Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Redistricting opens door to independent challenger in coastal district

Democratic incumbent Congressman Henry Waxman spent Sunday morning campaigning at Westside farmers markets.

Businessman Bob Bloomfield dropped his Republican party affiliation for his Congressional campaign.

Redistricting has opened the door to challengers in what used to be safe Congressional seats. One of those districts runs along the coast from Malibu to Manhattan Beach, where a veteran Democrat has been challenged by a political novice who isn't claiming any party affiliation.

Congressman Henry Waxman spent his Sunday meeting voters at local farmers markets, from Beverly Hills to Pacific Palisades.  Most recognized him, one man calling out, "Good luck Henry!" as he walked past the produce.   

That happens a lot. Waxman has served for nearly four decades in Congress.  Gerald Ford was in the White House when he first arrived on Capitol Hill.  But Waxman hasn't had a serious challenge in years. Until now.

Bill Bloomfield, whose father made a fortune with coin operated laundry machines, jumped into the race — funding most of his multi-million dollar campaign himself. He’s running as an independent, saying the two major parties are at a stalemate. 


Fight over identity of anti-Prop 30 donors heads for U.S. Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court issued a rare Sunday ruling, ordering an Arizona non-profit group to submit to an audit that could result in revealing who donated $11 million to a campaign involved with two hot-button propositions on Tuesday's ballot.

The California justices voted 7-0 and ordered Americans for Responsible Leadership to immediately provide documents to the state's elections watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission.

RELATED: Officials: Names of anti-Prop 30 donors to be revealed Monday morning

However, attorneys for the Phoenix-based group are taking their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Matt Ross, spokesman for Americans for Responsible Leadership's legal team, issued this statement Sunday night: "We are disappointed by the California Supreme Court's ruling. We have been in contact with the FPPC in an attempt to comply with the order. While we are working to deliver the records we still believe that the FPPC does not have the authority to take such action and have filed a request for immediate stay with the United States Supreme Court."


Open Congressional seat in Long Beach pits longtime lawmaker against businessman

Republican candidate Gary DeLong at his campaign headquarters.

Democrat Alan Lowenthal does some door-to-door campaigning on the final weekend before the election.

There’s an open Congressional seat in Long Beach. A Republican businessman is running as a fiscal conservative against a longtime local Democratic lawmaker. 

The 47th district, which straddles the line between L.A. and Orange Counties, is majority Democratic, but the GOP candidate has raised much more money.  Both men say the race will be decided by the large block of voters who don’t claim either party.

On Saturday morning, State Senator Alan Lowenthal was going door to door, looking for Democrats, but targeting independents.  His advantage is in Long Beach. Lowenthal says voters know him and his record. "They know who I stand for."

Telecom executive Gary DeLong has the edge in the Orange County/Republican part of the district, but he’s also going after that 26 percent of voters here who decline to pick a party. DeLong says he will join the “Problem Solving Block” if voters send him to Washington.

"They have 92 members of Congress that are signed up to work together, Republicans and Democrats," he says. DeLong also has ties to Long Beach:  he's served on the city council there since 2006.

The presidential race has had a spillover effect on the race.  There are lots of Romney signs on front lawns in Belmont Shore, fewer Obama signs.  Lowenthal says after the first presidential debate, male voters in Orange County "who didn’t really know me, ‘cause I’m an L.A. County guy, kind of deserted the President and deserted me, too and moved to Romney at that moment."

Lowenthal says he was "shocked" at how quickly voters opinions could fluctuate.  He says his race has stabilized.  

Both men received help from the national parties — DeLong got $80,000 for cable TV ads; Lowenthal got staff and data support.
Both complain the so-called experts inside the Beltway don’t "get" Southern California. DeLong told the GOP to stop driving a truck around town with his name on a big sign. He says Long Beach voters are concerned about the environment and would blame him for the pollution. 



Asian-American community aims to demonstrate political power

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Nine Asian American organizations are partnering for a rally in downtown L.A. Saturday that is intended to demonstrate the community's growing political influence.

Clarissa Woo, Director of Policy Advocacy for the American Civil Liberties Union, says the purpose of the rally is “to highlight the importance of Asian American and Pacific Islanders to get out and vote.”  

Woo notes the AAPI community will play an important role this year's election.

“The AAPI community is the fastest growing community group in California," she says. "Asian-American voters have jumped over 33 percent since 2000, and APIs make up over 15 percent of the state’s population. The AAPI population, therefore, is a key voting bloc that remains largely untapped in terms of political power."

However, Woo also says that turnout rates among the AAPI community are lower than the average voting population. “I think that there is a strong need for bilingual cultural access for the community. Things are a bit daunting so it’s just overcoming all of that information,” Woo says. She adds that the ballot propositions may be difficult for those with language barriers to understand.


The fight for LA district attorney: 2 approaches to criminal justice

Los Angeles County District Attorney race, Jackie Lacey, Alan Jackson

Mae Ryan/KPCC; votealanjackson.com

Chief Deputy D.A. Jackie Lacey and Deputy D.A. Alan Jackson are competing to succeed Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, who has elected not to run for another term.

More than half a century ago, tens of thousands of African-Americans fled places like Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas and poured into South Los Angeles.  Jackie Lacey’s parents were among them.

“My parents Addie and Louis came from the south," Lacey says. "They migrated here in the '50s to get away from racism.”

Her father cleaned vacant lots for the City of L.A.  Her mother was a seamstress. Raised in L.A.'s Crenshaw District, Lacey was the first in her family to attend college, and graduated from USC Law School.

In 28 years as a prosecutor, one case stands out for Lacey. And it reeked of the racism her parents sought to escape. Lacey prosecuted the first hate crime murder in L.A. County — against two Nazi Lowriders who beat a homeless black man to death in 1995.

“I remember just always feeling on guard, always on edge, never really wanting my back to them," Lacey recalls.  "Most criminals are foolish, or baffoonish. These men were evil."