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Herb Wesson And Holly Mitchell Jump-Start Race For Powerful County Seat

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Forum moderator Dr. Hamoud Salhi (l), Councilman Herb Wesson (r), State Senator Holly Mitchell (bottom). (Screenshot from livestream)
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Candidates for an open seat on the powerful L.A. County Board of Supervisors met virtually this week for the first time in the general election campaign.

State Senator Holly Mitchell and L.A. City Councilman Herb Wesson are vying to represent the massive 2nd District, which has a population of about two million in eight cities (including Inglewood and Culver City), 19 unincorporated areas (including communities in South L.A.), and parts of the city of Los Angeles.

Policing and justice are top of mind in the district: In recent months, the community has seen protests over the shootings of Andrés Guardado and Dijon Kizzee by L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies.

At the forum on Wednesday, Wesson, the former City Council president, touted his proposal for unarmed response to non-violent 911 calls in the city.

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"Right now I am ... the tip of the spear in reimagining public safety," Wesson said. "Not just here, but in the entire United States of America."

Mitchell said she’s spent her career in the legislature putting forward criminal justice and juvenile justice "right-sizing" reforms. (The State Senate Budget Committee chair co-authored a law that bans life sentences without the possibility for parole for juveniles, among others.)

"Not just now when it’s cool and everybody’s done it," said Mitchell of her history as a reformer. "Back when it was difficult. When the police unions and the District Attorneys' association fought me every step along the way."

Wesson and Mitchell both promised they’d prioritize helping small businesses as the region’s economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. They also agreed that addressing the homelessness crisis requires funding programs such as rent subsidies or grants to keep people in their homes.

Both candidates support Measure J, a county charter amendment to allocate at least 10% of locally-generated, unrestricted revenue to community investment programs. The measure is before voters on the November ballot.

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The online event was organized by the Carson Accountability and Transparency nonprofit and the Carson Chamber of Commerce. You can watch the full video here.

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