By Randy Economy
Voters in California will be heading to the ballot box next Tuesday, November 4, to elect a new crop of elected officials for state, national, and local offices as well as a several local school bond measures, college board trustees, and water districts.
More than 4.8 million Los Angeles County residents are registered to vote and have a chance to decide the outcome of the election.
Across the state of California in the June Primary Election, 24 million eligible voters did not vote and just 18 percent of the voter population decided who is appearing on the General Election ballot for all Californians.
Some political experts are predicting that the turnout next week will be low, but just how low is anyone’s guess.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
Live election night results will be posted on www.loscerritosnews.net.
Here is a breakdown of the major local races on the ballot.
State Senate District 32:
MARIO GUERRA vs. TONY MENDOZA
The campaign between Downey City Councilman Mario Guerra and teacher Tony Mendoza has turned into a hard fought between the two rivals.
Guerra, a Republican, has blasted Mendoza as being “a corrupt politician” in blistering mailers, and television ads that have been paid for by a campaign committee controlled by attorney Charles Munger.
Guerra has aggressively gone after Mendoza in the campaign and has attempted to directly link the former Democrat Assemblyman and Artesia City Councilman as being “another corrupt politician under investigation.”
Mendoza has publicly denounced the campaign being waged against him during sharp exchanges with Guerra during a publicly held forum held in Whittier two weeks ago.
Mendoza has also referred to Guerra as being “a millionaire businessman who is attempting to buy this election.”
The outcome of the election could be decided by voters who are voting via mail as opposed to showing up at the polls. Both the Mendoza and Guerra campaigns have been focusing their efforts on “Vote by Mail” participants.
It is believed that between $2 and $3 million dollars will be spent in the campaign after all of the final bills are paid well after the ballots are tabulated.
The winner will replace indicted California State Senator Ronald Calderon who is facing dozens of felony bribery counts with his brother former Assemblyman Thomas Calderon by officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The district includes more than 1 million voters in both Southeast Los Angeles County, the San Gabriel Valley as well as Whittier and the Orange County city of Buena Park.
ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 57
IAN CALDERON vs. RITA TOPALIAN
Voters sent a message to first term Democratic State Assemblyman Ian Calderon in June that he is in possible danger of losing his bid for reelection this coming Tuesday.
Upstart Republican attorney Rita Topalian topped the 29-year old Calderon in the two-way primary race in the 57th State Assembly District in June in the district that includes a majority of Norwalk to the south, and throughout Whittier area.
The district has been considered a friendly safe turf for Calderon and Democrats in the past, but that was before the arrest of his two uncles (Sen. Ronald Calderon and Assemblyman Thomas Calderon) on corruption charges earlier this year.
Topalian garnered 51.49% of the vote to 48.51% for Ian Calderon in the June pre-match up, and Topalian likes her chances next Tuesday.
“Look, the voters in my district are very well educated and this campaign between Ian Calderon and myself is about honesty, and who has the moral character to best represent our needs in Sacramento,’ Topalian said.
Calderon, on the other hand, told voters in Whittier two weeks ago during a televised debate that he “deserves to be reelected.” “I am focused on bringing jobs to the region and not on the legal problems of my two uncles,’ Calderon said.
CENTRAL BASIN WATER DISTRICT
The Central Basin Municipal Water District has been a focal point of a massive investigation by the FBI, the US Department of Justice and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office during the past year and the effects of the probe have taken center stage in two campaigns involving incumbent directors.
Incumbent Director Robert “Bob” Apodaca appears to be fighting for his political life against four aggressive hopefuls.
Apodaca has been the focal point of a number of sexual misconduct lawsuits by former female employees at Central Basin during the past four years. Taxpayers recently had to pay out more than $670,000 to one alleged victim in a highly public lawsuit via an out of court settlement.
Taking on Apodaca are Businessman Tom Malkasian of La Habra, Independent Business Owner Noel Jaimes of La Mirada, College Professor James Edward Becerra of Whittier and Businesswoman/Mother Hilary Barba also of Whittier.
Incumbent Arturo “Art” Chacon of Commerce has been engaged in a heated reelection campaign from several challengers that include Huntington Park City Councilman Mario Gomez, Commerce Public Information Officer Jason Gardea-Stinnette, Los Angeles Law Clerk Anthony Felix, Huntington Park Teacher/Independent Businessowner Elba Romo and Los Angeles Environmental Scientist/Manager C. J. Salgado.
The campaign has attracted heated attacks between the challengers against Chacon both via the internet, in public meetings, media reports and in the voter’s mailboxes.
“This campaign has been tough, but I am confident that the voters will see through all of these attacks and that I will be reelected next Tuesday,” Chacon said.
Incumbent Trustee John Paul-Drayer will be facing Bellflower Business Owner Dawn Duton in a hotly contested seat in Area 3.
In Area 5, Incumbent Shin Liu is facing a stiff challenge from ABC School Board Member Armin Reyes. The district includes Artesia and Cerritos.
In Area 7, Incumbent Robert “Bob” Hughlett decided not to seek reelection. Voters will select between two La Mirada residents in Zurich Lewis, who is a Community Services Commissioner and Alan Burton who is a Business owner.
DOWNEY CITY COUNCIL
Incumbent Mayor Fernando Vasquez does not have an opponent in next Tuesday’s election and will be reelected to represent the 4th District on the Downey City Council for the next four years.
In District 2, four different challengers will be facing each other. The winner will replace termed out City Councilmember Mario Guerra. Guerra is currently running in the 32nd State Senate race against former Assemblyman Tony Mendoza.
The candidates hoping to replace Guerra are Robert Kiefer a Small Business Owner, Shahira A-Malek a Medical Doctor and Sean Aston an Educator/Commissioner.
Voters in the ABC Unified School District will be deciding the fate of Measure AA that would allocate $195 Million in General Bond funds to be used for future campus capital improvement plans.
Wealthy local business owners who own multiple properties throughout the ABC School District are opposing Measure AA including current Cerritos Mayor-Pro Tem Carol Chen, former Cerritos Mayor Grace Hu and controversial former ABC School Board Member Cecy Groom.
A wide range of local elected officials including several local classroom teachers who currently work at ABCUSD supports measure AA. Current ABC School Board Member Maynard Law is spearheading the campaign in favor of the effort as well as leaders of the ABC Federation of Teachers.
MEASURE G -NLMUSD
Measure G is a General Improvement Bond that would allocate $375 million for general improvement bonds in the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District.
MEASURE B CITY OF NORWALK
The Norwalk City Council voted unanimously to place Measure B on the November 4, 2014 ballot that, if passed, will modernize the decades old Utility Users Tax ordinance that was originally adopted in 1992.
Proponents claim that if passed, Measure B will change “language in the City’s 22-year old UUT ordinance without raising taxes to ensure that all taxpayers are treated equally.”
Artesia Measure Y
Measure Y would implement a 4.9% tax on utilities for residents in this tight-knit community and the issue has drawn strong support and opposition on the matter.
Supporters are touting that the funds raised would be used as a “local funding mechanism to address local city needs and services.”
If enacted, Measure Y will make additional funding available for general City services. Supporters say funds generated by Measure Y are “subject to annual independent audits and cannot be taken by Sacramento. No increase in the rate is permitted without voter approval, and all funds are subject to review by a 5-Member Citizens Oversight Committee.”
Opponents have slammed Measure Y as being “another needless tax” so that city officials can spend the money “anyway they please.”