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
48TH DISTRICT MARK RIDLEY-THOMAS
In his years on the L.A. City Council, Mark Ridley-Thomas has usually been a liberal vote and occasionally a liberal force. His district Empowerment Congress has been a model for elected officials seeking to build a regular dialogue with — and a structure of accountability to — constituents. In the last mayoral election, Ridley-Thomas was the key figure in black L.A. to mobilize support for Antonio Villaraigosa — a move totally in keeping with his careerlong commitment to multiracial progressivism.
Ridley-Thomas has long been on the outs with an older generation of more ethnocentric African-American pols. They in turn are backing the candidacy of longtime Maxine Waters and Yvonne Burke staffer Mike Davis. No, not the author: This Mike Davis is a journeyman political functionary of decidedly limited horizons and no discernible agenda for state government. Ridley-Thomas would be a bright addition to L.A.’s legislative delegation.
49TH DISTRICT JUDY CHU
When she was mayor of Monterey Park, Judy Chu was a most effective opponent of nativism and xenophobia. Since going to the Assembly last year, she’s become that body’s leading author of anti-hate-crime legislation, and an altogether sterling progressive. We support her enthusiastically.
50TH DISTRICT MARCO FIREBAUGH
Firebaugh authored one of the state’s most remarkable new laws — granting in-state tuition rates at California public colleges to longtime resident students who also happen to be undocumented immigrants.
51ST DISTRICT JEROME HORTON
Horton is a legislator of modest talents, but at least he uses those talents on behalf of the low-income Californians one finds in abundance in his Inglewood-centered district.
52ND DISTRICT ALEXANDRA GALLARDO-ROOKER
The presumed front-runner in the race for this Compton-area seat was first elected to the state Assembly some 40 years ago. Mervyn Dymally, a onetime pioneer of black politics in California, is not just a former assemblyman, but also a former lieutenant governor of the state and a former U.S. congressman. Now, at 75, he’s seeking office yet again.
Not that Dymally hasn’t kept busy during his decade in retirement. La-mentably, he’s sold himself again and again to some of the most morally repugnant entities on the planet. He’s been the registered lobbyist for two nations under attack for permitting the practice of slavery: Sudan and Mauritania. He’s also lobbied for the People’s Mujahedeen, the Iraqi-funded underground in Iran. Closer to home, he’s signed an amicus brief for Lyndon LaRouche against the Democratic National Committee, and a petition urging Bill Clinton to hire LaRouche as an economic adviser. Closer still, he was a front man for the Cato School of Reason, a chain of charter schools that collapsed in scandal after the Weekly disclosed in 1998 that it was collecting public-education funds for students who were actually paying to attend private schools.
Dymally could win this election because black voters are loyal and because Dymally remains active and respected in the community. More amazing still, the Democratic Party seems unconcerned that Dymally might win. Fortunately, there’s a clear alternative. Alexandra “Alex” Gallardo-Rooker is a 23-year activist in (and now vice president of) Communications Workers of America Local 9400. In that capacity, she helped coordinate the remarkable effort of harbor truckers to win recognition from the steamship companies, and has run a number of successful organizing drives and political campaigns. She’d bring to the Legislature a keen sensitivity to the needs of California workers. We shudder to think what Merv Dymally would bring.
53RD DISTRICT GEORGE NAKANO
In the last session, this Torrance-area assemblyman authored a bill that upgrades the testing of coastal waters for pollution.
54TH DISTRICT ALAN LOWENTHAL
The two-term incumbent from this harbor-area district has emerged as an effective tribune for environmental justice and economic equity.
55TH DISTRICT JENNY OROPEZA
The new chair of the Assembly Budget Committee remains a dedicated champion of California’s working poor.
58TH DISTRICT CHARLES “CHUCK” FUENTES
Longtime Democratic Party activist Fuentes may not boast the most distinguished record, but his opponent, Ron Calderon — brother of incumbent member Tom Calderon — is, like his brother, funded chiefly by the insurance industry. If the Calderons want to work for insurance companies, do they have to do it while in public office?
JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT
Office No. 2 Hank Goldberg
Office No. 39 Craig Renetzky
Office No. 40 Floyd V. Baxter
Office No. 53 Lauren Weis
Office No. 67 Paul A. Bacigalupo
Office No. 90 Robert Simpson
Office No. 100 Richard F. Walmark
SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION JACK O’CONNELL
The race to succeed Delaine Easton in the nonpartisan position of state superintendent of public instruction features two term-limited state legislators — Dem-ocratic Senator Jack O’Connell of San Luis Obispo and Republican Assemblywoman Lynne Leach of Walnut Creek — and two long-shot candidates. Since this is a nonpartisan race, any candidate who wins a majority in the primary wins the office outright.
Leach is a Republican moderate, generally (but not always) opposed to vouchers, and almost always opposed to gun-control legislation. O’Connell, a mainstream Democrat, is a longtime legislative advocate of class-size reduction, as well as of lowering the requirement for passing a local school-bond measure to 55 percent. He has our support.
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