It’s a disturbing sign of one-party politics in California that the race for state treasurer is unlikely to be a contest, even if the incumbent has proven unusually scandal-prone. This raises concerns given that as the main asset manager and financier of the state, the treasurer is expected to function flawlessly.
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The November general election pits Democrat Fiona Ma against Republican Jack Guerrero. Ma is the current treasurer and Guerrero is a member of the town council of the small town of Cudahy in Los Angeles County. In the June 7 open primary, Ma fielded the usual support of the Democratic establishment, raised more than $1 million and ended up with 57% of the vote.
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Despite raising less than $10,000 — a pocket change in a statewide election — Guerrero solidly won second place. He beat Orange County GOP supervisor Andrew Do by five percentage points, even though Do spent a lot of money. We made the rare decision not to endorse any lead applicant.
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Ma, we noted, sponsored legislation that attempted to help a controversial police union president dramatically increase his income by turning his union work into pensionable pay. It showed terrible judgment to use his position for the benefit of an influential person. Ma denies allegations of sexual harassment and wrongful termination made by a former employee, but she has caused too much controversy.
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Do has a reputation as the “Darth Vader of Government Transparency” given his preference for secrecy as an OC supervisor – a deal killer in a position that manages a $3.2 trillion portfolio. He may have been better than Meghann Adams of the Peace and Freedom Party – school bus driver and self-proclaimed socialist – but not by much.
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We didn’t back Guerrero because he was an unfunded longshot in a crowded field. But there’s no doubt he has the financial knowledge and tax savvy to professionally run the treasurer’s office. His resume is impressive. He is a CPA, a Stanford economics graduate, and a corporate consultant who has audited municipal governments. He helped expose a financial scandal in his town.
Guerrero has a market-based philosophy, is a strong proponent of pension reform, and understands the state’s long-term fiscal challenges. Of course, there is still a longshot. Recent reports show Ma with a $2 million war chest and Guerrero with less pocket change than before. But in a two-man race where we shouldn’t be in that position, he gets our nod.
We’re seconding Jack Guerrero for state treasurer.
Sourcing & Methodology
To help you make decisions about the many candidates, measures, proposals and other races on your ballot, our Editorial Board (made up of opinion writers and editors), makes recommendations for each election. The process is completely separate from newsroom and reporter reporting. With the exception of our editor, the members of our editorial board are not journalists or editors.
Sal Rodriguez, Opinion Editor for the Southern California News Group’s 11 newspapers, leads the editorial board and guides our positions on public policy and political issues.
Each week, our team analyzes legislation, follows political developments, interviews elected officials or policy advocates and writes editorials on current issues. Unsigned editorials reflect the consensus of our editorial board, with the aim of providing empirically sound and intellectually consistent arguments.
We apply this same process when we consider sponsoring candidates.
In practice, we select the races in which we approve. We endorse all statewide ballot measures, competitive congressional races, some races for the state legislature, and some countywide and citywide elections.
We identify credible candidates through surveys and interviews, deliberated on the basis of our previous editorial and in light of contemporary realities, and issue endorsements accordingly.