- Reporters Desk
By James Preston Allen, Publisher
The acrimony of the traveling political circus that is the national presidential primary system takes up so much air these days that it’s sometimes difficult to pay attention to the down-ballot candidates. This is precisely true in the race for the 35th district seat in the California State Senate between Warren Furutani and Assemblyman Steve Bradford. It’s a reality that’s out of balance.
The fact is that the closer to home that democracy is practiced, the more significant its impacts become. Hence, the importance of the state senate and assembly races, or even local city council and neighborhood council races. It is even more rare to find politicians who measure up to their campaign promises. Warren Furutani is one of those rare exceptions.
Furutani, 67, has represented two-thirds of this Los Angeles County district, from serving on the LAUSD school board, the Los Angeles Community College District Board or as a Democratic member of the state Assembly, which he left in 2012. Moreover, he is a lifelong resident of the district, graduated from Gardena High and is a fourth-generation Japanese American with family ties to Terminal Island that pre-date World War II. He not only has the pedigree and the experience to represent the 35th district, he also has a track record of saying what he means and then standing up for it when he votes.
I’m reminded of a June 2011 incident when Furutani was in the Assembly and an Irvine Republican, Don Wagner, dropped an inflammatory, non-sequitur slur against Italian Americans during a debate over a revised Redevelopment Agency. Furutani got into the buffoonish Wagner’s face not once but twice before being physically restrained by his colleagues. Clearly, he is one to not tolerate a racist remark, even from colleagues in government and even when it’s not directed at him.
Again, rarely do we get to vote for a candidate with such solidly progressive politics that have been tested over time and who has such deep roots in our community that he stands out amongst those who come better dressed but who don’t truly represent the working class.
His knowledge of this district was exhibited to me when he ran against Joe Buscaino for the Los Angeles City Council race in the 15th District. I asked him about the cultural assets of the district, thinking he might be knowledgeable of a few of them. Off the top of his head he listed every one of them from the Korean Bell at Angels Gate Park all the way up to the Watts Towers without skipping a beat—even naming a few I wasn’t aware of.
Make sure that when his campaign workers knock on your door that you get a lawn sign to tell your neighbors that Warren Furutani is the guy who will fight for the Harbor Area in Sacramento.