Presidential candidates aren’t the only items of interest on the March ballot.
Santa Monica voters will have the opportunity to vote on local and state initiatives and the Los Angeles County District Attorney race on the same ballot as the March 3 presidential primary. The Santa Monica Daily Press has put together a guide of what you can expect to see on your ballot and how to cast your vote.
Local ballot items
Los Angeles County District Attorney
Jackie Lacey, who has served as District Attorney of Los Angeles County since 2012, is being challenged by George Gascon, who recently resigned as District Attorney of San Francisco, and former public defender Rachel Rossi.
The District Attorney prosecutes felony and misdemeanor crimes that occur in Los Angeles County, leading a staff of 1,000 attorneys and 300 investigators — the largest prosecutorial body in the country.
Lacey, the current District Attorney, was born in Los Angeles in 1957 and raised in the Crenshaw neighborhood. She graduated from UC Irvine and the USC Gould School of Law.
She started her career in a small civil law firm and went on to work in the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office before moving on to the District Attorney’s Office in 1986. She was elected District Attorney in 2012 and was re-elected in 2016.
Lacey has focused on diverting people with mental illness out of the jail system, fighting sex trafficking and bail reform. She has been criticized by the ACLU and Black Lives Matter for not prosecuting any LAPD officers for shooting civilians during her tenure.
Gascón was born in Cuba in 1954, grew up in Bell and served in the army as a young adult. He became a Los Angeles Police Department officer before working at a Ford dealership and pursuing a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Long Beach and a law degree from Western State University College of Law.
He returned to LAPD in 1987 and rose up the ranks to assistant police chief. From 2006 to 2009, he served as police chief in Mesa, Arizona. Gascón became chief of the San Francisco Police Department in 2009 and in 2011 was appointed the city’s district attorney by then-mayor Gavin Newsom.
Gascón has positioned himself as a progressive prosecutor, joining a wave of District Attorneys across the country who have won races by supporting the end of cash bail, mass incarceration and racism in the criminal justice system. He co-authored the 2014 ballot measure Proposition 47, which lowered drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor and in 2018 applied California’s legalization of recreational marijuana to all marijuana-related criminal charges since 1975.
Rossi was born in 1983 and grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. She attended Bethany University and Pepperdine Law School.
Rossi worked as a public defender in Los Angeles, first in county superior court and then in state district court. She then worked on criminal justice policy in Washington, D.C., serving as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee and House of Representatives. She was the lead staffer on the 2018 First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill that has facilitated the release of thousands of people from prison.
Rossi is running on a platform of decriminalizing homelessness, ending cash bail and capital punishment and tackling racism in the criminal justice system.
Measure FD: The Los Angeles County Fire District is asking voters to approve an annual parcel tax of six cents per square foot to improve fire protection and emergency medical response. The $134 million in annual tax revenues will be used to hire and train firefighters, paramedics and staff, maintain, upgrade, and replace emergency response equipment, facilities and infrastructure.
Measure R: The ballot measure would allow the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission to subpoena the Sheriff’s Department to investigate complaints and authorize the commission to create a plan to reduce the jail population by investing in prevention and mental health treatment.
Proposition 13: The statewide ballot measure would create a $15 billion bond to repair and modernize California schools, with priority given to projects that address health and safety risks such as lead, toxic mold, asbestos and seismically unsafe structures. $9 billion go to preschool and K-12 schools and $6 million would be split evenly among the California Community College, California State University and University of California systems.
How to vote
Under California Voter’s Choice Act, neighborhood polling places in Los Angeles County and 14 others around the state have been replaced with vote centers.
Residents will be able to register to vote and cast their ballots at any vote center for 11 days, including Election Day. Vote centers will be equipped with machines that voters can use to vote electronically and print their paper ballots.
Voters who prefer to vote by mail must request a ballot by Feb. 25. Those who wish to register to vote online or by mail must do so by Feb. 18, but may register online until election day if they bring an email confirmation to a vote center.
There are nine vote centers in Santa Monica and all are open Feb. 22 to March 2 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and March 3 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Document People
Address: 2922 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica Public Library
Address: 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
Location: Multipurpose room
Santa Monica Place
Address: 395 Santa Monica Place
Location: Community room
Edison Language Academy
Address: 2402 Virginia Ave.
Virginia Avenue Park
Address: 2200 Virginia Ave.
Location: Room 3 Workshop 3
Santa Monica College
Address: 1510 Pico Blvd.
Location: Computer lab
Address: 633 Kensington Rd.
Location: Recreation building community room
Olympic High School
Address: 721 Ocean Park Blvd.
Location: Multipurpose room
Address: 1406 Marine St.
Visit https://lavote.net for more information.