City Elections 101 – On Tues. March 3, You Can Vote However You Like…Just Vote

Believe it or not, Tuesday, March 3 is city elections here in L.A. and neighboring cities. Contrary to popular belief, we do not vote every four years or when a Black man is running for President. In fact, city elections have a much more direct and immediate impact on your life than our national election yet and still it’s already being predicted that the turnout is going to be nothing compared to last November. And this is exactly what they want, for you to do, stay home. Frankly, I am embarrassed and upset at the lack of engagement coming off November’s historic turnout. On all accounts, community activists, elected officials, and constituents, there hasn’t been nearly enough done to keep the voter turnout in our community high with all of the newly registered voters. It’s a conspiracy I tell you and we willingly go along with it. All I’m saying is that when your trash fees are doubled, parking meters are enforced on Sunday, and/or there’s a new utility tax, if you didn’t vote on March 3, don’t complain to me because I am going to tell you to send me an email to my special email account askmeifigiveafuck@jasmynecannick.com.

Where to Vote

Click here to find your local polling location and a sample ballot.

Now onto City Elections 101 because before you can vote, you need to know what you are voting on and why…

City of Los Angeles

Los Angeles is governed by a mayor-council system. There are 15 city council districts. Other elected city officials include the City Attorney and the City Controller. The City Controller, along with the City Attorney, Mayor, and 15 Councilmembers are the only city officials elected by the people.

Mayor

The mayor of Los Angeles is the Chief Executive Officer of the City.  They are elected for a four year term and limited to serving no more than two terms.  Under the city charter, the office is non-partisan, though candidate party affiliations are normally made public in elections. The current Mayor is Antonio Villaraigosa; he is the 52nd Mayor of Los Angeles.

The mayor has an office in the Los Angeles City Hall and resides at the Mayor’s Mansion Getty House, Windsor Square in Hancock Park.

Los Angeles has a strong mayor council form of government, giving the mayor the position of chief executive of the city. The city does not have a city manager and as a result, the mayor truly is the one responsible, much like a President or Governor, for the success of the city. The mayor is given the authority to appoint general managers and commissioners, remove officials from city posts, and is required to propose a budget each year. Most of the Mayor’s appointments and proposals are subject to approval by the City Council, but the Mayor has the power of veto or approval of City Council legislation.  The organization of the Mayor’s Office changes with administration, but is almost always governed by a chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, director of communications, and several deputy mayors. Each Mayor also organizes their office into different offices, usually containing the Los Angeles Housing Team, Los Angeles Business Team, International Trade Office, Mayor’s Volunteer Corps, and Office of Immigrant Affairs, among other divisions.

In the case of an office vacancy, the City Council has a choice to appoint a new mayor or to hold a Special election. The office of the Mayor is also subject to recall in the same manner that they were elected.

The Candidates

  • David R. Hernandez
  • Carlos Alvarez
  • Anthony R. Maldonado (write-in)
  • Bruce Darian
  • Antonio R. Villaraigosa
  • Walter Moore
  • Craig X. Rubin
  • Phil Jennerjahn
  • James Harris
  • David “Zuma Dogg” Saltsburg
  • Gordon Turner
  • Jenney Horst (write-in)
  • Mike Manley (write-in)
  • Caesar Saint Augustine de Buonaparte (write-in)

It’s no secret I am not feeling our Mayor.  One reason is because I don’t like being lied to and talked down toAnother is because he operates under the assumption that Blacks aren’t smart enough to put two and two together.  I also don’t think his heart is in the job anymore, he clearly wants to be Governor.  I’d rather elect someone who wants to serve out the entire four years and not send us back to the polls for another costly special election.  He spends too much time outside of the state.   You can say good morning to the Mayor everyday for a year, he’s still going to act like he doesn’t remember who you are and for someone who claims to be of the people, that’s not cute.  Not even for Rico Suave.

City Council

The Los Angeles City Council is the governing body of the City of Los Angeles, California, United States. There are 15 city council districts.

The Candidate

Council Member; City of Los Angeles; District 9

  • Jan C. Perry (unopposed)

Jan Perry is a Democrat who currently represents the 9th district of the Los Angeles City Council. She is the only Black female on the City Council and one of my political mentors. We like her. She’s smart, classy, sometimes sassy, and takes care of the people’s business. Perry helped enact restrictions on fast food restaurants in her district. As part of a larger campaign to combat high obesity rates, she has also funded public parks to promote outdoor activity and supported incentives to encourage more grocery stores to open within her district. Plus she’s not bad on a pair of ice skates either!

The 9th district includes Downtown Los Angeles and South Los Angeles.

Girlfriend gets my vote.

City Attorney

The Los Angeles City Attorney is an elected official whose job is to prosecute all of the misdemeanor criminal offenses within the city of Los Angeles. The General Counsel Division of the office provides legal counsel for the city by either defending the city, or acting as the plaintiff for the city, in all civil lawsuits. Term is four years and limited to two terms.

Think” Law & Order,” this is the Order.

Why is this position important to you?

Under the California Penal Code misdemeanors are crimes that are considered less serious than felonies but can bring jail time of up to one year and fines totaling $2000.
In California, criminal offenses are classified as infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies.

Infractions such as traffic violations are punishable by a fine and no jail time.

Misdemeanors are, by definition, crimes that carry a less severe punishment than a felony.

Felonies are serious offenses that generally carry a jail sentence of one year or more.

Felony vs. Misdemeanor
In California a felony is a serious offense such as an assault & battery with bodily harm, domestic violence, murder, rape, kidnapping, certain sexual offenses, and other violent crimes. Felonies are punishable by a jail term in excess of one year.

A misdemeanor in California is a less serious crime carrying with it possible jail time of less than one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000 plus penalties and assessments. Although generally considered minor, a California misdemeanor should be taken seriously because, if convicted, it results in your having a criminal record .

Misdemeanor Facts:

  • A misdemeanor will likely show up on a background check
  • Being accused of a misdemeanor or convicted of one can have devastating effects in the life of the accused
  • In some cases, a misdemeanor can be raised to the level of a felony
  • Elevating Misdemeanors to Felonies

Under certain circumstances, a misdemeanor may be charged as a felony, depending on the following factors, including:

  • The seriousness of the crime
  • Injuries to the victim
  • The defendant’s prior criminal record

In addition, when certain prior criminal offenses exist on the defendant’s record at the time of misdemeanor arrest, the chances of having the current offense elevated to a felony are much greater.

Criminal offenses that increase the risk of having your misdemeanor elevated to a felony, include:

  • Petty Theft / Shoplifting
  • Domestic Violence
  • Violation of a Domestic Violence Order
  • Drunk Driving (DUI / DWI) with 3 prior charges in 10 years
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Loaded Firearm in a Public Place
  • Receipt of Stolen Property
  • Misdemeanor Sentencing and Punishment

For misdemeanor charges, the range of California sentencing may include jail time, probation, fines, and/or community service.

Misdemeanor Penalties

  • Probation –
    With Jail Time – In some cases jail time may be served under House Arrest or weekends in a private jail
    Without Jail Time – For less severe offenses, probation may be given without any jail time
  • Community Service
  • CalTrans (physical labor)
  • Counseling or supervised anger management classes
  • Restitution – The court may order financial compensation to the victim by the defendant
  • Fines – Fines vary from $200 to $2 000 in court-ordered fines
  • Stay-Away Orders – The court may order the defendant to have no contact with certain persons and locations

Simply put, you have to do your homework o each candidate’s track record and decide what’s important to you.  I personally want a City Attorney with a strong commitment and track record of supporting intervention programs for adults and youth.  I do not want a City Attorney whose philosophy is lock em’ up and throw away the key.  Do you want to leave the fate of our next City Attorney in the hands of people who just want someone tough on crime?  If you do, then stay home on Tuesday but don’t complain when Ray Ray gets two years for stealing a 40 ounce.

The Candidates

  • Noel Weiss
  • Jack Weiss
  • Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich
  • David Berger
  • Michael Richard Ameria

Jack Weiss can thank the Mayor for losing my support.  A girl can only take so much.  Check out what the L.A. Weekly had to say about Weiss.

City Controller

The Los Angeles City Controller serves as the watchdog and accountant for the City of Los Angeles, making sure all city officials, departments, commissions, and boards are properly and efficiently functioning.

I know funny huh?

Why is this position important to you?

If you care about where and how your tax dollars are spent, this is an important position to you. It means the difference between an elephant getting a multi-million dollar new watering on your dime or whether or not the City lets employees go due to budget constraints. It’s the difference between funding for annual City events or no funding. Whoever serves in this position has to have the people’s interest at heart because if they don’t it’s business as usual.

The Candidates

  • Kathleen “Suzy” Evans
  • Nick Patsaouras
  • Wendy Greuel

Los Angeles Community College District

The Los Angeles Community College District is governed by a popularly elected seven-member Board.

Board members are elected at large for terms of four years. Elections are held every two years, with three members being chosen at one election and four members at the other. The President and Vice President of the Board of Trustees are elected by the Board for one-year terms at the annual organizational and regular meeting in July. A student member is elected annually–the term is June 1 through May 31 of each year.
L.A. County’s is the largest community college district in the country, made up of nine campuses with about 185,000 students.
It encompasses more than 880 square miles, from Pierce College in Woodland Hills on the northwest to Harbor College in Wilmington on the south.
Why this position is important to you?

If you have kids that might be attending a community college or you are planning to attend a community college, would you rather pay $20 per unit or $15?

The Candidates

Member of the Board of Trustees; Los Angeles Community College District; Office 2* Art Sims

  • Lady Cage-Barile
  • Steve Finley
  • Tina Park
  • Angela J. Reddock

Angela J. Reddock is the incumbent and gets my vote.  She’s a solid sista committed to the community.

Member of the Board of Trustees; Los Angeles Community College District; Office 4

  • Roy Burns
  • Kelly Candaele

Member of the Board of Trustees; Los Angeles Community College District; Office 6

  • Jozef Thomas Essavi
  • Nancy Pearlman
  • Robert Nakahiro
  • Jane Ardigo Scott
  • Livi Bakozvich
  • Greg Akili

Greg Akili get my vote for his ongoing work in labor and community activism.

Member of the Board of Trustees; Los Angeles Community College District; Office 7

  • Kurt S. Lowry
  • Miguel Santiago

Local Measures

One sure way to get a measure passed in Los Angeles is to say the money is for the children, law enforcement, or fire safety.  Except this time around, I’m not buying it.  I am officially voting no on all measures until this city and state can get it together with the money from previous measures approved by the voters.

Charter Amendment LA-A. Fire Department Independent Assessor — City of Los Angeles (Charter Amendment – Majority Approval Required)

Shall the Charter be amended to empower the Board of Fire Commissioners to appoint and remove an Independent Assessor, exempt from Civil Service, who shall be responsible for auditing, assessing and reviewing the Fire Department’s handling of complaints against sworn and civilian employees?

Charter Amendment LA-B. Green Energy and Good Jobs for Los Angeles Program — City of Los Angeles (Charter Amendment & Ordinance – Majority Approval Required)

Shall the Charter and Administrative Code be amended to authorize creation of a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power program to require production of at least 400 megawatts of solar power energy by 2014; provide for voluntary participation in the program by commercial, industrial, and institutional customers to allow installation of solar power systems on their property which would be operated and maintained by the Department in exchange for potential incentives; establish a jobs program and training academy to meet program participation demand; provide contract bid preferences for local solar power equipment manufacturers; require quarterly oversight committee reports and annual City Controller audit; and utilize a variety of funding mechanisms?

Charter Amendment LA-C. Disabled Children Survivor Benefit of the Fire and Police Pension Plan — City of Los Angeles (Charter Amendment – Majority Approval Required)

Shall the Charter be amended to allow disabled children of deceased members of the Fire and Police Pension Plan to marry or be adopted without losing their Dependent Child benefits and to provide additional options for the payment of benefits belonging to disabled children of deceased members that do not increase the amount of the benefits being paid?

Charter Amendment LA-D. Survivor Benefit Purchase Program for Retirees of the Fire and Police Pension Plan — City of Los Angeles (Charter Amendment – Majority Approval Required)

Shall the Charter be amended to allow retired members of the Fire and Police Pension Plan to purchase, at their own expense, a survivor benefit for a spouse or domestic partner?

Charter Amendment LA-E. Economic Incentives for Business Development — City of Los Angeles (Charter Amendment – Majority Approval Required)

Should the Los Angeles City Charter be amended to clearly express the authority of the City of Los Angeles to provide incentives to businesses that will encourage economic development and provide public benefits to the City of Los Angeles and its residents?

City of Carson

For my folks living in the city of Carson, remember to re-elect Mayor pro tem Mike Gipson and vote yes on Measure C.  Unlike Los Angeles, Carson is a smaller city with a better track record of how and where money is spent.  Measure C will ensure that Carson’s senior and youth programs are protected by raising $9 million from residents and local businesses.  This will be done via a $3 ultility that seniors and low-income residents will be exempt from paying.

  • Mike Gipson for City Council
  • Yes on Measure C

The Court of Public Opinion

  • Great analysis of the importance of the City Attorney election. Los Angeles, you HAVE to elect an INDEPENDENT City Attorney who has enough REAL experience as a prosecutor (not a politician) to know that we cannot arrest our way out of every problem and that jail time is sometimes a waste of time and money when an alternative can save money and turn lives around. Vote Berger for City Attorney and get a 12-year veteran of the DA’s Office who knows the system inside out, from top to bottom and who will represent all the people of the City, not just the special interests. And if you don’t want to vote for Berger, vote for anyone but Jack Weiss!

  • I’m so distracted by news not being REAL NEWS. We forgot what a Democracy is all about. We must for the sake of the last horrific 8 years of a Administration that only had to answer to themselves. I’m wondering where is the Outrage in how we handled the LA Mayor’s and cities elections? Where is the transparency we wanted so desperately? Yes I saw “China Town”. I didn’t think that in 2009 we are still ran a city that is as vast as most European countries into a third world country. Thanks to “we bought we own you press” from the TV capitol of the world and to our wonderful written press, including our so call and “fair and balanced” Los Angeles Times. Those who are and now were running for city office were practically if not “Blocked out” from the media. I predict if it hasn’t happend already our Mayor has become a Blue-dog Democrat. We need oversight and total transparency when it comes to the people of LA and it’s offices it holds. Viilaraigosa and his administration will eventually bring LA to ruin both in Political Obstruction and scandal. I will continue to focus on our future.
    Signed; Your future Mayor of Los Angeles. Because I care.
    Anthony R. Maldonado.
    Maldonado4LaMayor09@yahoo.com
    Also on “Twitter” Anthony R. Maldonado

  • Many voters have lost faith in their elected officials and feel they are bought and paid for by special interests and private motivations

    No, money’s not “just the primitive mythology of the political class.”

    If you paid any attention to the Supreme Court, you’d learn that money — mountains of money, hidden cesspools of money — is the law of the land. With Citizens United it takes over as now-legally equal to — but in gross fact superior to — any actual communities of actual people.

    Don’t you know how people in so many combinations of ways — so much humanity — differ from these de-personalized business creations called corporations? Don’t you know that corporations, for interest only in money — only, repeat, only money — will do anything rapacious, community-killing, war-inducing — anything for money?

    They have no other chartered purpose. And that’s what these far-right “souls” on the Supreme Court believe is supreme.

    No wonder the U.S. spirals downward, when even genteel souls such as you cannot tell the money-only difference between human and corporate priorities.