Candidates for L.A. mayor and L.A. County sheriff face off tonight

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Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. it is Wednesday, September 21, I am Jeong Park, A reporter covering Asian American communities.

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Believe it or not, we have less than three weeks left to send ballots to California voters for November’s election.

To help you make an informed decision, The Times is hosting back-to-back debates with candidates in the race for LA mayor and LA county sheriff, along with other media partners and civic groups, tonight.


Rap Karen Bass will face developer Rick Caruso in a mayoral debate. In the other debate is sheriff’s candidate Robert Luna, a retired Long Beach police chief, against incumbent Alex Villanueva.

It is the first live televised general election debate in any race. The matchup comes at a crucial time for the candidates, as the campaign season kicks into high gear.

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Already, both races have been shaken by recent developments.

In the mayoral race, Caruso points to questions that face Bass’s nearly $100,000 scholarship received from USC for his master’s degree; The award was cited in a corruption case involving suspended LA City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas. Bass points to Caruso’s time on the USC Board of Trustees as lawsuits involving decades of alleged sexual abuse by campus gynecologist George Tyndall.

Recently, a search warrant was executed at the home of County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl in the race for sheriff, which led to the matter. Kuehl has been at odds with Villanueva for a long time, and Warrant draws Luna’s anger and others.

A recent survey by the UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies, co-sponsored by The Times, shows that Bass has a 12% lead over Caruso and Luna a small lead over Villanueva. Nevertheless, the survey showed a large number of undecided voters in both castes.

“This debate has the potential to set the story for the next few weeks,” said Sara Sadhwani, assistant professor of politics at Pomona College.

Sadhwani will be watching how Bass and Caruso connect with each other in their first one-on-one match. During the primary, the other candidates were taking “quick shots” at Caruso, hoping they could finish second with Bass, which allowed him to step back a bit by going after Caruso. But Sadhwani said Bass will no longer have that luxury.

Before the debate, I spoke to Times columnist Erica D. Smith, who will co-conduct the debate with Fox 11 News anchor Alex Michaelson. Anchors and correspondents from Univision and KPCC will also ask questions during the debate, which is also sponsored by the Skirball Cultural Center, the Los Angeles Urban League and Loyola Marymount University.

Here is my conversation with Smith, edited for length and clarity:

With the mayoral debate, how would it be different from some of the ones we saw in the primary, where we had four or five candidates on stage at the same time?

Smith: This will really show who these two candidates are. The real dynamic of these two candidates comes down to, do we want someone who is new to the game of politics, coming up with an outsider’s perspective to fix some of these problems? Or do we want someone who has been in government for a long time and feels that he or she has the ability to take advantage of all that experience and that knowledge to fix the problems we all see? ? With these two people on stage showing these sharp contrasts, we’ll really start to see what each candidate has to offer.

As for the sheriff’s debate, this is the first time many people will see Luna challenging Villanueva. What do you expect there?

Smith: The public, for better or worse, holds the opinion of the current sheriff. As for Luna, most voters probably know nothing about him other than that he lives in Long Beach where he was a police chief. So Villanueva and Luna have these very different roles in this debate. It will be really interesting to see how these two handle it.

How much do you think recent developments, including Bass’s USC scholarship and questions on the Kuehl search warrant, will be a factor?

Smith: We’re going to talk a lot about how the sheriff ties in with other elected officials, such as the board of supervisors who control his budget. I’d personally be shocked if Luna doesn’t bring up a search warrant really early. The situation persists in many ways. There is a hearing on this on Thursday, That’s why we are leaving this debate right in the middle of what is happening.

Regarding the mayoral race, Caruso has something to prove, and I would expect him to lag behind congressmen on many issues. Bass’ entire candidacy is built on coming together to work and work with other parties. So it will be interesting to see how she responds to more direct attacks coming through third parties, like an article in the LA Times or an interview on Fox 11.

What kind of discussion can we expect about issues such as public safety and homelessness?

Smith: Public safety is not only arresting people, but also how safe people feel about what is happening on their streets. It’s about accountability and transparency in law enforcement, which I think will probably come up more in the sheriff’s debate. But the city has only general affordability and quality of life. Most people would agree, and I think candidates would agree, that LA is at a crossroads in many ways. There really is a push to get leaders who want to take us forward. There are going to be competition philosophies on the platform about what that means. Most of our questions will go to that and try to tease out the idea of ​​what is their vision? Why are they the most suitable candidates to bring it up?

For more analysis on what’s happening in local elections, sign up for LA’s weekly wrap-up record newsletter by our partners.

Here’s how you can watch the two-hour debate at the Skirball Cultural Center, which begins with sheriff’s candidates at 6 p.m., followed by mayoral candidates at 7 p.m.:

Of course, you can follow live on the LA Times website and (in Spanish) where the debate will be streamed. Times reporters will have live updates and analysis from the debate, as well as wrap-ups and takeaways.

If you prefer to watch it on television, Fox 11 will broadcast the debate live. If you’re on the go, you can tune in to KPCC 89.3 FM.

and now, Here’s what’s happening across California:

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.

la stories

The Attorney General of California took charge of the Kuehl investigation. Rob Bonta said in a letter to sheriff’s officers on Tuesday that bypassing the sheriff’s department was in the “public interest.” Bonta’s unusual decision to derail the Sheriff’s Department’s own investigation comes amid mounting questions about the department’s handling of the investigation and allegations by LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and others that Sheriff Alex Villanueva is using it to attack political enemies. are doing.

The return of the Golden Globes on NBC. Under a one-year agreement, the ceremony will be telecast on January 10. The studios had severed ties with the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. After an investigation raised questions about the group’s ethical and financial lapses. The association implemented various reforms, but it remains to be seen whether Hollywood stars will once again embrace the show.

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