LA County supervisors race turns ugly as voters head for polls

Voters take part in early ballot casting at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk in Norwalk on Wednesday morning, Nov. 2, 2016.; Credit: Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Sandra Oshiro The campaigns for the two powerful seats for Los Angeles County supervisor are coming down to experience and change in one district and last-minute mudslinging in the other.

Whomever wins a seat on the Board of Supervisors will help control a roughly $30 billion annual budget and decide county policies and services covering jails, medical services, parks, homelessness, the sheriff's department and child protection.

Republican Kathryn Barger and Democrat Darrell Park are on the ballot to represent District 5 covering northern Los Angeles County, which stretches from Santa Clarita to Covina and up to Lancaster. 

The winner of that contest succeeds Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who is termed out and is running for a state Senate seat .

Barger, Antonovich's chief aide, stressed her experience working for the county while Park, a former White House analyst, says he represents change from business as usual.

Their contest has been relatively calm compared to the contest for the District 4 seat, covering a wide U-shaped area that runs from Marina del Rey to Long Beach and out to Cerritos and Diamond Bar.

Democratic Congresswoman Janice Hahn is seeking to win a post once held by her father, Kenneth Hahn, a longtime supervisor whose name is on the building where supervisors meet.

She is up against Republican Steve Napolitano, a former Manhattan Beach mayor and aide to Supervisor Don Knabe, who currently represents the district and is serving his last term.

In the closing days of the election, Napolitano and Hahn have both turned to negative campaigning.

Napolitano has called for a county ethics commission to oversee campaign fundraising.

His proposal stems from a Los Angeles Times investigation into fundraising by elected officials, including $200,000-plus in donations to Hahn from those with connections to a Torrance-based developer. The newspaper said she wrote a letter favorable to the Sea Breeze development while on the Los Angeles City Council.

Napolitano said Hahn has received "highly questionable campaign contributions," including those for the supervisor's race.

In a statement and TV ad, Hahn's campaign has called Napolitano a multi-millionaire "slumlord" based on his rental properties and claims he is trying to buy a seat on the Board of Supervisors by contributing over $2 million of his own money to his campaign.

If Hahn and Barger win their respective races, L.A. County c ould become the only board of supervisors in the state with a female supermajority . 

And if the supervisors add even one more Democrat to the board, it will have a Democratic supermajority, which Republicans have warned will lessen the checks and balances on the panel.
This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at

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