For 40 years, Kenneth Hahn was a fixture on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
And now his daughter may be ready to return the Hahn name to the powerful body whose members used to be referred to as the “five little kings.” That was before any women were elected to the board.
Rep. Janice Hahn, D-San Pedro, has a significant edge in name recognition, high-profile endorsements and campaign funding in the race for supervisor of Los Angeles County’s 4th District going into Tuesday’s primary against former Manhattan Beach City Councilman Steve Napolitano and Whittier School District Board member Ralph Pacheco.
Hahn, whose late father has the Hall of Administration named after him, has raised nearly $1.4 million for her campaign, according to the latest filings, compared with Napolitano’s nearly $1.1 million, $790,000 of which was self-funded. No filing for Pacheco was posted on the registrar- recorder’s website.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti endorsed the congresswoman Thursday as best suited to replace incumbent Supervisor Don Knabe, who has held the seat since 1996. Garcetti cited Hahn’s compassion for poor and working-class families and her tenacity in getting things done as factors in his endorsement.
“I’ve seen first-hand Janice Hahn’s devotion and compassion when it comes to standing up for poor and working-class families and getting things done for the people she represents,” Garcetti said.
Napolitano is a senior deputy to Knabe with 10 years of county experience, responsible for overseeing eight South Bay communities and focusing on issues including economic development and the environment. He is also Knabe’s choice to represent the 4th District, which covers a U-shaped swath of the county that extends along the coast from Marina del Rey to Long Beach and then up through Lakewood, Norwalk, Whittier, Hacienda Heights and adjoining cities and unincorporated areas.
“Now more than ever, we need someone who will continue our legacy of being fiscally responsible so that we can provide the programs and services that our 10 million residents demand,” Knabe said.
Napolitano also has support from outgoing Supervisor Michael Antonovich, whose own seat is at the center of a heavily contested race, as well as Rep. Ed Royce, R-Brea, former Gov. George Deukmejian and former district attorneys Steve Cooley and Robert Philibosian. At least two Assembly members and several dozen mayors, council members, school district board members and other district officials have also backed Knabe’s pick.
Hahn, a former Los Angeles city councilwoman who was elected to Congress in a 2011 special election, has the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times, the Daily News and the Daily Breeze, along with several other local newspapers.
She is supported by unions representing county firefighters and sheriff’s deputies and is also endorsed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and several other high-ranking state officials, at least nine members of the House, and dozens of local elected officials.
The three people set to remain on the Board of Supervisors when Antonovich and Knabe term out at the end of the year — Supervisors Sheila Kuehl, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis — would also like to see Hahn join the board.
All three 4th District candidates have focused on the issue of public safety, with Hahn and Napolitano both calling for hiring more sheriff’s deputies.
In an interview with the Daily News, Hahn said that means more community policing.
“I don’t think we’ll ever be able to prevent crime if we don’t have real trust between the Sheriff’s Department and the people they serve,” Hahn said.
Pacheco, a pastor who has spent 34 years in public service, highlighted that experience.
“I believe it’s time that we have new leadership on the board — someone who has been a lifelong resident of the 4th District and has worked diligently in helping to coordinate county service,” Pacheco told the Whittier Daily News.
Combating homelessness has also been cited by Hahn and Napolitano as among their top three priorities.
Napolitano, the youngest member ever elected to the Manhattan Beach City Council, has emphasized his lack of partisanship and sees himself as a problem solver.
“The L.A. County Supervisors shouldn’t be concerned with partisan politics or personal ambition; it should be about solving problems and most of all, serving people,” Napolitano said on his campaign website.
Though the Board of Supervisors seat is a non-partisan post, the ideologies of the supervisors sometime come into play in policy making. Knabe and Antonovich, who will also term out at the end of the year, are typically viewed as the two conservative voices on the board. Hahn is a Democrat, while Napolitano and Pacheco are both Republicans.
Former Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin, once a fourth candidate for Knabe’s seat, dropped out of the race in March, saying he didn’t want to split the Republican vote.
Term limits were not imposed on the board until 2002, when three four- year terms were set as the maximum length of service. Prior to 2014, candidates ran largely uncontested. Hahn’s father, Kenneth Hahn, served as a supervisor for 40 years and the county’s Hall of Administration is named after him.
Since the 2014 race, the posts — which control a $28.5 billion budget and services for more than 10 million residents — have drawn the attention of a broader group of candidates with national political experience. Supervisor Hilda Solis was Labor Secretary in the Obama administration before winning the race to represent L.A. County’s 1st District that year.
If one of the candidates receives a majority of votes in the primary, the race will be over. If not, the top two vote-getters will move on to the November ballot.
—City News Service