By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
37th DISTRICT - Juanita
Straight outta Carson, Millender-McDonald has championed voting rights for the homeless, domestic-violence insurance and funding for the Alameda Corridor, with set-asides for local hiring.
38th DISTRICT - Peter Mathews
Since 1992, moderate Republican Stephen Horn has held this somewhat Democratic-leaning Long Beach district, and since 1994, he's been opposed by the perennially progressive and perennially ineffectual Mathews, who - perennially, it seems - has our support.
20th DISTRICT - Richard Alarcon
The real contest to succeed term-limited Herschel Rosenthal in this San Fernando Valley district came in the June Democratic primary, when L.A. City Councilman Richard Alarcon eked out the narrowest of victories over former Assembly veteran Richard Katz, after a campaign marked by the most scurrilous of tactics. In the closing days of his campaign, Alarcon played the race card against Katz by sending a mailing to Latino voters implicating Katz in the 1988 Election Day stationing of uniformed guards at Orange County polling places to deter Latinos from voting. (See "Curt Pringle, Sins of," in the treasurer endorsement, above.) What the mailing neglected to mention was that Katz's role in the scandal, on behalf of the Assembly Democrats, was to have sued Pringle and the Orange County Republican Party for having stationed the guards. In other words, Alarcon opted for the Big Lie, and it worked: He won the primary with a margin of fewer than 100 votes.
Up until the primary's closing days, Alarcon had been a low-profile, centrist Democratic member of the City Council - a pro-labor, law 'n' order pol taking positions crafted to be so inoffensive that they tended to vanish without a trace. We don't doubt he'll be a fairly reliable vote in the state Senate, but the level of deception to which he subjected his constituents in order to get there is extraordinary, and unacceptable.
22nd DISTRICT - No Endorsement
The real culprit in the Alarcon Big Lie (see above) wasn't Alarcon. It was veteran 22nd District state Senator Richard Polanco (abetted by consultant Richie Ross) - one of the dominant figures and most equivocal forces in California politics, not to mention the gray eminence behind Alarcon's campaign. On the plus side, Polanco has played a central role in the political mobilization of the state's Latinos. It's been Polanco more than anyone else who's identified the previously non-Latino districts that were ready to elect a Latino Democrat, Polanco who helped fund the naturalization and registration drives that brought Latinos to the polls, Polanco who recruited the Latino candidates to run for office. On the minus side, Polanco's candidates have come disproportionately from the bottom of the barrel, and tend to eschew the kind of cross-racial progressive politics of an Antonio Villaraigosa for a more insular, nationalistic perspective. Indeed, Polanco has made clear that if he can engineer the election of enough Latinos in his own image, he'll put together a center-right coalition in the Senate Democratic caucus in an attempt to replace John Burton, the extraordinary progressive who currently leads the Senate Democrats, with a more conservative alternative - in particular, with Richard Polanco. In the final analysis, Polanco's vision - empowering Latinos at the expense of a broader progressive alliance - is too parochial and divisive to serve the interests of Latinos, much less anyone else.
24th DISTRICT - Hilda Solis
The working-class heroine of the state Senate, Eastside incumbent Solis has been a steady voice and an effective force in the fights to preserve overtime pay, crack down on sweatshops and defend the rights of union workers. She has our enthusiastic support.
26th DISTRICT - Kevin Murray
Longtime legislator Diane Watson has been term-limited out of her Crenshaw-South-Central seat this year (and blocked by the Republican U.S. Senate from becoming Bill Clinton's ambassador to Micronesia), and the race to succeed her was decided in the June primary when current Assembly Member Kevin Murray defeated former Assembly Member Marguerite Archie-Hudson for the Democratic nomination. In his four years in the lower house, Murray has become one of the Assembly's most accomplished and effective legislators. He's more a master of smart politics than good governance, however: After taking $10,000 from the tobacco industry, he voted to repeal the state's ban on smoking in public places. We supported Archie-Hudson in the primary, chiefly out of concern over Murray's sporadic bouts of ethical conflict. But we don't doubt that he'll be an effective representative for his district or, generally, for the Democratic agenda.
28th DISTRICT - Debra Bowen
Term limits have finally closed the door on the career of Democrat Ralph Dills, who was first elected to the state Assembly in 1938. Sixty years later, he's stepping down from his South Bay Senate seat, and the Democratic nominee to succeed him is Debra Bowen, herself term-limited out of her South Bay Assembly seat. During her six years in the lower house, Bowen has been a thoughtful and heterodox member of the Assembly, particularly attentive to environmental concerns and the cause of campaign-finance reform. In this race, we're goin' Bowen.
30th DISTRICT - Martha Escutia
Democratic incumbent Charles Calderon ran an unsuccessful primary campaign for attorney general this spring, and Escutia is the Democratic nominee to succeed him in this heavily Democratic district. She's been a largely parochial member of the Assembly during her six years of service there, but at least she's been a fairly reliable Democratic vote.
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