Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

California's 36th Congressional District: Who should succeed former Rep. Jane Harman?

May 4, 2011 | 12:28 pm

36th District Race

There are 16 candidates in the race for former Rep. Jane Harman's seat in California's 36th Congressional District. But only a few contenders rise to the top.

In Wednesday's Los Angeles Times, Jean Merl outlines the race, pointing readers to the three to watch: L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, Secretary of State Debra Bowen and antiwar activist Marcy Winograd. In it, she offers the candidates' stats (age, history, accolades). All are more liberal than Harman, who dubbed herself "the best Republican in the Democratic Party."

The editorial board took a similar view, but added Mike Gin, the liberal Republican mayor of Redondo Beach, to the list. Of the four, the board gave its endorsement to Hahn, for her energy, passion and effectiveness. Here's an excerpt:

Even Hahn's critics acknowledge her passion for the communities she serves and for the issues she champions. Charismatic and tough, she is a stalwart environmentalist (she supported the port's controversial Clean Truck Program, which has mandated new rules on vehicles to clean up the air in the region), an ardent advocate for the poor (she supported efforts to use city power to unionize private hotels) and a forceful fighter for jobs (she led the push for modernization of Los Angeles International Airport, in part because it is expected to generate 39,000 jobs). In this race, she enjoys the support of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a number of the members of Congress she seeks to join in Washington.

Readers who commented on the endorsement tended not to agree, many of them throwing their support to Winogard. Here are two such comments, with spelling corrected for clarity.

From johnadriatico:

I've had the pleasure of meeting with Janice Hahn and Debra Bowen and agree with the Times' characterization of both as fine candidates.

However, I believe that the current problems facing our community and our nation demand a fresh perspective and genuine leadership. We have the chance to elect a genuine reformer with Marcy Winograd.

Marcy Winograd:

  • Is the only candidate to refuse all lobbyist and corporate donations
  • Is the only candidate who has pledged to not vote for any more money or TARP-like schemes for the financial industry
  • Is the only candidate who has constitutionally stood against involvement in the current Libyan military conflict, which was made without congressional approval
  • Will demand congressional hearings on how GE and other large corporations were able to get away with not paying income tax
  • Focuses on the urgent issues facing our community, such as preventing foreclosures, and using the infrastructure as well as the great resources of technology and skilled workers that the 36th is blessed with to create the jobs of the future in green energy and clean power.

After all is said and done, it comes down to who will stand on principle and who we can trust two and even ten years from now. Marcy is running a campaign based on ideas and listening to all voices in the community. I know she'll do our community proud.

From achurg:

It is a great pity that the Times dismisses Marcy Winograd's anti-war activism and her refusal to take corporate campaign donations.  The US federal budget allocates about $900 billion to the military, and about $300 billion to corporate oil, agribusiness and overseas subsidies, and insurance for nuclear power plants. These expenditures are the causes of our debt, outsourcing of jobs, and overall decline in our education and health. Winograd has framed the debate in these terms, and her prominent rivals imitate her jobs with peace rhetoric, but they would not defund the four wars the US is fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya.  And they take corporate donations, so they will not be free to vote their conscience when they get to Washington.

Readers: How do you plan to vote in the May 17 special election?


Patt Morrison: Jane Harman, out of the fray

Los Angeles Times Endorsement: Councilwoman Janice Hahn for Congress

Editorial: The race to fill Jane Harman's congressional seat is a test of the state's new election rules

--Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: Among the candidates vying to fill former Rep. Jane Harman's seat are, from left, teacher Marcy Winograd, L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and California Secretary of State Debra Bowen. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments ()