After hard fought primaries in June, local candidates are hitting the home stretch of election season, culminating in the Nov. 4 General Election, which also features various state and county propositions.
Third District County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is retiring after serving approximately 20 years overseeing Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. His career began in 1974 as a Los Angeles City Councilman.
Vying for his seat are former state senator Sheila Kuehl (36 percent of the vote in the primary) and former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver (29 percent of the vote in the primary).
Kuehl served on the California Senate for eight years and the California Assembly for six years — she was termed-out in 2008. She is the founding director of the Public Policy Institute at Santa Monica College.
Shriver was elected to the Santa Monica City Council in 2004 and served as mayor in 2010. He has also served on the California State Park and Recreation Commission and helped found PRODUCT (RED), which fights against AIDS in Africa.
The U.S. Congressional District 33 is also seeing a retirement, with current Congressman Henry Waxman bidding farewell to the position after 40 years of public service.
Two candidates are competing for his seat — Republican criminal gang prosecutor Elan Carr (21.5 percent of the vote in the primary) and State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), who received approximately 19 percent of the vote in the primary.
Carr served in the U.S. Army before joining the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office as a deputy district attorney, serving for the last seven years. Lieu served in the U.S. Air Force before serving for three years on the Torrance City Council and then being elected to the California State Senate in 2011.
The Los Angeles County Assessor’s race took on greater meaning this year with criminal charges being filed against John Noguez. He is on leave, although he has retained his title, as he awaits trial on corruption charges.
During the primary, West Hollywood Councilman Jeffrey Prang received approximately 18 percent of the vote and Deputy District Attorney John Morris received 16 percent of the vote from a wide field of candidates.
Prang was hired as a special assistant to Noguez several months before the corruption charges emerged, and he has not been linked to those charges. He attempted to designate himself “deputy assessor” on the ballot, but a judge upheld a complaint, requiring him to change the designation to “special assistant, assessor.”
The County Assessor’s Office appraises homes, business property and other real estate — plus taxable personal property.
Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell just missed avoiding a runoff election (49 percent) during the June primary to replace long-time Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, but instead will square off versus former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka (15 percent in the primary).
McDonnell was a member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 29 years, attaining the rank of first assistant chief. He became chief of police in Long Beach in 2010, and has since touted record low crime in the city. McDonnell was part of the citizens’ commission that examined the county jails and offered reforms for the system.
Tanaka joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 1982, working in numerous departments as he ascended to undersheriff. He is a certified public accountant and the current mayor of Gardena. Tanaka retired amid controversy with the Los Angeles County Jail — the FBI is investigating Tanaka and many other officials — although he has said he was not involved.
The lone Los Angeles County ballot measure is Proposition P, which was added by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors late in the process in August.
The measure is seen as an extension of a property tax that has been in place since 1992 and it’s alternatively called the Safe Neighborhood Parks, Gang Prevention, Youth/Senior Recreation, Beaches and Wildlife Protection Measure. It is a measure that would impose an annual, flat, $23 per parcel tax.
The 1992 tax will expire in June unless Proposition P is passed. This measure requires a two-thirds majority vote from California residents.
It would give money for various neighborhood parks and recreation projects, along with money to develop and maintain open space and reward special projects for disadvantaged areas and people.
California Proposition 1 would approve $7.1 billion in general obligation bonds and the sale of another $425 million in unsold, previously approved bonds, to pay for water projects across the state.
About $4.2 billion would be spent on projects for improving water supplies, with $2.7 billion for new water storage, $810 million for regional water projects and $725 million for water recycling. There also would be $1.5 billion to protect and restore watersheds and $1.4 billion for ground and surface water quality improvements.
The bonds would last for 40 years. The measure was put on the ballot by the state legislature — only two California State Assembly members voted against it.
California Proposition 2 would set up a state budget rainy day fund — also known as the state budget stabilization account — if the measure was passed.
This would require state legislators to set aside at least 1.5 percent of the general fund annually into the account. Each year, half of the fund would be used to pay down the deficit and the rest could be used in a declared budget emergency, like a state budget deficit.
California Proposition 45, if passed, would give the state elected insurance commissioner the power to approve or deny proposed health insurance rates for individual and small group policies, which cover about 6 million Californians.
Proponents of the bill say this is a way to eventually lower high health insurance rates in the state. Opponents say this would be putting too much power in a single person’s hands, and that it would eliminate a new independent commission that reviews rates under Covered California.
California Proposition 46, if passed, would initiate several health-field related changes.
The measure would increase the punitive malpractice awards cap from $250,000 to $1.1 million; it would require hospitals to conduct random drug screenings of doctors (concerning medical mistakes of death or severe disability); and would require doctors to review the statewide database of patients before prescribing controlled substances.
California Proposition 47, if passed, would reclassify certain nonviolent drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.
This would not apply to people with previous felony convictions for violent crime or to registered sex offenders. The crimes covered include drug possession and criminal offenses, when totaling less than $950, for shoplifting, check and credit fraud, forgery, theft and possession of stolen goods.
The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor is one year. These crimes, if classified as felonies, have a maximum sentence of 3 years.
Any savings from the measure would go to help crime victims, the state’s jail commission and the California Department of Education.
Proposition 48, if passed, would sign off on an agreement between legislators and the North Fork Ranchiera of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe, allowing for an off-reservation casino in Madera County.
The casino would be 38 miles from the North Fork reservation, and the compact also prevents the Wiyot tribe from building on Humboldt County land. The agreement would annually pay about $10 million to state and local governments over 20 years.
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