Northridge, Calif- The west San Fernando Valley’s state representative and 45th state district seat is wide open. Six candidates made their pitches to voters last night in Kurland Assembly Hall on the campus of Cal State Northridge.
The candidates included democratic candidates Raymond Bishop, Daniel Brin, Jesse Gabriel, Ankur Patel, write-in candidate C.R. Cochrane and lone republican candidate Justin Clark.
Gabriel, a constitutional lawyer has been considered a favorite in the race for suing President Donald Trump on behalf of DACA residents. Gabriel missed the first hour of the event which involved a Q&A segment due to a prior campaigning engagement but was available for residents and CSUN students in attendance afterward.
“One of the reasons why public education is so important is because it can change the trajectory of someone’s life,” Gabriel said. “It changed the trajectory of my life. My grandfather came here as an undocumented immigrant from Hungary with an eighth grade education and he got a free private education paid for by the taxpayers. That’s what brought my family into the middle class. Free higher public education and it has changed so many lives.”
Cochrane who has served on the Northridge East Neighborhood council is focusing her campaign on attacking the homelessness crisis that has occurred in Los Angeles. There are currently 58,000 people that are homeless in the Los Angeles County and a 75 percent increase in the population over the last six years according to the Times.
“We just had a homelessness count just two weeks ago and it went up by 1,000 people,” Cochrane said. “We have to look at homelessness as an emergency crisis and not just as an issue. We can’t get FEMA in here but there are things we can do to assist in housing. I talked about the motel conversions which is easily done, I talked about affordable housing and I’ve visited permanent housing structures. I’m really concerned because 10 percent of college students are homeless or are about to become homeless.”
Daniel Brin who is a Neighborhood Council President in West Hills says his goals are to reduce the environmental pollution in the state.
“Just last weekend I was at Sage Ranch with friends planting acorn seedlings,” Brin said. “We collect acorns from various parts and we are developing them and planting the seed. You realize that California is literally losing millions and millions of trees in the drought because of the drought, global warming and beetles. All the oak trees and sycamore trees are going to die. The only thing we can do is plant more because the young seedlings are resistant to drought.”
Bishop who is planning commissioner for city of Los Angeles says his goal is to try and take “big money” out of politics.
“I work with politicians and one of the greatest problems we face in the nation is the influence of money in our campaigns and in our lobbying,” Bishop said. “When we have a greater concentration of wealth at the top, then there are a group of people that are underserved. Citizens United has allowed for corporations to put money into the system and get favors from politicians. That’s what we have to fight.”
The campus of Cal State Northridge has been a campaigning ground for Patel. Patel has been frequently been a guest at many of the CSUN Young Democrats club meetings and will try to win a seat in office on his third try after running for Los Angeles City Controller in 2013 and as an LAUSD Board Member in 2014.
Clark is in his freshman year of college and is a long shot to win the nomination. Nevertheless the Calabasas resident was able to answer the panelists questions with clarity despite showing early nerves and being the youngest candidate.
Written by Ethan Hanson