Sunday, February 15, 2015

Aunt Janice Faces Challenge from Latino Left

Last week, on my radio show "State of the Union", I shared my frustration with the subtle groundswell which was boosting  Congresswoman Janice Hahn to inherit the next available seat on the Los Angeles County of Board of Supervisors. Residents in the Alameda Corridor should expect their legislators to fulfill their oaths of office and represent them.

LA Supervisor Don Knabe

A recent guest editorial in the Daily Breeze, "Los Angeles County’s next 4th District supervisor should be Latino", has changed that sense of inevitability regarding Aunt Janice's next political step. It looks like I will be getting my wish. Aunt Janice will not have as easy a climb to the Board of Supervisors as she had hoped.

Congresswoman Janice Hahn

San Gabriel Valley redistricting consultant Alan Clayton comments:

In June 2016, there will be a primary election in Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe’s 4th Supervisorial District. Unless one candidate receives over 50 percent of the vote in June, the top two candidates will advance to a run off in the November 2016 general election, the candidate who wins the election will most likely hold this seat for 12 years, until Nov. 30, 2028.

The tyranny of incumbency is something else. Too bad that LA County voters do not pay more attention to the local and county politics, much of which affects their lives more directly than federal wrangling in Washington, D.C.

Currently this seat includes three dominant areas: the coast from San Pedro to Venice; the city of Long Beach; and the San Gabriel Valley/south county area from Lakewood to Diamond Bar with a population of nearly 2 million.

How interesting and condescending at the same time that the writer leaves out the South Bay, aside from commenting "from San Pedro to Venice". Does Torrance not count for anything anymore? Congresswoman Hahn represented Torrance for all of two years after winning a special election in 2011. Anyone looking for a strong donor class will reach out to Palos Verdes residents as soon as possible.

In 2011, Democrats had 15 percent higher voter registration than the Republicans. This Democratic registration strength in comparison with the Republican registration should increase by June 2016 and even more by November 2016, with the presidential election attracting more voters.
Latinos were 28.7 percent of all registered voters in the district in 2011 and should increase to over 32 percent by November 2016. The eligible pool of Latino voters was 32.8 percent in 2011 and should be close to 35 percent by November 2016. White eligible voters should be approximately 39 percent in November 2016.

Even though President Barack Obama's Organizing for Action pushed the turnout to unforeseen levels and swamped otherwise winnable races for Republicans, the enthusiasm gap of 2014 has not necessarily abated. The Democratic brand of 2016 will not be as strong or favorable as Obama's element in 2012. If Republicans have a stable, sturdy, and stunning front-runner all the way to January 2016, then through to the RNC Convention, the Republicans will be able to turn out the vote without much difficulty and capture some otherwise out of reach seats.

The same "I hate Republicans!" narrative seeps into this article. When will the inane conservative-bashing end?

Putting aside the blatant liberalism of this editorial, who does Clayton want to represent San Gabriel Valley residents?

The only viable Democratic San Gabriel Valley candidate is Sen. Tony Mendoza, who represents more than 750,000 of the residents of the district. He would not have to give up his district to run and has demonstrated an ability to raise money. He was successful in overcoming a well-financed campaign against him for state Senate in the 2014 election.

Identity politics has reached a new low. Local columnists do not hide their partisan, prejudiced, affirmative action rhetoric. Just because a politician has the same skin color as the voting populace does not guarantee that he or she is on the voters' side. Incidentally enough, Congresswoman Hahn deflated that narrative winning in a majority black, leaning-Latino Congressional district.

State Senator Tony Mendoza

And who is Tony Mendoza, anyway? A politician who failed VoteSmart's 2014 Political Courage Test for refusing to submit any statements on his ideological views. What can Los Angeles County residents expect from a state legislator who refuses to tell voters where he stands on the issues?

From his state senate website biography:

While serving in the State Assembly, he authored significant legislation signed into law: Under AB 97, California became the first state in the nation to ban the use of Trans Fats in food preparation in all restaurants; AB 1291 allows judges to sentence the parents of children with first-time gang offenses to anti-gang parenting education classes; and AB 22 prohibits the use of consumer credit reports in the hiring process.

Mendoza's claim to fame is. . . banning transfat in California restaurants? He probably has a firm stance on the sale of foie gras, too, but little on real reforms, like a simplified tax code, school choice, or litigation reform.

There will be other Democrats running for this district most likely from other parts of the district.
There should be several Republican candidates running from various parts of the district. It will be tough for them to win in a district where there are significantly more Democrats than Republicans and where the election will occur in a high-Democrat turn out presidential election year.

I am less inclined to accept the foregone notion that Democrats will over Republican voters just because 2016 will be another Presidential election year. Even if 30% more show up, that does not mean they will turn out for the Democratic candidate. This country has endured eight years of Progressivism Uninterrupted. People still hunger for hope and change.

Mendoza’s potential front-runner status in the race has been ignored in the media. Latino Democrats and other Democrats from the San Gabriel Valley have been quiet. If they do not speak up soon then we will most likely not have a candidate who will focus on issues affecting the San Gabriel Valley.
Why is it important to elect a San Gabriel Valley Latino to District 4? There are three key issues:

1. Transportation, particularly the fair allocation of Measure R dollars and construction of light rails;

 Measure R dollars are important and there is one region feeling neglected as a donor region instead of a recipient: the South Bay. Mayor Pat Furey of Torrance and James Butts of Inglewood have taken some lead on changing this unfair exchange, but the next Supervisor representing the region needs to make sure that infrastructure innovations improve the broken roads throughout the region.
2. The need for a new public hospital in east San Gabriel Valley, to meet unmet needs and to fulfill promises made in 2000 when a much smaller county/USC hospital was built with the promise of a new hospital in east San Gabriel Valley;

San Gabriel Valley

Why are there fewer hospitals to begin with? Let's discuss how the Affordable Care Act is making health care unaffordable, for doctors, patients, and even hospitals. At least for those which rely on public subsidy to survive from month to month. Why did the last hospital in LA County close down? Drew-King was rampant in competence and fatal neglect, which became too much to ignore. As for the San Gabriel Valley, where would Clayton (or Mendoza) find the money?

3. The safe redevelopment of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers so as to protect south county cities from future flooding, flood insurance and rate increases and fair access to funds for developing riverfront recreational opportunities.

Infrastructure and water are two physical as well as political demands weighing on Los Angeles County. The massive failures of statewide policy have made dire situations desperate.

In a county with approximately 50 percent of the residents Latino and with Latinos projected by 2020 to have the same number of potential voters as whites in Los Angeles County, it is important that two of the five supervisors be Latino, instead of the current one Latino supervisor.

What does Latino have to do with anything? These are racist sentiments, to put the argument bluntly. What qualifications would Mr. Clayton's prize candidate Tony Mendoza offer to all residents?

The time is now for San Gabriel residents to speak out. They should encourage Sen. Mendoza to run for this district.

Alan Clayton is a redistricting consultant who lives in San Gabriel Valley.

The brief bio reveals more for the local reader than one initially recognizes. The Citizens Redistricting Commission was infiltrated by Democratic operatives, according to some sources, and these redistricting consultants made sure that otherwise contestable districts would remain in solid Democratic hands. I have heard this accusation from a number of political activists and commentators up and down the state. It appears that local liberals are hoping to scoop away one more legislative/executive seat from Republicans in 2016.

LA BOS redistricting

For now, at least we can have some hope that there will be an unmatched political blood-bath among ambitions Democrats to replace Republican Don Knabe. Can a Republican take advantage of theses sharp and divides and win the seat in November?


  1. There is a Republican running, that you haven't mentioned, that will very likely take advantage of the crowded and divided democratic field. His name is Steve Napolitano and he is the current senior deputy for Knabe's staff. He's essentially already doing the job right now on a day to day basis. He's in a great position coming up through the staff just like Don Knabe did.

    1. Thanks for your information and your updates! I look forward to a robust electoral process. One thing is for sure -- Aunt Janice should not inherit any political office!