In a Tuesday, Jan. 18, press release that opened with the dateline “VAN NUYS, CA—” California State Senator Bob Hertzberg announced he was the latest candidate to throw his hat into the ring in the race for Third District Supervisor.

Robert “Bob” Hertzberg, a veteran politician who is currently CA Senate Majority Leader and formerly the CA State Assembly Speaker, has already made his identity as a resident and representative of the San Fernando Valley front and center to his campaign.

“We in the Valley know what it means to have an 818 area code. And the fact is, the San Fernando Valley is simply too big to not have a voice on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors,” Hertzberg was quoted as saying in the statement provided by his campaign.

Hertzberg joins a well-qualified field of candidates for the open seat, which will be vacated by current Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl at the end of this year. Other hopefuls include former Santa Monica Mayor and current Assemblymember Richard Bloom, West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath, and State Senator Henry Stern. LA County Controller Ron Galperin recently dropped out of the race, announcing he was instead focusing on a run for California controller.

But Hertzberg’s announcement also declared his willingness to represent other “corners” of the newly expanded Third District, where new district boundaries meant losing territory like Los Feliz and parts of Hollywood, and picking up a broader section of the Valley including more conservative Chatsworth and Porter Ranch.

“While I’ve spent most of my life in the Valley, I’ve also lived and worked in nearly every corner of this district,” Hertzberg was quoted as saying. “On the Board, my goal will be to bring people together, build coalitions, and solve problems for our uniquely diverse and dynamic county. The people deserve nothing less.”

Representatives for Hertzberg’s campaign were not immediately able to provide details about Hertzberg’s connection to the Santa Monica/Venice/Pacific Palisades “corner” of the Third District.

When district maps were dramatically redrawn in 1991, the Third District began to resemble what it is today; Santa Monica had previously been part a coastal district closely resembling today’s U.S. Congressional District 33. In the past 30 years, no San Fernando Valley resident has represented the Third District on the Board of Supervisors.

Since Kuehl’s election in 2014, Santa Monica — Kuehl’s city of residence — has enjoyed an outsized influence over the 431-square-mile territory. Previous Third District Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who held the role for 20 years (there were no term limits at the time), was a Fairfax resident and was known for policies that were popular on the westside and in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Candidates Bloom, Horvath, Stern and Hertzberg are all Democrats, with Hertzberg considered especially politically moderate among them.
In his announcement, Hertzberg also provided a list of more than 100 politicians, organizations and “community leaders” who endorsed his candidacy, including high-profile elected officials like former California Governor Gray Davis (a Democrat), current LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger (a Republican) and a handful of unions including iron workers and probation officers.

In a Dec. 16 email in which Kuehl alleged the redrawn Third District map was fueled by politics, the Supervisor predicted that a moderate politician would seize the opportunity to enter the race for a newly moderate district, undercutting her progressive policies.

“The result of this last-minute marauding is that my District becomes far more centrist (as in, bye-bye any reform to our justice system), a much easier district for a man who’s been salivating to run for the office but found himself in need of an electorate more closely tailored to his politics,” Kuehl wrote at the time. “He will likely follow some who innocently jump in but the damage is done to the District.”

A spokesperson for the Supervisor confirmed at the time that Kuehl was not referring to Stern when she made that prediction; the same spokesperson was not immediately able to confirm on Tuesday whether Kuehl was referring to Hertzberg when she made those remarks.

In 2018, Hertzberg was among the legislators named in 18 alleged cases of sexual harassment that were said to have occurred between 2006 and 2017; Hertzberg was accused of making a staffer uncomfortable by holding her too closely, dancing and singing with her. At the time, Hertzberg issued a response, reportedly saying that he hugged people “as a way to connect” with them, but apologizing to those whom his hugs made uncomfortable.
Candidates have until March 11 to file paperwork formalizing their campaigns, with the 2022 primary set to take place on June 7. Election Day will be Nov. 8, 2022.