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Tue, Jul

Mail-In Ballots in Hand:  Your Job is to Know Who You’re Voting For

LA ELECTION 2022 - I have always registered as a Democrat.  However, for as long as I can remember, I have never voted for every Democrat listed on a ballot.

In other words, I always  make a sincere effort to research each and every candidate running for office.  

This year we are seeing many names of career politicians who have either termed out of office or are seeking yet another new political office holder position. 

One must take the time to look beyond their current political party affiliations and see what they have actually accomplished or failed to accomplish.  The Good, Bad and the Ugly. 

Have our elected officials really represented the people who elected them or have they simply represented special interest groups, lobbyists and major unions? Those unions and major corporations that pour millions of dollars into their campaign coffers. 

No one should disagree that the city of Los Angeles is now looked upon as a city controlled by corrupted elected officials. How many more elected officials and/or their associates, including employees of various city and county agencies, will be indicted before the Federal Government (FBI) completes their multi investigations? 

Let’s take a look at the current 3 top contenders running for the Mayor for the City of Los Angeles. 

Karen Bass

Karen Bass can best be classified as a career politician.  There is rumor that she was about to lose her congressional seat because of redistricting. I have been unable to confirm this. I have many concerns, namely these: The congress has allocated thousands upon thousands of dollars earmarked for the homeless population. Yet both the city and county of LA have failed to make a dent to assist the homeless population. Yet Bass has during her tenure as a US CONGRESS member failed to address the issue and ask, WHERE DID THE MONEY GO? WHERE IS THE ACCOUNTABILITY? Bass also stated that once she is elected mayor, she wants to go forward and have the city construct affordable housing.  WHAT IS AFFORDABLE HOUSING?  To rent a one or two bedroom apartment in the city of Los Angeles is anywhere from $2,000 a month on up. To purchase an affordable home in the city of Los Angeles starts at $800,000 and up.   Now how can individuals making minimum wages afford to rent an apartment or ever be able to purchase a home. 

Karen Bass, how about using the terminology LOW AFFORDABLE HOUSING INSTEAD OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING. 

Bass has failed to ask our current governor to roll back the inflated gas taxes (soon to increase again in July 2022).  

Bass also stated that once she is elected Mayor she wants to insure that the homeless population will receive both social worker and psychiatric services.

Bass knows more than the other two front runners that across the United States and especially in Los Angeles we have a major shortage of Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers and those individuals trained to work in the Psychiatric field.  So is she going to pick an orange off the tree and now state that the orange is a social worker. 

I have a major problem with Bass accepting the free $90,000 plus scholarship from USC for her Master Program in Social Work.  We have thousands of low income college students (hundreds of individuals of color) who are going to be responsible to pay off their college loans.  Bass was employed full time as a US Congress representative at the time she completed her master’s program so she could afford to pay for her own education.  The big question is how was she able to complete her internship as required before you can earn your master’s degree in social work? After all she was full time gainfully employed. 

Bass as a US Congressional member voted for and supported the distribution of billions of taxpayers’ dollars for Covid relief plan known as PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) and the Covid unemployment relief program .  But what our elected officials failed to do was to put in place a check and balance system. As a result, the mind-boggling sum of taxpayer money that was fraudulently obtained, the largest in US history, could reach hundreds of billions of dollars.  Most of these financial loses are considered unrecoverable. 

So the question is, how is Bass going to be able to establish a budget for the city of Los Angeles? 

Bass has also remained mute on the severe increases in crime taking place in our once great City of Los Angeles. But if one takes a good honest look at the data, every large city throughout the United States that has implemented criminal justice reform has seen a major increase in violent crime including murders (mostly gang related). Bass has also remained mute for the most part on the new policies implemented by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon. Bass did state that she was against the current recall effort on Gascon. The individuals who are most impacted by Gascon's policies are victims and families of crime most of which are persons of color.  Gascon has already altered some of his new implemented reform polices yet Bass has remained mute on this topic. 

Mike Feuer

Today Mike Feuer withdrew from his campaign for mayor and endorsed Bass.  Feuer just wanted to try to smear Caruso by stating that he was buying the election. Just to show you how out of touch Feuer is, he failed to mention former Los Angeles City Mayor Richard Riordan.  Riordan also financed his own election and like Caruso declined to accept a salary. Feuer has made a mockery of the Los Angeles City Attorney's office and has brought shame to himself and others. What remains is the big question. Is the FBI going to be knocking on Feuer's front door? How many people have now accepted their responsibility for their involvement in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power scandal? They are going to spend time in jail. Remember that this scandal started and had direct ties to the Los Angeles City Attorney office. 

Feuer campaign ad about him ‘walking the doggie’ was a joke. As the doggie walked near what appeared to be green grass, never once did the little doggie make an attempt to smell or sniff the grass. Anyone who walks a dog knows that they smell, sniff and pee on the grass all the time as they are walking. 

Did Bass make a mistake in accepting Feuer's endorsement? 

Kevin De Leon

My take on Kevin De Leon.  Some time back I wrote an article on De Leon. For a period of time after he left his State Senate seat he resided (rented a room) across the street and  three doors down, residing with his former staffer Adrain Vasquez. As per Ms. Fisher (she wrote an article in CityWatch which stated that when he was a state assembly member and state senator he rented a room from a family who resided in the Mt. Washington area.  We can't forget that also during his tenure as a state senator he was a roommate (Sacramento Residence) with ousted State Senator Tony Mendoza. Mendoza resigned from his Senate seat after being named by more than one female for sexual inappropriate behavior. Some of the allegations took place inside his home in Sacramento. 

Los Angeles City Councilman De Leon prides himself as being an expert in addressing the homeless problems within the city of Los Angeles. At least two mayoral debates De Leon boasted that he has provided more housing for the homeless than any other person running for Mayor.  De Leon has established two areas in his CD 14 area of Northeast Los Angeles which are composed of multi tiny houses. What De Leon failed to state is the following. During a recent Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council Public safety meeting residents of the Tiny Houses located off of Avenue 60 stated that they have not been offered any type of assistance addressing the issues of Drug Addiction and  Mental Health.  Also noted, some residents of the Tiny Houses stated that there was a flooding issue some time back because of a heavy rain fall. De Leon’s office staff was made aware of these concerns. I might add that all of the Neighborhood Council meetings are recorded. More recently a female resident of the Eagle Rock Tiny Houses stated that her personal items were damaged because of the recent rain storm. This unnamed female posted her complaints on a local Eagle Rock blog site.  Also, some residents who left the Tiny House located in Highland Park simply relocated and set up a new encampment in CD 1 area by the Metro Train station.   

Many Northeast residents have stated that De Leon has been missing in action. He now spends all of his time participating in photo ops and scheduling various news interviews to obtain facial recognition for his run for Mayor. Just recently he was interviewed at the Los Angeles Union Station. He addressed the concerns by the SEIU union workers who work at Union Station who have been assaulted by the homeless population, who for the most part now reside inside of the Union Station. The problem with this news interview is this.  Where has De Leon been for the last two years? These assaults on the Union Station workers have been going on for the past two years after De Leon moved their encampments from the local streets near the Union Station. Now that De Leon is running for Mayor, all of sudden he is concerned about the welfare of the SEIU employees.  Where was De Leon when the 70 year old nurse was attacked by a homeless man just outside the Union Station. The nurse had worked at USC medical center for over 30 years and succumbed  from her injuries. 

As gang related killings and the increase of violent crime has escalated in his 14th Council District, De Leon has failed to address the issue. De Leon also fails to give his opinion surrounding current Los Angeles County DA George Gascon’s new imposed policies.  In a recent debate, De Leon simply stated that he does not believe in recalls. The truth is if it were not for Adrian Vasquez, De Leon would not be the councilman for the 14th District.  De Leon has a new buddy, his name is Rudy Martinez.  Now who is Rudy Martinez?  Martinez ran for Council District 14 against Jose Huizar.  Martinez lost his bid because the Huizar camp disclosed that Martinez had at one time possessed the badge of a deceased Los Angeles Police officer who was killed in the line of duty.   When this topic was first brought up during Martinez's bid for the CD 14 seat, he denied the allegations. However, he subsequently acknowledged that he had been given the badge by a high-ranking Los Angeles Police Command staff member when he was a volunteer for the Los Angeles Police Department. Martinez' best friend is George Gascon and their relationship goes back many years. Although unproven, it has long been suspected that Martinez obtained the deceased police officers badge from Gascon. Martinez has refused to disclose the name of the high-ranking LAPD command staff member who gave him the badge.  (Refer to LA Times articles) 

Speaking of recalls. Residents of the Eagle Rock area submitted paper work to the LA City Clerks office for a second recall attempt.   This may have more traction as community residents from Highland Park, El Sereno, Boyle Heights and Downtown LA area are all collecting signatures. 

Recently I received copies of Recipient Committee Campaign Statement Cover Page California form 460 (Dated Feb. 2, 2021). It appears that Kevin de Leon has an intent to run for California State Lieutenant Governor in 2026. 

No one can say that De Leon is not a career politician.  

Rick Caruso

I don't know Rick Caruso. What I can say he is his own person. He is not taking money from Unions, Interest groups or from individuals who want favors in return.  He has spent countless hours and has  donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to assist the underrepresented youth (mostly individuals of color) in our Los Angeles community for many years.  Most people had no knowledge of this, except the many organizations and schools that received Caruso assistance.  Most of these organizations and schools are located in the South Los Angeles area.  He is not a career politician and that is what the City of Los Angeles needs at this time. 

We have very serious and severe problems not just surrounding homelessness and the increase in violent crime but we need to clean up and get rid of all those individuals associated with the corruption element within our city.  I believe that the FBI has only touched the surface.  

We need someone who can run this city and in doing so represent all of the residents.  Mayor Garcetti was so involved in getting the Olympics, World Soccer and assisting Inglewood in getting a world-class Football stadium he forgot about those in need: those individuals who lay down on our streets every day and night; the elderly who have worked all their lives and now can hardly live on their social security checks; massive rent increases and all the other ills of our city. 

When Caruso built the Grove and the Americana he opened the doors for thousands of people to obtain employment. 

This city does not need any more career politicians. We need someone who can get things done who honestly cares about our city.  An individual who will represent every person who resides in this city.

Surrounding the US Senator race, I don't have information on any of them with the exception of Alex Padilla.  I feel that Padilla has lost his way.  He has forgotten the little guy. He is no longer that caring individual from Pacoima.   After the gas leak in Porter Ranch, Padilla relocated from his home residence which was in the Porter Ranch area.  One would have thought that he would have pushed for the Aliso Canyon Gas site to be shut down. Remember that it was former Governor Jerry Brown’s sister who has a major financial interest in Sempra and sits on the Board which runs the Aliso Canyon Gas site. 

Los Angeles City Attorney :  Hydee Feldstein Soto 

Los Angeles City Controller : I have had face to face contact with Kennth Mejia. I was walking down Avenue 50 towards York Blvd. when I observed a compact vehicle blocking the pedestrian walkway and blocking traffic. I also observed a young male handing out black shirts from the open trunk of his car to individuals standing in front of the coffee shop. As I walked in front of the coffee shop a female handed me a pamphlet which stated Mejia for Controller. I told the young lady that I never heard of this person, and she stated there he is. And sure enough there he was blocking the traffic so that individuals could not cross the street in a safe manner. When I addressed him he just laughed, stating that if he gets a ticket that he would pay it. I replied that I would never vote for him as I would not trust him to watch over the city of LA's monies. His actions and behavior were those of a spoiled child. I also can’t vote for Lidow, Koretz or Wilcox. Remember that Wilcox was Mike Feuer's spokesperson. 

Los Angeles United School District 2.  My choice is for Maria Brenes.  I recommend that no one vote for Rocio Rivas.  As I previously noted during her tenure as President of the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood council, she wrote letters which contained statements which did not represent the opinions and wishes of the residents of the Northeast Highland Park area. When the council membership became aware of the content of her letters, she was instructed to write new letters which contained the wishes and recommendations of the community as a whole.  Many of the local teachers in our local schools have also stated that she has established a negative relationship with them. Also noted that Rocio Rivas has never taught one day of classes for the LA Unified school district. The East Los Angeles Progressive Party is endorsing Rivas, after all she is a member of their Board. Remember how they endorsed Alex Villanueva and now convicted Ref Rodriguez. 

I can't vote for Maria Elena Durazo for State Senator 26th District. She, like Kevin De Leon, has been missing in action.  Also she continues to vote for criminal justice reform without taking a good look at the results.  There has been multiple gang related shootings in and around her own residential neighborhood but she fails to address the issues of gang violence. The the noted increase of inmate-on-inmate killings within our state prisons. 

I have mixed feelings about my endorsement for State Assembly 52 nd District.  I have chosen to go ahead and vote for Wendy Carrillo. 

United States Representative 34 District. 

I have chosen to go ahead and vote for Jimmy Gomez. 

LA City Measure BB   Yes 

LA County Supervisor. 1st. District. I decline to VOTE. Solis has completely turned her back on the residents of Northeast LA.  In fact I sometimes ask why should residents who reside within the city limits of Los Angeles city should even vote for a County Supervisor.  After all  the supervisors spend all of their energy and allocation of  resources to and include  financial  to those residents who reside outside of the city of Los Angeles. 

Sheriff of Los Angeles County. I have disagreed with many decisions that Alex Villanueva has made. However, I don’t like the way that the Board of Supervisors have been ganging up on him.  I remember the days of Sheriff Lee Baca and the Board of Supervisors  said nothing when he was running his department  as a criminal empire, The LA Daily News, Troy Anderson would write on Baca at least once a week and the Board did  nothing and said nothing.  The Board needs to understand just like themselves the people have the right to vote for whom they want. I did not initially vote for Villanueva . Remember that the East Los Angeles Progressive Party and Kevin De Leon both supported and backed Villanueva.  

Los Angeles County Assessor:   Jeffrey Prang

Office of Superior Court  NO 3:   Sherilyn Peace Garnett 

Judge of Superior Court  NO 60:   Abigail Baron    Sharon Ransom 

Judge of Superior  Court  NO 67:   Fernando Barreto      Ryan Dibble 

Judge of Superior Court  NO 70:  Renee Chang 

Judge of Superior Court  No 90:  Leslie Gutierrez    Melissa Lyons 

Judge of Superior Court No 116:  Judge David Gelfound

Judge of Superior court  NO 118:   Melissa Hammond, Georgia Huerta, Keith K Oyano 

Judge of Superior COURT  NO 151:   Karen Brako 

Judge of Superior court NO 156: Carol Elswick 

State Attorney General:  Anne Marie Schubert 

Governor:  Decline to state 

Lt. Governor:  Decline to state 

Secy of State:   Decline to state 

Controller:   Yvonne Yiu 

Treasurer:     Fiona Ma 

Insurance Commissioner:  Decline to state 

Member state Board of Equalization 3rd District:  decline to state 

Superintendent of Public Instruction:   Tony K. Thurmond 

I am very disappointed in Thurmond. After the failed attempt by LAPD to destroy the illegal fireworks in South Los Angeles, many of the residents and their children were displaced and many remain so as of this date, 11 months later.  This past week there was a severe destructive fire in Orange County where more than 20 multimillion dollar homes were destroyed. The children who resided in this wealthy community had to attend a different school location until it would be safe for them to return to their regular school setting.  Superintendent Thurmond responded to the temporary school location and communicated with the displaced students, their parents and the teaching staff. To the best of my knowledge, Thurmond did not respond to the South Los Angeles area (low socio-economic area) where these families and their children have been displaced. 

LA City Council District 1:  Gil Cedillo

LA City Council District 13:  Mitch O' Farrell 

Do not vote for Bob Hertzberg for the open Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors seat.  He is just another seasoned career politician who wants another job.  Remember he was about to have our Governor sign off on a bill extending no bail for all individuals arrested.  Hertzberg pulled his bill off the Governor’s desk after it was disclosed that a violent offender had been released from jail without posting bail (no bail) and he went on to rape, beat and kill a 61 year old female from the Sacramento area. After which, the suspect set her home on fire.  Hertzberg has demonstrated that he is more concerned about the criminals’ welfare than he is for the overall welfare and safety of the residents and visitors of our state.

 

(Caroline Aguirre is a retired 24-year State of California law enforcement officer, LAPD family member, community activist and Neighborhood Watch captain. Aguirre is a CityWatch contributor.) This article was edited for CityWatch by Jim Hampton.