By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
27th District: Betty Karnette
Democratic incumbent Karnette is seeking a second term in this Long Beach– Harbor area–Palos Verdes district. Republicans, led by former Governor George Deukmejian, are putting major bucks into the campaign of her opponent, Rancho Palos Verdes Councilwoman Marilyn Lyon. Chiefly for this reason, the largely centrist Karnette has our support.
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39th District: Tony Cardenas
Tony Cardenas has had a relatively unimpressive two terms in the Assembly, perhaps because he’s been building a mini-TELACU (Latino L.A.’s ranking business-political machine) in his northeast San Fernando Valley district. He is, nonetheless, the best of the candidates in the 39th.
40th District: Bob Hertzberg
Hurricane Hertzberg continues to storm through Sacramento, a whirlwind of activity, affability, deal-making and hugs. Earlier this year, he was elected to succeed Antonio Villaraigosa as Assembly speaker by an unprecedented unanimous vote. There was no doubt that Hertzberg would be a more centrist legislative leader than Villaraigosa; indeed, his membership in the Democratic Business Council has been the cause of some anxiety among his more liberal colleagues. For these, at least some aspects of Hertzberg’s speakership have come as a pleasant surprise. At the behest of L.A. labor chief Miguel Contreras, Hertzberg intervened on the workers’ side in both the janitors’ and bus drivers’ strikes. He brokered the deal in which the downsizing of L.A. County General Hospital was partly offset by state funding for a new facility in the San Gabriel Valley. Most important, he worked with state Senate President Pro Tem John Burton — Sacramento’s last liberal lion — to squeeze a more generous budget out of Governor Gray Davis. The significant achievements of Davis’ first two years in office — gun control, HMO regulations, and, just recently, greatly expanded grant programs to students attending the state’s public colleges and universities — have come largely as a result of pressure from the legislative leaders. Keep at it, Bob!
41st District: Fran Pavley
Democratic nominee Fran Pavley, a middle school teacher and four-term Agoura Hills council member, is a longtime environmental activist and has been a member of the California Coastal Commission since 1995. She’s won awards and endorsements from the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, and boasts sterling credentials in both environmental protection and containment of urban sprawl. But this district (vacated by the termed-out Sheila Kuehl), which extends south to the Santa Monica–Venice boundary, is as urban as it is suburban and exurban, and we’re not sure how familiar Pavley is with the full panoply of urban issues. One good sign is her opposition to Santa Monica’s Proposition KK, the hotel industry’s bogus living-wage initiative, actually intended to keep the city from adopting a living wage. We hope her learning curve is just as steep on other issues where Kuehl’s progressivism could almost always be counted upon. Pavley is clearly preferable to Republican Jayne Shapiro.
42nd District: Paul Koretz
As in Sheila Kuehl’s assembly district next door, the race to succeed the termed-out Wally Knox in the 42nd district on the Westside was settled in the March Democratic primary, when West Hollywood City Councilman Paul Koretz dispatched his Democratic opponents. In his career both as an activist and on the council, Koretz has demonstrated a tenacious liberalism at times reminiscent of Henry Waxman’s — and an absence of charisma that’s Waxmanesque as well. The onetime Southern California director of the League of Conservation Voters and a former aide to L.A. Councilman Marvin Braude, Koretz has involved himself in just about every Westside liberal movement imaginable. He’s been active in gun-control efforts for a full two decades, and it was due to his leadership that West Hollywood became the first city in the nation to ban Saturday-night specials. He authored the city’s 1985 ordinance limiting smoking in public places. Most notably, he’s been deeply involved in the battles of the new L.A. labor movement for decent wages and living standards.
The Green Party’s Sara Amir, an environmental scientist whom the Weekly endorsed for lieutenant governor in 1998, is in the race as well, which mystifies us. Koretz may not have a perfect record on the West Hollywood council, but his record of activism on behalf of progressive causes — often way out in front of public opinion — exceeds that of any California Green we know. Koretz is not the kind of Democrat the Greens should be running against. He’s a stand-up guy, and we’re standing with him this November.
43rd District: Dario Frommer
Attorney and Democratic nominee Dario Frommer comes to this race from a longstanding professional relationship with Gray Davis, whom he most recently served as appointments secretary. Anyone who can survive working with Davis, a notoriously volatile boss, will doubtless thrive under adversity. Unlike his GOP opponent, Frommer is a supporter of choice and of gun control.
Frommer’s opponent in this Silver Lake–Glendale–Los Feliz–Burbank district formerly represented by Scott Wildman is Republican Craig Missakian, a law-and-order former prosecutor in the mold of George Deukmejian, who is raising money for him. Of the four competitive races taking place in the legislative Ă¨ districts clustered around Glendale (including the Rogan-Schiff congressional match-up), this is probably the closest — one more reason why we strongly prefer Frommer.