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Graphic of a person's hand placing a ballot in a ballot box that has the County of Los Angeles seal.
(Dan Carino
LA County Board of Supervisors
Bob Hertzberg and Lindsey Horvath are vying to represent District 3. The winner will join a five-member board that oversees a county of about 10 million residents, more than the population of most states.
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What does the L.A. County Board of Supervisors do?

The L.A. County supervisors are some of the most powerful local government officials in the country. The five board members oversee a county of about 10 million residents, a number that exceeds the population of most U.S. states. The supervisors also hire the powerful county chief executive.

The Board of Supervisors can pass local laws with a three-fifths vote. Unlike at the city level, where the elected mayor can veto a law passed by the city council, the county CEO cannot veto a Board of Supervisors decision.

More Voter Guides

City of Los Angeles

L.A. County

  • Sheriff: Compare the two candidates for L.A. County sheriff
  • Water Agencies: Learn what they do and what to look for in a candidate

How to evaluate judges

California propositions

  • Propositions 26 and 27: The difference between the sports betting ballot measures
  • Proposition 29: Why kidney dialysis is on your ballot for the third time
  • Proposition 30: Why Lyft is the biggest funder of this ballot measure

Head to the Voter Game Plan homepage for guides to the rest of your ballot.

County supervisors are paid just under $230,000 a year.

Many people run for supervisor after holding powerful state and federal positions; for example, District 1 Supervisor Hilda Solis, who is running for reelection, was the U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Barack Obama.

Like most local offices in L.A. County, these are nonpartisan seats. That said, L.A. voters have been solidly electing Democrats and the Board of Supervisors has become increasingly progressive, although there is one Republican on the board: District 5 Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

The Board of Supervisors has limited influence over the 88 incorporated cities within L.A. County, such as Santa Monica and Inglewood and yes, the city of Los Angeles. But if you live in an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County, such as Altadena, Castaic, East L.A., Ladera Heights, Rowland Heights, South San Gabriel or Willowbrook, the Board of Supervisors is basically your city council.

You can find a list of all 125 unincorporated communities here. There are some areas where supervisors set policy for the entire county, including in the incorporated cities. They include:

  • Jails, prisons and juvenile detention 
  • Foster care
  • L.A. Metro
  • Mental health 
  • Public health, particularly the pandemic response (although Pasadena and Long Beach have their own health departments.)
  • Sheriff’s Department (although some cities, such as Los Angeles, have their own police force, more than 40 municipalities contract with the Sheriff’s Department for police services)

Other times, L.A. County and individual cities make policies and decisions that layer on top of each other, such as efforts to address the homelessness crisis. The Board of Supervisors and L.A. city council have a complicated relationship. Sometimes they successfully coordinate — for example, by passing Proposition H at the county level to allocate more funding for services for unhoused residents, and Proposition HHH at the city level to build more transitional housing. The county and city also passed similar eviction protections on roughly similar schedules.But the county and city also diverge and even clash — and when something is not going well, there’s a lot of finger pointing.

The Board of Supervisors also appoints the county superintendent of schools and board of education (unlike L.A. Unified School District, whose board is elected by voters). Even with 80 school districts in L.A. County, the county superintendent and board of education actually have a fairly small education remit — those school districts govern themselves for the most part.

Supervisors are elected for four-year terms and can hold office for a maximum of 12 consecutive years — meaning they can run again after taking a break. Their terms are staggered.

District 1 and District 3 were on the ballot in the June primary, but District 1 Supervisor Hilda Solis won her race outright with 76% of the vote. District 3 went to a runoff, so you’ll see that on your ballot again if you're in that district.

The district lines were updated in 2021, which means this will be the first election held within the redrawn boundaries.

The five Board of Supervisor districts show incorporated cities in white and unincorporated areas in blue.
(Courtesy L.A. County)

You might recognize the supervisors’ work from…

COVID-19 response: The board has the power to appoint the directors of the county’s Public Health Department and the Department of Health Services. At times the county’s public health department enacted some of the strictest pandemic mandates in the nation, often related to indoor masking, dining and restricting businesses. In August 2021 the board passed a mandatory vaccination policy requiring all 110,000 county workers, including those employed by the Sheriff's Department, to be fully vaccinated. The union representing L.A. County sheriff’s deputies filed two lawsuits disputing the mandate.

Transit: In Feb. 2021 the board directed the county's Emergency Management and Public Health departments to find ways to either reroute existing bus routes closer to vaccine sites or find other ways to make the sites more accessible.

Tenant Protections: During the pandemic, the county increased eviction protections for renters affected by COVID-19 and froze rent-hikes in many apartment buildings within unincorporated L.A. County. Those protections (which are scheduled to sunset at the end of December) kept tens of thousands of renters in their homes after they fell behind on rent due to COVID-19. But the rules elicited protests from landlords who said missed rent payments caused them financial distress.

Sheriff Oversight: The supervisors do not make policy for the Sheriff’s Department. Their only power is financial: they approve its budget (although the sheriff determines how to spend the money). In 2016, the board created the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission, a nine-member body whose members are appointed by the supervisors. It’s an advisory panel, although county voters gave it subpoena power in March 2020, an authority that was enshrined in state law later that year. In 2014, the supervisors created the position of Inspector General, whose role is to “promote constitutional policing and the fair and impartial administration  of justice.” The IG serves in part as the Oversight Commission’s investigative arm.

Supervisors have frequently clashed with L.A. Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who is up for reelection. Earlier this year, the supervisors approved a plan to ask voters for the power to remove a sitting sheriff. L.A. County voters will see that proposed charter amendment — Measure A —on their ballot this year.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, a frequent Villanueva critic who has been unhappy with Villanueva’s job performance and resistance to oversight, was the subject of a Sheriff’s Department search in September as part of a corruption investigation.

What's on the agenda for the next term?

Men’s Central Jail: The Board of Supervisors has committed to closing the nearly 60-year-old "unsafe, crowded and crumbling" facility. A workgroup developed a plan in March 2021 to divert some 4,500 incarcerated people with mental health issues out of the county’s jails into treatment, creating room to transfer the remaining Men’s Central Jail population to other county facilities. It projected that would take 18-24 months, but in March of 2022 the county said it could take even longer. In September, the board voted in favor of a plan to create locked facilities that would administer “non-correctional” treatment to incarcerated people with mental health needs.

Juvenile Justice: L.A. County’s juvenile halls are under fire for a variety of concerns, including a lack of adequate education, health care and programming for youths. The county is also now in charge of caring for incarcerated youth previously housed in state prisons by the state Division of Juvenile Justice, which is being shut down in the summer of 2023. The Board of Supervisors approved a plan in March to move these youths to three juvenile camps across the county: Camp Kilpatrick in Malibu, Camp Scott in Santa Clarita, and Dorothy Kirby Center in Commerce. But they are facing intense opposition from city leaders who don’t want juveniles convicted of serious crimes nearby.

Labor Issues: County workers are demanding better wages and working conditions. Members of SEIU 721, the union that represents roughly 55,000 L.A. County employees, voted to authorize a strike in May, meaning they’re now prepared to walk out if a contract isn’t reached. Members work in a variety of fields, including healthcare, social services and public works. The strike authorization, which union officials said passed with 98% support, came after contract negotiations broke down. At issue is what constitutes a fair wage increase, with union negotiators arguing more is needed to offset unprecedented inflation brought on by the pandemic.

Homelessness Crisis: In a closely divided vote on May 3, the Board of Supervisors moved forward with plans to create a new leadership position tasked with addressing the region’s spiraling homelessness crisis. (The county has become dissatisfied with its involvement in the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.) Supervisors who supported the creation of a new county “entity” — possibly a new department of homeless services — said centralizing authority will create accountability and help speed up efforts to house those living in shelters, on the streets and in vehicles. The crisis remains a dominant and vexing issue for local leaders.

Relationship with L.A. City Hall : The crises facing L.A. County — homelessness, affordable housing, the climate emergency, COVID-19 — don’t fit neatly within governmental boundaries. An effective response requires coordination with the L.A. City Council and other local governments across the county. Voters are pretty fed up with the finger pointing between the cities and the county, especially when it comes to the homelessness crisis. The Board of Supervisors will need to do its part to work with the L.A. City Council and the mayor.

District 1

A black and white map shows the borders of District 1 and the cities included.
(Courtesy L.A. County)

Voters in District 1 elected Hilda Solis outright in the June primary with nearly 76% of the vote.

This will be her third and final term on the board. The district, which is 60% Latino, spans significant parts of central Los Angeles and the east side, as well as numerous San Gabriel Valley cities including Alhambra, El Monte, Pomona and West Covina.

District 3

The District 3 race is one to watch, both because current Supervisor Sheila Kuehl is not running for reelection and because it’s the first election since the 2021 redistricting, which brought part of the San Fernando Valley into the district and moved some parts to other districts.

The district now includes much of the San Fernando Valley, sections of L.A.'s Westside (including Santa Monica and West Hollywood), and coastal communities like Malibu.

In the June primary, Bob Hertzberg (31%) and Lindsey Horvath (28%) won the top two slots in a field of six candidates.

Black and white map shows the borders of Board of Supervisors District 3
(Courtesy L.A. County)

Bob Hertzberg

California State Senator

What he’s known for:

Bob Hertzberg is the California State Senate Majority Leader Emeritus and has represented the 18th District (San Fernando Valley) since 2014. He served in the California State Assembly from 1996 to 2002 and was speaker in his final two-year term. He ran for L.A. mayor in 2005, finishing third in the primary behind Antonio Villaraigosa and James Hahn. Hertzberg, a San Fernando Valley resident, says he was motivated to run for supervisor after the redrawn District 3 boundaries were announced — as a Valley resident, he feels the district should be represented by someone from the Valley. He was born in L.A.

What he’s running on:

  • Homelessness: Hertzberg says there need to be two prongs to the county's approach to homelessness: making sure people who have a string of bad luck don’t end up on the street, and providing mental health support and other services to those who are on the street. He supported the County’s decision to settle a lawsuit brought by the L.A. Human Rights Alliance, which alleged that the city and county haven’t moved fast enough to get people off the streets and into housing. He favors restructuring the L.A. Homeless Services Authority so that its board includes elected leaders.
  • Housing: Hertzberg says one way to bring down the cost of housing is to lease surplus government land to developers for $1 a year. He supports efforts to repurpose under-used office buildings into housing. As a state legislator, Hertzberg pushed (unsuccessfully) for placing a $25 billion bond measure before voters to create down-payment assistance programs for first-time homebuyers. He has said, “If I had my druthers, there would never be another apartment. Everybody would own.” Hertzberg voted against Senate Bill 10, which ultimately passed, allowing local governments to rezone urban land near transit lines to accommodate apartment buildings with up to 10 units. Opponents said the law takes away local decision-making and “destroys” single-family neighborhoods.
  • Climate Change: Hertzberg’s campaign website points to his record supporting legislation to ensure California reaches 100% clean energy by 2045, as well as bills designed to reduce vehicle emissions and increase statewide water efficiency standards.
  • Public Safety:  Hertzberg says residents are concerned about a rise in violent crime and L.A. needs to increase the number of law enforcement officers on the street. He plans to address what he describes as public safety staffing shortages. Passing ordinances targeting the sale of illegal “ghost guns” is also a priority, Hertzberg says. 

KCRW and LAist interviewed Hertzberg before the primary. If you want to get to know Hertzberg and his policies better, you can watch the interview below.

Contributions: California Secretary of State Filings
Endorsements: List of endorsements (Campaign website)

More resources:

  • Read more about Bob Hertzberg's priorities and experience on Voter's Edge.

Lindsey Horvath

West Hollywood Councilmember, Small Business Owner

What she’s known for

Horvath is in her second stint as a member of the West Hollywood City Council. She was appointed to the council in 2009 and served until 2011, when she lost a reelection bid. She was elected to the council in 2015, and has served since then. She founded the local chapter of the National Organization for Women and is on the board of the National League of Cities. Horvath runs her own marketing business, focused on the entertainment industry.

What she’s running on

  • Homelessness: Horvath says she would lead the county’s homelessness response with a “system of care,” investing further in behavioral health response teams and other supportive services for unhoused people. In her interview with KCRW and LAist, she said, “I don’t think anyone needs to be forcibly removed,” referring to the clearing of encampments throughout L.A. County. As a West Hollywood councilmember, Horvath initiated “mental health evaluation teams” for the city that pair social workers and police officers to respond to calls about people experiencing homelessness.
  • Housing: Horvath proposes providing free counseling and rental assistance for people facing eviction, especially as the county prepares to sunset COVID-19 tenant protections after Dec. 31. She says L.A. County needs to help renters stay in housing they can afford, rather than letting them become unhoused “because of a missed rent payment.” She also proposes creating more affordable housing specifically for seniors and points to the need not just for more affordable housing, but more housing in general.
  • Climate change: Horvath said in her interview with KCRW and LAist that she would continue to grow the Clean Power Alliance, an initiative to expand the availability of clean energy options for consumers, and would ensure the county delivers on the promises of Measure W. She also emphasized the need to not just construct new buildings that meet sustainability standards, but retrofit existing buildings as well. She says on her campaign website that she would hire a “senior sustainability planner” to help the county stay on track with its climate goals. Horvath supports transitioning municipal buses and public transit vehicles to all-electric options. She also favors planting more trees and installing bus shelters for transit riders who wait at unprotected stops in often blistering heat.
  • Public Safety: As a West Hollywood city council member, Horvath voted for a budget that aims to reduce the number of armed Sheriff’s deputies that patrol the city from 60 to 56. The city is instead putting funds toward unarmed security personnel through the Block by Block program. Horvath’s campaign website says L.A. County should reconsider which responsibilities Sheriff’s deputies are expected to take on, because situations can escalate when law enforcement officers perform tasks they’re not uniquely trained to perform. 

KCRW and LAist interviewed Horvath before the primary. If you want to get to know Horvath and her policies better, you can watch the interview below.

Contributions: California Secretary of State Filings
Endorsements: List of endorsements (link on campaign homepage)

More resources:

  • Read more about Lindsey Horvath's priorities and experience on Voter's Edge.

Follow The Money

More Voter Guides

City of Los Angeles

L.A. County

  • Sheriff: Compare the two candidates for L.A. County sheriff
  • Water Agencies: Learn what they do and what to look for in a candidate

How to evaluate judges

California propositions

  • Propositions 26 and 27: The difference between the sports betting ballot measures
  • Proposition 29: Why kidney dialysis is on your ballot for the third time
  • Proposition 30: Why Lyft is the biggest funder of this ballot measure

Head to the Voter Game Plan homepage for guides to the rest of your ballot.

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