48th Assembly District

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The Courage California Voter Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. Vote in every race on your ballot! It's our right and our responsibility. Please share this guide with your friends and family.

Voting has changed in Los Angeles County this year. The Voter’s Choice Act was enacted in the county to make voting more convenient. Changes include an expanded period of in-person early voting, every registered voter in the county will receive a vote-by-mail ballot, and every registered voter in the county is able to vote in-person at any Vote Center in their county. Also, in-person voters in Los Angeles County will have the opportunity to use the new Ballot Marking Device, a touchscreen with audio features, to mark their ballots. Have questions about the changes to voting in Los Angeles County? Visit your county elections website.

Los Angeles Unified School District

Depending on where you live, you may have the below races on your ballot.

Los Angeles Unified School District, Member of the Board of Education, District #1




Dr. George McKenna is from New Orleans. His is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2014. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election to the LAUSD School Board to continue to create a system of education that promotes positive change through emphasizing justice, equal opportunities, and cultivating non-violent learning spaces.

As Vice President of the LAUSD Board of Education, Dr. McKenna has implemented reforms to that aim to boost inclusive learning environments and improve student achievement. Prior to his election to the School Board, Dr. McKenna received a PhD in Education and has worked as a teacher, principal, and superintendent where developed a reputation for his innovative education solutions that decreased violence in inner-city schools, addressed low-achievement, increased community engagement and college enrollment. He has also authored legislation that allows parents to receive time off of work so that they are able to attend students’ activities.

Dr. McKenna is running unopposed and is the best progressive choice because of his track record of fighting for students and teachers, which he has received wide national recognition from Time magazine to The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as a movie documenting his accomplishments and educational approaches titled “The George McKenna Story.”

According to our analysis, Dr. McKenna is a strong choice for progressive leadership in office.

 

Last updated: 2020-02-28


Los Angeles Unified School District, Member of the Board of Education, District #3




Scott Schmerelson is a career educator with over 30 years of experience with LAUSD. He is the School Board District 3 incumbent, having served in this position since 2015. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election to reduce class size, support and improve public schools, ensure classrooms and teachers have the resources they require while maintaining a responsible budget, and to make certain that schools are led by individuals who reflect the needs of the communities they serve.

On the School Board, Schmerelson has been an outspoken supporter of teachers and their demands, as well as a leading voice to reduce class size so that students have the attention required for an effective learning environment and quality education. Prior to Schmerelson’s election to the School Board, he worked as a teacher, school counselor, assistant principal, and principal where he accomplished increasing test scores and boosting the morale of students, teachers, and parents.

Schmerelson is running against Marilyn Koziatek and Elizabeth Bartels-Badger. Schmerelson is the best progressive choice because of his career-long dedication to improving education throughout LAUSD and his track record of fighting to make sure that children have access to the quality education they deserve.

According to our analysis, Schmerelson is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.

 

Last updated: 2020-02-28


Los Angeles Unified School District, Member of the Board of Education, District #5




Jackie Goldberg is from Los Angeles and has resided in Echo Park, CA, for nearly 40 years. She is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2019. According to campaign materials, she is running for re-election to continue to be the School Board’s progressive voice and ensure that students interests always come first.

On the School Board, she has worked to restore integrity and leadership to her seat following the corruption chargers from the previous occupant. In addition, she’s worked to reduce class size, establish a productive and reasonable budget, bring the community together to raise students’ achievement levels, improve schools learning conditions, increase the resources available to students and teachers, as well as defend LAUSD schools from ongoing federal attacks from the current administration. Golberg has also worked as a teacher, community activist, Ethics Deputy and Children’s Services Deputy, served on the Los Angeles City Council, California State Assembly, as well as served on the LAUSD school board from 1983 to 1991. Through these positions, Golberg has created a dual language education program, authored the first citywide ordnance on a living wage, instituted protections for LA renters, increased funding for LAUSD, authored the first citywide and statewide domestic partner legislation, and is a co-founder of LACER Afterschool Program which helps nearly 4,000 students annually in the Los Angeles area.

Goldberg is running against Chistina Martinez Duran. Goldberg is the best progressive choice because of her career-long reputation of supporting students and underserved communities throughout the Los Angeles area.

According to our analysis, Goldberg is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.

 

Last updated: 2020-02-29


Los Angeles Unified School District, Member of the Board of Education, District #7




Patricia Castellanos is from Carson, CA, and currently resides in San Pedro, CA. According to campaign materials, she is running for School Board to bring her knowledge of building coalitions and alliances to the LAUSD to enact progressive education policies.

Castellanos is the Workforce Deputy for L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, where she develops and implements economic policies that create job opportunities for members of her community. Prior to becoming a Workforce Deputy, she worked as the Director of Policy Training and Education for Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education, held an appointment as Port Commission by Mayor Eric Garcetti, and was Deputy Director for the L.A. Alliance for a New Economy. Furthermore, Castellanos led the Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports, where she secured a historic agreement to reduce emissions, and was also a co-founder of Reclaim Our Schools L.A., where she successfully created a coalition of community members to rally support for quality public education.

Castellanos is running against Mike Lansing, Tanya Ortiz Franklin, Silke M. Bradford, and Lydia A. Gutierrez. Castellanos is the progressive choice because of her track record of activism, service, and support to underserved and disadvantaged communities throughout the Los Angeles area. 

According to our analysis, Castellanos is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.

Last updated: 2020-02-29


State Senator, 25th District

Depending on where you live, you may have the below races on your ballot.

Member of the State Senate

Anthony Portantino photo

Builds Power
Builds Progress




State Senator Anthony Portantino is from Long Branch, NJ. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2016. According to campaign materials, he is running for reelection to continue to represent the needs of the foothills community in the State Legislature.

As a State Senator, Portantino has advanced bills to address public health issues, increase access to higher education, and improve senior citizens’ services. Prior to his election to the State Senate, Portantino served on the La Cañada Flintridge City Council, as Mayor of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Advisory Committee, and as President of the League of California Cities Mayors and Councilmembers Department.

As Senate Appropriations Chair, Portantino took actions that resulted in various progressive bills being tabled. Even though we don’t agree with all of Portantino's actions as Appropriations Chair, his position of power in the State Senate, his support of inclusive education and health policies make him a strong choice in this race.

Portantino is running uncontested for reelection. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Portantino has often shown courage advocating for the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-21


State Assembly, 48th District

Member of the State Assembly

No Good Choices


Asm. Blanca Rubio is the two-term incumbent, having first won her seat in 2016. In the most recent election, Rubio ran unopposed, and runs unopposed again in this cycle–which is unfortunate, as our Courage Score analysis shows she does NOT advocate for her constituents against corporate lobbyists and interest groups.

Rubio earned a Courage Score of 29 – closer to the Republican average than a typical Democrat score. She sided with charter schools against public education, and cops over victims of police brutality. She put landlords before renters, and failed to protect our state from the Trump Administration’s environmental rollbacks.

There is no progressive choice on the ballot. We encourage you to write in a candidate of your choice to show support for progressives in this district. Keep reading for progressive recommendations in other key races and on ballot measures where your vote can make a critical difference.
 


Congress

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.

27th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Judy Chu photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation




Representative Judy Chu was born in Los Angeles and has lived in Monterey Park, CA, for over 33 years. She is the incumbent, having served in Congress since 2009. According to campaign materials, Rep. Chu is running for congress to continue her fight for progress in the San Gabriel Valley.

In Congress, Rep. Chu has worked with the Department of Defense to address military hazing, pushed to successfully declare the San Gabriel Mountains a national monument, and has established two Small Business Development Centers that have helped spur local economic growth. Rep. Chu currently sits on the House Committees on Ways and Means, Small Businesses, as well as sits on two subcommittees, and is a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Creative Rights Caucus. Prior to her election to Congress, Rep. Chu served on the Garvey School District School Board, Monterey Park City Council, and in the State Assembly.

Rep. Chu is challenged by Beatrice Cardenas (R), Johnny J. Nalbandian (R), and Christian Daly (NPP). According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Rep. Chu is the best progressive choice because of her track record of fighting for progress for the San Gabriel Valley and her pledge to continue to do so.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-28


32nd Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Grace Napolitano photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation




Representative Grace Napolitano is from Brownsville, TX, and currently resides in Los Angeles County. She is the incumbent, having served in Congress since 1999. According to campaign materials, she is running for re-election to stick up for labor rights, push for immigration reform, improve veteran services, and restore water infrastructure.

In Congress, Napolitano has advanced legislation to secure funding to improve water management, mental health services, and has led a task force to reduce gun violence. Napolitano serves as Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. Prior to her election to Congress, she served on the Norwalk City Council, as Mayor of Norwalk, and in the State Assembly.

Napolitano is running against Emanuel Gonzales (D), Meshal "Kash" Kashifalghita (D), and Joshua M. Scott (R). Napolitano is the best progressive choice because of her track record of using her position of power on Capitol Hill to advance legislation that addresses her constituents’ needs.

According to our analysis, Napolitano is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-28


Los Angeles County

Los Angeles District Attorney

George Gascón photo
Non-Partisan




George Gascón, a Cuban immigrant and longtime LAPD police officer, is known as a groundbreaking progressive leader in criminal justice reform in the country. Gascón is running for District Attorney in Los Angeles because he believes the way the criminal justice system operates in Los Angeles must change.

George Gascón moved back to L.A. to run for District Attorney because of his passion for the city, leaving his role as District Attorney in San Francisco, where he was appointed district attorney in 2011 and was re-elected twice. As SF District Attorney, Gascón led a slate of progressive reforms including lowering incarceration rates, expunging more than 9,000 marijuana convictions dating back to 1975, and launching a first-of-its-kind website that provides data on prosecutions, caseloads, and trial outcomes in order to increase accountability and transparency in the criminal justice system.

Gascón started his career as a beat cop in Los Angeles. His trajectory took him to the top of the LAPD, where as Assistant Chief, he oversaw operations the more than 9,000 officers in the LAPD. Throughout his career, Gascón has demonstrated the ability to think in new ways about seemingly intractable problems in criminal justice, and to create meaningful change in the culture and operations of police departments including the LAPD, the Mesa Police Department, and the SFPD. In 2011, then-California Attorney General Gavin Newsom tapped Gascón to be San Francisco District Attorney where he has become known as a visionary in criminal justice reform.

Gascón is challenging incumbent Jackie Lacey, who has consistently resisted public pressure to hold police accountable for the more than 550 people who have been killed by police in Los Angeles County since her election in 2013. Other candidates include public defender, Rachel A. Rossi. Gascón is the strongest progressive choice for district attorney because of his visionary leadership and outstanding track record in criminal justice reform, as well as his experience and demonstrated ability to adapt.

According to our analysis, Gascón is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-29


Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, District 4

Janice Hahn photo
Non-Partisan

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation



Janice Hahn was born and raised in Los Angeles. After a brief stint in Texas and New York, Hahn moved back to Southern California and raised her family in Los Angeles. She currently lives in San Pedro, CA. According to campaign materials, Hahn is running for re-election to represent District 4 on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to continue her agenda of reforms that prioritize the needs of working families, women, children, seniors, and young people across the 4th District.

Supervisor Hahn was raised in a family of prominent Los Angeles politicians. After a career in the private sector, she was elected to represent the 15th District on the Los Angeles Charter Reform Commission where she fought for many reforms now included in the new charter: Area Planning Commissions, local citizen representation on commissions governing Los Angeles International Airport and the Port of Los Angeles, and a system of neighborhood councils.

Supervisor Hahn then served on the Los Angeles City Council followed by three years in the U.S. House of Representatives before she retired to run successfully to represent District 4 on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. In this role, Hahn has been a forceful advocate for addressing homelessness, has worked to protect workers at the port, and has implemented reforms to ensure residents receive safe, clean drinking water. Hahn also successfully brokered a deal to secure long-term affordable housing in Marina del Rey that prevented tenant evictions and secured millions of dollars for District 4 school funding, public safety, and water infrastructure to combat run-off of toxic pollutants while increasing environmental protections.

Supervisor Hahn is being challenged by Desiree T. Washington. Hahn is the strongest progressive choice because of her long track record and effective approach to brokering deals that balance the needs of the many stakeholder communities in District 4.

According to our analysis, Hahn is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-29


Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, District 2

Holly Mitchell photo
Non-Partisan

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation
Courage Endorsed



State Senator Holly Mitchell is a third-generation Angeleno and continues to live in Los Angeles, where she serves as a State Senator for California's 30th Senate District. According to campaign materials, Mitchell is running to represent District 2 on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in order to meet the real needs of local communities in Los Angeles County -- the largest county in the nation, with over 10 million residents.

Senator Mitchell was elected to the state Assembly in 2010 and moved to the Senate in 2013. She is currently serving her final term as a State Senator, where she serves as Chair of the Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. During her tenure, Senator Mitchell proposed a set of criminal justice reforms that were signed into law. Together, these 10 laws reduce barriers for Californias impacted by the criminal justice system by reducing sentence enhancements for low-level drugs, removing court fees for the innocent, sealing arrest records for people not convicted, ending the sentencing of juveniles to life without parole, and other advancements. She has been a notable progressive influence in other areas as well, including homelessness, mental health, children’s rights, and job protections. 

In office, Senator Mitchell has scored an overall 98 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator's progressive voting record. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Senator Mitchell has consistently shown great courage advocating for the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians. Most recently, Senator Mitchell has taken a stand on a problematic statewide housing bill, working with a coalition representing low-income communities to demand stronger protections for low-income people, people of color, and other vulnerable people most strongly affected by the housing crisis. 

Senator Mitchell is running against Herb Wesson, president of the Los Angeles City Council, and Jan Perry, a former council member who once ran for mayor. Other candidates include Jorge Nuño, Albert Robles, Rene Rigard, and Jake Jeong. In a crowded field, Senator Mitchell is the best progressive choice because of her track record as a champion for underrepresented and marginalized communities in California and her reputation as an unapologetically progressive legislator.

Voting for Senator Mitchell is an opportunity to elect a transformational leader as supervisor, one who will courageously represent the perspective and priorities of her district in LA County. One day she would make an excellent candidate for Governor of California. Courage California strongly endorses Senator Mitchell for Supervisor.
 

Last updated: 2020-04-15


Los Angeles County Superior Court

Los Angeles County, Judge of the Superior Court, Position #42

Linda L. Sun photo


Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: QUALIFIED

Linda L. Sun currently serves as Supervising Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice. She began her career as Deputy Attorney General in the Licensing Section of the Attorney General’s Office, California Department of Justice. In her current role, she oversees significant caseloads addressing potential abuses of consumer trust. 

She received her undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her law degree from Southwestern University.

Last updated: 2020-02-20




Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: WELL QUALIFIED

Robert “Bob” Villa is a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney currently working in the Special Trials department. Villa has spent over 30 years in the district attorney’s office. 
In 2016 he was recognized by Justice for Homicide Victims as a “Prosecutors of the Year” for “exemplary work in the pursuit of justice on behalf of murder victims.” 

He received his undergraduate degree from the University Of California Irvine and a Juris Doctorate from Western State University of Law. 

Last updated: 2020-02-20


Los Angeles County, Judge of the Superior Court, Position #72

Steve Morgan photo


Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: WELL QUALIFIED

Steve Morgan currently serves as a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney, a Lt. Colonel in the Army JAG Corps, and is a law professor.

Morgan received his undergraduate degree from Messiah College in Pennsylvania and went on to complete a dual J.D./MBA at the University of Hawai'i. Upon graduation from the program, Morgan was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the Army JAG Corps. He was also an adjunct professor at The John Marshall School of Law in Chicago and currently teaches at the Abraham Lincoln University School of Law in Los Angeles.  
 

Last updated: 2020-02-28




Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: QUALIFIED

Robert F. Jacobs is the founder of the immigration and criminal defense law firm of Robert F. Jacobs & Associates, PLC. 

Jacobs is a Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He was named 2019 Attorney of the Year by the local Southeast District Bar Association (SEDBA). He is also a member of the American Society of Legal Advocates (ASLA), a “nationwide organization of elite lawyers in practice today.” 

Jacobs received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and earned his law degree from Marquette University Law School. 

Last updated: 2020-02-28




Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: NOT QUALIFIED

Myanna Dellinger is a professor of law focused on international law and climate change. She is an Associate Law Professor, University of South Dakota School of Law.

Dellinger was born in Denmark and has lived in southern California for over 20 years. She received her J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law. She contributes often to law journals and outlets, and hosts the podcasts "The Global Energy and Environmental Law Podcast" and "Dellinger on the Law." 

She signed an open letter to Congress opposing strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) laws in 2015. SLAPP laws are intended to intimidate or deter objections to public discourse with the threat of massive legal lawsuits that would exhaust the resources of individuals or organizations. Before teaching at the University of South Dakota, she was an associate professor at Western State University College of Law.

Last updated: 2020-02-28


Los Angeles County, Judge of the Superior Court, Position #76

Emily Cole photo


Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: QUALIFIED

Emily Cole has spent 13 years as a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. She was born and raised in Los Angeles County and received her undergraduate degree at San Francisco State University and her law degree from Golden Gate University. 

Cole currently specializes in the prosecution of sex crimes and domestic violence and has tried high profile cases, including the prosecution of Dino Guglielmelli, a wealthy businessman that tired to hire a hitman to kill his wife. She also led the prosecution of Shehada Issa in 2017, who was found guilty of murdering his wife and son and was sentenced to life in prison. 

This is an open seat, and Cole is running against one challenger: “Judge” Mike Cummins, who is a retired judge and attorney. Cummins has been rated as NOT QUALIFIED by the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Cummins has run unsuccessfully for numerous offices, including San Luis Obispo County District Attorney in 2018. 

According to our analysis, Cole represents the best choice for judge in this race.

Last updated: 2020-02-20


Los Angeles County, Judge of the Superior Court, Position #80



Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: QUALIFIED

David Berger has been a Deputy District Attorney for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office for over 20 years. In 2009, he served for nine months as part of a transition team in the City Attorney’s office before leaving to return again to the District Attorney’s office.  

Berger is a District Attorney's Office Alternative Sentencing Designee as part of the county’s Community Collaborative Courts. He previously ran for judge in 2018. 

Berger was born in London and moved to the U.S. in 1989. He received his law degrees from the University of London and Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. 

Last updated: 2020-02-20


Klint McKay photo


Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: WELL QUALIFIED

McKay currently is an administrative law judge in the California Department of Social Services. He hears Affordable Care Act appeals for the Department of Social Services. 

Prior to his role as an administrative law judge, from 2006-2014 he served in the Health Quality Enforcement section of the California Attorney General’s office. 

He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, his MBA from the University of California at Berkeley, Haas School of Business, and his law degree at Wayne State University. 

In 2018, McKay pulled papers to run against newly appointed Los Angeles Superior Court judge, Kristin S. Escalante, but withdrew from the race.

Last updated: 2020-02-20


Nick C. Rini photo


Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: QUALIFIED

Nick C. Rini has been a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney for 35 years. He briefly practiced civil law before joining the DA’s office in 1984. 

Rini received his law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law.

Last updated: 2020-02-20


Los Angeles County, Judge of the Superior Court, Position #97



Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: QUALIFIED

Sherry L. Powell is a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. Her website states she has predominately prosecuted “crimes of violence, including murder, child molestation, rape, and domestic violence.” 

In 2014 she prosecuted Steve DeSisto, co-owner of a popular deli, for sexually assaulting a woman in a case that gained local attention. Powell received her law degree from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law. 

Last updated: 2020-02-29




Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: WELL QUALIFIED

Timothy D. Reuben is the founder, Managing Principal, and CEO of the firm Reuben Raucher & Blum. The firm advertises services for civil litigation, insurance law, employment law, family law as well as appeals. Reuben contributes regularly to his firm's blog on a variety of legal issues. 

Reuben received his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University

Last updated: 2020-02-20


Los Angeles County, Judge of the Superior Court, Position #129



Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: QUALIFIED

Bruce A. Moss is a private practitioner specializing in family law and is a volunteer Temporary Judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Moss received his Bachelor's Degree from the University of Southern California and his law degree from San Fernando Valley College of Law.

Last updated: 2020-02-20




Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: QUALIFIED

Kenneth M. Fuller is a Los Angeles County Deputy D.A, Commissioner on the City of Fullerton Traffic and Circulation Commission, and a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Fuller joined the DA’s office in 2006 and has worked in the VIP SpecialVictim's Unit, Hardcore Gang Division, and Environmental Crimes Divisions. 

Fuller also volunteers as a teacher as part of the LADA Project LEAD program. Fuller received his undergraduate degree from University of Southern California and his law degree from USC’s Gould School of Law. Fuller ran unsuccessfully for judge in 2018.

Last updated: 2020-02-23




Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: QUALIFIED

Mark MacCarley is the Managing Attorney/Consultant at MacCarley & Rosen, PLC and a retired U.S. Army General. He resides in Glendale, where he was raised and serves on the Civil Service Commission. 

In 2016, MacCarley ran unsuccessfully as a Republican in the primary for State Assembly’s District 43. He ran in 2017 for Glendale City Council and lost. 

MacCarley received his MBA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and his law degree from Loyola Law School. 
 

Last updated: 2020-02-20


Los Angeles County, Judge of the Superior Court, Position #162



Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: WELL QUALIFIED

Scott Andrew Yang is a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles County. He now works in the sex crimes division and was previously part of the juvenile crime department. Before joining the DA’s office, Yang was in private practice working on civil law matters. 

Yang’s family fled Vietnam in 1979 and spent two years as refugees before settling in Michigan. In 1984, they moved to Los Angeles. Yang received his undergraduate degree from UCLA and his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law. 

Last updated: 2020-02-20




Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking: WELL QUALIFIED

David D. Diamond is a criminal law attorney in Los Angeles County and has a Certified Legal Specialty in Criminal Law from the State Bar of California. 

He received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and his law degree law at Southwestern Law School. He also ran for judge in 2018. 

Last updated: 2020-02-20


Los Angeles County Ballot Measures

Measure FD

VOTE YES

Vote YES on Measure FD, LA County Fire District Parcel Tax


Measure FD would add a parcel tax of 6 cents per square foot on residential and commercial buildings in the unincorporated areas of LA County as well as in the 58 cities that contract with the county for fire protection and emergency services. (This does not include the city of Los Angeles, but does include many of the smaller cities in and around the city limits.) The parcel tax would cap out at 100,000 square feet and the money would be used to by the Los Angeles County Fire Department to hire more firefighters and paramedics and upgrade its equipment.

In a region famed for being prone to natural disasters, fires are among the most frequent large-scale crises we face. Climate change is making matters worse. All over the state, fire departments are being stretched by the increasing frequency with which they’re dispatched to battle major fires, and, as we learned in 2018, this means reinforcements and resources from elsewhere are not always available when they’re needed. LA County’s fire department also operates paramedic services, which are concurrently seeing an increase in demand. Both of these functions are vital to protecting the health and property of LA County’s citizens and worth funding. 

LA County’s fire department is funded entirely via property taxes -  it doesn’t receive any money from the county’s general fund. Because of this unique funding scheme they periodically have had to go to voters to pass parcel taxes for additional funding. The last time they did this, however, was over twenty years ago in 1997. Though the department has been late in getting their overtime report to voters, meaning they have not done everything they could have to document the need for this tax, it’s still worth voting YES. Too much rides on the fire department’s ability to provide quick, efficient service.

This measure requires a two-thirds vote to pass and the resulting tax would only apply in areas where the L.A. County Fire Department does its work. 

Vote YES on Measure FD.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-28


County Measure R

VOTE YES

Vote Yes On Measure R

This proposition would authorize the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission in Los Angeles to develop a Comprehensive Public Safety Reinvestment Plan, the goal of which would be to reduce incarceration, ease jail overcrowding, reduce recidivism -- in particular among mentally ill and chronically unhoused populations -- and mandate that alternatives to incarceration for vulnerable populations be studied and prioritized over the building of new jails. That’s already a mouthful, but it would also give the commission a greater ability to investigate police misconduct by giving them the power to subpoena testimony and evidence. 

The effort to get this on the ballot was organized by a grassroots organization called Reform L.A. Jails, led by Patrisse Cullors of Black Lives Matter, and it’s supported by the ACLU, Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, Dignity and Power Now, Community Coalition, White People 4 Black Lives and Real Justice PAC. Tackling a culture that permits widespread police brutality, endangers the lives of people of color, and prioritizes incarceration over assistance is vitally important, and we get a chance to help do that by voting YES on Measure R. 

We strongly recommend a YES vote on Measure R.

Last updated: 2020-02-20


Statewide Ballot Measures

Proposition 13

VOTE YES

Vote YES On Prop 13, School and College Facilities Bond


This proposition would provide $9 billion for desperately needed renovations to public preschools and grade schools throughout the state, and $6 billion for construction to community colleges, the Cal State system, and the UC system. This will allow the state of California to use tax revenue to pay for improvements that local communities cannot afford. 

The funding would come from bonds the state would pay back over 35 years, totaling an estimated $26 billion, which includes $15 billion in principal and $11 billion in interest. This investment is well worth the costs. It takes money, after all, to ensure that students -- especially those in districts that can’t afford major capital improvement projects -- do not have to learn in dangerous environments. 

The vast majority of Democrats in the state legislature support it, as does Gov. Newsom, and the only major opposition is a group called the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. This is the group famous for destroying California’s school funding system in 1978 through another proposition, ironically one that was also dubbed Prop 13. The group spends most of its time lobbying to reduce tax rates. It has never shown any interest in supporting California’s children, at least if that means wealthy individuals or giant corporations would pay their fair share in taxes.

Critics of the measure have pointed out that the ballot measure’s language includes a provision that frees new multi-family developments around subway stops and bus stations from school impact fees. This provision will make it easier for developers to build apartment buildings within a half-mile of public transit but could also drive up the cost of new housing and take funds away from school districts across the state. Despite this provision, the measure is still supported by most education groups in the state, who believe the overall funding allocation to schools outweighs the impact of reduced funding to school districts located near transit hubs. 2020’s Prop 13 is worth the investment since it means children will soon be able to attend school in buildings that are retrofitted to withstand earthquakes and no longer have lead in their water. 

We strongly recommend a YES vote on Prop 13.

Last updated: 2020-03-02