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Morning Brief: Hot Weather. Hot Election Races

A person stands at a voting booth amid a row of booths.
Tuesday was the last day to vote in the local primary election. A voter casts their ballot yesterday at the Union Station voting center in L.A.
(Trevor Stamp
for LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s June 8.

It’s getting hot out there, y’all. Today temps start climbing into the 80s in Los Angeles and could reach 104 degrees in places like Lancaster by Friday. With that comes elevated fire conditions, according to the National Weather Service. So please be safe when you enjoy the outdoors.

Now to Tuesday's election. Polls closed at 8 P.M. and the results have been trickling in all night. It could take awhile to get the final tally, but you can check here for updates on all the races. See below for more info on the top ones in L.A.

L.A. Mayor

The city’s mayor is kinda like the CEO and, as of this morning, the two leading candidates for the job, Rick Caruso and Karen Bass, are headed for a run-off in November. If you want a laugh, The Daily Show has a good take on this race but, like all good comedy, there's some truth here - a win in the general election will likely come down to how voters feel about the candidates' abilities to tackle issues of homelessness and crime.

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L.A. County Sheriff

The sheriff is one of the most powerful elected officials in L.A. County. As of this morning, it appears former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna will face incumbent Alex Villanueva in the fall. Villanueva ran as a reformer four years ago, but he’s since clashed repeatedly with the Board of Supervisors, resisted attempts to create more oversight for the department, and faced calls to resign from the Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission. Here's how Luna says he'd handle the job and what Villanueva told us.

L.A. Unified School Board

My background as an education reporter makes me extra keen on what’s happening in the world of school board politics so, naturally, I gravitated toward my colleague Kyle Stokes’s reporting on this issue. Typically, says Kyle, these races are “some of the roughest and most expensive school board campaigns in the nation,” but spending was down this year. The biggest slugfest, if you want to even call it that, was in District 2. Candidates María Brenes and Rocío Rivas led in campaign spending and high-level endorsements. Here’s this morning’s latest on that race and others.

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Voter Turnout

Doesn’t it feel nice to have voted? Not everyone did. Unfortunately, voter turnout had been low heading into Tuesday’s primary, despite a historically high number of registered Californians at above 80%. There are a number of reasons people don’t vote – some say lack of time, others cite voter apathy. Here’s what we heard (ya might have to scroll down a little on the blog).

But LAist's Elly Yu and Paisley Trent spoke to voters who DID vote. Here's what those folks had to say:

Jeff Price has been taking his teenage son to the polls ever since he was old enough to push buttons: “It’s just fun to do and he can see the process. I like to do it in-person instead of just the mail-in [ballot]. It’s an experience — you experience democracy.” 

Two people stand side-by-side. One wears an "I voted" sticker.
Jeff Price and Skye Price outside a vote center in Koreatown.
(Elly Yu
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Kristen Cunningham prefers mail-in ballots. She says she likes to spend time researching and can do that more easily at home: “It’s a civic duty. I have notes and I have water, I hope that it doesn’t take me that long, but it is a long ballot.”

A woman wears a bright pink mask and has her hair wrapped in a cloth.
Kristen Cunningham voted in Koreatown shortly after the polls opened.
(Elly Yu

Amber Turner, an academic coach at Pasadena City College, turned in her ballot at a ballot drop off area: “I do feel like, from people I’ve spoken to, they feel that just the government system has kind of let them down in one way or another so they don’t think they should participate because they think that it doesn’t matter. I tell them that I think they should because I feel like it does matter. Nothing is going to change if you don’t do anything.”

A woman sits at a concrete table with her arms crossed. She wears a black mask.
Amber Turner, 26, an academic coach at Pasadena City College.
(Elly Yu
LAist )

Why are local elections so important, you ask? Well, there’s a host of very powerful people who will be making key decisions about the issues YOU care about like homelessness, catapulting the unaffordable housing market, inflation, crime, public safety, law enforcement regulation and climate change. The General Election is on Nov. 8. So get ready.

Did you use the Voter Game Plan to help fill out your ballot this year? If so, we’d love to hear what you thought and how we can make it even better for the November general. Sign up here to tell us about your experiences.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below the fold.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • President Biden arrives today for the Summit of the Americas. Air Force One touches down at LAX this afternoon. You might want to avoid downtown and Hollywood. Oh, and Beverly Hills, too.
  • The drought is real, y’all, and one local water district is using a little metal disk to stop people from trying to cheat the latest water restrictions.
  • Despite Chinese and Vietnamese being the most commonly spoken non-English languages in the state, there are not enough teachers to teach those languages in public schools. California civil rights leaders joined with state legislators in demanding $5 million to invest in teacher training for Asian languages.
  • COVID-19 cases are spiking again in L.A. County and some people are catching it more than once. What’s the deal with reinfection?

Before You Go... Deep Hip-Hop Conversations at the California African American Museum

Chuck D of Public Enemy performs
Chuck D of Public Enemy discusses his visual art in relation to the social and political impact of Hip-Hop culture and Black artistic expression.
(Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation
Getty Images North America)

Are you a hip-hop head like me? Well, if you are, I’m sure you’ll want to be at the California African American Museum today and tomorrow night. Tonight at 7 p.m. Public Enemy’s Chuck D and “When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost” author Joan Morgan will chat about visual art and the socio-political impact of hip-hop culture. Tomorrow, writer and artist Saul Williams and LAXART Director and art scholar Hamza Walker will be talking about the intersections between art and politics in this country. It’s FREE.

Check out what else is happening in L.A. this week here.

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