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Endorsement: Danielle Sandoval for Los Angeles City Council District 15

Danielle Sandoval is running for Los Angeles City Council in District 15.
(Danielle Sandoval Campaign)

City Council District 15 spans a disjointed collection of Los Angeles’ southernmost neighborhoods, from a slice of South L.A. that includes Watts to the slender Harbor Gateway down to Harbor City, Wilmington and San Pedro near the port.

It has long been represented by someone from only one of those communities, San Pedro, which despite accounting for less than one-third of the district’s population has enjoyed outsize influence as the district’s traditional base of political power. This imbalance fuels disengagement and distrust at a time when district residents are demanding responsiveness and change on issues such as housing, homelessness, public safety, air pollution and climate change.

The candidate that is best poised to advocate for the entire district and against the status quo is Danielle Sandoval, a community organizer and entrepreneur from Harbor City. She is a grass-roots politician who has mounted an energetic on-the-ground door-knocking campaign, listening to people in Watts, Wilmington and other communities whose concerns have too often been ignored. She has made it clear she will be an empathetic and forceful advocate and problem solver.

Here are the L.A. Times’ editorial board endorsements for elected offices in Los Angeles city and county, LAUSD, superior court, statewide offices, the state legislature and U.S. House and Senate seats.

She has practical priorities: housing the homeless, addressing poverty and ensuring an equitable recovery from the pandemic, cleaning up some of the city’s most polluted neighborhoods, improving LAPD’s response to crime while addressing its underlying socioeconomic causes. She wants to make the port a better neighbor by reducing the number of polluting diesel trucks trundling through residential areas and electrifying port equipment to cut emissions. (She opposes port automation, which she said will cut good-paying union jobs.) She also wants to curb the impacts of oil refineries that release too much pollution and bring too few benefits to the community.

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Through years of service on the Harbor City and Central San Pedro neighborhood councils, and as a budget advocate for the harbor area, Sandoval has shown a capacity to dig into the details of how city government operates and identify ways to allocate resources more fairly.

With an auditor and CPA’s zeal for numbers and transparency, Kenneth Mejia is the best candidate to be L.A.'s next city controller.

Sandoval also has life experience that will help her tackle issues other candidates may only understand in the abstract. She has lost a loved one to gun violence, lived paycheck to paycheck and experienced homelessness, living out of her car for a time before settling in the harbor area. She has owned a restaurant and navigated city bureaucracy as a small-business owner. She would be the first Latina to represent a district that is about 63% Latino.

The heavy favorite in this race is Tim McOsker, an attorney and former lobbyist and nonprofit executive from San Pedro. McOsker has locked up nearly all of the endorsements from local politicians, raised the most campaign money and is aligned with business groups, labor unions and other powerful interests. He knows City Hall inside and out, having worked as chief of staff to former Mayor James Hahn and as a lobbyist serving clients including the union representing rank-and-file LAPD officers. He says he’s a big-tent candidate, but there is value in having new voices in city government.

The toughest decision for school district voters: Two strong candidates are vying for the seat of termed-out member Monica Garcia.

Another candidate is Anthony Santich, who has worked for years in the port and is also from San Pedro. He has ideas for extracting more community benefits from the record cargo volumes flowing through the harbor area, but he seems more focused on the port and San Pedro than the broad range of challenges across the district. Bryant Odega, a teacher and community organizer who lives in Harbor Gateway, brings a much-needed focus on climate, environmental and economic justice and is someone to watch as he gains experience in politics.

For this district, voters have a passionate and capable candidate in Sandoval, who offers a fresh perspective, is not an ideologue or part of the political machine and is focused on serving her community, getting things done and making life better for regular people. Voters should cast their ballots for her.

Read more endorsements at: latimes.com/endorsements.


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