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LA PROGRESSIVE COMMUNITY VOTER GUIDE

A COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE FUTURE LEFT, PEOPLE'S CITY COUNCIL, IN THIS TOGETHER, AND MEMBERS OF THE LA COMMUNITY

November 3rd, 2020

protestors marching in the streets

About the Voter Guide

The Future Left voter’s guide is not just a list of recommendations, to be consulted like a column of restaurant or movie reviews. Instead, we— the members of The Future Left— regard it as a gregarious model for social decision. It was a research project that brought together a multitude of community members, activists, scholars, cultural producers, and organizations like The Future Left, People’s City Council, SafeLAPL, In This Together, and Angelena Atlas, among others, to consider strategies for the November ballot and agree on a common direction, despite differences in origin, age, race, gender, sexuality, ability, and levels of political experience. The guide makes no pretense of authority. Rather, it should be understood as part of a longer conversation and political process, which is why this year’s guide will be released along with a series of articles, teach-ins, videos, and a variety of next-step sequences that can be pursued after all the ballots have been cast.

The Future Left began as a discussion group that, while stridently progressive and future-oriented in its outlook, always welcomed ideological diversity and an openness to new strategies. As much as it would simplify our lives, we understood that candidates and initiatives can’t simply be measured according to some abstract value, like “progressivity” or “leftiness,” and then rated accordingly. Politics will always be too qualitative and contestable for that, and we are, in actuality, much the better for it. Our guide tries to reflect this by informing rather than leading your choices, especially when it comes to lesser-known local and down-ballot races. Not only do we employ a three-tier system of “endorsement,” “recommendation” and the more distantly-accepted “preferred,” we even suggest browsing through other voter’s guides, just as we did. There are more and more voter’s guides appearing every year, as you’ve probably noticed, and this is cause for celebration. Our greatest hope would be for every organization, every neighborhood, every workplace, every block, every household to put out their own guide, as much for themselves as for others. Consider writing your own! It’s a democratic experience in the thickest and richest possible sense -- in the reading, teaching, debating, and good-natured teasing we all do together in the days leading upon to Election Day, and in the bonds and coalitions that we build to last long beyond it.

Election Day isn’t everything, as few activists will fail to remind you. It nevertheless matters greatly, and most of us involved with The Future Left seek to ensure institutional power is both occupied and mobilized in the direction of deeply progressive change, via electoral and other means, alike. We agree with the broadly-memed sentiment that the act of voting is just “the bare minimum” and “a beginning,” and that voting should only be considered one element of a more protracted, longer-range strategy -- not a final nod for a political figure to whom we’ll owe some unshakable bond or allegiance. This is doubly true when it comes to the social abstraction of the national or statewide political stage. You’re not choosing your new best friend. Nor are you really even selecting your “representative,” despite how the process is imagined civically. You’re just setting the initial conditions. And we here at The Future Left strongly encourage you not to cede any ground before the battle has even begun. No office, no measure, is negligible, and this is what makes the voter’s guide such a powerful tool. The political class have long exploited the isolated nature of the secret ballot method, and the necessary limitations of any single voter’s knowledge, so as to smuggle in garbage undetected. The voter’s guide— ours or any others— is a way to make voting a more truly social decision, even while alone in the booth, so that the act is not just treated as an individualized “vibe” that we might get without reflection, or while standing outside our voting locations in unnecessarily long lines.

  • ENDORSEMENTS we strongly back as an organization
  • RECOMMENDATIONS we consider to be in line with progressive values
  • PREFERRED CANDIDATES we do not support, but the best option compared to their competitors, who could be considered the “greater evil”

Regional Focuses

Select the region of the ballot you are trying to find below

A Black Live's Matter protest with many signs including one of George Floyd

Federal Highlights

PRESIDENT

As a local organization based in a metropolitan area and state where the presidential election will undoubtedly go to Biden, we prefer to decenter and not endorse anyone to bring the focus back to local and state election where we have more control. We will be releasing a full brief before the election.

ON ELECTORALISM

Before the election we will be releasing an article on the broader meaning of electoralism within the political landscape.

Federal Recommendations

President

President+

"Not Trump"

US House of Representatives

District 8 | Chris Bubser - Preferred+

This contest covers California’s 8th congressional district includes parts of Inyo, Mono, and San Bernardino Counties. This is currently a contentious battleground election where a retiring Republican will be leaving the seat open to the winner. Larger races in this area has shown it is a hard place for a Democrat to win with a margin of around 15% at least going to Republicans. Not only is Bubser great because she is a woman running against a man, a Democrat running against a Republican, but she is a former conservationist in a climate change impacted area running against a man who rose to power by unseating a GOP leader for standing up for Climate Change legislation. Her opponent Jay Obernolte is really the enemy, endorsed by Trump, and will likely make the unstable climate conditions in this area far worse if elected.

District 23 | Kim Mangone - Preferred+

For those who don’t know California's 23rd Congressional District includes portions of Los Angeles, Kern, and Tulare Counties, most situated at the northeast portion of LA county. Our pick for this race Democrat Kim Mangone trailed her competitor Kevin McCarthy by an abyssal ~30% but we can see that Mangone has outspent him by $180 million at the end of August. She is endorsed by some liberal and some progressive-ish organizations like the American Postal Workers Union, California Democratic Party, Tulare County Stonewall Democrats, Stonewall Democratic Club, Kern County Democratic Party, and Tulare County Democratic Party. She is basically a center left candidate running against a really terrible Republican. She wants to expand social programs without pushing for true progressive change. Her opponent has lots of power and, as the house minority leader, a hit to someone like McCarthy would be a hit to Trump’s party. This is an easy one. Vote against Trump’s friend.

District 25 | Christy Smith - Preferred+

California's 25th Congressional District includes parts of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. This is a district that has been in the news a lot for various reason, it has also been a place where Republicans have touted a recent win after Democrat Christy Smith lost to Republican Mike Garcia in the primary by around 8%. This means she does have a shot at winning in this next race. Christy Smith was a natural pick for many progressives due to her connection to shutting down Aliso Canyon, pushing for sustainable energy, but more or less she is just a moderate Democrat we are choosing to run against a Republican. We appreciate her push to End Citizen’s United and refused to take corporate PAC money but she also did not refuse to take money from police unions or fossil fuel industries. We hope a better progressive challenger comes around for the next election cycle but until then we urge you to vote for Christy Smith.

District 26 | Julia Brownley - Preferred+

*The following is a fictional scenario using the factual resume of the candidate.

You’re somewhere in Ventura county, shopping at Patagonia, when none other than Congressmember Julia Brownley walks in, and you’re like,”Julia, what are you doing here?!” and she says, “oh, you know, here to thank the individuals from Patagonia Works for their $11,200 donation to my campaign.” Then she asks if you’d like to go on a hike in the Los Padres National Forest, since she helped protect this wilderness under the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act and all. So you’re hiking and talking about what kind of transportation and infrastructure Veterans deserve to come home to, when she brings up the USA Freedom Act, a modified version of the Patriot Act, which you are not about at all, and she goes, “that’s how we were able to meet though, because I knew you were going to be in Patagonia.” Before you have time to react, she gets a call on her AT&T cell phone (cuz they give her a lot of money too) and it’s the Human Rights Campaign and Planned Parenthood (her biggest fans) on the line, congratulating her on serving almost 8 years in congress and getting an “A” rating from NIAC Action. Later, you’ll ask if she wants a hit of your joint and she’ll say, “I’m good, but you go ahead and I won’t call the cops,” but you’ll call The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which will land her a “B+” in their book. But don’t get her started on IRS reform & restructuring, or how IRS employees must have a clean tax record, but students & families deserve tax simplification, unless you are ready to fall asleep in her guest bedroom at her house in Thousand Oaks.Then it comes to you in a dream, “The Future Left prefers Julia Brownley for CA District 26, because she’s a better option than her competitor, not because she’s a great candidate,” and it all makes sense. - by Brenna Cheyney

District 27 | Judy Chu - Recommended+

*The following is a fictional scenario using the factual resume of the candidate.

Sometime in the not so distant future, you are lying in a hospital bed, after the pyrotechnics for your last live show went horribly awry, and you flip the channel to C-SPAN’s coverage of the House Ways and Means Committee, and there she is, your congressional representative Judy Chu. It’s comforting to see one of the founders of the Medicare For All Caucus, while you receive tax financed care for your injuries, with your nurse by your side commenting, “healthcare professionals like me love her so much we donated $65,650 in individual and PAC contributions between 2019-2020.” You flash back to 2020, when that band from across town tried to steal your act, Judy made sure you had copyright protections along with her fellow Congressional Creative Rights Caucus, and even attended your virtual concert fundraiser for the San Gabriel National Recreation Area. When your parents’ small business almost went bankrupt, Judy was there as Chair of the Small Business Oversight Subcommittee. As a UC system drop out, you still understand why University of California individuals have donated $18,550 to the congressmember’s campaign, and why she is endorsed by the California Federation of Teachers, the California School Employees Association and the California Teachers Association. The pain meds start to kick in— a cocktail of THC, CBD and psilocybin mushrooms. Your mind drifts to what Judy Chu’s car might look like; it’s electric and it’s covered in the bumper stickers of the groups that endorse her. “American Postal Workers Union,” you love getting mail, “International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees,” you love a good play, “United Farm Workers,” you love food, “Sierra Club,” nature is life, “NARAL Pro-Choice America,” and you are definitely pro-choice. But wait, what’s happening?! Judy’s getting pulled over by an Alhambra police officer! “What seems to be the problem officer…you know that your association endorses me right?” she says. “Well ma’am, although I find it very inspiring that you were the first ever Chinese American woman elected to congress, I heard that you recently supported the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. You used to want Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), what happened?” You snap back to reality, C-SPAN has gone to commercial, and George Takei is on the screen, “I am proud to say that The Future Left recommends Judy Chu for CA Congressional District 27.” — by Brenna Cheyney

District 28 | No Recommendation+

*The following is a fictional scenario using the factual resume of the candidate.

It’s a Wednesday, in April of 2019, and you’re driving a U-Haul van through the hills of Hollywood on your way to a catering gig. It happens to be a fundraiser event for Congressmember Adam Schiff and you’re very glad to hear that he’s vegan. “But isn’t it hypocritical and counterproductive to be vegan and promote renewable energy, while also accepting money from the fossil fuel industry?” you wonder aloud to your co-worker. “You’re talking about the same guy that co-authored the Schiff-Cardenas Crime Prevention Act, and thinks reforming the criminal justice system means investing more in law enforcement, while also providing greater funding for proven programs to prevent crime and provide opportunities to young, at-risk people. Truly helping at-risk communities does not include more funding for the police,” your co-worker responds. “Wow, yeah, sounds like he’s a bit of a walking contradiction.” The donors take their seats and Adam starts filling them in about all the work he’s done as the Ranking Member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he led the impeachment inquiry into the current President’s abuse of power. You serve a gin & tonic to a guest wearing a Mickey Mouse tie, as Adam thanks the attendees from the Walt Disney Co. for their continued monetary support. The glasses at the bar start shaking and clinking together, and the crowd gets flustered. Adam doesn’t skip a beat and says, “and that’s why I’m prioritizing getting funding for an early earthquake-warning system.” After everyone settles, it’s time for questions from the donors, and the crowd takes a moment of respectful pause when a sexual assault survivor commends Congressmember Schiff for his work on reducing the rape kit backlog and obtaining substantial federal support to help create a state-of-the-art crime lab in Glendale. Another attendee expresses their frustration with voter suppression in this country and asks, “what have you done in the campaign finance and election reform departments?” Adam responds, “well, just last month, I co-sponsored the For The People Act, which works to end partisan gerrymandering, makes Election Day a federal holiday, bans voter roll purging, expands automatic voter registration and early voting, and gives public matching funds for small donors, while increasing disclosure.” The crowd starts muttering amongst themselves and a flurry of confusion erupts. Schiff continues to dig a hole of distrust with his pattern of playing both sides-- he’s pro-police yet wants to reduce the rape-kit backlog, he has a horrific foreign policy record yet worked to impeach a very corrupt President, and he wants to promote renewable energy while taking money from the fossil fuel industry...no wonder the attendees need more rosé. As you wipe down the tables at the end of your shift, it becomes clear as to why The Future Left can’t recommend Adam Schiff for CA Congressional District 28: he can not be trusted to fully support a progressive platform, and besides, he is likely to sweep the floor with Republican Eric Early, so there is no need to even list Schiff as preferred, regardless of his veganism. — by Brenna Cheyney

District 29 | Angelica Maria Duenas - Recommended+

Los Angeles native, daughter of immigrants, Angélica María Dueñas has served the constituents of the valley as a Councilmember and also as President of the Sun Valley Area Neighborhood Council since 2010, taking a short break from 2014-2015. Her platform revolves around the same progressive ideals that Senator Sanders has stood for, including the Green New Deal, healthcare for all, public education for all, humane immigration reform, criminal justice reform and protecting civil rights. Dueñas served as a member of the Bernie Sanders Delegation to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. A mother of 5, she is dedicated to the fight for social justice as she works to ensure a better future for her children. She will push for progressive ideals while staying clear of corporate money, keeping her free to serve and stand up for the people she serves. Dueñas has been endorsed by a number of organizations including Sunrise Movement Los Angeles, Progressive Democrats of America - SFV (PDA of San Fernando Valley), and Our Revolution Los Angeles.

Duena’s opponent Tony Cárdenas is largely a rank-and-file corporate Democrat who has accepted substantial corporate contributions from the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, the oil and gas industry, the automotive industry, the real estate industry, and the technology industry, amongst others. He was born in Pacoima in the San Fernando Valley, the son of hard-working immigrants and the youngest of 11 siblings. He was the Valley’s first Latino representative in the California State Legislature and was first elected in 1996. He can usually be counted on to vote with the Democratic party. In 2018, he was accused of sexual abuse but the charges were dropped due to an undisclosed “Rule of Professional Conduct” that required the law firm that the alleged victim Angela Chavez had chosen, to withdraw from the case. This led to Chavez agreeing to “drop her case in exchange for an agreement from Mr Cárdenas that he would not sue her for anything related to the lawsuit she brought, lawyers said”. We stand with the survivors and cannot support candidates such as these who cannot break with the status quo of the Democratic party when it comes to policy.

By Michelle Young

District 30 | No Recommendation

District 32 | Grace Napolitano - Recommended+

Congresswoman Grace Flores Napolitano has proven herself as an advocate for the people of California’s 32nd Congressional District. She votes in service of the communities and industries she represents, and has a strong record of prioritizing labor rights, immigration, and veterans’ programs.

Napolitano has also championed mental health care in California. She co-chairs the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, and in the last two years alone has sponsored the Immigrants’ Mental Health Act, The Bridge to End Homelessness Act, and The Reducing Mental Health Stigma in the Hispanic Community Act.

The Republican opposition, Joshua Scott, is a frequent retweeter of James Woods on Twitter and has #NoApologies in his bio. We think that about sums it up for him.

District 34 | David Kim - Endorse+

David Kim faces a tough race against incumbent Jimmy Gomez, but he’s no stranger to fighting uphill battles. He claims to be running because of his desire to help others and advocate for his community, and his record supports it. Kim built a legal career early on helping workers and artists defend their labor and assets, but changed directions to work as an immigration attorney focused on asylum cases. He currently sits on the MacArthur Park Neighborhood Council, which he was elected to in 2019.

Kim has committed to only accepting donations from independent donors, unlike Gomez. He often cites the fact that CA-34 is the 10th poorest district in the nation, and doesn’t want to have to answer to the interests of corporations and manufacturers ahead of those of the people he represents.

We find that Kim aligns with many of our shared values — he’s a supporter of a Medicare for All and reallocating funding in addition to demilitarizing and disarming police. Kim supports Covid-19 Rent & Mortgage Relief, the cancelation of student debt, free public college, guaranteed housing, and the abolition of ICE. David Kim is a supporter of Universal Basic Income, and has received an endorsement from Andrew Yang whose democratic presidential primary platform centered UBI as a policy preference. Kim has also received an endorsement from renowned Neon Genesis Evangelion Superfan Marianne Williamson.

Incumbent Jimmy Gomez was first elected in a special election race in 2017 to replace Xavier Becerra, who was in turn elected the 33rd Attorney General of California. A win in 2020 would mark Gomez’s third term in office. Compared to Kim’s small donor financing, Jimmy Gomez has raised close to one million dollars, a majority of which comes from outside of District 3. Gomez has a true goon squad of donors — Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Goldenman Sachs, Amazon, Monsanto, Facebook, and Google, to name just a few.

Gomez has a voting record that leans left, including co-sponsoring a bill to increase police accountability, but also includes a yes vote to ICE funding, yes to reauthorize the USA FREEDOM Act, no on a prison reform bill, and yes on an authorization for a $733 billion military spending increase. In 2018 he was endorsed by Bernie Sanders, who took the district in the 2016 presidential election. He has not received the same endorsement for 2020.

New information has come to the surface about Gómez running for Lieutenant Governor, which makes us think his next term will be spent neglecting his district as he campaigns and raising campaign cash. Gomez also ran misleading ads to make it seem like he was endorsed by Bernie Sanders this year and even though he was endorsed in 2018 we are convinced that Bernie would endorse David as we would in 2020. For this reason, amongst others, we endorse Kim.

District 37 | Karen Bass - Recommended+

Karen Bass is a rising California progressive and has championed the seemingly impossible balancing act of working as a progressive while also consistently rising in rank in the national Democratic Party. She is a member of many important caucuses and is, most notably, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. She was one of the potential picks for Biden’s Vice President and we would have chosen her or Barbara Lee over Kamala Harris any day.

However, she does come with caveats. We were disappointed when she didn’t endorse Bernie Sanders, voted to loosen workers’ rights regulations, co-sponsored SESTA-FOSTA, supported USMCA, and became absorbed in the business-as-usual-culture of Sacramento -- taking big money from lobbyists, amongst many other things. In a way, she arguably makes up “halfway” for not endorsing Bernie by pushing for progressive policies like Medicare For All, DACA, the Dream Act, and criminal justice reforms, but with this all said, she still has a lot of work to do to win our thorough allegiance. We think you should vote for her, but if she wins, she needs to be continually pressured from the left to withdraw her support for anti-sex worker bills like SESTA-FOSTA, or anti-worker bills like the USMCA. For these reasons, we only recommend rather than endorse Bass.

District 38 | Michael Tolar - Recommended+

Tolar has been fighting a tough race against the Democrat incumbent Linda Sanchez, securing only 22.3% of the primary vote. It’s not surprising that Sanchez is a larger household name as she’s been serving the District since 2013 and has received close to one million dollars in donations, most of which come from PACs. Michael Tolar refused to take PAC money in alignment with his belief that corporate money doesn’t belong in politics. He supports rent control within his district, Medicare for All, gun reform, and is against privatized prisons.

Sanchez, on the other hand, supports immigration reform and supported the DREAM act, and voted yes for expansions to the ACA, yet she has also voted for every single National Defense Authorization Act under Trump, including the one which authorized selling bombs to Saudi Arabia, so her range of empathy seems to extend to only a small portions of the world. Sanchez’s husband, James Sullivan, is facing charges under a 2018 federal indictment asserting that he and former colleagues of the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative diverted more than $1 million in federal funds for golfing excursions and trips to the Kentucky Derby. Sanchez was allegedly a guest on some of those trips. We hope seeing those horses was worth it, but clearly, we must recommend Tolar.

District 39 | Gil Cisneros - Recommended+

The case of Cisneros is black and white: it involves a moderate Democrat vs. a Republican (Young Kim). We urge you to vote for the Democrat Gil Cisneros. Not only that, but this is a tight race and if we were to base our prediction of what will happen in the general election on the primary election results—we would say this swing district seat remains at risk of flipping to a Republican. Both candidates are funded by questionable big industries but Kim’s top donors are exclusively big business. Cisneros’ potentially notable moments of progressivism are not worth mentioning due to his inconsistent voting record, but that said, we feel that it is important for you to vote for him over the Republican, whose agenda is explicitly pro-business.

District 40 | No Recommendation

District 43 | Maxine Waters - Recommended+

This race between Republican Joe Collins and Maxine Waters was the topic of many-a-recent-joke at numerous protests against police brutality in South LA. The running theme was how Joe Collins was betraying his community by running as a Republican and yet, posting shameless, self-aggrandizing images of himself on billboards all over the communities of South LA, Gardena, Inglewood, and Torrance. Clearly, he can’t be serious, right? He is, but it’s ok because he will likely lose. In contrast, Waters is championed in her community. Collins only gets airtime when it can be utilized as a joke. At the end of the day, he is of course, running against the most senior of black women to currently serve in Congress.

We appreciate Waters’ push for some truly great policies, including her push for financial relief for her represented communities during the pandemic, and she has accumulated many years worth of a reliable, proven track record. We should be clear though, that we are specifically recommending and not endorsing her. That said, she is, every day of the week, far better than an ex-military Republican.

District 44 | Nanette Barragan - Recommended+

This district covers places such as Carson, Compton, Watts, San Pedro and most of the South LA and LA Harbor area. This area is lucky to have someone who was elected 4 years ago who has already proven herself and is running against the mysterious, unproven Analilia Joya. Joya has little to no information listed about herself aside from the fact that she got 14% of the primary vote -- and, on top of all this, her website doesn’t work. Nanette Barragán, in contrast, has refused to take oil money, fought against fossil fuel expansion and fossil fuel bailouts, fought for immigrants seeking asylum, advocated housing protections, and pushed forward a wide range of left of center initiatives. We recommend Barragan.

District 47 | Al Lowenthal - Recommended+

This is a relatively simple race considering that Democrat Alan Lowenthal is running against the Republican John Briscoe. Lowenthal is likely to win with a great record voting against right wing military increases and crackdowns on privacy via the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, while also supporting the progressive D.A. George Gascon. Gascon is co-sponsor of a universal healthcare bill, and a supporter of AOC’s Green New deal. His opponent is a trash politician who criminalizes the unhoused, endorses policies centering business over working people, and, well, that’s all the space he gets in this paragraph. We recommend Lowenthal.

District 50 | Ammar Campa-Najjar - Preferred

District 53 | Georgette Gomez - Preferred

Fatima Iqbal-Zubair

State Highlights

PROPOSITION 14: NO

Stem cell funding is important to advancement in stem cell research, but there is a lack of general transparency––given that the regulatory agency known as Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC) is internal to CIRM and, therefore, unaccountable to legislative oversight.

Read more on Prop 14

PROPOSITION 15: YES

Proposition 15 seeks to reclaim $10-12 billion in annual funding for K-12 public schools, community colleges, parks, transit, unhoused services, libraries and health clinics by closing one of the most sinister tax loopholes in history....

Read more on Prop 15

PROPOSITION 21: YES

Prop 21 benefits renters in 3 ways: it stabilizes rental prices by modernizing rent control, carves out homeowners with two or fewer units, and introduces vacancy control...

Read more on Prop 21

PROPOSITION 24: NO

In short, the proponents of prop 24 want new regulations to further the CCPA’s limits, while those who oppose believe a more protective and well-planned bill is necessary without so many loopholes...

Read more on Prop 24

PROPOSITION 25: NO

As much as we do really want to get rid of cash bail we also want to get rid of the carceral state and its dependence on jails and prisons -- where people who can’t pay bail end up...

Read more on Prop 25

STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 64: FATIMA IQBAL-ZUBAIR

When we talk about how to respond to climate change in Southern California, we should look to leaders like Fatima Iqbal-Zubair. Her policies are detailed, progressive, and remarkably restorative...

Read more on Fatima Iqbal-Zubair

State Recommendations

State Senate

District 21 | Kipp Mueller - Recommended+

Kipp Mueller comes from a working class background and practices law as a worker’s rights attorney. His platform is progressive: Mueller supports Medicare for all, ending wage inequality, addressing the seriousness of climate change, and houselessness. In a race against an incumbent Republican, the choice here is easy. We recommend Mueller.

District 23 | Abigail Medina - Recommended+

This was a close race between the Republican incumbent and Democrat Abigail Medina, so we think it’s crucial you vote blue in this San Bernardino County race. Medina has a platform pushing healthcare for all, environmental justice, tenant protections, and free tuition to early pre-K and community colleges. She also wants to close the detention centers in the CA that have led to the lowest of conditions for immigrants. She also supports Prop 15, opposes Prop 22, but sadly supports Prop 25. We cannot endorse her because she is not consistently progressive but in a purple race we hope she unseats the Republican.

District 25 | No Recommendation+

In the primary, incumbent Anthony Portantino was leading against Trumpian Republican Kathleen Hazleton by a margin of 98.6% so we think it’s safe to say he will win this election and there is no strategic reason to support a Democratic we don’t align with in any way over a Republican. Portantino is essentially a shill who is committed to taking money from big industry and supporting the interests of them such as from corporations, police, or fossil fuel money. To add insult to injury, OpenSecrets reveals that he takes corporate money from the very corporations that he is supposed to be regulating through the committees that he sits on. We find little to be excited about in this race, except for it being Portantino’s last, so we can only say that we prefer him over Hazleton, nothing more.

District 27 | Henry Stern - Recommended+

Henry Stern is an environmental attorney and community activist who has done great work in his district, leading the fight against oil and gas near residences and public places such as hospitals and schools, while also pushing for protections for vulnerable communities during California blackout periods, fighting mail-in ballot misinformation, promoting mental-health care in the community, and ensure transparency in state-level politics. Stern is not the most progressive candidate.

District 29 | Josh Newman - Preferred+

Josh Newman is known for right wingers attempting to remove him from office for a vote to increase gas tax to fund necessary services like the building of roads. Newman has also made a pledge against taking fossil fuel money, while his Republican opponent Ling Ling Chang has not. Newman trailed Ling Ling Chang by around 14% in the primary, so our support is mostly strategic for this moderate Democrat. Newman was endorsed by California League of Conservation Voters , NARAL Pro-Choice California , Sierra Club California, and some local progressives in the area.

District 33 | Elizabeth Castillo - Endorse+

The current incumbent Lena Gonzalez is not someone easy to beat, knowing that campaign funding is almost always related to election outcomes and this strategy worked for her to win her seat last year. Gonzalez did vote on some important bills such as supporting public banks, raising affordable housing funds, banning police surveillance equipment, and as a result received a courage score of 100%.

We are, however, more confident about her progressive challenger who has outright made a pledge to refuse corporate donations, support single-payer healthcare, push for the green new deal, enact rent and mortgage forgiveness, and fight for clean air and soil, boasting clear commitments to both social and economic justice for all. We believe in the vision and promises of Elizabeth Castillo and endorse her campaign.

District 35 | Steven Bradford - Recommended+

Steven Bradford was recently interviewed for our documentary. We are grateful for him meeting with us and pushing for key bills like the police decertification bill SB 731 that would be a major step for holding police accountable. This bill would make it so police who were charged with misconduct would no longer be able to be hired in other police departments, as is currently the practice. SB 731 did not pass sadly, but Bradford was able to successfully push for AB392, a liberal police reform bill that in effect reduces the cases in which police can use force. We may not agree with Bradford completely on his view of police and what needs to happen, since he opposes defunding the police, but we do think he is doing important work that needs critical attention. We therefore recommend rather than endorse him.

District 37 | David Min - Preferred+

David Min is running against Republican incumbent John M. W. Moorlach. According to his website, Min supports Medicare for All as a pathway to universal coverage. That said, he believes in maintaining private health insurance and supports the idea of California negotiating directly with pharmaceutical companies to “reduce drug prices.” In addition, he supports going carbon neutral but not until 2050, which according to many organizations (e.g. the Sunrise Movement) is far too late. He’s a free-market guy who falls into the category of “ethical capitalist”, not that of a progressive candidate. As such, we list him as a preferred rather than recommended candidate.

State Assembly

Assembly District 36 | No Recommendation

Assembly District 38 | No Recommendation

Assembly District 39 | Luz Maria Rivas - Recommended+

D39 is the home of a longshot race between the recognized, hard-working Democratic legislator Luz Rivas and Republican Ricardo Benitez, who has little to no chance of winning. In fact, he is a repeatedly failed candidate who has self-funded his own campaign, and whose main strategies is to post pro-Trump memes on his Facebook page. As much as we can appreciate a good meme, Benitez can’t even seem to muster up a single endorsement from the assortment of planet-destroying, militaristic racists on the right. Luz Maria Rivas, on the other hand, has proven herself on many issues such as preventing homeless, as she pushed a statewide bill, fought for immigrant protections, sponsored police accountability bills, and achieved an A score from Courage California. We recommend Rivas.

Assembly District 41 | No Recommendation+

Chris Holden is a Democrat running against a Republican: in such circumstances, we usually just slap a “recommended” label on them and call it a day. Why, however? Because we are lazy? Because we worship the Democratic Party? Because we are anarcho-Bidenists at heart? (Yeah, that’s a thing, thanks to the Twitter/YouTube troll Vaush.) Well, none of those, because it’s complicated and there are some differences between the parties. So, we will admit, Holden is our “preferred” candidate, but we don’t think he is on our team at all, especially considering he authored a bill to bail out the electric companies who have caused numerous major fires and who were also protected from being held accountable for such fires in the future. In this case, we were close to the edge of not recommending someone at all, which would have meant not even recommending the Democrat. We gave in though, because his work will still benefit the most vulnerable among us, with his late-in-coming but still important work with respect to criminal justice reform.

In this case we can see that the Democrat running has done some good things worth noting and he has a 100% rating from the ACLU, amongst other organizations. He authored many criminal justice reform bills and co-sponsored a bill for Sheriff oversight. In recent times, he has continued to push for criminal justice reform as he had in the past, but this is no surprise, as many center-left politicians who previously ignored these issues are now conveniently coming out as “surprisingly” strong in their convictions. He has repeatedly failed us by supporting fossil fuel companies and big electricity, but according to Courage California, his recent history has been more clearly in support of progressive aims. We stand in solidarity with Knock-LA’s choice to not support him on any level but we have, in the end, given him our lowest rung of support -- the shit list of “preferred.” We hope he continues to improve his record and stands on the side of criminal justice legislation.

Assembly District 43 | Laura Friedman - Recommended+

Laura Friedman is an easy choice mainly because she has a solid progressive voting istory and is running against Republican Mike Graves, who has ignored his constituency, opposed affordable housing, who rejected carbon neutrality, and who hasn’t received a single endorsement, thereby demonstrating that he isn’t a serious candidate, let alone a respectable one. Friedman’s record as someone who has fought for both environmental issues and criminal justice reform issues, in contrast, is a shining testament to what kind of candidate she would be if re-elected, as is likely to happen. Laura’s opponent is also as much of an enemy as one can be, economically. As one commentator stated, “Mike’s first political hero was Ronald Reagan. Philosophically, Mike was drawn to writers such as Ayn Rand and Frederick Hayek.” We can’t allow anyone like this to decide to give tax breaks to the rich for some imaginary economic theory of money “trickling down”. We endorse Laura Friedman.

Assembly District 44 | No Recommendation

Assembly District 45 | No Recommendation

Assembly District 46 | Adrin Nazarian - Preferred+

While we don’t find much to write positively with respect to Incumbent Adrin Nazarian, his record demonstrates a largely consistent voting record with respect to progressive policy. However, this fades when one considers his simultaneous lack of support for police accountability. For example, Nazarian and several of his fellow assembly members failed to support the recent vote on SB-731, which would have decertified killer cops.

That said, fellow Democrat Lanira Murphy doesn't seem to have a strong policy platform, and what little information she gives is vague. She wants to “prioritize transparency in drug pricing” and “hold insurance companies accountable” but makes no mention of Medicare for All or how she will prioritize transparency. What she DOES have, however, is an entire page of her website dedicated to her fierce opposition to AB-5, a landmark statute providing increased labor protections to gig workers. In this race then, Adrin Nazarian is the preferred candidate.

Assembly District 48 | No Recommendation

Assembly District 49 | No Recommendation

Assembly District 50 | Richard Bloom - Recommended+

The incumbent Richard Bloom has held District 50 since 2012 and used his time in office to serve as a fierce advocate for inclusive housing and zoning policy. Notably, he recently authored AB 3107, a bill that requires at least 20% of housing that is built on commercially zoned areas to be affordable housing. Most of his contributions from this election cycle stem from big union contributors, 99.97% to be exact, with money coming from the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, the California Federation of Teachers, and the Service Employees International Union. According to the Secretary of State’s website, he has filed the paperwork to run for State Controller in 2022.

Bloom is facing off against Will Hess, whose campaign website employs the strategy we all know and love, of listing one’s favorite thinkers. His include Ben Shapiro, Alex Jones, Joe Rogan, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and more. Hess is somehow running as a Democrat. Clearly, we recommend a vote for Bloom.

Assembly District 51 | No Recommendation+

If you haven’t been following us for that long, you might not know how much we as progressives take issue with Wendy Carillo’s cooptation of progressive language combined with a record of proceeding in a remarkably inconsistent fashion. For example, she got her start from her time fighting fossil fuel interests at Standing Rock, but when she ran for office, she still took money from fossil fuel companies, so as to obliterate the other progressive challengers with an onslaught of way too many adverts. She is a key reminder of why it is that we make voters guides at all, as we have to circumvent the mere rhetorical level of the progressive policy promises made by people like her in order to see who she is taking money from and what her voting record is. She failed us on single payer and accepted money from a number of Super PACs including those associated with Big Pharma, charter schools, police, prisons, fossil fuel companies, developers, and basically, just about every industry we as progressives oppose. She is running unopposed so we really don’t see why we should give her any more coverage by endorsing her. We have no recommendation in particular in this case, but urge the voter to be aware.

Assembly District 52 | No Recommendation

Assembly District 53 | Godfrey Plata - Endorse+

We know that Miguel Santiago has worked with some of our allies such as those who pushed for public banks in LA, but we also want to align with our comrades such as Godfrey Santos Plata who is a DSA member, and whom, as a grassroots candidate, has not taken money from big telecommunications companies, real estate interests, or other interests that don’t represent our community. Godfrey was endorsed by Sunrise Movement LA, Our Revolution LA, Run For Something, LA Podcast, and Ground Game LA. We know these endorsements are a result of his broad-based fight against corporate money influencing politics, labor rights, and healthcare, and we know he prioritizes defending marginalized communities’ access to a higher, safer quality of life. We therefore endorse Plata.

Assembly District 54 | Tracy Jones - Recommended+

Sydney Kamlager-Dove was recently in the news for pushing a bill that would set up a pilot program in which medical and mental health professionals would respond to some emergency calls for which they are most appropriate, instead of police. Kamlager-Dove has also embraced Medicare For All and the Homes Guarantee, but she has not been completely consistent when it comes to other areas of policy or being open about the source of her contributions. Her biggest donors are not only labor unions, but also Amazon big energy and Davita dialysis, while almost all of her donations have been from large-scale organizations. As an incumbent she has done decent work, but she is not willing to bring us bolder visions of the future, seeking instead to water down policies like means-tested, free public education into something almost unrecognizably distant from that. We also won’t forget her abstaining from holding her top donors accountable, such as healthcare companies and medical centers, nor will we ignore that she voted for bills that would expedite gentrification in south LA near Inglewood, that she voted against public banking, and that, in lieu of such developments, she never pushed for affordable or public housing for those most likely to be displaced.

Her opponent Tracy Jones is someone we have been following for a while and have more faith in staying true to through and through as a socialist leader, and as someone deeply connected to his community. Jones was a strong supporter of Bernie Sanders as a volunteer, fighting fossil fuel companies’ expansion of fracking in California, fighting for expanding public education, and fighting for healthcare for all. Our pick may have a long way to go in order to win after gaining 30% of the vote in the primary, but we feel certain he is more trustworthy than Kamlager-Dove. Tracy is clearly fighting for his community as opposed to big business interests in this statement, for example: “This is my community. I was born and raised here and served this community my whole life. This is where my children are growing up. I am fighting for them and all the children just like them." We recommend Jones.

Assembly District 55 | Andrew E. Rodriquez - Preferred+

Andrew E. Rodriquez is up against a super pro-gun, NRA endorsed, and current sitting Republican whose main endorsers are police unions and loves taking photos with cops. His competitor Andrew E. Rodriquez seems to be progressive pushing for some progressive policies, did some service learning with AmeriCorps, has experience as a land planner, and is pushing for affordable housing, clean energy, strengthening public education, family leave and women’s equality, and addressing homelessness. We didn’t recommend him because he wants to fund cops more it seems but he is better than a gun touting, police union tool.

Assembly District 57 | No Recommendation

Assembly District 58 | Margaret Villa - Recommended+

Cristina Garcia, incumbent Assemblymember and landlord, has a voting record which stands in direct opposition to our recommended candidate, Margaret Villa's. Garcia opposed legislation on a statewide rent cap, public banking, and affordable housing in new developments. Worse still, she co-authored SB 625, a bill that would put Central Basin Municipal Water into receivership, dissolve the board of directors, and potentially leave over two million Los Angelenos without representation in the city’s public water agencies. Garcia has a track record as bad in her personal life as she does in the Assembly. She has been accused of sexual misconduct, using homophobic and racist language, and creating a hostile work environment for her staffers. Margaret Villa is the only Green Party candidate in CA who successfully made it to the General Election for the State Legislature. Villa is a working class candidate and an airline worker of 20 years who supports The Green New Deal, Medicare for All, rent control, and investing in renewable energy. We recommend giving her your vote.

Assembly District 59 | Reggie Jones-Sawyer - Recommended+

Reggie Jones-Sawyer is District 59’s progressive incumbent with a solid record on police reform and labor rights. He supports Medicare for all, criminal justice reform, affordable housing, and increasing protections for renters during the pandemic. He is running against Democrat Efren Martinez, whose campaign contributions are deeply tainted by police money. While Jones-Sawyer has room for improvement in several key areas, notably environmental justice, this is an incredibly tight race and losing to Martinez would slow the push for police reform and accountability. We recommend throwing your weight behind Jones-Sawyer.

Assembly District 62 | No Recommendation

Assembly District 63 | No Recommendation+

Maria Estrada is a local activist with a long history of progressive community outreach. She co-founded the Compton for Bernie group and sponsored Bernie delegates to the 2016 convention. Her campaign is built around environmental justice, Healthcare for All, and economic justice. She advocates for rent control based on percentage of income and rent cancellation during the pandemic—crucial issues in District 63 which has one of the state’s highest poverty rates. Estrada canvassed for the CNA’s Single-Payer Healthcare for All Bill, SB 562, which looked like it would pass until her opponent, incumbent Anthony Rendon, blocked it from going to a vote in the Assembly. We appreciate her work but also know she has been known for making several anti-semetic statements with images associating Israel with Germany Nazi, while trying to point to the teachings of the anti-semitic and homophoic leader Louis Farrakhan. These problematic statements gained national attention which combined with her long shot from winning makes it non-strategic or principled to associate with this candidate.

This is not atypical for Assembly Speaker Rendon. During his time in office Rendon has consistently used his position to block progressive policy, and his ineffectual leadership during Covid-19 allowed the Assembly to all but abandon the people it is meant to represent. It’s clear who Rendon represents. He has received $8.6 million in contributions from donors including Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Gilead Sciences, Disney, Fox Group, Boeing, JPMorgan, Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Tesla. For this reason this will be a difficult race for Estrada to win. For all of these reasons we cannot recommend anyone at this time.

Assembly District 64 | Fatima Iqbal-Zubair - Endorse+

Iqbal-Zubair is an immigrant from Dubai by way of Canada, with a passion for accessible education and equal opportunity. As a longtime science teacher in Watts, she founded the first competitive robotics team the district had ever seen, among numerous other accolades. Her own debts from college and medical school and her experience as the mother of an adopted son with autism have ignited advocacy efforts for affordable higher education and accessible special needs services, respectively. She served as K-12 Education Commissioner for incumbent Mike Gipson where she was met with resistance, due to her tendency to break with the status quo.

She also served on the leadership council of Watts Rising, is a member and endorsee of DSA, and volunteers / collaborates with Sunrise, Our Revolution, Food and Water Action, Carson Community Coalition, Bernie Sanders’ campaign, Communities for a Better Environment, Chicano Latino Democratic Club, Communities for a Better Environment, Progressive Democratic Club, the Chicano Latino Immigrant Democratic Club, the Gardena Valley Progressive Club, Our Revolution Long Beach, DSA Long Beach, 350 South Bay LA, South Bay Organizing, and Black Lives Matter Long Beach.

She also served on the leadership council of Watts Rising, is a member and endorsee of DSA, and volunteers / collaborates with Sunrise, Our Revolution, Food and Water Action, Carson Community Coalition, Bernie Sanders’ campaign, Communities for a Better Environment, Chicano Latino Democratic Club, Communities for a Better Environment, Progressive Democratic Club, the Chicano Latino Immigrant Democratic Club, the Gardena Valley Progressive Club, Our Revolution Long Beach, DSA Long Beach, 350 South Bay LA, South Bay Organizing, and Black Lives Matter Long Beach.

Assembly District 70 | No Recommendation

George Gascón holding files and walking into a room surrounded by four other people

Local Highlights

DISTRICT ATTORNEY: GEORGE GASCÓN

If you vote on anything this election cycle, vote for George Gascón in the District Attorney (DA) race for Los Angeles county...

Read more on George Gascón

MEASURE J

Measure J, also known as Reimagine LA, would direct at least 10% of LA County’s general fund to community investment and alternatives to incarceration, and prohibit the use of those funds for law enforcement or prisons/jails...

Read more on Measure J

CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 4: NITHYA RAMAN

Nithya Raman is running a historic, progressive, people-powered campaign for LA City Council in CD-4, a highly gerrymandered district running from Silver Lake to Sherman Oaks, against the incumbent...

Read more on Nithya Raman

Local Recommendations

County

District Attorney

District Attorney | George Gascón - Recommended+

If you vote on anything this election cycle, vote for George Gascón in the District Attorney (DA) race for Los Angeles county. This is where your vote has the potential to impact on who gets prosecuted for what crimes, whether a person who gets charged with a crime will have to post bail, whether a person in the criminal justice system gets drug rehabilitation services, whether the death penalty is applied, and whether to charge a police officer who has killed someone. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know that Black Lives Matter Los Angeles has been leading the charge against another Jackie Lacey term.

Both candidates – incumbent Jackie Lacey and former San Francisco DA, George Gascón – have made their careers in the criminal justice system, but they have very different visions of the future of LA’s version of it. Lacey holds on to an old-school, rigid, tough-on-crime stance, while Gascón presents himself as the reform candidate running on a platform of ending mass incarceration, police accountability, prison alternatives, and transparency. Even though Gascón was a long-time LAPD cop and served as the District Attorney in San Francisco, his record proves his commitment to reform. Law enforcement organizations pumped $3.5 million into Lacey’s reelection campaign, including the $1.2 million from an independent committee organized by the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL), the LAPD officers’ union. George Gascón refused donations from police unions, and has even worked to bar police unions from contributing in local district attorney races, arguing the donations create a conflict of interest in prosecutions of law enforcement officials. Just recently, Lacey recused herself from investigating the gun-slinging, influencer cop Toni McBride who fatally shot Daniel Hernandez. The Attorney General suggested there is likely a conflict of interest – after all, Toni McBride’s father, Jamie McBride, is the director of the LAPPL. Lacey opposed Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana, while Gascón was a leader in the effort to successfully expunge a wide array of marijuana convictions after the passage of Proposition 64. Gascón co-wrote Proposition 47, which turned low-level drug use and other offenses from felonies into misdemeanors, but Lacey opposed it. Gascón wants to end cash bail full stop, while Lacey wouldn’t dream of such a thing. Gascón’s record on prosecuting cops involved in fatal shootings isn’t actually any better than Lacey’s, but he does favor referring those cases to independent prosecutors. Gascón’s policies are ambitious for a city wracked with scandals in the city council and a milquetoast mayor, but his reform-mindedness and willingness to take on police unions are what we need right now.

Gascón has endorsements from progressives like Patrisse Cullors of Black Lives Matter, Senator Bernie Sanders, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and LA City Councilman Mike Bonin, as well as moderates like Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Maxine Waters, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congressmember Ayanna Pressley, and United States Secretary Julián Castro. Even Mayor Eric Garcetti heeded the calls for criminal justice reform from the Black Lives Matter movement and other activists, and switched his endorsement from Lacey to Gascón at the eleventh hour. The writing is on the wall. #JackieLaceyMustGo #JackieLaceyWillGo. We recommend Gascon.

Board of Supervisors

District 2 | Holly Mitchell - Recommended+

The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors’ role is key at the county level and has five positions in total; at the moment, one position is open for the upcoming November election. The current election in District 2 is to replace Mark Ridley-Thomas and covers Culver City, Hawthorne, Lynnwood, Gardena, Inglewood, South LA, Carson, Compton, and Mar Vista, as well as unincorporated areas and neighborhoods of LA. The general election remains between two candidates: Holly Mitchell who is a State Senator in the California State Legislature and Herb Wesson, who is the city council member and former council president.

Holly Mitchell seems like the perfect candidate and many people have painted her in that light, especially considering her endorsement from BLM founder Patrisse Cullors. She is in fact who we are recommending, but we aren’t endorsing her for a good reason as well. She has a strong progressive policy record and is seen as one of the top progressive candidates by many progressive orgs, but somehow everyone who is celebrating her campaign has apparently missed the many donations from fossil fuel companies, telecom companies, prison guard unions, healthcare insurance companies, and big energy companies. We only mention these things to qualify our recommendation over endorsement, since those are reserved for a progressive leader we can completely stand behind. We hope in the future she also considers how her donations impact her imagining of our community. From conversations with local activists organizations, Mitchell has told the community she does not stand to defund the police but is open to reallocating funds. Sadly, when it comes to this key progressive strategy, hers is the same position as her opponent Herb Wesson.

Winpac Expenditures

Mitchell’s opponent Herb Wesson is the former council president and has been quite controversial in the progressive community due to his relationship with developers, a controversial citizen oversight policy that led to reduced citizen oversight, and his insistence on council members always being in complete agreement for public votes. Democracy as a concept is obviously a farce if council members can’t express their opinions, remain in conflict with the rest of council, or vote as representatives on behalf of their prospective districts. We can imagine this led to a lot of backroom deals and may have been part of the basis for the series of FBI probes that plagued a corrupt council history during his tenure. We also know that his record has been greatly improved as of late as he pushed for new policies to reimagine public safety in LA.

This was not only a tight race since Wesson won the race by two percent but also an important race because this seat oversees 2 million people in Los Angeles County. Progressively have strongly supported Holly Mitchell but there is some rising support from her opponent Herb Wesson from some people within Black Lives Matter. Mitchell’s consistent record is what is important to highlight here, even though we do take notice of Herb Wesson’s recent strides to come to the progressive corner in certain ways. We don’t think it’s good enough because their history matters.

Mitchell, however, is a chairmanship on the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee and a member of the California Legislative Black Caucus, as well as holds many other positions. She has signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge and is the favorite among most progressive organizations . She has been recommended or endorsed by figures and organizations such as Patrisse Cullors from BLM, Ground Game LA’s Knock LA voters guide, California Working Families Party, and DSA. We too endorse Mitchell.

City

Los Angeles City Council

District 4 | Nithya Raman - Endorse+

Nithya Raman is running a historic, progressive, people-powered campaign for LA City Council in CD-4, a highly gerrymandered district running from Silver Lake to Sherman Oaks, pushing towards a runoff this November against incumbent David Ryu. She immediately stands out because she has taken no corporate, developer, or fossil fuel money. She is a first time politician, but a longtime urban planner, community advocate, and dues-paying member of DSA-LA. She spent time in Chennai, India starting an organization that helped direct resources like running water and sanitation to the region’s most disenfranchised residents. In 2014, she worked with the City Administrative Officer of LA detailing how the city’s spending on homelessness was misdirected towards jailing and should instead be invested in sustainable solutions creating access to permanent housing / resources that help break cycles of poverty. Noticing the surge in numbers of unhoused neighbors in her community, she started a Neighborhood Homeless Coalition called SELAH in 2017. They run several programs, including providing food and showers to folks in areas of LA most in need. She currently serves as co-chair of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s Homelessness Committee. Over the last year Raman was the Executive Director of the Time’s Up women’s rights movement in the entertainment industry. She left that position to pursue local office, bringing her extensive community organizing knowledge with her. She runs under the banner of “making city hall work for us” focusing upon transformation in the areas of public safety, rent forgiveness, housing and homelessness, public resources (i.e. healthcare, broadband, education, transportation), and increased protections for immigrants, aging citizens, and our environment.

She is also endorsed by other progressive advocacy organizations such as CHIRLA, Sunrise Movement, DSA, Fund Her, Run For Something, and Women’s Political Committee. We endorse Raman.

District 10 | Mark Ridley-Thomas - Preferred+

God we hate to do this and do this with incredible pain because in a sense it’s nearly impossible to decide on which candidate is actually better. Both sides are going to do damage and it seems Yoo has a more defined dislike by leftist orgs in the community even though she has been able to fly under the radar as a progressive for groups not in the community. What makes Grace Yoo so horrible is that she is the anti-houseless candidate, which means she's the same type of animal that most LA city council members and the mayor are. Yoo takes a stance on the issue of houselessness that is subtle claiming that she doesn’t oppose shelters, but rather advocates for community input about where they’re placed. She was a leader in the fight against the building of a shelter in Koreatown, which resulted in Herb Wesson moving the project to the Westlake area and the birth of KTown4All. She has failed to follow through with her supposed commitment to the houseless community by affirming a commitment to avoiding criminalizing the houseless population. Otherwise, Yoo’s platform seems to be headed in the right direction, but trust with the community is something she’ll have to build going forward. We appreciate her push for transparency in government and investment in public infrastructure.

MRT is a career politician (almost thirty years) who is generally beholden to corporate interests like most pols. We don’t care for most of his record or policies, but strategically-speaking, electing him will likely provide an opportunity for a progressive like Aura Vasquez to have a fighting chance in the next election since MRT will term out in two years. If Yoo wins (the polls show her ahead currently), she could remain in the seat for 12 years due to the power of incumbency. To his credit, his overall dismal record on the houseless issue has improved as of late. More recently he has been pushing for new right-to-housing initiatives, including a first line of defense dedication to avoid criminalizing homelessness in addition to alternatives-to-policing legislation. We’re also pleased with his last-minute endorsement of George Gascón over Jackie Lacey. LA Times endorsed MRT recently which may be a huge factor in a tight race for the outcome of the election. We prefer Ridley-Thomas. You can watch the CD10 candidate forum to learn more.

Smaller Cities

Alhambra

City Council District 10 | Sasha Renée Pérez - Recommended+

Sasha Renée Pérez is a community organizer running against an incumbent who is a police officer. Pérez currently serves as a Housing Commissioner for the City of Alhambra, a Delegate to the California Democratic Party, and a board member to Asian Youth Center, a 501(C)3 non-profit dedicated to empowering low-income, immigrant, and at-risk youth. Pérez supports the Climate Action Plan, the Historic Preservation Ordinance, believes in implementing government transparency via the Alhambra Election and Campaign Finance Act, and advocates for tenants’ rights and addressing the housing shortage by expanding existing HUD/CDBG funds.

Pérez is endorsed by Los Angeles County Supervisor & Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Alhambra City Councilwoman, Adele Andrade-Stadler, California Democratic Party, Los Angeles County Democratic Party, Sunrise Movement Los Angeles, Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, Stonewall Young Democrats, Latino Coalition of Los Angeles, Progressive Asian Network for Action, National Women’s Political Caucus - SGV, and Stonewall Democratic Club. Several labor unions have endorsed Pérez: United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 770, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 11, Plumbers and Steamfitters, United Association Local 398, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Iron Workers, Local 433/416, Roofers and Waterproofers, Local 36, Teamsters, Local 396, United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 770. We recommend Pérez.

Measure V | Yes+

As it currently stands, Alhambra campaign donors are able to give unlimited contributions to candidates. Measure V will institute long-overdue legislation regulating big money interests in Alhambra politics and ensuring representation is focused on the needs of constituents, not special money interests. Individual donors will have a $250 per person donation limit, while developers will be prohibited from giving to campaigns. This is an easy yes vote in pursuit of greater fairness and transparency in municipal election campaigns.

In regards to local school elections, Alhambra Unified School District holds separate elections for its school board members, which encompass multiple cities. This ballot measure only applies to Alhambra City Council elections and not the elections for AUSD.

Baldwin Park

Bladwin Park City Council | Danny Damian - Preferred+

Damian is a native of Baldwin Park, entrepreneur, and financial specialist who has been a member of the Baldwin Park Unified School District Citizens Oversight Committee since 2019 and has served as a Delegate for the California 48th Assembly District.

His top three priorities are: (1) making government more transparent and accountable by pushing for publicly funded elections and an accountability and transparency commission; (2) increasing affordable housing for seniors and low-income residents; and (3) combating the unemployment crisis.

Damian also supports providing mental health and other resources to the homeless, supporting local business owners and employees during the pandemic through small business grants and eviction protections. He also lists public safety as a top priority and states, “I will not jeopardize our communities safety,” on his website. His pro-police stance is whats keeps us from listing him as recommended. He was endorsed by LA Democratic Club Southwest, Regional Council of Carpenters, and National Union of Healthcare Workers, the most important endorsement, however, is Knock LA. We prefer Damian.

Mayor | Emmanuel Estrada - Recommended+

You might know Manuel Lozano, the mayor of Baldwin Park, if you are reading this guide because protestors on repeated occasions have asked him to resign over corruption charges over misuse of public funds, building warehouses on public land, giving a low interest loan to family members they never have to repay, not paying the taxes owed on that property, and taking an undisclosed all expenses paid trip to China. Lozano has been the mayor since 1999 but now has a progressive challenger to the left whom we believe you should support, named Emmanuel J. Estrada. Estrada is pushing for a whole new vision for Baldwin Park including building the local economy for everyday people and fighting for affordable housing and preventing homelessness. Baldwin Park would be most benefited by voting for Emmanuel Estrada in the general election and we recommend him.

Burbank

Burbank City Council | Konstantine Anthony - Endorsement+

Konstantine Anthony is a Democratic candidate running for Burbank City Council against Linda Bessin. He has not taken any donations from corporate PACs, developers, landlords, fossil fuel executives, or police associations. Anthony is autistic and is a big advocate for disabled citizens. He was formerly homeless and now directs public attention toward helping our unhoused neighbors. He used to work as an Uber driver and is now a founding member of Mobile Workers Alliance which works for fair pay and employee benefits for Uber/Lyft drivers. He fought the LA County Board of Supervisors’ when they tried to legalize the unconstitutional incarceration of unhoused neighbors suffering from mental health issues. He is a dues-paying member of DSA LA, serves on the Burbank Transportation Commission, and the Burbank Advisory Council on Disabilities. His campaign’s key issues are post-pandemic recovery (safety precautions, rent forgiveness, help for small businesses), championing a local universal basic income pilot program in Burbank, housing justice, transportation / infrastructure reform, community policing, local support of a green new deal (mainly clean energy / solar power), and workers’ rights. He speaks to local systemic oppression ranging from restroom equality to hiring practices and from mobility needs to de-policing schools, as well as encouraging safety alternatives / anti-bullying efforts. He is endorsed by many progressive organizations such as DSA, Sunrise Movement, and Socialist Alternative. We endorse him.

Measure RC | Yes+

Burbank Tenants Rights Committee braved COVID-19 to gather thousands signatures to put rent control on the ballot this year! Since 2018, the housing affordability crisis caused an increase in homelessness by 12% and today over 66,000 men, women, and children sleep on the streets across Los Angeles County. Burbank tenants and landlords responded to the rising rents and unhoused situation with Measure RC. This is what does: it adds Just Cause provisions regarding eviction, rent regulations that limit annual increases to maximum 7%, makes housing constructed on or before Jan 31, 1995 rent controlled, and creates a new Landlord Tenant Commission with the authority to adjust the annual rent increase, including punishing non compliant property owners. An added benefit of Measure RC is the extension of Just Cause protections to all buildings, not just those built before 1995. Just Cause evictions means that landlords would not have the power to evict a tenant without cause.

The unique feature of Measure RC is the Landlord Tenant Commission. The Commission will consist of 5 members with no fewer than 2 tenants and no more than 2 landlords, and will be appointed by the City Council. As an independent body, tenants and landlords will determine the rules and regulations, procedures and rent adjustments, and penalties for noncompliance and provide a balanced approach to housing. In a time of an out-of-control rent increase, a pandemic, and growing homelessness, Measure RC is a policy that makes sense.

Culver City

Culver City City Council | Freddie Puza, Yasmine McMorrin, Darrel Menthe - Recommended+

Culver City City Council currently has eight total board seats and three open board seats for the upcoming election. In the background of this election lurk two competing political factions who oppose each other on tenants rights and criminal justice issues, who are looking to shift the political agenda of the upcoming years in Culver City. The current ‘kind of’ progressive Culver City Council is being challenged from candidates hailing from reactionary astroturf groups such as Protect Culver City, as well as incumbents Göran Eriksson, Robert Zirgulis and Heather Wollin. They are pushing to end protections through policies like Measure B, a campaign known for intentionally trying to confuse voters into thinking it was a measure for rent control. The progressive “squad” who we are recommending are Yasmine-Imani McMorrin, Freddy Puza, and Darrel Menthe. Another third set of figures, Albert Vera and Khin Khin Gyi, are milquetoast centrists who may become equally reactionary once they are actually in council. McMorrin, Menthe, and Puza, however, are all pushing for tenant protections and seek to defund the police. All three of these progressive candidates have been endorsed by Karen Bass. We recommend Puza, McMorrin, and Menthe.

Measure B | No+

As Burbank is pushing for some of the most basic tenant protections, Culver City is trying to protect those put in place a year ago. This is crucial because roughly half of the population are renters and pay the same significant percentage of their income. Measure B would work to remove all rent control protections and has been buoyed by an astroturfing campaign that misleads local residents into believing Measure B would grant rent control protections. This is horrific for the people of Culver City who are working paycheck-to-paycheck and would be a huge gift for out-of-town people from the propertied class.

Measure RE | Yes+

Property taxes are tricky. This is a one time progressive property tax and targets commercial and luxury properties and properties above the average property value in Culver City, which is why it only impacts roughly 30% of properties including many real estate flippers. This is good because we need to make sure that working class people are hurt the least when it comes to new taxes. This tax aims to reduce the shortfall in the city's general fund. Measure RE ensures wealthy property owners finally pay their fair share.

Downey

Downey City Council - District 1 | Alexandria Contreras - Recommended+

Alexandria Contreras has a solid background as a community organizer in non-profit work -- specifically, housing advocacy. She has centered her campaign around affordable housing, urban safety, and the protection of small businesses. Contreras is endorsed by CA Democratic Renters council, LA County Federation of Labor, and Streets For All. We recommend a vote for her in this race.

Downey City Council - District 3 | Catherine Alvarez - Recommended+

Catherine Alvarez founded the Downey Tenants Union, a grassroots organization that advocates for the rights and general well being of Downey’s working-class families. Alvarez is consistent in her platform of increasing affordable housing, including enhanced public housing and rent control options, but additionally, she is also focusing upon increasing budget spending on youth programs and senior and disabled assistance. She prioritizes the needs of the low-income families in her district, such that voting for her is a vote for enforcing protections so that vulnerable community members can remain in the city and not end up being pushed out by high costs of living.

Downey City Council - District 5 | Juan Martinez - Recommended+

In alignment with the other candidates we recommend for Downey City Council, Juan Martinez is also an advocate for housing and rental protections in his district. He’s focused on building an inclusive Covid-19 relief response which prioritizes the health and well being of people, not money and business. Martinez, a community organizer, is a corporate-free candidate who will work to keep money out of politics and shore up social programs as well as eco-friendly city development.

El Monte

Mayor | Irma Zamorano - Recommended+

Irma Zamorano has extensive history working for El Monte—she’s worked as city commissioner and on the school board as an elected member. A progressive candidate, with over 20 years of volunteering in El Monte under her belt, she advocates for increased rent and mortgage forgiveness, as well as affordable housing. The incumbent Mayor Andre Quintero sold one of the city’s public parks to a developer and turned it into a retail development. We recommend voting for Zamorano.

El Monte City Council | Gabriel Ramirez - Recommended+

Gabriel Ramirez has come out swinging against the corrupt politicians in his city who allow developers to run roughshod over community members. Ramirez pushes for increased renter protections, police accountability, and campaign finance reform. The incumbent Jerry Velasco is no stranger to misusing public funding. After causing a traffic collision that resulted in the injury of another driver, Velasco used his position to have the city pay out a worker’s compensation claim. We recommend voting for the candidate who isn’t causing accidents after a drink at an El Monte police academy graduation, which would be Ramirez.

Measure HN | Yes+

Measure HN authorizes the city to build more subsidized affordable housing, a crucial issue in the face of ever-increasing rental prices in our state. This measure would authorize El Monte approval of up to 500 affordable units per year for persons and families of low income, including veterans and the elderly, for the next 17 years. A yes vote on Measure HN will help ensure protections for low-income and at-risk community members.

Long Beach

Long Beach City Council - District 6 | Suely Saro - Preferred+

We support Suely Saro, who is the first Cambodian woman running for Long Beach’s council seat and who may be a positive change for the city after twelve years of poor leadership, failed community trust, and policies that do very little for working people. We are confident that Saro will do as well as she did in the primary and bring new blood to cities political arena.

Measure US Oil Extraction Tax Increase | Yes+

Have you ever driven on the coast of Long Beach and gazed at the beautiful islands off the coast? “Astronaut Islands”, with its futuristic, utopian trees and towers emerging from the glistening ocean, are, lo and behold, the mask of “Mr. Anthropocene” himself - one of the largest oil wells in the country.

With major oil companies keeping that deceptive island afloat, there have been protests from the community for higher taxes on this capitalist money machine that would benefit the community who have been negatively impacted by its proximity. If this measure is passed, a (probably not high enough) tax will go toward funding health equity and climate-related initiatives in the city. This is the LEAST that can be done. Vote yes for a step in the right direction away from climate damage and towards community support.

Montebello

Montebello City Council | Scarlet Peralta - Endorse+

Scarlet Peralta is a dedicated community organizer and currently serves on Montebello’s Investment Committee, monitoring the city's monthly financial records, use of public funds, and investments. She has worked to implement more accountability and transparency in City Hall, making it accessible to all residents, including non-English speaking communities, and promoting immigrant-friendly communication policies and opportunities for inclusion. Her platform focuses on economic development, sustainability, and housing. We recommend Peralta.

Santa Monica

Measure SM Real Estate Transfer Tax | Yes+

As Santa Monica has become host to some of the most expensive real estate in the city, Measure SM aims to increase the City's “luxury” real estate tax to aid public services. Currently, all real estate transfers are taxed at $3 per $1,000, and YES on Measure SM would tax real estate sales over $5 million at $6 per $1,000 of sales price, or $30,000 for a $5 million property. With the current rate of market sales, this is estimated to generate up to $3 million in additional funding for food security, economic recovery, protecting tenants at risk of losing their housing, after school and mental health support for youth, and addressing houselessness. This is a step towards rebalancing Santa Monica and creating greater equity services for the community.

West Hollywood

West Hollywood City Council | Sepi Shyne - Recommended, Marco Colantonio - Preferred+

Honestly, it’s easier to pick out the candidates NOT to vote for in the WeHo City Council race. Two incumbents running for re-election, John Duran and John Heilman, are both in the pockets of big developers, and John Duran has not only been credibly accused of sexual assault and harassment (multiple times! And had to resign as Mayor because of it!) but is also buddies with Ed Buck and was even his lawyer for over a decade. John Heilman isn’t quite as odious, but is still at the behest of developers and landlords. Heilman appointed John Erickson, another bummer of a WeHo City Council candidate, to the Planning Commission. Erickson, who stepped down as president of the Hollywood chapter of the National Organization for Women to run for City Council, has used his connections within local government and organizations like Planned Parenthood LA - where he’s still working as the Director of Public Affairs - not only to advance his own political ambitions but to engage in what seems to be some potential endorsement trading. Erickson’s been endorsed by David Ryu, who - despite his arrest for rape back in 2002 - has been endorsed both by Hollywood NOW and PPLA; these endorsements occurred while Erickson was in leadership positions at both organizations.

With all that said, we’re recommending a vote for Sepi Shyne. Shyne, an Iranian-American LGBTQ business law attorney, has been endorsed by a bunch of unions, Democratic clubs, the LA County Federation of Labor, and the Sierra Club, among others. She’s a renter, hasn’t taken any money from developers, and wants to create more affordable housing and expand rental assistance and renters’ rights. Shyne is in favor of an ordinance to limit developer contributions to councilmembers, and strongly supports Proposition 21. She also wants to redistribute funding from policing (WeHo is in LASD’s jurisdiction, not LAPD’s) to social services, although she doesn’t seem to be in favor of entirely defunding WeHo’s policing budget. Shyne also supports the expansion of public transportation, more bike lanes, restoring and expanding public spaces like community gardens, and instituting a net-zero emissions requirement for new construction.

You might be wondering who to give your second vote to, since this is a two-candidate race! We’re kind of wondering that too. Our friends over at DSA-LA have recommended Marco Colantonio, the publisher of WeHo Times: as they write, “The only reason we’re even suggesting him is because unlike most of the other people running in this race, at least Colantonio doesn’t want to push his unhoused neighbors out of the city limits and understands that trust from the unhoused community is something that must be built for programs to succeed.” He, like Shyne, also supports a ban on developer donations to councilmembers and other WeHo politicians. And to top it all off, a vote for Colantonio is a vote that won’t go to any of the three Johns in the race. In sum, we recommend Sepi Shyne as our highest suggestion and “prefer” Marco Colantonio as our second-highest.

Judicial

As far as judicial recommendations go, our general approach has been to favor whomever is endorsed by the Public Defenders Union and/or the opponent of whomever is endorsed by the Association of Deputy District Attorneys of Los Angeles.

Office 72 | Myanna Dellinger - Recommended+

We strongly recommend Myanna Dellinger; she has endorsements from - among many others - Sunrise Movement Los Angeles; Our Revolution, Los Angeles; Fight 2 Save Black LA; LA Progressive; Santa Clarita; Congresswoman Maxine Waters; and Jackie Goldberg from the LAUSD Board of Education. She’s particularly known for her work on climate change law and environmental justice, and has provided pro bono legal advice to Flint, MI residents as well as Standing Rock tribe members. Dellinger’s stated priorities include boosting diverse and progressive judges to the bench and working to reduce structural inequalities in both the criminal justice system and other power structures. Dellinger appears eager to address houselessness in LA in a productive way - she praised the recent ruling that the belongings of unhoused people on Skid Row can’t just be discarded - and is especially focused on our current climate crisis.

Office 80 | Klint James McKay - Recommended+

We recommend Klint James McCay. He’s endorsed by the LA Progressive Majority Voter Guide and SEIU Local 721, and was recommended in both the primary and the general by KNOCK.LA’s voter guide. “Currently an administrative law judge, he impressed Public Defender Union representatives with his thoughtful and articulate answers to their questioning,” according to KNOCK.LA’s primary voter guide. McCay’s opponent, David Berger, is endorsed by the LA County Federation of Labor, but also by LAPPL, the Association of Deputy DAs, the Association of LA Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS), and is a current Deputy DA.

Office 162 | David D. Diamond - Recommended+

We recommend David Diamond, who has endorsements from the LAT, LA Progressive Majority Voter Guide, and the Public Defenders’ Union - as well as being recommended in the primary by KNOCK.LA - but unfortunately also, from a bunch of police commissioners and retired LAPD folks. However, his opponent is very likely the worse choice. Scott Yang is currently a Deputy DA and has endorsements from major Democratic players including the LA Fed, a bunch of Democratic Clubs, and the Daily Bruin, but also from the Association of Deputy DAs, ALADS, Burbank Police Officers’ Association, and other LEO groups.

Schools

Los Angeles USD

District 3 | Scott Schmerelson - Recommended+

Scott Schmerelson is running for re-election to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) School Board in District 3. Before retiring and joining the Board in 2015, Scott was an educator and administrator for almost four decades. He began his career as a high school Spanish teacher, then served as a middle school counselor, assistant principal, and finally principal of Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Middle School in South Los Angeles for ten years. In his five years on the Board, Scott has introduced a number of LAUSD improvements: from providing a centrally funded library aide for every elementary school library to increasing parental involvement in the IEP (individual education plan) process for kids with special needs. Through it all, he has been instrumental in leading the fight for fair and adequate funding for California public schools.

Priorities for his next term include working to protect students and staff through Safe Gun Storage laws (alongside biannual lockdown and evacuation drills) and committing District 3 to developing a plan for transitioning to 100% clean, renewable energy. He is endorsed by the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), the Los Angeles Times, and Planned Parenthood, among others. We recommend Schmerelson.

District 7 | Patricia Castellanos - Recommended+

Patricia Castellanos is running for LAUSD School Board in District 7. A lifelong resident of that district - and the only prospective board member with a child attending an LAUSD school - Patricia has a personal stake in its educational policies. She also has a proven track record there, co-founding Reclaim Our Schools LA: a coalition of parents, students and teachers that fought to transform high-needs LAUSD schools. Through the coalition's efforts, District 7 ultimately committed to a $12 million initiative to strengthen thirty public schools. If elected, Patricia will continue to fight for smaller class sizes, increased student resources, increased funding, and a safe COVID-19 recovery plan.

Her extensive list of endorsements includes The LA County Democratic Party, the 33,000+ frontline teachers of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), SEIU Local 99 Education Workers United, LA County Federation of Labor, International Longshore and Warehouse Union SCDC, United Farm Workers of America, LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, LAUSD School Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic, California Assemblymember Mike Gipson, and UFW Co-founder Dolores Huerta. We recommend Castellanos.

Culver City USD

Dr. Kelly Kent and Paula Amezola de Herrera - Double Recommendation+

It's a hard choice between a climate-change-battling neuroscientist and an equity-advocating epidemiologist, so we are making a double recommendation for Dr. Kelly Kent and Paula Amezola de Herrera alike. Incumbent Dr. Kelly Kent has made a positive impact during her time at Culver City USD in ways such as bringing more Spanish classes to school and working towards making the district have more renewable energy and water efficiency. Paula Amezola de Herrera has equitable education at the forefront of her mission, coming from a background where she experienced how important it is to make sure the most vulnerable students are educationally nourished. The other issues on her main agenda include health and wellness, housing stabilization, the environment, and school funding for COVID-19 safety. We are leaning towards Paula, but both would be a great pick!

Manhattan USD

Jason Boxer - Recommended+

Jason Boxer is running to fill one of two vacant seats on the MBUSD School Board. As a product of Manhattan Beach public schools (Mira Costa Class of 2011) and the youngest candidate in school board history, Jason brings a unique perspective to the race their opponents lack. Jason has also been an educator their entire professional life, and approaches policy from a student-first perspective, noting that while California has the fifth-largest economy in the world, it ranks 39th, nationwide, in per-pupil funding. Jason wants to increase that funding, work to retain teachers, and invest in distance learning so that students and teachers can smoothly transition back to physical schools when the pandemic has subsided.

Not insignificantly, Jason is the only candidate to vocally support Proposition 15 - a move that would close property tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy at the expense of public education. Prop 15 would generate an extra $12 billion in revenue for LA County. Jason is endorsed by Penny Bordokas (former Planning Commissioner and former MBUSD School Board Trustee), Bill Fournell (current School Board member), and multiple former and current Manhattan Beach City Council members.

Whittier

Area 1 | Caro Jauregui - Recommended+

Very often there is little information when it comes to the school board unless one has direct contact with the people running. One of our members has been in touch with a clearly progressive candidate for the school board named Caro Jauregui. Caro is in support of basically everything we would hope for a school board member. Caro is pro-union, opposes new charter schools, is for defunding school police, and is for the expansion of special education programs. We recommend Jauregui.

Colleges

Los Angeles Community College District

Office 1 | Dr. Andra Hoffman - Recommended+

Andre Hoffman is the incumbent and a former president of the National Women's Political Caucus of the San Fernando Valley. She is supported by local teachers unions (AFT, UTLA, and College Faculty Guild) as well as the Service Employees Union and the Los Angeles / Orange County Building and Construction Trades. She has advocated for sanctuary campuses and gap pay for students post-pandemic. We prefer Hoffman to the other candidates.

Office 3 | David Vela - Recommended

Office 5 | Nichelle Henderson - Recommended

Office 7 | Dr. Mike Fong - Recommended

El Camino Community College District

Trustee, District 1 | George A. Turner, Jr. - Recommended

His goals are to hire more full-time faculty and staff, with an emphasis on greater diversity, as well as rebuilding the college's relationship alumni and providing food for students who are going hungry. He works as an attorney in the LA County Public Defender's office.

Trustee, District 3 | Peter Elhamey Aziz - Recommended

Santa Clarita Community College District

Area 3 | Sebastian Cazares - Recommended

Districts

Central Basin Municipal Water District

Director, Division 4 | Leticia Vasquez-Wilson - Recommended+

The Central Basin Municipal Water District might not be an entity you hear about in your daily conversations, but it provides water to 1.6 million people from 24 cities and unincorporated areas in southeast Los Angeles, all of which are governed by a mere eight-member board. As uncommon as it is to hear about this District, it is equally uncommon to find official profiles for such board member candidates online, but we do know that Leticia Vasquez-Wilson actively opposed and fought against SB 625, a bill which contributed to privatizing the public water system and disenfranchising voters. Leading a fight against water privatization gives Leticia our recommendation, because water should be treated as part of the commons, not the property of private capital. She is endorsed by the only pro-environmental Political Action Committee in LA, League of Conservation Voters, for her environmental leadership. We recommend Vasquez-Wilson.

Director, Division 5 | Rodolfo Cortes Barragan - Recommended+

We recommend Rodolfo Cortes Barragan, as he is both a member of the Green Party and an environmental/water advocate. He has organized against water privatization which is one of the main issues facing these divisions.

Mountains and Recreation Conservation Authority

Measure HH fire protection parcel tax - Yes+

Measure HH is a parcel tax ($24 annually for ten years only) addressing funding towards an extremely urgent area of concern in California: fire protection. It covers a portion of the Santa Monica Mountains / Hollywood Hills — west of Griffith Park and east of the 405. It aims to maintain, conserve, and increase local open space, parklands, and wildlife corridors. It will protect water quality in local creeks and reservoirs, and improve fire prevention including brush clearing. It will increase park ranger safety patrols. It very importantly allows for independent citizen oversight to prevent mismanagement. Measure HH includes an exemption for low income homeowners within the boundaries of its jurisdiction, so we say, "Vote Yes!" Do it for the mountain lion kitties!

https://www.nps.gov/samo/learn/news/the-santa-monica-mountains-are-experiencing-a-summer-of-kittens.htm

Props

Proposition 14 | No+

Prop 14 is a proposition which would inject massive funding for the publicly-funded stem cell research organization, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). Stem cell funding is important to advancement in stem cell research, but when there is a lack of general transparency —given that the regulatory agency known as Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC) is internal to CIRM and, therefore, unaccountable to legislative oversight. With funding through approximately $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds, the price tag is questionable when considering the return on such an enormous investment, especially when our state coffers have taken such a huge hit due to well...2020. The cost for taxpayers would be an additional $2.3 billion in interest (bringing the total cost to around $8 billion). It’s key to think about what key services could be funded with the $8 billion during times of crisis.

See full write up for details

Proposition 15 | Yes+

Proposition 15 seeks to reclaim $10-12 billion in annual funding for K-12 public schools, community colleges, parks, transit, unhoused services, libraries and health clinics by closing one of the most sinister tax loopholes in history. This loophole, created by an amendment to the California State Constitution, caps property taxes at 1% of original purchase price and freezes valuation, allowing companies like Disney and Chevron to rob Californians of billions of dollars each year. If Prop 15 passes it would be the greatest, most progressive change to California’s tax structure in a generation—and would provide the nation with a model for escaping the death grip of neoliberalism that has been suffocating our communities for more than half a century.

See full write up for details

Proposition 16 | Yes+

If “I Can't Believe I'm Still Protesting This Shit” were a Prop it would be Prop 16. Back in 1996, California passed Proposition 209 which banned affirmative action in public employment, public education, and public contracting. Prop 16 would restore California and local government entities to be able to consider diversity in their decision, making systematic racism a thing of the past! (JK… there’s so much work to do) Vote YES on Prop 16 in order to challenge discrimination in Public Agencies and to increase opportunities for those facing inequalities.

Proposition 17 | Yes+

Prop 17, if passed, would restore the right to vote to those currently serving out their parole. The point of parole, ostensibly, is community reintegration and dissuasion from situations that could cause people who were incarcerated to reoffend. Whether this is a genuine reflection of parole in California or not, people on parole are required to pay taxes and, without suffrage, they are one of the most glaring examples of taxation without representation (others being Washington D.C. and “illegal” immigrants who pay sales tax and other taxes). Those opposed to Prop 17 believe that people on parole need to use that time to prove redemption and hold that a restoration of voting rights should continue to be conditional on completion of their parole. This rationale is ultimately predicated on the assumption that the right to vote is conditional and should be based on one’s behavior in the eyes of the government, while it also ignores the racialized implications of profiling, arrest, sentencing, and finally, disenfranchisement. We disagree with this. Passing Prop 17 is an important first step in restoring truly universal suffrage, an essential element of any ethical democracy.

Proposition 18 | Yes+

Prop 18 would allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary as long as they turn 18 by the general election. We say, yes - let the people who will be most impacted by the climate crisis vote. The more the enfranchisement the more better! (This is a joke and intentionally bad grammar) This is a proposition that everyone is likely to support and if you oppose this you are likely a fascist.

Proposition 19 | No+

Proposition 19 is another clever bait and switch that hopes people at the ballot box will not read the fine print since it claims to close a property inheritance tax loophole—whereby homes that are inherited and used as secondary homes or rental properties (as opposed to primary residences), would be reassessed vis a vis market value and tax-adjusted accordingly—but then creates new exceptions for those over 55 to take advantage of. Prop 19 would allow older property owners to take their low tax assessments on to their next, more expensive, home anywhere in the state. In addition, Prop 19 would increase the amount of times these individuals could carry their tax assessment from one to three—this would translate to a great deal of property tax revenue lost as those over 55 could maintain their lower tax rate over the course of a maximum of three houses. While closing the aforementioned property inheritance tax loophole may appear as a good thing—given that the net savings from this would be allocated to wildfire agencies battling wildfires—it would most likely be cancelled out by the net losses from other loopholes that this measure creates. Furthermore, you may get cold feet when you look at who is supporting this proposition: real estate brokers and realtors. We can see on the flip side how closing one loophole and opening others exacerbates an already broken housing market for tenants and families who own homes. The aim of Prop 19 is to increase the amount of people who are pressured to move out of their homes so that real estate brokers can sell more homes and collect commissions. With the California Association of Realtors Issues Mobilization PAC accounting for the vast majority of campaign contributions for Yes on 19 ($30,700,000.00 of $36,261,507,.00 total), it is clear that the real estate lobby is frothing at the mouth—vote no and keep the muzzle on. We are confident that voters will see through this proposition like they did for an almost identical proposition that failed to pass in 2018. We do want the changes for property taxes as planned with Prop 15, but we vehemently oppose the misleading Prop 19. As a side note, if you have a chance and want to learn more about the connection between the real estate/estate development lobby and its relationship with the fires among other things check out this conversation with Mike Davis.

Proposition 20 | No+

No. Fuck no! This is a nasty, tough-on-crime prop that would undo years of criminal justice reform meant to reduce mass incarceration. Prop 20 would allow prosecutors to charge repeat petty theft as felonies; people convicted of stealing items worth $250-950 could be sent to county jail for up to three years. Prop 20 would also change the factors that can be considered for early release from prison and limit early release for people convicted of some felonies. Perhaps most disturbingly, the state would collect DNA from adults convicted of misdemeanor crimes, such as drug possession, shoplifting, and domestic violence. No surprise, the FOP, the police union, and the prison guards’ union are super horned up for this proposition and are funding it heavily. Wasting millions of taxpayer dollars to expand incarceration in our already-too-full jails during COVID is a demented mission -- even for this team of comic book villains. We remind voters that investing in education, healthcare, labor rights, and affordable housing are how we reduce crime, not caging people.

Proposition 21 | Yes+

Why? Consider this Op-ed by Trinidad Ruiz of People’s City Council: Prop 21 benefits renters in 3 ways: it stabilizes rental prices by modernizing rent control, carving out homeowners with two or fewer units, and introducing vacancy control. When COVID-19 hit, 20.8 million households were already rent burdened (or paying more than 30% of income in rent), and 10 million of those households were heavily rent burdened (paying more than 50% of income in rent). Up to 5,349,000 tenants are currently on the brink of losing their homes due the years of landlord abuse of the unmitigated power to raise rents. How many people have been pushed beyond the brink? In L.A. alone, 66,000 unhoused men, women, and children are living on the streets...during a pandemic.

See full write up for details

Proposition 22 | No+

Prop 22 is a ballot measure funded almost exclusively by rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft who have a vested interest in undoing AB 5 and part of the ongoing attempt of general deregulation of the rideshare industry at the state level. Their opposition to AB 5, which narrows the definition of workers who can be considered independent contractors, is based upon the fact that their business model is based on cutting the cost of ride services, initially at a company-subsidized rate designed to rapidly gut the taxi industry and breed dependence by deliberately misclassifying employees so they can avoid paying for benefits, fair wages, and hours, and to thereby avoid liability. The bill is written with the cloak of any type of accountability as well because it requires a 7/8th super majority to revise any issues with the prop, making it anti-democratic and more or less permanent. Those supporting Prop 22 claim to be advocating for workers who would like to continue to operate as independent contractors. Their purported advocacy rings hollow when one considers their entire business model and existing investments in self-driving cars. It would follow that rideshare companies will eliminate drivers altogether in favor of self-driving cars as soon as that becomes feasible assuming that it's indeed a cheaper option than misclassifying workers. We believe in maintaining and strengthening workers’ rights and, for that reason, we recommend voting NO on Prop 22.

Proposition 23 | Yes+

This is a tricky one, and we’re recommending a soft YES. It requires having a licensed physician (or, if granted an exemption, a nurse practitioner or physicians assistant) onsite at dialysis clinics during hours of operation, more stringent reporting of unsanitary and unsafe conditions of clinics, and prohibits discrimination based on payment source for care. It will ostensibly provide a more labor-friendly environment for healthcare workers, which is why the CA Labor Federation, AFSCME PEOPLE, SEIU and SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West have all endorsed it. The list of NO endorsements is much longer, and includes a number of medical associations, newspapers, chambers of commerce, and taxpayer associations. Their argument is that Prop 23 could potentially cause budget increases and force clinics to close, but Prop 23 also requires that clinics would have to obtain consent from the state health department before they’re allowed to close. This proposition also seems to be a proxy war on healthcare workers’ union power, with the NO side (which includes Republican and other anti-union groups) wanting to undercut that power, so that’s another great reason to vote YES. Ultimately, Prop 23 will increase standards of care and safety for both workers and patients in dialysis clinics and prevent clinics from discriminating against patients based on private vs. government-funded insurance - vote YES.

Proposition 24 | No+

Proposition 24 is an odd predicament where people who want the same thing believe the proposition would cause different outcomes. In short, the proponents of prop 24 want new regulations to further the CCPA’s limits, while those who oppose believe a more protective and well-planned bill is necessary without so many loopholes. Prop 24 is essentially a lateral move on the issue of data protection. In theory consumers would have some increased power over companies’ usage or distribution of sensitive personal information including location data, health information, or private communications. Prop 24 would also create a state agency to enforce these rules and issue fines to companies that break privacy laws. Privacy advocates say that such an agency wouldn’t give consumers enough power or a path to deal with individual privacy issues by themselves, making such an agency fall short. However, Prop 24 allows for an increase of pay for privacy schemes, notably exempting loyalty clubs from the CCPA’s limit on businesses charging different prices for consumers wanting increased privacy. Privacy protection should be the default, it’s disheartening to see Prop 24 miss the mark, and for that reason, we say vote no.

See full write up for details

Proposition 25 | No+

If you haven’t figured it out by now, propositions in California are intentionally designed to confuse people. It’s one of the side effects of living in a super liberal state, we have to be tricked into thinking we are doing something good to actually do something bad. For instance, did you vote to ban plastic bags so you can get charged ten cents a bag? Yeah you did. I guess there are worse things like voting to end cash bail to actually have it replaced by a far worse system. That is our analysis at least if you are lazy and don’t want to keep on reading.

See full write up for details

Ballot Measures

Measure J | Yes+

Most discussions about the election center around the presidential race, but voters in LA County should be just as, if not more focused on Measure J and the DA’s race. Creating the change we want in our communities requires bold measures like Measure J. The coalition behind the measure, Re-Imagine L.A. County Coalition, arose from the communities that are most in need of services and most negatively impacted by our criminal justice system. Measure J, also known as Reimagine LA, would direct at least 10% of LA County’s unrestricted general fund to community investment and alternatives to incarceration, and prohibit the use of those funds for law enforcement or prisons/jails. Measure J is a first step toward defunding the police in favor of addressing the root causes of crime, such as a lack of living wage jobs, a lack of access to business loans, a lack of mental health services, a lack of youth programs, and housing insecurity. The goal is to shift budget priorities from law enforcement and the criminal justice system, which were previously allocated a whopping 42% of the County’s budget ($3.7 billion). Study after study proves that more policing does not make communities safer - opportunities and services do. If passed, Measure J would: Increase funding for community-based youth development programs Provide career training and jobs to low-income residents focusing on jobs that support the implementation of the “Alternatives to Incarceration” workgroup recommendations, especially construction jobs for the expansion of affordable & supportive housing, and a decentralized system of care Create access to capital for small minority-owned businesses, with a focus on Black-owned businesses Provide rent assistance and housing vouchers to those at-risk of losing their housing, or without stable housing Provide capital funding for affordable housing, transitional housing and supportive housing Increase funding for community-based restorative justice programs Increase support for pre-trial non-custody services and treatment Increase life-affirming community-based counseling and mental health and wellness services While there may be a great deal of fearmongering spread by law enforcement groups who claim that any decrease in their budgets would lead to chaos on the streets, we’ve seen over the summer that police officers and sheriff deputies have often incited violence in the streets by escalating interactions with protesters whose viewpoints they don’t agree with. Law enforcement has been emboldened by a bloated budget and high-powered boosters for too long. We’re seeing the very real consequences of law enforcement agencies having billions of dollars at their disposal without being held accountable for harming and killing the people they’re supposed to serve. Measure J would be a pivotal shift toward uplifting communities harmed most by racial disparities and away from funding their continued oppression, so we advocate voting yes.

Measure RR | Yes+

Measure RR extends a pre-existing school construction property tax that’s currently set to expire. The measure would allow LAUSD to secure a $7 billion bond to update their aging schools’ infrastructure to better serve students. Not only will these funds allow schools to modernize science, technology, engineering, and math classrooms and labs, but reduce health hazards present for the students due to facility deterioration. LAUSD schools are in dire need of site upgrades—asbestos, lead paint, and risky water quality issues still pervade across the system. For the safety of kids in LAUSD, we urge a yes vote on Measure RR.

Community Resources

Our work does not end with this election, but continues through community organizing, mutual aid, education, protest, legal battles, and the arts. We do not conclude, but continue this guide with resources for Mutual Aid. Voting is just one stepping stone in the larger process of making positive change. We can vote for representatives, but when they fail us, we need to be the ones to help each other. Community means taking care of each other, especially when those in power aren’t. Check out this evolving resource guide contributed by In This Together LA to intensify and extend radical, progressive acts of care together.

Community Resources / Radical Database LA