Sat, Jun

CD 14 Happenings

THE EASTSIDER - As we move into November and the cutoff for running for the CD14 2024 race, let’s see who all seems to be in the hunt:

Wendy Carrillo                       Ysabel Jurado

Miguel Santiago                    Eduardo Vargas

Samir Bitar                             Dr Nadine M Diaz

Genny Guerrero                     Terersa Y Hillery

Nick Pacheco            

Wow, that’s quite a field, all of which seem to have been triggered by some unfortunate remarks by Kevin De Leon and friends that were secretly recorded!

Early Handicapping

It seems to me that there are three serious (read funded) candidates that have a shot at coming in in the top two in the March Primary:

Miguel Santiago

Wendy Carrillo

Ysabel Jurado

I’ll get a little bit into each of these three candidates and why I think they’re seriously into the hunt.

Miguel Santiago

Santiago slid into the legislature via AD53 in 2014, where there were only 32,000 total votes in the Primary, which is not a large turnout, In the runoff he won 63.5% to Sandra Mendoza’s 36.5, with a total of 32,207. Thereafter, he won handily in 2016 and 2018.

In 2020, Santiago demonstrated that he could potentially be vulnerable, when my seriously progressive friend, Godfrey Santos Plata, forced a runoff, and in a very cash poor campaign, only lost 43% to 56%.

Finally, in 2022, he won handily (79%/21%) against a Republican.

A seriously corporate Democrat, he was first to declare against his former buddy, Kevin De Leon, and has the best funded campaign against Kevin, who recently actually filed papers to run again.

Wendy Carrillo

As Ballotpedia put it:

“Wendy Carrillo was born in El Salvador. She grew up in Boyle Heights and City Terrace, California. Carrillo earned a B.A. in rhetorical communication from California State University, Los Angeles, in 2005 and an M.A. in specialized journalism from the University of Southern California in 2009. Her career experience includes working in media and communications. Carrillo was a radio producer, reporter, writer, and researcher. She was a communications manager for SEIU ULTCW (United Long Term Care Workers) and a communications and social media deputy for the City of Los Angeles.” 

In 2017, Wendy faced Luis Lopez in a Special Election Primary Runoff for AD 51, against Luis Lopez, where she beat Luis 53.5% to 46.5%.  The total vote was 20,731. In 2018, she crushed Christopher Stare with 87% to 13%, 118,000 votes total.

In 2020 she ran unopposed, with 127,026 total votes.  Finally, in 2022, she ran against Mia Livas Porter, where she won 57% to 43%, with only 114, 250 votes.  Full disclosure, I endorsed Mia,a local community organizer, who on a shoestring budget came that close.

As the LA Times put it:

“The Eastside Assembly member had spent the last half-hour explaining to me why she was running for Kevin de León’s City Council seat.

“Mayor Karen Bass has an incredible challenge,” the El Sereno resident said as she closed the gate behind us, a loquat tree offering temporary shade. “And she currently doesn’t have a partner in [District] 14. It’s a challenge when you have someone in office that folks don’t want to associate with.”

De León, of course, turned into a political pariah after a secretly recorded conversation released last fall featured him, along with then-L.A. County Federation of Labor head Ron Herrera and then-Councilmembers Nury Martinez and Gil Cedillo, trashing rivals with racist and nasty words. He has ignored demands from community members and President Biden to resign, recently survived a fourth recall attempt and keeps taunting his haters with slickly edited Instagram reels of himself gallivanting around Council District 14 as if nothing ever happened.”

I decided that she is a serious candidate back in July, where I went to the annual Eagle Rock Fireworks event and discovered: that she is a very polished and talented retail politician, noting that I think she could give De Leon a run for his money.

Ysabel Jurado

My favorite in this race is Ysabel Jurado, for multiple reasons. Let’s face it, both Miguel Santiago and Wendy Carrillo are establishment Democratic politicians with all that it means, such as fund raising in exchange for following the Party dicta. You know, the Party coffers and plenty of lobbyist money.

I think we’re starting to see a change away from the same old lifer party politicians.  Witness Eunisses Hernandez and Hugo Soto-Martinez, who have no interest in being part of ‘the club”.

Here’s part of her biography: - Ysabel Jurado is a born and raised Highland Park native, daughter of undocumented immigrants, single mom, housing justice advocate and community lawyer. During the height of the pandemic, she served low-income tenants across Los Angeles as an eviction defense attorney. Now, she works as a community lawyer who is engaged in building the solidarity economy – forming housing cooperatives, protecting legacy businesses, designing strategies to de-commodify land, take it off the speculative market, and keep community resources affordable. She provided legal support to the Reclaimers to form the El Sereno Housing Justice Cooperative, worked with the El Sereno Community Land Trust, and serves on the board of the Fideocomiso Tierra Libre in Boyle Heights. When I contacted the Campaign, they provided me the following:

“Ysabel has successfully consolidated the progressive wing of Los Angeles and has earned a slew of high-profile endorsements, including Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, LAUSD Board member Dr. Rocio Rivas, DSA-LA, and Ground Game LA. While her grassroots campaign isn't accepting Big Oil, Big Pharma or developer money like those of her opponents, she still boasts an impressive fundraising haul this early in the game and has already raised over $100,000. Her campaign launch also proved she's not to be underestimated -- over 130 people were in attendance at the event in mid-June. It's clear that working families are sick and tired of the same old career politicians, and Angelenos have taken note that Santiago, Carrillo and de Leon appear to be birds of a feather. As Politico Senior Political Reporter Melanie Mason said on Fox 40: "Ideologically, it's actually very hard to separate de Leon from Carrillo and Santiago...an x factor that is also worth noting is there is another contender who has been getting some buzz. Her name is Ysabel Jurado...it's possible that all 3 of those candidates get out-flanked on the left by Jurado who really distinguishes herself by not being a politician."

The Takeaway

Against all this, Kevin De Leon recently (finally) put his hat in the ring. I think his big contribution to the area was bringing Metro’s BRT project to Eagle Rock, where they will destroy most of the current businesses to make an uneconomic Bus thoroughfare with bike  lanes in the heart of Eagle Rock. Unbelievable.

Don’t underestimate Kevin.  He may be a bust as a leader, but he has something like $4 million dollars in various ‘discretionary’ funds.  That can buy a lot of love :-)

Stay tuned, and let’s see how all this plays out in March.

(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.)

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