Saturday, May 24, 2014

SATURDAY POLITICS: Will L.A. Have An Openly Gay County Supervisor?

Hmmm! The plot thickens in the low-profile but incredibly important Democratic primary election for Los Angeles County Supervisor on June 3rd. The L.A. County Supervisor is one of the most powerful elected positions in the country, with each of the 5 Supervisors representing roughly 2 million Angelenos, more than several U.S. Senators. There are two Districts up for election this year, District 1 where Gloria Molina is being termed out and is likely to be replaced by former Congresswoman (and Obama Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis) and District 3 where 8 candidates are vying for the top two slots, with two openly gay candidates are serious contenders. MadProfessah has already endorsed Sheila Kuehl. Kuehl announced her intentions to run for this seat years ago and has had a historic political career as the first openly LGBT member of the Assembly and the Senate. Kuehl has also won the endorsement of the Los Angeles County Democratic Club and the East Area Progressive Democrats.

Last Sunday the Los Angeles Times picked John Duran over Kuehl in its endorsement for the 3rd District, possibly upending the race.
Kuehl, to be sure, has a strong record in those areas as well, and her knowledge of and experience in state government would be of great benefit to the county, which gets much of its funding and many of its programming guidelines from Sacramento. Of the two, though, Duran gets the nod because he is also the one most likely to lead the county toward new and better ways of thinking about and doing its business.
The primary election is less than two weeks away. Voting has been going on  by mail for at least two weeks already. Thanks to a stupid ballot initiative that passed in June 2012, California now has a "Top 2 jungle primary" which means that regardless of party, only the Top 2 candidates will be on the November ballot after surviving the primary. I have my absentee ballot and will be giving my endorsements next weekend.

It would be incredibly exciting if the top two candidates are openly gay, but most likely Bobby Shriver and either Kuehl or Duran will make the cutoff. If both LGBT candidates do make the run-off there will be an internal lesbians versus gays fight like we have not seen since the 2012 battle between Torie Osborne (Kuehl's former lover and longtime ally) and Betsy Butler (Duran's straight best friend who has served on the board of Equality California). In fact some say that Duran's entry into the Supervisor race is basically payback for some of the chicanery that occurred in the bitter fight in 2012 for the 50th Assembly District (where both their candidates lost and Richard Bloom ended up winning the seat).

Hopefully this time an LGBT candidate will emerge victorious, instead of bloodied and defeated.

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