By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
By Dennis Romero
26th DISTRICT - Howard Berman
Despite his ongoing support for such dubious free-trade policies as fast-track, Berman remains one of the few essential members of Congress - a key player in the efforts to assure a restoration of benefits for legal immigrants and a fair share for L.A. in all things budgetary. In the next couple of months, he will likely play a particularly important role in the Clinton impeachment proceedings, in which he has already emerged, with Massachusetts' Barney Frank, as one of the shrewdest Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. (In the one day of hearings held thus far, it was Berman, more than anyone else, who exposed the Republicans' hypocrisy.) Berman is the quintessential behind-the-scenes guy, but the impeachment hearings may blow his cover and reveal just how able a legislator he actually is.
27th DISTRICT - Barry Gordon
Republican first-termer James Rogan is a darling of the Gingrichites. The Newtster himself made Rogan a last-minute addition to the Judiciary Committee as impeachment proceedings loomed, and there Rogan has already become the hard-liners' spokesperson. He was one of the handful of members who voted to release even more (and more salacious) material than the committee could bring itself to authorize. Why his Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena district should re-elect this porn-crazed Puritan is a mystery to us.
In fact, it may not. Rogan's being challenged by articulate progressive Barry Gordon, onetime child actor (A Thousand Clowns) and Screen Actors Guild president, now an attorney, who would make a terrific member of Congress from this increasingly Democratic district. Gordon has our enthusiastic support in this close, and important, contest.
29th DISTRICT - Henry Waxman
Year in, year out, the single most effective liberal in the House, Waxman spent much of the past year as point man against Republican Government Reform and Oversight Committee chair Dan Burton, whose "investigation" Waxman effectively showed to be a sham. On the side, Waxman remains a major force in the ongoing battle to obtain the strongest possible anti-tobacco legislation.
30th DISTRICT - Xavier Becerra
Becerra's an anomaly in these dully conservative times: a rising star with left-wing politics. No other member of Congress has been a stauncher defender of immigrant rights and universal health care. His Eastside-subway-uber (or is that under?) -alles campaign attested to an overdeveloped parochialism, but he's still our clear choice in the 30th.
31st DISTRICT - Krista Lieberg-Wong
The foremost achievement of longtime Democratic incumbent Matthew (Marty) Martinez during the congressional session just completed - and he himself boasts of it - was to pledge his support for the administration's fast-track proposal, which would have protected corporate investments but not labor or environmental a standards in future trade agreements, in return for the White House's go-ahead to extend the 710 freeway through El Sereno and South Pasadena. With that, an already undistinguished pol crossed the line into an unendorsable one. Green Party candidate Krista Lieberg-Wong, a longtime activist with peace and anti-police-abuse organizations, provides a clear progressive alternative.
32nd DISTRICT - Julian Dixon
Amid the conflicting proposals for what the MTA should be doing, and which local transportation projects the feds should be funding, Julian Dixon has been the watchdog ensuring that L.A. doesn't cut itself off from the transit funds we clearly need. It's been a typical performance for this quiet and conscientious congressional veteran.
33rd DISTRICT - Lucille Roybal-Allard
While championing the interests of her remarkable district, which probably has the highest percentage of immigrants of any in Congress, Roybal-Allard has also taken a somewhat thankless leadership role in lining up California's fractious congressional delegation, Democrats and Republicans both, behind issues of regional concern. She also rode to the Eastside's rescue with a compromise transit proposal in the omnibus transportation bill. She has our strong support.
34th DISTRICT - Grace Flores Napolitano
Longtime Eastside/San Gabriel Valley Congressman Esteban Torres is stepping down this year, and the winner of the June Democratic primary to succeed him was Grace Napolitano, one of the state Assembly's dimmer bulbs. Napolitano hews to the normal Democratic positions, with one major point of deviation: She has always been a staunch supporter of NAFTA, fast-track and free trade generally. We'd be surprised, pleasantly, if Napolitano goes on to have an illustrious congressional career, but the Democrats need all the votes they can get next session, and she's our unenthusiastic choice in the 34th.
35th DISTRICT - Maxine Waters
Over the past couple of months, this longtime champion of the inner-city poor has become the foremost congressional scourge of the GOP's moralist inquisitors. Go, Maxine!
36th DISTRICT - Janice Hahn
Early this year, three-term Democrat Jane Harman decided to leave this Republican-leaning South Bay district to enter the governor's race and have Al Checchi beat the living crap out of her. The Democratic nominee vying to succeed her is Janice Hahn, member of L.A.'s fabled Hahn (Supervisor Kenny and City Attorney Jimmy) dynasty, who brings to the fray a moderately liberal perspective and a tenure on the elected L.A. City Charter Commission. Her opponent is Assemblyman Steve Kuykendall, a moderate, center-right Republican who was elected to the Assembly in 1994 on the strength of a last-minute $125,000 donation from Philip Morris. This is probably the closest congressional contest in the entire state, and it would be a sad outcome indeed if a district where even the conservatives are largely libertarian ends up strengthening the party of Puritan Revenge by voting for Kuykendall. Hahn's election, like Boxer's, would send a signal that presidential impeachment should not be a continuation of cultural civil war by other means.