Many of Los Angeles’ ten million residents don’t know their county supervisors’ names—or even how powerful they are. Here’s how the five most powerful local elected officials in the country describe themselves on their website:
The Board of Supervisors [BOS] is the governing body of the County of Los Angeles, a charter county. As such, it has the unique function of serving as the executive and legislative head of the largest and most complex county government in the entire United States.
Among the many boneheaded decisions the Board has made in recent years has been their refusal to rein in LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, who continues to preside over one of the most dictatorial and unscientific COVID regimes in the nation. They had the power to punish her for her overreach or fire her, but instead, they did nothing. Worse than that, they made her Woman of the Year.
One engineer from Rancho Palos Verdes wants to stop the insanity. John Cruikshank is a 3rd generation Californian and USC graduate, host of a weekly radio show called “SAVE Los Angeles with John Cruikshank,” owner of a civil engineering firm, Mayor Pro Tem in Rancho Palos Verdes—and he’s throwing his hat in the ring to run for the county’s 4th district.
The 4th District is home to “more than 2 million people within its 411 square miles and comprises a massive swath of LA County’s eastern cities from Long Beach to La Mirada.” He will be facing off against Board Supervisor Janice Hahn, who’s been in office since 2016, and any other candidates who choose to run for the seat.
Full disclosure—my wife, Roxanne Hoge, ran for the 3rd Supervisorial District seat last year, and until she did, I had no idea that the LA County BOS was so powerful. All California counties have five elected supervisors, but no other county in the state is as populous as LA.
Cruikshank explains why he thinks he can break up the all-female board that my wife refers to as “the ladies from The View”:
Why I am running for Los Angeles County Supervisor . . . pic.twitter.com/vkhwwUx5Zy
— John Cruikshank (@SaveLACounty) June 11, 2023
The reason I’m doing it (running for supervisor) is because the current Board of Supervisors are not focusing on the issues that matter most to all of us here in Los Angeles County. My core four issues are public safety, homelessness, business infrastructure, and economic opportunity. The reason these four issues are so important is they all involved with each other, they’re symbiotic in terms of their relationship in terms of having public safety.
You have to have great public safety in order to have economic opportunity. And if you don’t have economic opportunity, what happens is you end up with more homelessness. And of course, infrastructure helps support all of us in society, and so these are the things that are important to me.
In contrast, Hahn posts a different set of priorities on her own website:
During her time on the Board, Supervisor Janice Hahn has worked tirelessly to invest in the communities she represents and fulfill LA County’s mission of being a safety net for our most vulnerable residents, whether they are sick, incarcerated, living with mental illness, or living in poverty.
That’s all well and good, but how about mentioning crime, which is one of the top problems plaguing the county?
#BREAKING: LAPD shares unbelievable footage of what they are calling a “flash mob”, mass looting of a 7/11 convenience store in Los Angeles this week, as the crime wave across America continues to intensify. #BreakingNews pic.twitter.com/llsdVPqHsv
— Breaking 4 News (@Breaking_4_News) August 19, 2022
She does discuss homelessness but doesn’t point out that it rose 9 percent in the county last year under the board’s watch. (Of course, it’s only fair to point out that the “progressive” policies of Governor Gavin Newsom, the LA City Council, and former mayor Eric Garcetti contributed to the problem as well.)
Hahn wants to put the homeless in converted hotels:
Her priority is addressing the homelessness crisis with the urgency it demands and has led the conversion of motels and hotels into temporary housing and affordable apartments for formerly homeless residents.
I asked Cruikshank about his views on that, and he pointed out that Hahn’s idea will harm the tourism industry:
I don’t believe that housing is a right so we should not just be giving people subsidized housing forever. At best, these should be transitional housing from the street to these apartments then they find their own housing that they pay for. We are taking away motels and hotels that were used for our tourism industry and were generating tax revenues for cities in LA County.
The @lacountybos officially declared a local emergency over homelessness in LA County this week. The declaration renews the sense of urgency and expands the range of tools required to combat this humanitarian crisis. pic.twitter.com/nbANDeSXfl
— Los Angeles County (@CountyofLA) January 12, 2023
Declaring an emergency sounds great, but eight months later, the problem hasn’t gone away. I asked Cruikshank how specifically he would address the homelessness and crime problems. His approach:
The solutions for homelessness and crime are out there, we just need leaders who are willing to implement things that work. For example, the Orange County Rescue Mission has a 98% success rate in transitioning homeless people into homes and employment. The secret is they require those individuals to stay in their facilities for 1.5 to 2 years to get clean and to learn some needed skills. For crime, we need to building more humane jails and lock up all criminals that should be locked up.
Cruikshank is right to prioritize public safety as well as the business environment. If the leaders of Los Angeles, and of California as a whole, had been spending their time more on quality of life issues and less on woke policies, perhaps so many people wouldn’t be fleeing the state.
Janice Hahn and the BOS do not listen to the 88 cities in LA County. They get their marching orders from the Democratic party then implement many bad ideas without first discussing with the communities that are affected. For example, Janice Hahn is opening a vacant County building in Whittier as an LGBTQ+ Community Center even though that city council voted 5-0 to reject this center.
The current BOS consists of five people who have all been mostly involved with government. I have run an engineering company in LA County since 1996, have taken risks, and have signed the fronts of paychecks. The current BOS has not, so they don’t have the right experience to solve the problems of our Core Four Issues: homelessness, public safety, economic empowerment, and infrastructure. Our issues are non-partisan, and I will solve these problems by listening to the people and the cities of LA County.
Although Cruikshank describes himself as a Republican, the position he’s running for is non-partisan. However, there are a lot of entrenched interests paying attention, including the incredibly powerful public sector unions, who are all in on Democrats.
Public sector unions have become a hugely powerful force in our politics. Is there any way to counter them? Yes, we need people in government to not just rubber stamp policies that always advocate for union work and power. I am okay with there being unions as long as the government doesn’t tip the scales in their favor for scarce tax dollars.
Primary voting starts February 5, 2024. Angelenos would be wise to pay attention to the Board of Supervisors because they play a much larger role in the decline of Los Angeles than many realize.