Mark Your Ballot – 2022

It’s an election season that’s been filled with tension, stress, and more ugliness than I can ever remember seeing. So – everyone take a breath. The day has arrived.

It’s been my experience that people who vote early are the ones who don’t need guidance. Either they have done the research, checked with the sources they trust and filled out the ballot – or they are folks whose minds were made up the moment they heard who was running, and never looked back. 

If you want some support, it’s time to Mark Your Ballot. All of our previous editions are archived on the site if you want to look at how I’ve voted in the past. I almost never vote in total agreement with any organizations; I want to clarify that I am not a member of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce, nor am I a member of the Culver City Democratic Club. I have problems with both, although I will say that the current leadership of both organizations is better than past leadership has been. But that’s another essay for another day. 

Use a pen, black ink, and fill in the space completely. 

National Election – United States Senator – You are voting for Alex Padilla twice because he is fulfilling the remainder of VP Kamala Harris’ term, (he was appointed to the office) and then serving a full term on his own. If you are even considering voting for Meuser, the fact that he identifies himself as a Republican Constitutional Attorney is oxymoronic. Those three words each cancel the other two out. 

City/Local – Member of the City Council – You are voting for two candidates, Freddy Puza and Alex Fisch. It breaks my heart that there are two women running for council and I cannot endorse either one. I have nothing against Denice Renteria, but when someone is spending half a million dollars to remove an incumbent, they expect to see all that paid back with interest. Candidate Dan O’Brien, who I initially thought I had more agreement with, disappointed me in almost every forum and interview. The phrase “We just need to go back to …” came up often, and I have no interest in going back. And again, when corporate PACs are giving you half a million dollars, they are going to want more than a thank you note. I doubt that O’Brien or Renteria fully understand what kind of obligation they are taking on here by accepting this support. Winning would be four years of indentured service. 

The reason that there is so much corporate money trying to unseat an incumbent is that he’s been very effective. And note that all the campaign lit against Puza is propaganda; the guy is not in any elected office, and is not responsible (nor can he take credit for) any of the policies that are on Fisch’s resume. The pro and anti camps have been shouting for weeks, but if anyone is undecided on this contest, just ask yourself who should control the local government, local residents or corporate interests? Easy answer for me. 

City/Local  – CCUSD Governing Board Member – You are voting for Triston Ezidore, Summer McBride and Stephanie Loredo. Ezidore is unique in that he was, just a few years ago, in student government at CCHS, and having someone on the board who has so recently had the experience of being a student is going to open up a much needed perspective. McBride has been a centering voice of reason and stability, as she was when I worked with her in the District Council PTA. Loredo also has connections to the student government via one of her children, and brings a similar ‘inside’ perspective. She is also a very detail oriented person, and the CCUSD Board is a position where that kind of mind can do great work. 

I’ve nothing against Darrel Menthe or Brian Guerrero, I think they would be fine, but what I’ve seen of the candidates, my top three choices are stronger. Whatever you do, do not vote for Adelman or Baun, they are both extremists looking to cause real harm. If you want details,  /

Also, we have the KidScoop School Board Forum on YouTube in case you want to see how folks conduct themselves with students. Just a thought….

LACCD – Member of the Board – You are voting for Steve Veres, Sara Hernandez, Gabriel Buelna, and Kelsey Lino. You may not feel that the Los Angeles Community College District Board is all that important, but it can have wide reach and long term impact.  One current candidate for Congress started out in the LACCD, and fostered some major policy changes, the benefits of which are still reverberating. 

State SenatorLola Smallwood-Cuevas. I have listened to both candidates on multiple occasions, and I prefer Smallwood-Cuevas. She’s smart, articulate, and not at all afraid to step up to the issues. 

Member of the State AssemblyIsaac Bryan. Bryan frequently shows up for Culver City, (even when he does not really have to – ) and his focus on big-picture issues also benefits the state of California. Very strong voice at what could be the early stages of a big career. 

United States Representative, 37th District Sydney Kamlager. You should always vote for Kamlager, and you will never regret it. One of only a small handful of politicians I have never been disappointed in. Whenever her name comes up among people who have reached out to her, or have worked closely, it’s a fountain of praise and respect. As soon as I heard Karen Bass was running for Mayor, I was hoping Kamlager would run for her seat. I’m hoping for many good things. 

City/Local – Measure BL  – you are voting YES. We have not raised business taxes since 1965, and it is TIME. Anyone saying about how this will hurt business is wrong. Small business will be exempted from paying, and the  big businesses can easily afford this. It means folks who have been paying in pennies will now have to pay in dimes – maybe quarters.  People who ask about the huge multi-nationals in Culver City and why they don’t pay more taxes –  vote YES, and then they will pay more taxes. Let’s join the 21st Century here.

Measure VYVOTE NO. This is just about logistics. If we were still holding municipal elections in April, I’d be a yes vote here. But allowing 16 & 17 year olds to vote only in municipal contests during a general election means they would have to have a separate ballot. That is procedurally awkward, expensive, and unworkable.  When my children turned 18, they did not have a voter registration form waiting for them at breakfast, but it probably happened before lunch. I want everyone to vote, but having a separate ballot does not make sense to me. Y’know – separate is not equal.

West Basin Water BoardSanjay Gaur. Gaur has spent his career working on water issues all over the planet. He is also a Culver City resident who has lived here for more than a decade, and has the educational and experiential background to help steer us through what we know will be dry times. The current leadership at West Basin has had major  problems in multiple areas over the last several years. Money wasted, shockingly poor hiring practices, and an exodus of staff all speak to the need for change. Don’t even get me started on the sexual harassment issues; we could be here all day, and you need to go vote. 

County Sheriff – You are voting for Robert Luna. Because he is not Villanueva. I’d love to have a higher standard here, but that’s a luxury.  

Judges! Everyone’s least favorite part of the ballot! Lightening round! 

Office 60 – Anna Slotsky Reitano 

Office 67 – Elizabeth Lashley Haynes

Office 70 – Holly Hancock

Office 90 – Carolyn “Jiyoung” Park 

County Measures – Keep at it, You’re Almost There!

County Measure A – YES. This is the trap door if Villanueva does get re-elected, then the County Board of Supervisors can fire him. We might need it. Make sure it’s there if we do. 

County Measure C – YES. Cannabis tax for unincorporated areas of the county (like Del Rey.) I’m generally in favor of cannabis, and I’m always in favor if it being taxed. 


Governor Gavin Newsom. (Didn’t we just do this? Seems like yesterday – ) We like Newsom being governor. Also, I don’t know who needs to hear this, but Bob Dylan is older than President Joe Biden. And still touring. 

Lt. Governor – Eleni Kounalakis – not once during a gubernatorial absence did she attempt to pass a law. It’s not a huge credit, but some Lt. Govs in other states cannot say the same thing. 

Treasurer – Fiona Ma – Did you know California is surpassing Germany in the world economy rankings? We will soon be #4 and Germany will be #5. Let’s have someone smart looking after that money. 

Attorney General – Rob Bonta. If you want a deep dive, check out articles in the LA Times. You know how the search bar works. 

Bring on the Props – 

Prop 1 – YES – Abortion rights are already in the California law, but this would make it totally explicit. If the fundamentalists can outlaw abortion at the federal level, this gives the state a legal barrier. 

Prop 26 – YES – This give California tribes the right to ‘own’ gambling.

Prop 27 – NO – This takes rights away from the tribes, and gives them to corporations, who are not even based in California. Big NO, total NO. 

Prop 28 – YES – Wouldn’t it be great if every high school in the state had an Academy of Visual and Performing Arts like we do? What world could we live in when every child has an education in the arts? Twenty years from now, we could look back and discover this was the most important thing on this ballot. 

Prop 29 – YES – It’s the kidney dialysis thing again. This time, I’m of the mind that the folks who think more staffing is needed should be listened to. 

Prop 30 – YES – Another 1.75 % tax on folks making more than $2 million to support zero emission vehicles and fight wildfires. I know, it’s funded by a ride-share company, but it’s still a good idea. 

Prop 31 – YES – Culver City already outlawed flavored tobacco. Once again, a law that some people said was just not needed is a model for a much bigger law that will benefit millions. This would give the rest of the state the same status that our city already has. Because our city council does smart things. 

Vote yes on all the judges. they are incumbents who need to be re-elected, and there’s no controversy here, just pro forma stuff. 

Mark your ballot (sign it and date it )  and send it in, or mark it on your sample and take to WLAC, or the Julian Dixon Library, or the Dan Pataccia Room at City Hall. Go Vote Smart! 

Editor’s note – Comments are turned off. If you need to cuss someone out, go to FB or Twitter, where they love that stuff. This is journalism (this, specifically is an editorial) and social media standards do not apply here.

Judith Martin-Straw






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