July 18, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Runoff: Lawndale Mayor Robert Pullen-Miles and Democratic Activist Tina Mckinnor Locked in Tight Battle to Succeed Autumn Burke!

Hawthorne Councilmember Angie Reyes-English, Venice Community Officer Nico Ruderman trail in special election results

By Nick Antonicello

It wasn’t the results a small gathering of friends and supporters of Nico Ruderman expected, as Lawndale Mayor Robert Pullen Miles and Democratic organizer and activist Tina McKinnor were locked in a two-way battle to succeed former Assemblymember Autumn Burke, who had endorsed the Lawndale Mayor who also served as her district director. 

Here were the results as of Tuesday evening: 

Pullen-Miles – 8,083  –  37.2%

McKinnor      –  7,686   – 35.38%

Reyes-English – 3,056 – 14.07%

Ruderman       –  2,900 –  13.35% 

For Pullen-Miles, the assumed frontrunner throughout the contest saw his primary challenger Tina McKinnor surge in the final weeks with outside funding by Nurses and Educators fueling her candidacy and the crucial endorsement of the Los Angeles Times earned her a second-place finish, just 397 votes behind the Lawndale chief executive. 

McKinnor, a not-for-profit executive and Democratic Party organizer rolled out big endorsements such as US Congresswoman Maxine Waters, LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell and California Senators Steven Bradford and Sydney Kamlager in her campaign’s final days. 

Mayor Pullen-Miles, who had the endorsement of his former boss, also secured the official California Democratic Party endorsement as well the support of US Congressman Ted Lieu, LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn and several local officials from around the district including the Mayor of Inglewood, James T. Butts. 

The race will now go to a runoff, as Reyes-English and Ruderman have no chance of pulling past the front-runners and have been eliminated from contention for this unexpired term. 

For Ruderman, a first-time candidate and community officer with the Venice Neighborhood Council, the results were disappointing, but the first-time candidate focused on the important issue of homeless encampments, rising crime and other quality-of-life issues that just didn’t seem to resonate in many of the communities south of LAX. 

The results for Venice were not available at press time. 

Several of the CD-11 candidates for LA City Council were on-hand to support Ruderman who many recognize his efforts as the primary reason we have an open seat scenario with the exit of outgoing Councilmember Mike Bonin who saw his reelection efforts dashed with a near recall attempt that collected 95% of the required signatures to qualify for the ballot. 

Bonin was expected to coast to a third-term until last summer when Ruderman and fellow Venetian Katrina Schmitt led a loose group of volunteers to successfully mount a recall challenge that exposed the political weakness of an incumbent who went from probable reelection to possible recall and eventually an early retirement from public office. 

Those council candidates in attendance at The Rose Café Tuesday this evening included Venetians Mike Newhouse, Traci Park and Jim Murez as well as Allison Holdorff-Polhill from the Pacific Palisades, a former school board aide to LAUSD member Nick Melvoin. 

The candidates had just returned from a ZOOM debate sponsored by a Brentwood community group that also included Greg Good, Mat Smith and Venice resident and attorney Erin Darling. 

Also on-hand was LA Councilman Joe Buscaino of CD-15 and a supporter of Ruderman’s bid for the state legislature. 

Buscaino, a retired police officer is a candidate for LA Mayor in the upcoming June 7th Primary. 

The mayoral candidate spoke briefly and was warmly received by those in attendance. 

Buscaino announced his campaign for mayor last summer in Venice when the beach encampments were at their peak and have since migrated to Centennial Park, the median just east of the Venice Public Library along South Venice Boulevard.

The author is a longtime Venetian and member of the Outreach & Oceanfront Walk Committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council. He can be reached at (310) 621-3775 or via e-mail at nantoni@mindspring.com

in Opinion
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