It has been a long time since The Argonaut has weighed in with opinions about the subjects we cover. We know that Westsiders have come to rely on our straightforward and in-depth reporting on local news and cultural events to stay informed about their communities, and we consider that role both a remarkable privilege and a serious duty.

With our mission firmly in mind, The Argonaut will, on occasions, have an editorial voice that speaks to and for the community on matters where the level of complexity and amount of information can be daunting. Whether you agree or take issue with our conclusions, this and future editorials are intended to facilitate a better understanding of the important issues we all face together.

For complicated decisions that impact our lives, look no further than your June 3 primary election ballot and its list of dozens of candidates seeking local office.

Westside voters have so many choices that it’s a challenge to keep track of them all, but there are several candidates who stand out from the pack for either strong records of public service, deep understanding of local issues or accessibility to voters.

Congress – 33rd District    The contest to replace retiring Rep. Henry Waxman includes 18 hopefuls from a variety of backgrounds, including former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel, author Marianne Williamson, public radio host Matt Miller and current Westside state Sen. Ted Lieu. With a track record of being responsive to local issues while advancing big-picture legislation that protects individual liberties, such as an active bill to limit state cooperation with federal domestic spying, Lieu stands apart as the best choice for Argonaut readers.
Vote for Ted Lieu.

State Senator – 26th District
Former state Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth, and Santa Monica – Malibu school board member Ben Allen bring public service experience to this eight-way race, but so does attorney Sandra Fluke, albeit in an unusual way. Fluke, a legislative advocate, was thrust into the national spotlight two years ago after Congress blocked her from testifying on women’s health issues. Fluke displays a sharp acumen for local issues and would carry a refreshing mantra to Sacramento: Making life easier for families, by increasing access to childcare and education programs as well as expanding services for veterans and struggling entrepreneurs.
Vote for Sandra Fluke

State Assembly – 62nd District
Out of a field of candidates with limited political experience, two rise to the top. Marina del Rey businesswoman Autumn Burke and Westchester attorney Simona Farrise both appear to have a strong handle on local issues and the ability to connect with the people they seek to represent in Sacramento. Burke and Farrise share similar priorities — education, public safety, economic growth. The scion of a family entrenched in L.A. politics, Burke has garnered more support among powerbrokers, but both she and Farrise make convincing cases that they would represent the district well. Vote for Autumn Burke or Simona Farrise.

L.A. County Board of Supervisors – 3rd District    
One of the most powerful political bodies in the state, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors also functions in a way that often feels remote from the 10 million people it serves. There aren’t all that many people in L.A. who can say they’ve been to a Board of Supervisors meeting. With Zev Yaroslavsky terming out of office this year, former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver and former state Sen. Sheila Kuehl top the list of those who seek to replace him. An experienced policymaker with an encyclopedic knowledge of state and county issues, Kuehl has also made herself extraordinarily accessible to the public — a trait that could help change the character of the board for the better.
Vote for Sheila Kuehl.

State Ballot Measures

The two propositions appearing on the June ballot are essentially asking voters to recommit to policy decisions they’ve already approved.

Proposition 41 would redirect a vastly underutilized $900-million state program to subsidize mortgage interest for struggling military veterans to instead fund rental housing for vets at risk of becoming homeless, which is much more in line with current needs. Following through on the sale of these bonds approved by voters in 2008 does come with a cost: $50 million in interest over 15 years. Considering the fiscal and human cost of homelessness, however, this is money well-spend to repair broken lives.  Vote yes on 41.

Proposition 42 would reaffirm state laws that require local governments to provide notice for meetings and respond to requests for public records. Some officials at the local level are resisting compliance with these open government laws, arguing that reductions in state payments to local coffers have turned them into an unfunded state mandate. While there is a question of fairness in the state leaving cities to pick up the tab, taxpayer money is taxpayer money no matter which body is doing the spending, and taxpayers should not be cheated out of transparent and responsive government.  Vote yes on 42.