Just say yes to a solid roster of proven incumbents who are getting the job done

Westside political junkies and anti-Trumpers who can hardly wait for midterm elections to potentially alter the balance of power in Washington will have to watch from the sidelines. The blue wave that some are predicting this year crested west of the 405 a long time ago. Local seats for state and federal office are held by strong Democratic incumbents who can safely book flights back to D.C. or Sacramento.

In 2018, such predictability isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Putting aside the national political divide, these officeholders have represented our communities well and deserve your support to keep doing so.



Depending on where you live, it’s either Maxine Waters (Westchester, Playa), Karen Bass (Mar Vista, Del Rey, Culver City) or Ted Lieu (Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey). While each may be
best known as a Trump antagonist, it’s their credibility on local issues that keeps them in office.

Before Lieu was trolling Trump on Twitter, he had (and still has) a solid record on economic, environmental, civil liberties and veterans issues. Lieu faces an earnest but underwhelming challenger from the right and an unusual dark horse Democratic challenge from the left (where there isn’t much room to breathe).

Waters is a national figure because the alt-right just can’t stand a strong black woman who speaks her mind and acts on her convictions — it’s all the antagonism from Fox News, Breitbart and kooky Alex Jones that’s made her a national figure. Ignore all that (and perfunctory challenges from three peanut gallery Republicans and a Bernie Bro running as a Green), because she’s proven herself an accessible ally for Westchester and Playa del Rey residents on airport and infrastructure issues.

Bass faces a challenge from a former Democrat who decided he should be a Republican after Trump got elected, even though it wasn’t California voters who created that hot mess. Bass has been great on foster care, health care and other issues that impact local families, and not just recently but starting 15 years ago in the state Assembly.

Vote for Ted Lieu, Maxine Waters and Karen Bass.



Four years ago, The Argonaut missed the chance to endorse former Santa Monica school board president and current state Sen. Ben Allen, and we’ve lived to regret it. Allen has been just fantastic these past four years.

We deeply admire his political courage for tightening state childhood vaccinations requirements despite his own district being perhaps the largest pocket of resistance to such common-sense, science-based reforms. It was the hard thing to do, but the right thing to do.

The California Clean Money Campaign, fighting the good fight against the corrupting influence of campaign contributions, named Allen its No. 1 state legislator last year, calling Allen a “Clean Money Hero” for his work to disclose the sources of political spending. He’s also shined on environmental issues, fighting to keep beaches clean and protect public lands, with pending legislation that would create more open space in the Santa Monica Mountains and beyond.

Facing a Libertarian challenge based on the vaccines issue and the earnest Libertarian-turned-Independent Baron Bruno, who would merit consideration in a different district or for another office, Allen is not only the clear choice, we wish he were running for governor.

In other Westside neighborhoods, Holly Mitchell and Richard Bloom are running unopposed and deserve voter support for their recent work to reform the criminal justice system and address the housing crisis, respectively.

Vote for Ben Allen, Holly Mitchell and Richard Bloom.



Autumn Burke has kept in good touch with the district while pursuing state-level health care equality, consumer advocacy, environmental protection and economic justice initiatives. She faces a long-shot challenge by Al Hernandez, a Republican small business owner who describes himself as a NIMBY and doesn’t like road diets, the gas tax or high-speed rail. If Hernandez were more active before or during this election cycle, he might get some traction; however, Burke’s the one putting in the work.

The incumbent in the 54th Assembly District (which includes Mar Vista and Culver City) has only been in office since winning a special election on April 3, but former L.A. Community College District board member Sydney Kamlager stood out then as the most capable candidate and continues to now. The only challenger who stands out is RAND Corp. scientist Tepring Michelle Piquado, who is rock solid on policy issues but hasn’t been very active in our area before or even during the campaign.

Vote for Autumn Burke and Sydney Kamlager.



Challengers to Sheriff Jim McDonnell say he’s either taken reforms too far or not far enough. We see McDonnell as a steady hand who quickly restored public confidence in the department after the shameful Baca-Tanaka scandal.

Sheila Kuehl may be known statewide as a liberal lion, but locally she’s been making progress on homelessness, affordable housing and foster care reform, representing Santa Monica and Venice with both her head and her heart.

Vote for Jim McDonnell and Sheila Kuehl.