Candidate Forum

LA County 5th District Supervisor Candidates

CandidateForum

Jails, public safety, jobs, mental health, and homelessness emerged as key issues at a candidate forum for supervisor of the Fifth District of LA County Board of Supervisors Thursday, May 12 at PCC.

About 150 people attended the forum sponsored by LWV-PA, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, and PCC and deftly moderated by League member Felicia Williams, who presented challenging questions from the audience. The event was organized by Marilynne Wilander. With congeniality and sincerity, eight candidates answered the questions and talked about why they should have the job relinquished by Michael Antonovich after 35 years because of voter-imposed term limits.

Candidates are Kathryn Barger, chief deputy supervisor of District 5; Elan Carr, criminal gang prosecutor; Mitchell Englander, LA City councilman; Bob Huff, state senator; Raj Kahlon, real estate investor; Billy Malone, Altadena Town Council; Ara Najarian, mayor of Glendale; and Darrell Park, educator/budget supervisor.

More than one candidate said this is the most important vote people will cast in the June 7 primary election because the power the county government wields directly affects their everyday lives.The supervisors have been called the “five kings and queens” because they each “rule” about 2 million people—about twice the population of Alaska. With a $28 billion annual budget, the board runs the nation’s largest jail and foster-care systems and the second-largest public health system. They make decisions affecting millions, particularly the poor who rely on a wide range of social services.

Each supervisor has a $3.5 million budget for staff and offices expenses plus for pet projects in his or her own district. The salary is $189,041. Geographically, District 5 is by far the largest, spanning the Antelope, Crescenta, Santa Clarita, San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys. It runs from Kern County on the north, Ventura County on the west, and San Bernardino County on the east.

While the office is non-partisan, Antonovich and Don Knabe, who termed out in District 4, were considered conservative. Although all but one candidate in District 5 is Republican, the question is whether this election will see a continued shift to more liberal governance.

—Jackie Knowles