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Voters will decide numerous key races in California next Tuesday, from choosing the state’s next governor, U.S. senator and attorney general, to leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and state assembly. In addition, several hotly contested ballot initiatives are on the Nov. 2 ballot, from the legalization of marijuana to the redistricting of Congressional districts, as well as multiple measures that would raise taxes and fees, or change the way they are collected.
The governor’s race is arguably the most high profile contest on the ballot, between Republican candidate Meg Whitman and Democratic candidate Jerry Brown. One of the additional high profile statewide contests is for Attorney General, where current Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley is the top Republican candidate, competing against the top Democrat, Kamala Harris, the district attorney for the city and county of San Francisco.
The race between long-time incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer and Republican candidate Carly Fiorina has received much attention in the media. The race pits Boxer, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for the past 27 years, against Fiorina, the former chair and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Company.
There are several races affecting the local area, including one involving Democrat and current U.S. Congressman for the 30th District, Rep. Henry Waxman. Since 2009,Waxman has been the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and from 1979 to 1994, chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health and the Environment. Waxman has sponsored numerous health bills that have been enacted into law, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and the Ryan White CARE Act. The Republican challenger in the 30th District, Charles E. Wilkerson, an engineer and former CEO of Interoperable Systems Technologies, Inc., an electrical engineering firm based in Los Angeles.
Other local Congressional races in Los Angeles include the 33rd District, which mainly covers South Los Angeles and some areas of Mid-Wilshire and Hollywood, between Democrat and current State Assembly Speaker Emeritus Karen Bass, and Republican candidate and attorney, James Andion. In the 36th Congressional District, which covers large portions of the Westside, current Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters is running against Republican candidate, K. Bruce Brown, an entrepreneur and gang intervention expert.
In the State Assembly’s 42nd District, incumbent Assembly Member Mike Feuer is taking on Republican challenger, Mary Toman-Miller. Feuer, who is running for his third and final term in the assembly, said he is proud of accomplishments such as helping move forward Measure R transportation projects, healthcare initiatives such as requiring harmful chemicals to be removed from consumer products, and public safety measures including a law requiring ignition interlock devices for convicted drunk drivers that prevent a vehicle from being started if the driver is intoxicated.
Toman-Miller has served as deputy treasurer of the State of California, and was also a former senior executive in the U.S. Department of Commerce under President George H. W. Bush from 1989-92. She has pledged to bring fiscal responsibility back to state government.
One of the most controversial measures on the ballot is Proposition 19, which would allow people 21 and over to possess, transport and cultivate marijuana for personal use. Numerous law enforcement officials are opposing the measure, including L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley and L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, on the grounds that it would hinder their ability to go after and prosecute criminals involved in drug related offenses. Opponents have also said that the law is poorly written and would lead to more young people becoming addicted to marijuana, and that it would lead to safety problems in the workplace, and with intoxicated motorists. Proponents of the measure claim that it would reduce the burden that people being prosecuted for minor marijuana charges place on the criminal justice system, and that it would raise billions from tax revenue.
Additional measures include Prop. 20, a constitutional amendment for changing congressional districts; Prop. 21, which establishes an $18 annual vehicle licensing fee to fund parks and wildlife programs; and Prop. 22, which prohibits the state from borrowing or taking funds from local governments. Prop. 23 would suspend the implementation of an air pollution control law until unemployment drops below 5.5 percent; Prop. 24 repeals a law that would allow businesses to lower their tax liability; while Prop. 25 changes the legislative vote requirement to pass a budget and budget-related legislation from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority.
For additional information and a complete list of candidates and measures, visit www.lavote.net.
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