg, whom DSA endorsed in 2019. Rivas is staunchly pro-public education, having previously sought DSA-LA’s endorsement in 2019 before dropping out to support Goldberg, and working with DSA-LA on our “Green New Deal for Public Schools” campaign. Getting Rivas on school board would swing the interests of the board from pro-privatization to a pro-union and worker balance. Vote for Rocío Rivas.
Board of Education – District 6
LAUSD District 6 covers the San Fernando Valley, where incumbent and LAUSD Board President Kelly Gonez has presided over the LAUSD’s masking, testing, and pandemic safety policies, and voted to cut the LAUSD police budget by $25 million in the wake of the George Floyd protests. She got her start working in education policy in the Obama administration, where she was previously a steady pro-charter vote, but has moderated her position recently, keeping an open ear to UTLA and working with Jackie Goldberg to expand early transitional kindergarten. She’s got endorsements from UTLA, charter school executives, and Eric Garcetti, and is expected to win this race handily, which is why we are not recommending anyone in this race. Marvin Rodriguez, a Spanish teacher in LAUSD, is running a campaign as a Marine Corps “veteran” with a pro-public education platform. We couldn’t find much at all about Rodriguez’s campaign other than his bare-bones website. Without a clear alternative, there’s not much utility in voting against UTLA’s endorsement in this race.
DSA-LA joins a broad coalition that includes unions, grassroots organizations, and housing advocacy groups in endorsing YES on ULA.
LA faces a housing crisis–nearly 60% of people who live in the city are rent burdened, meaning they spend over ⅓ of their income on rent. The cost of housing just keeps increasing and more of LA’s working class renters are being pushed out of their homes.
Measure ULA tackles LA’s housing issue in two ways: building more affordable housing, while ensuring folks have resources to stay in their homes. The United to House Los Angeles coalition created a measure that would impose a one-time tax on properties sold at over $5 million dollars, immediately raising funds to construct affordable housing. We here at DSA-LA believe that a tax that is a drop in the bucket for the millionaires who can afford mega-mansions in this city that generates nearly a billion dollars to build affordable housing is a clear good.
But that’s not all! Measure ULA also sets money aside to provide services to help at-risk and low income people to help stay in their homes, like emergency assistance and tenants’ right to counsel. Measure ULA, written by people who are homelessness experts, recognizes the structural issues at the heart of LA’s housing crisis, opposed to levying another tax that goes unspent by a City Council with no political will to build housing or offer services in their district.
To understand Proposition LH, one must understand Article 34 of the California Constitution. And to do that, we must go back to November 7th, 1950. “Goodnight, Irene” by Gordon Jenkins and The Weavers is the number one song on the billboards. The number one movie in theaters is All About Eve. A gallon of gas will cost you a whopping 27 cents. Oh, and California voters have just successfully voted to pass an incredibly racist and reactionary amendment to their state’s constitution.
Article 34 required that cities across the state get voter approval for any kind of publicly funded “low-rent housing”. The constitution amendment campaign “appealed to racist fears about integrating neighborhoods and featured heated rhetoric about the need to combat socialism.” The chairman of the California Real Estate Association wrote that public housing threatened capitalism, urging passing Article 34 to “stop the enemy of socialism that is gnawing at the vitals of America from within.” To that, we respond by donning our “SICKO” sweaters and declare “YES… HA HA HA… YES!”
Sadly, the capitalists got their way. Article 34 has been a major barrier over the ensuing 72 years towards making enough affordable housing to keep up with demand. The whole thing blows and has got to go. Thankfully, repealing it will be on the 2024 statewide ballot, and not to spoil our 2024 voters guide, but, Article 34? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
So, coming back to Proposition LH, this is one of those cases where Los Angeles voters get the chance to approve some additional affordable and low-income housing. Back in 2008, voters approved a level of 3,500 units of low-income housing per council district, totalling 52,500 units of low-income housing across the City. That is absurdly low, but, well, at least it’s something. Proposition LH would “authorize public entities in the City to develop, construct, or acquire an additional 5,000 units of low-income rental housing in each Council District, for an additional potential 75,000 units Citywide”, for a grant total of around 127,500 low-income units.
That’s still way too low. We’re extremely jealous of cities like Berlin that now have over 355,000 government-owned apartments. But in the meantime, we’ll take the extra 75,000 units for a city soon to pass 4 million residents. That’s why we recommend you vote yes on Prop LH.
Back in 1996, Los Angeles voters passed Proposition K, which has since generated around $25 million a year to fund parks, museums, civic green spaces, senior centers, and other public spaces. Those funds come via a city parcel tax, which means that a small tax (like 8 cents) is levied per square footage of private real estate improvement. It was a good decision, but it’s expiring in 2026, and it’s time to re-up it to continue investment in public infrastructure. In anticipation, Proposition SP was added to the November ballot by the Los Angeles City Clerk, at the direction of the Los Angeles City Council, claiming to continue this tax structure for the future. Seems like an obvious “yes.” That’s what we first thought, dear reader. But nothing can ever be that easy.
Back in December of 2021, the Los Angeles City Council voted on a proposal to begin the process of putting a new parcel tax on the ballot. We looked into the details, and woah, did we find some red flags (bad red flags, mind you. Not the good DSA kind). The motion was written and signed-off by some of our worst representatives in local government: Joe Buscaino, John Lee, Mitch O’Farrell, and Nury Martinez. Our klaxons really started going off when we read the text of that City Council motion highlighting that, “with the City hosting the 2028 Summer Olympics, and several of Recreation & Parks facilities serving as venues for various competitions, we must act now.” While most of the language from that initial proposal has been carried over (if not literally copied and pasted) to the text of Proposition SP, there are some odd omissions. Namely, Proposition SP doesn’t include any mention of the 2028 Olympics. Hmmmm. That’s when we reached out to our comrades over with NOlympics, who are organizing against the 2028 Olympic Games.
In case you haven’t heard, the Olympics are bad. You should read more at the NOlympics website, but we’ll quote them in saying that “Olympics destroy communities and kill cities. Regardless of how “successfully” they are executed, these “Games” will expose tens of thousands of our fellow Angelenos to incalculable risk and feed the problems which are already devastating and destroying the fabric of our communities today, while depriving us of the resources we need to make the city better.”
So while Proposition SP never technically mentions the Olympics, it just happens to fund a lot of specific initiatives for the 2028 Olympics. For example, it singles out the Los Angeles Zoo expansion, which is designated to be a major attraction during the 2028 games. Unsurprisingly, Casey Wasserman, the chairman of the 2028 Olympics organizing committee, is married to Laura Wasserman, who just happens to be on the Zoo’s Board of Trustees. The text of Proposition SP also targets funds towards the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area, which just happens to be the location for a shiny new Olympics arena for equestrian, shooting, and canoe events.
It’s pretty clear that this ballot initiative was crafted as a giveaway for the Olympics and is meant to benefit the rich billionaire investors involved. Even beyond the Olympics angle, the financial impact statement for the proposition, written by the city administrative officer, Matthew W. Szabo, uses eyebrow-raising language about how “we absolutely must address homelessness in our neighborhood parks.” That’s curious, as nothing in the proposition funds or addresses the main obstacle for our unhoused neighbors: a lack of free public housing.
Thankfully, this is not a do-or-die situation. Proposition K doesn’t expire until 2026, so there is another chance in 2024 to write and pass a much better initiative that continues to fund our much-needed public spaces and community-based amenities. Our city is woefully inadequate in providing the public “third places” that our city’s working class people need and deserve. We look forward to city council members Hugo Soto-Martinez, Nithya Raman and Eunisses Hernandez writing legislation that addresses these needs with regular people in mind, not billionaires.
We do need to take a moment to sigh heavily and acknowledge that the loudest advocate against Proposition SP is the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, who we basically disagree on every issue about. They’re for everything we’re against. We’re in favor of everything they hate. So, while we do not in fact, “gotta hand it to them”, we’re going to also recommend voting no on Proposition SP.
LACCD Board of Trustees
Community colleges are a glimpse at the universal affordable public higher education that socialists envision, which makes the election of Los Angeles Community College District’s Board of Trustees (basically a school board for the city’s nine community colleges) an important one. The LACCD Board sets the priorities for the entire district: approving budgets, hiring and firing district chancellors and college presidents and responding (or not responding) to the needs of community members. A friendly board can mean increased, transformative educational access for all Californians and a school system that treats its workers fairly, while an unfriendly one can mean the very opposite.
For LACCD Trustee, Seat 7, we recommend voting for Kelsey Iino, who was appointed to the vacant position in April after now-former Trustee Mike Fong was elected to represent Assembly District 49 in the California State Legislature. Iino, an LA native, California community college graduate, and fellow DSA comrade, has also worked for over 15 years as a counselor at El Camino College in Torrance. As decreased enrollment due to COVID-19 has put LACCD in financial trouble, she’s laser-focused on continuing to boost outreach and support services, advocating for state-level change to the funding mechanism for California community colleges, and supporting efforts to secure additional funding for the district. She’s also supported a housing pilot program to support unhoused students at a time when 1 in 5 community college students in California are experiencing homelessness. Voting to keep her on the board is a no-brainer in the effort to defend community colleges from privatization and expand their crucial role in providing quality higher education for all.
United States House of Representatives
23rd Congressional District
The majority of this district is in San Bernardino County, but we’ve got a tiny bit of it in Northeast LA and there’s a candidate that holds many of DSA’s values, so we’re going to talk about it. This district is currently held by Republican Jay Obernolte, who is a businessman, video game developer, and once member of the California State Assembly. In Congress, Obernolte has voted to overturn the 2020 election, voted against COVID relief, and generally just refuses to let the government help working class people and instead goes along with the far-right cesspool that is the GOP (so, classic Republican). However, he has recently been outraised in fundraising by Derek Marshall, an ex-Bernie Sanders staffer and current DSA member who supports Medicare for All, a living wage for all, and the Green New Deal. To all who are reading this in the Northeast outskirts of Los Angeles County (or folks hanging out in the high desert, hello!), vote for Derek Marshall.
Oh, and join Inland Empire DSA.
26th Congressional District
This seat is currently occupied by Julia Brownley and she’s expected to coast to victory against her Republican challenger. She’s not much of a leftist, so we don’t have much to say here.
27th Congressional District
CA-27 is one of the last GOP-held districts in Los Angeles county (this district was previously called CA-25 before the 2021 redistricting process), covering Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, and Northern Los Angeles County–parts of Los Angeles county that are rapidly diversifying. Because this is a district to flip, this race has been highly scrutinized, with lots of money flowing into it. Mike Garcia won this seat when he defeated Christy Smith in a special election upon Katie Hill’s resignation from congress. Garcia voted to overturn the 2020 election, opposes abortion, and basically falls in line with the fascist Republican agenda. Smith, who used to be a state assemblyperson, is running once again to defeat Garcia, and boasts endorsements from the establishment wing of the California state government, your usual suspects of Dem clubs, and the LA County Federation of Labor. Her record in the assembly and during her campaigns for Congress has consistently been that of a “girlboss moderate”, championing liberal feminist causes while opposing policies like Medicare for All. For all Christy Smith’s faults, this race is close and important in ensuring Republicans do not claim the house and for that, we recommend a vote for Christy Smith.
28th Congressional District
Covering Altadena, Pasadena, Alhambra, Monterey Park, and other parts of the West San Gabriel Valley, incumbent-since-2013 Judy Chu is expected to handily beat her Republican challenger. She won her primary with over 66% of the vote.
29th Congressional District
This San Fernando Valley district includes North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Panorama City, Pacoima, San Fernando, and Sylmar. This is the third rematch Dueñas faces against incumbent Tony Cárdenas, running as a Green Party candidate against him in 2018, and then a Democrat in 2020. Cárdenas, an ex-Los Angeles City Councilmember as well as State Assemblymember, is your classic establishment, pro-business Democrat, taking money from PACs that represent the airline industry, big Pharma and Healthcare, and AIPAC. He’s pretty tight with Joe Biden positions-wise: his website states that Healthcare for All is a platform plank of his, but Medicare for All is nowhere to be found in his explanation. Angélica Dueñas, born and raised in the SFV, was inspired to run for office by Bernie Sanders, and much of her platform aligns with what he’s campaigned on: Medicare for All, a Green New Deal and jobs guarantee, repealing Taft-Hartley. The choice is clear here for the SFV: vote for Angélica Dueñas.
30th Congressional District
Incumbent Adam Schiff is one of the most well-known members of Congress due to his leadership role in the impeachment process and all things Russiagate. Unfortunately, his power comes at the expense of his district – which includes Hollywood, Silverlake, Glendale, and some of Echo Park – where he is known for ignoring issues that actually matter, like homelessness. He is a reliable vote in support of any defense budget increase or military escalation—not surprising since he takes in loads of money from the likes of Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman, and he continues to support ICE, for which DSA-LA protested his office in 2018. Schiff occasionally throws out progressive bromides, claiming to support Medicare for All and Green New Deal, but warmongering is his true passion. Well, that and doing appearances on MSNBC or CNN. Instead of Schiff, you should vote for Maebe A. Girl, a drag queen who ran against Schiff unsuccessfully in 2020, and supports defunding the US imperial war machine to fund a Green New Deal, housing and Medicare for All, and proudly models her politics after AOC and Bernie.
31st Congressional District
Incumbent Grace Napolitano has represented this district that covers much of the SGV, including El Monte and West Covina for 23 years and is expected to handily beat her Republican challenger.
32nd Congressional District
Incumbent Brad Sherman is expected to handily beat his Republican challenger, despite having a district that was heavily reshaped during the 2020 redistricting process. Brad Sherman has been in Congress for 25 years, which is as long as all of our Neopets have been alive.
34th Congressional District
This race, covering downtown, Koreatown, Chinatown, Northeast LA, and East Los Angeles, is a rematch between Democratic Socialist immigration lawyer David Kim and former labor organizer and incumbent Jimmy Gomez. David Kim narrowly lost to Gomez in 2020, and the leftist challenge sent Gomez scrambling, going out of his way to align himself with the Squad. In this most recent congressional term, Gomez has been a lead author and co-sponsor of left congressional priorities like Medicare for All, Green New Deal, eviction moratoriums, and legislation to tax the rich, even voting against the most recent proposed military budget and immigration enforcement. But symbolic votes and bill co-sponsoring is easy: Jimmy is still taking tons of money from real estate, healthcare corporations, and big banks.
With no danger of losing the seat to a more right-wing candidate, you should absolutely vote for David Kim, who is refusing to take money from these corporate interests, and is running as a proud Democratic Socialist to stand for workers in the House. David Kim has been a consistent fighter for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, getting big money out of politics, and abolishing ICE. Unlike Gomez, David rejects all corporate money and is running a grassroots campaign, and has led on establishing a left platform, while Gomez seems to trail behind when pushed. The district has changed somewhat to favor Gomez since the 2020 election, but with Kim’s excellent result in the 2020 general election and continued engagement with grassroots left politics, use your vote for an even stronger alternative.
35th Congressional District
Noted war hawk Norma Torres is expected to handily beat her Republican challenger after winning over 65% of the vote in the primary in this district that covers Pomona and parts of San Bernardino County.
36th Congressional District
Ted Lieu is expected to handily beat his Republican challenger, whose campaign slogan is “time to clean this [email protected] up!” We are not joking.
37th Congressional District
One of the few congressional seats in LA County this General Election that is Democrat vs. Democrat, the 37th district includes Mid City, some of West LA, and the northern portions of South LA. It’s currently represented by Karen Bass, who clearly cannot run here because she is busy running for Mayor. After a tight finish for second place between DSA member Daniel Lee and Jan Perry, a few hundred votes sent Perry to the runoff against the clear frontrunner, Sydney Kamlager. Kamlager is endorsed by every center-left elected in the county and basically all of organized labor. While in the assembly, Kamlager voted against renter protections, public banking, helped clear the way for the gentrifying Clippers arena in Inglewood, before endorsing billionaire Mike Bloomberg for president in 2020 (ew), while she’s also been moved on a few progressive bills, such as a bill to stop prison to ICE transfers. Perry is not without her baggage too, having spearheaded the development of Downtown Los Angeles (though a fair share of developer tax breaks) when she served on city council from 2001-2013. The real estate investor and developer money has followed her from city council to this congressional run.
Sydney Kamlager’s donors include AT&T and real estate firms in this campaign, plus Blue Shield, Airbnb, and Facebook for previous races. Kamlager may know how to talk about progressive issues, but it certainly doesn’t mean she’s willing to do what it takes to stop corporate greed from hoarding resources and leaving the rest of us with table scraps.
38th Congressional District
Linda Sánchez is expected to handily beat her Republican challenger. 🤷♀️
42nd Congressional District
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia is expected to handily beat his Republican challenger. 🤷♀️
43nd Congressional District
Maxine Waters is expected to handily beat her Republican challenger. 🤷♀️
44th Congressional District
Nanette Barrigan is expected to handily beat her Republican challenger. 🤷♀️
45th Congressional District
Look, we’re not jazzed about either candidate here, but it’s a swing district and also one candidate is actively harmful to the democracy of the US. Incumbent Michelle Steel has a long history of working to dismantle the rights to abortion, co-sponsoring the Life at Conception Act in Congress. Democrat and veteran Jay Chen is running in a newly drawn district that includes less of Orange County and more parts of Southeast Los Angeles, including Cerritos, Artesia, and Hawaiian Gardens, so he has a real shot of taking a seat from a Republican who voted against expanding voting rights. Vote for Jay Chen.
Los Angeles County Municipalities
A majority is at stake in this year’s West Hollywood City Council election, as three of the council’s five seats are up for grabs. West Hollywood found itself in the national spotlight after the council voted in June to marginally reduce the number of armed deputies in the city’s sheriff’s station and start replacing them with unarmed security “ambassadors.” While the plan would see a maximum of only four (of 60) deputies replaced during FY2023, it has not stopped an explosion of fear-mongering over alleged rising crime in the area and the need for more police. Thus, public safety has become the defining issue of this race, as it has in many places across the state and country. Most of the 12 candidates in this crowded field are campaigning aggressively on a promise to immediately restore the number of deputies to its previous level.
Though a far cry from abolition, the council’s decision to begin reducing the city’s armed police presence represents a step in the right direction and can be built upon — though not if reactionaries sweep at the polls in November. With that in mind, we’re recommending West Hollywood residents cast their ballots for Chelsea Byers, longtime community organizer and current Human Services Commissioner for the City of West Hollywood, and Zekiah N. Wright, a labor & employment litigator and appointee to both the city’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Board and its Rent Stabilization Commission. In addition to strong commitments to renter’s rights and affordable housing, these two are the only candidates in the field willing to reimagine public safety beyond putting more dudes with guns on more street corners. Electing them would solidify a progressive majority on the council, preventing the reversal of recent progress and paving the way for a more welcoming West Hollywood for the working class.
We’re not inspired by any third option, but consider Robert Oliver the least bad of the remaining candidates (no, don’t vote for Ben Savage). (Yes, that Ben Savage. Mr. Feeny would not be happy with Mr. Matthews).
Culver City’s City Council, powered by the city’s residents, has been a model of progress on key issues in recent years. The city secured a $26.6 million Project Homekey grant earlier this year to pay for housing for individuals experiencing homelessness, and in 2020, voters approved Measure RE, increasing the city’s real estate transfer tax to help pay for key social services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Victories like these have largely been made possible by a progressive majority on the council, a majority that now hangs in the balance as two members see their terms come to an end. More conservative candidates need only capture one of the two open seats to throw a wrench in the council’s ability to lead on issues like housing and public safety. With that in mind, developers are spending at historic levels on this race to help guarantee that pesky things like rent control or affordable housing don’t get in their way.
To avoid such an outcome, we first recommend voting to reelect Alex Fisch, who has been a reliable champion of progress on the council since his election in 2018 (he served as mayor from 2021-22). He played a key role in securing the Project Homekey grant and uplifting Measure RE, and has taken zero campaign dollars from real estate or developer interests. You can expect him to do what he can to keep making Culver City a more welcoming place for all to live and thrive.
We also recommend voting for Freddy Puza, whom outgoing, mayor and council member Daniel Lee has endorsed as his successor. Puza, a longtime Culver City community activist, has centered issues of sustainability, housing, and reimagined public safety during his campaign, and has been endorsed by key progressive leaders in the city and across greater Los Angeles. If elected, he’ll work in lockstep with fellow progressive council members to pursue the bold change needed to meet the challenges of the moment.
The first of two Culver City ballot measures concerns allowing 16 and 17-year-old city residents to vote for city council, school board, and on ballot measures. If this measure passes, Culver City would join Oakland and Berkeley on the list of California cities that have voted to enfranchise their youth.
We, as democratic socialists in support of the expansion of democracy everywhere, recommend voting YES on Measure VY. Especially as issues like climate change and gun violence threaten the wellbeing of younger generations in particular, it is inexcusable to exclude them from the democratic process, and we applaud Culver City’s effort to transcend the status quo.
This ballot measure proposes an update to Culver City’s business tax, which hasn’t been touched in nearly 60 years. If approved, the update would more than double the tax amount levied on oil well operations and would impose a progressive tax on the city’s largest corporations, with proceeds being used to fund a variety of services, from housing programs to emergency services for youth and the elderly.
We also recommend a YES vote for Measure BL, which was carefully crafted to target the large companies in Culver City that have long avoided paying their fair share, while including an exemption to avoid increasing the tax burden on small businesses that are only just recovering from the pandemic slowdown.
School governance has been anything but easy. The unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 and an influx of federal funding have shown us that school board elections are tremendously consequential, and to ignore their importance is to potentially sacrifice the fate of our public education system to far-right reactionary domestic terrorists, or worse, neoliberals.
With three seats open this November, voters have a chance to bolster Culver City’s five person school board with progressives to serve alongside Paula Amezola and Dr. Kelly Kent. We recommend marking down Triston Ezidore, Stephanie Loredo, and Brian Guerrero, all of whom are strong advocates not just for an inclusive, healthy and truly safe educational experience for students, but also for a school system that values its workers highly and treats them with real respect.
Eastside and San Gabriel Valley
DSA-LA joins the Pasadena Tenants Union, UNITE HERE 11, Sunrise Movement, and many more in endorsing YES on Measure H. This measure is the culmination of several years of tenant organizing in Pasadena. The measure would limit rent increases to 75% of inflation every year after a tenancy is established, enforce “just cause” evictions, provide tenants additional assistance if they are evicted, and establish a rental registry that would keep track of all the rental units in Pasadena as well as the history of rent charged at each unit. As if Measure H wasn’t cool enough already, it would also call for Pasadena to establish a city council appointed rental board which would implement the provisions in this charter amendment (and this rental board would have to be majority renters who will be paid a liveable wage from a per-unit flat fee from any landlord who wants to rent out residential units in Pasadena!!). The landlord lobby is lining up resources to defeat this—if rent control passes in Pasadena, who knows where rent control can pass elsewhere in LA County! Stick it to the landlords and vote YES on Measure H. The H is for “Hell Yeah Rent Control!”
La Puente – City Council
DSA-LA has endorsed Ricardo Martinez for La Puente City Council. Vying for one of the two open seats, Ricardo is the son of immigrants running a campaign that centers the working class. His campaign focuses on implementing a Green New Deal-style infrastructure policy in La Puente, that includes affordable housing, creating an accessible local government through budget and spending transparency, and revitalizing the local economy and downtown area of La Puente. Ricardo has experience as a legislative aide as well as leading local mutual aid efforts, work that has shaped his policy positions and motivation to run for city council. As is the case with LA County’s municipalities, it often takes a spark of transformative change happening in one to inspire the others to pursue housing as human right, healthcare for all, and union jobs. La Puente is the next spark with Ricardo Martinez for City Council.
Montebello – Montebello Unified School Board
Despite being called the “Montebello Unified School Board,” this district includes Montebello, Commerce, Bell Gardens, as well as portions of East Los Angeles & Monterey Park. A predominantly Latine district, this election is an at-large election with three open seats and six candidates. We recommend Aaron Reveles, a teacher and union member, who recognizes the need to protect public schools from privatizing forces. His priorities include the need for a Green New Deal for public schools, removing police presence from public schools, pushing for the district to become more democratic in its allocation of its spending by giving employees and the community more of a say in discretionary spending.
Azusa – Mayor
Jonny Liu is taking on establishment Democrat and incumbent Mayor, Robert Gonzales. He has created a welcoming space for young people, including LGBTQ+ community members, at his very popular coffee shop in Azusa. Though not primarily funded by contractors and corporate interests, Jonny has taken one loan from his coffee shop and one contribution from Homelegance Inc., an American multinational furniture company headquartered in Fremont (CA). But, the incumbent has taken numerous corporate donations, including from a towing company, electrical work business, concrete contractor, and an auctions company, amongst others.
Among a number of priorities, Jonny is running to improve and provide non-carceral solutions for the unhoused, increase the ratios of lower-income and affordable housing in new developments, expand/rebrand the city’s family resource center, improve/expand green spaces, reduce poverty and improve political accountability at City Hall. Jonny not just taking on just the mayor, but the entire city council by not colluding with them or their donors. We recommend Jonny Liu for Azusa Mayor.
Rio Hondo Community College Board of Trustee Area
Rio Hondo College covers the cities of El Monte, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte and Whittier. Area 5 covers East Whittier. If anyone knows anything about Whitter politics, one word can describe it. Entrenched.
So, two days before the close of filing, Vanessa Tyson decided to pull papers for this race, upsetting Whittier politics by daring to run against its entrenched establishment incumbent Oscar Valladares. A Whittier native, Vanessa is a professor at Scripps College in Claremont, teaching classes in Public Policy, Women and Public Policy, and Marginalized Communities.
Her top priorities are to bolster relationships between Rio Hondo and various colleges and universities, work with administrators to reduce attrition rates and support students with food and housing insecurity. She will not only address the needs of students, but those of the faculty and staff as well.
The Whittier establishment cares only about keeping the status quo, regardless of the constituents and their needs, choosing to back someone formally accused of sexual harassment in office. With her background, experience and platform, we recommend Vanessa Tyson for Rio Hondo College Board 2022 (Area 5).
South Central and Inglewood
Centinela Valley Union High School District
DSA-LA has endorsed Estefany Alejandra Castañeda, Inglewood born and Lennox-Inglewood raised, daughter of immigrant workers, she became a union organizer with UNITE HERE Local 11! after years of organizing in her unincorporated Los Angeles County community. Estefany is running for re-election in the Centinela Valley Union High School District School Board to continue to represent 160,000 students and families.
In November of 2018 while a senior undergraduate student at CSUN, at 22 years old she ran a grassroots campaign against a 10+ year incumbent with less than $2,000 and garnered over 12,000 votes to secure her victory. She ran on a platform centered on working class issues: transparency in all the processes and decisions the school board makes, engagement with the community to give out and provide more resources for our surrounding cities facing displacement and losing their home, and raising the quality of education in the district through establishing better mental health programs for students and parents facing adversity, advocating for special education programs, establishing more afterschool programs.
For this race, she faces a candidate that entered the electoral field at the last minute in reaction to Estefany casting the sole vote against a full-time sheriff contract on a school campus. Her challenger is bankrolled by a construction company, ready to sell out the district to the highest buyer. Reelect a socialist and endorsed DSA-LA member – vote for Estefany Casteñeda!
Lynwood – City Council
Six candidates are running for three open seats in this primarily working class and Latino Southeast Los Angeles community. We’re recommending Juan Muñoz-Guevara for Lynwood city council, one of the only candidates in this race who is not primarily funded by contractors and corporate interests that seek to profit off of Lynwood. An organizer and researcher with UNITE HERE 11, Juan is running a vehemently pro-worker campaign that centers on building more affordable housing, organizing tenants, and building union worker power.
One of Juan’s opponents has been in Lynwood politics for 19 years (since Juan was 6). Another opponent is the current Trump Republican Mayor. Lynwood is getting audited by the state and the current city Treasurer is now running for Council—the status quo has got to change. Born and raised in Lynwood and the child of Mexican immigrants, Juan has built a new type of coalition with labor, environmental orgs and community leaders. He’s pledged to not take any money from contractors that have active business in Lynwood and is endorsed by the LA County Federation of Labor, IBEW, UNITE HERE, the Teamsters, and others.