52nd Assembly District

52nd Assembly District

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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 stands out as a 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: 2020-01-31


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 stands out as the best progressive choice because of his career-long dedication to improving education throughout LAUSD and his track record of fighting for all schools and teachers 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: 2020-01-31


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 stands out as 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: 2020-01-31


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, which she does to develop and implement 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 an 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 stands out as 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: 2020-01-31


State Assembly, 52nd District

Member of the State Assembly


Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez is from and continues to reside in Pomona, CA. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2013. According to campaign materials, he is running to continue to represent his district’s needs in Sacramento.

In the State Assembly, he introduced legislation to bring the Ontario International Airport under local control, extend public transportation, and address public safety concerns. Assemblymember Rodriguez currently serves as Chair of the Committee on Public Employment and Retirement, as well as Chair of the Select Committee on Local Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. He also sits on the Committees on Communications and Conveyance, Health, Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management, and an additional two Select Committees. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, he worked as an Emergency Responder and served on Pomona City Council.

Assemblymember Rodriguez has progressive positions when it comes to education and voting rights. That said, he is silent and was absent on key votes pertaining to environmental protections, criminal justice reform, and workers’ rights.

Assemblymember Rodriguez is being challenged by Toni Holle (R). Assemblymember Rodriguez score a lifetime 53 out of 100 on Courage Score, our analysis of legislators’ progressive voting record. According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Though we disagree with Assemblymember Rodriguez stances on the issues named above, and know that a stronger progressive candidate would more accurately represent the 52nd district, Assemblymember Rodriguez is the most progressive candidate on the ballot. That said, we encourage more progressive candidates, that will better reflect this community’s needs, to run in future cycles.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-05


35th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

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Norma Torres
Democrat
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Representative Norma Torres is from Guatemala and immigrated to the United States at five-years-old. She is a longtime resident of the Inland Empire and currently resides in Pomona, CA. Rep. Torres is the incumbent, having served in Congress since 2015. According to campaign materials, she is running for re-election to continue her fight against Republicans’ regressive policies.

In Congress, Rep. Torres has worked to address issues of national security by solving cyber security vulnerabilities at shipping ports. Furthermore, she has advanced initiatives to address the root causes of migration from Central America and public safety concerns of indigenous communities. Rep. Torres currently sits on the Appropriations Committee and the Rules Committee. Prior to her election to Congress, she served as the Mayor of Pomona, CA, in the State Assembly, and the State Senate where she worked to promote diversity in leadership. She also successfully fought to restore local authority of the Ontario Airport, and played a pivotal role in developing the “Keep Your Home California” program, which allowed over 80,000 families to stay in their homes and avoid foreclosures following the Great Recession.

Rep. Torres is being challenged by Mike Cargile (R). Though we disagree with some of Rep. Torres’ votes on military spending, border security, and healthcare, her stances on education and the environment, as well as her relationships with partners supports progressive momentum and makes her a strong choice in this race.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-05


Countywide Races

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

Los Angeles County

Los Angeles District Attorney

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George Gascón
Non-Partisan
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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 stands out as 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: 2020-01-18


Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, District 2


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 legislator's progressive voting record. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Senator Mitchell has consistently shown great courage in standing up 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. Senator Mitchell stands out in a crowded field as 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 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: 2020-02-12


Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, District 4


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 stands out as 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: 2020-02-11


Los Angeles County Superior Court

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

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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: 2020-02-07


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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: 2020-02-07


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

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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: 2020-02-07


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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: 2020-02-07


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

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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: 2020-02-07


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

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Los Angeles County Bar Association ranking

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: 2020-02-07


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

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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: 2020-02-07


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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: 2020-02-07


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

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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: 2020-02-11


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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: 2020-02-07


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

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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: 2020-02-13


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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: 2020-02-07


Statewide Ballot Measures

Proposition 13

VOTE YES
Vote Yes On Prop 13
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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 themselves. 

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. Without question, 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.

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