Los Angeles Times - 04.03.2020

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The race for one of the
three seats up for grabs on
the powerful Los Angeles
County Board of Supervi-
sors appeared poised for a
runoff Tuesday night, as
early election returns
showed state Sen. Holly
Mitchell and L.A. City Coun-
cilman Herb Wesson leading
in the 2nd Supervisorial Dis-
Along with former L.A.
City Councilwoman Jan
Perry, the longtime politi-
cians sought to muscle their
way into the seat being va-
cated by a termed-out Mark
Ridley-Thomas. Four lesser-
known candidates also ran.
If no candidate wins
more than 50% of the vote,
the top two finishers will go
to a runoff in November.
“I feel good, I’m on the
board,” said Mitchell, speak-
ing by phone Tuesday night
after early results were
posted. “I’m cautiously opti-
“I believe the voters are
putting me through to the
next round,” Wesson said in
a phone call. “I led this cam-
paign not with my head, but
with my heart, and I believe
we made a real connection
with the voters.”
The race was the most
closely watched of three
county supervisor contests
on Tuesday. Incumbents
Kathryn Barger and Janice
Hahn were leading in their
respective races, according
to early returns.
The five-member Board
of Supervisors represents 10

million people and oversees
a $36-billion budget, the
county’s jails and hospitals,
and social services.
In the 2nd District race,
homelessness, rising hous-
ing prices and gentrification
were the dominant issues, as
the district, which covers
much of South L.A., Culver
City and Carson, has the
largest homeless population
in the county.
Wesson’s fundraising
edge made him the target of
attacks, with both Mitchell
and Perry questioning his
record on affordable hous-
ing and homelessness.

The former City Council
president and Assembly
speaker pulled in more than
$1.5 million, while the L.A.
County Federation of Labor
spent another $1.5 million
through an independent
committee to support his
bid, said Federation of La-
bor political director Devin
Osiri. The Assn. for Los An-
geles Deputy Sheriffs State
PAC gave $500,000 to the
committee led by the federa-
tion, while Service Employ-
ees International Union Lo-
cal 721 gave $400,000.
Mitchell, who raised
$985,000, also benefited from

outside money. An inde-
pendent committee — with
major funders that include
Service Employees Interna-
tional Union-United Health-
care Workers West and
Planned Parent Advocacy
Project — spent more than
$450,000 in the race, said
Tina McKinnor, principal of-
ficer of the committee.
In the final weeks of the
primary race, Perry’s cam-
paign stepped up attacks on
Wesson, sending mailers
that alleged the councilman
is being investigated by the
The mailers quoted a 2019

Times story about a search
warrant served in connec-
tion with the FBI probe into
City Councilman Jose
Huizar. The Times reported
that investigators were look-
ing for possible evidence in-
volving a dozen people, in-
cluding Deron Williams,
Wesson’s chief of staff. Wes-
son’s name, however, doesn’t
appear in the search war-
rant and his attorney told
The Times last year that the
councilman was only a wit-
ness in its investigation. No
one has been arrested or
charged in connection with
the probe.

Hahn, who has endorsed
Wesson, defended the coun-
cilman. Speaking on robo-
calls to district voters, Hahn
called the mailers a “last-
minute smear,” and pointed
to Wesson’s support from
law enforcement groups.
Meanwhile, early returns
showed Hahn coasting to
victory over challenger and
attorney Desiree Washing-
ton, as she sought to retain
her district seat. The coun-
ty’s 4th Supervisorial Dis-
trict covers Diamond Bar,
Downey, San Pedro and
Marina del Rey.
And in the county’s 5th
District, Barger also was
leading over John C.
Harabedian, mayor of Sierra
Madre, and educator Darrell
Park. The district stretches
from Lancaster to Pasadena
and takes in Santa Clarita
and San Dimas.
Measure FD, a parcel tax
that would raise an esti-
mated $134 million annually
for the Los Angeles County
Fire Department was falling
short of the two-thirds ap-
proval needed to pass. Only
voters who live in areas
served by the L.A. County
Fire Department, which in-
clude the unincorporated
county and 58 cities that
contract with the county for
fire protection and emer-
gency services, cast ballots
on the measure.
Another ballot measure,
Measure R, was ahead in
early returns. It would allow
the Los Angeles County
Sheriff Civilian Oversight
Commission to subpoena
witnesses and documents
during its investigations. It
would also authorize the
commission to develop a
plan to reduce jail popula-
tions and reinvest savings
into other preventative serv-

Mitchell and Wesson appear headed for a runoff

STATESen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and supporters at campaign headquarters see Mitchell’s first
results putting her in the lead for the 2nd Supervisorial District on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

Gina FerazziLos Angeles Times

Rivals vie for L.A.

County Supervisor

Ridley-Thomas’ seat.

By Dakota Smith

candidates into office in
such cities as Chicago, Phila-
delphia and San Francisco.
A former assistant chief
in the Los Angeles Police De-
partment, Gascón became a
progressive policymaker af-
ter being appointed as San
Francisco’s district attorney
in 2011. He coauthored Pro-
position 47 and enacted a
number of policies aimed at
reducing California’s prison
population, including cut-
ting back dramatically on
prosecution of low-level and
nonviolent offenders. But
surges in property crime
there have led critics to label
him as soft on crime.
Speaking to supporters
at Union Station, Gascón
acknowledged the early re-
sults but said he expected
his standing to improve as
reports from polling sta-
tions came in. In a brief
speech, he faulted Lacey and
other past L.A. county pros-
ecutors for “ignoring data
and science” and embracing
policies that have ware-
housed defendants in pris-
Rossi has painted herself
as the only true alternative
in the race, trying to turn her
lack of law enforcement ex-
perience into a net positive
that allows her to under-
stand the courtroom from
both sides of the aisle. As le-
gal counsel to Sen. Richard
Durbin (D-Ill.) in Washing-
ton, she helped frame the
First Step Act, which re-
duced some mandatory
minimum sentences at the
federal level.
Opponents have chal-
lenged her relative inexperi-
ence compared with Gascón
and Lacey, however. Where-
as the two law enforcement
lions have served a com-
bined six decades as a
policeman or prosecutor,
Rossi, 36, has never run an
agency and served as a pub-
lic defender for only about
eight years.
The race has attracted
millions of dollars in funding
from outside committees
and been marked by pointed
attacks. Many of Gascón’s
former fellow LAPD officers
have turned their back on
him, with the union repre-
senting rank-and-file offi-
cers spending $1 million to
oppose his candidacy and
release advertisements de-
scribing him as a con man.
Lacey, meanwhile, has
been dogged by protesters at
several events. At a news
conference Monday, she
claimed her office had re-
ceived numerous threats

during the race, including a
death threat that was re-
ferred to an outside police
agency. After demon-
strators disrupted portions
of a January debate, she re-
fused to appear at any other
candidate forums before the
end of the primary.

Following the gun inci-
dent, she canceled a public
event for supporters to
watch results Tuesday
night, Mac Zilber, a consult-
ant on her campaign, said.
Rossi spent election day
meeting with constituents
around downtown L.A. and

Boyle Heights, while Gascón
held a campaign event at the
Grand Central Market. Lac-
ey stayed out of the public
eye, but Zilber said she spent
much of the day on the
phone with supporters.
The image of Lacey’s hus-
band pointing a gun at un-

armed protesters seemed to
weigh heavy on the minds of
voters Tuesday. While walk-
ing to a polling station in
Mid-City, 30-year-old Julia
Markas said footage of the
confrontation led her to re-
search the other candidates.
“It really did make me in-

vestigate where did she
stand on things, who are the
other people running
against her, because it was a
really shocking video,”
Markas said. Ultimately
Markas voted for Rossi, say-
ing she “liked the idea of a
public defender in there.”

Lacey faces more-progressive foes

GEORGE GASCÓN, a former San Francisco D.A. and LAPD assistant chief, meets with supporters Tuesday night at Union Station.

Carolyn ColeLos Angeles Times

RACHEL ROSSI, whose legal background is as a public defender, chats
with backers after announcing her run for district attorney last year.

Brian van der BrugLos Angeles Times

[D.A. race,from A1]

JACKIE LACEY, seen in February, kept a low profile Tues-
day, a day after her husband pointed a gun at demonstrators.

Irfan KhanLos Angeles Times
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