Senator Bob Hertzberg plans to use his political capital to address homelessness, housing, public safety, jobs, and other quality-of-life concerns for voters of the Third District!
By Nick Antonicello
In what could be considered a “last hurrah” for one of California’s most experienced and effective legislative leaders for over a generation, California Senator Bob Hertzberg is the “consensus candidate” in the upcoming November runoff against progressive leftist, West Hollywood Council member Lindsey Horvath, who has been endorsed by “lame duck” incumbents Mayor Eric Garcetti and Council member Mike Bonin, the chief architects of the failed homeless and encampment crisis currently here in Venice and the rest of LA’s Westside.
Hertzberg, described as decisive, accountable, and a true problem-solver, has the overwhelming support of nurses, essential workers, police, doctors and business leaders that has developed into a working coalition of governmental and private sector leadership that will get LA County back on the right track.
I spoke with Senator Hertzberg Wednesday evening and he was gracious with his time and passionate on fixing county government.
The Senator spoke in rapid fire fashion on the issues voters truly care about like homelessness, mental health reducing crime, strengthening the regional economy, developing long-term housing solutions while driving to make LA County a true leader in clean energy, addressing the issue of climate change as well protecting our air and water supply.
Robert “Bob” Hertzberg was first elected to the California State Assembly in 1996 where he quickly established himself and moved up the ranks, eventually serving as the 64th Speaker of the California State Assembly after being unanimously elected by both parties in 2000 and 2001. Following his tenure as Speaker, Hertzberg set out to the private sector as a clean energy entrepreneur. In 2014, he returned to state government when he was again elected to represent nearly 1 million people in the San Fernando Valley in the California State Senate.
Throughout his time in the Legislature, Bob Hertzberg has always been a champion for the communities he’s represented, delivering over $1 billion in investments to the San Fernando Valley. This notably ranges from working on the MTA Orange Line, which provides transportation for working people, to sound walls along the freeways, to CSUN Performing Arts Center and transportation to CSUN, to modernization of 38 new local, union built schools – most in predominantly Latino communities – the Skirball Cultural Center, and a myriad of local organizations, like $5.7 million for Jewish Family Services to provide services to the homeless.
As an accomplished public servant and nonprofit leader, Hertzberg has been at the forefront of pioneering public policy on virtually every issue, from criminal justice reform to quality public education to technology and consumer related issues. The Los Angeles Daily News described Bob as having a “relentless dedication and indefatigable energy…he has a reputation for integrity and perseverance,” while the Los Angeles Times named him “One of the Most Influential People in Southern California” and said: “He is a high velocity wonk; he loves big ideas and will flesh out every one of them if you give him a chance.”
For the Hertzberg influence in Sacramento is deep, effective and successful and he plans to bring that same commitment to successful public service to county government.
On the issue of transparency, Hertzberg offered support for real charter reform as he supports the direct election of a countywide executive as well as the expansion of the Board of Supervisors from five to fifteen members creating a true legislative body for the largest county in the United States.
If LA County was a state, it would be larger than forty others and the size of county spending is nearly half that of the state of California.
In effect, the Third District is roughly two million people, that’s larger than four congressional districts combined and his current senate district is about a million people.
Hertzberg is not only a candidate of bold ideas, but has a track record of representing large segments of voters unlike his opponent who has represented just one.
Hertzberg described the 4/5th’s ballot initiative that if passed could remove the county sheriff as “looking completely political” and would not had voted for it.
Hertzberg while in the legislature designed a plan that would have created nine boroughs with five representatives from each or in effect forty-five members of LA city government. A strong believer in grass roots democracy and local control, Hertzberg believes his style of “consensus government” is what gets things done.
“My career as a legislator is about rounding up votes, giving others the credit and delivering on the issues that matter.”
The Senator sees a natural ally in Supervisor Kathryn Barger and believes his style of governance will stir responsible public policy in place of partisan politics.
“I know all the current supervisors and respect them all for their service. The nuts and bolts of governance is solving problems.”
In the area of the homeless question and street encampments, Hertzberg pointed out 3,000 parcels of government-owned property that can be used for the construction of “tiny” homes and that he has the contacts and influence in Sacramento to secure the funding from the state’s surplus to make it possible.
Hertzberg talked proudly about securing over $100 million dollars to build the county’s largest crime lab, which eliminated backlogs of rape kits and ensured accelerated prosecution of those accused of such heinous acts.
“I want to cut to the chase,” offered Hertzberg, the only person to serve as Assembly Speaker, Senate Majority Leader and President Pro Tempore.
A former member of the California State Board of Pharmacy, Hertzberg started his career in government service as a driver for the legendary Senator Myrvn Dymally. Dymally was the second African-American to serve in statewide office as the state’s Lieutenant Governor. A native of Trinidad, Dymally also served in both houses of the legislature as well as in the US House of Representatives.
Currently a member of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, Hertzberg has secured the endorsement of area state Senator, Ben Allen of Santa Monica.
An unsuccessful candidate for LA Mayor in 2005, Hertzberg is a graduate of the University of Redlands where he earned his BA and a graduate of the University of California Hastings Law School where he earned his JD.
In concert with his time in elective office, Hertzberg has been in the employ of some of the most prestigious law firms here in Los Angeles.
A graduate of Palm Springs High School, Hertzberg is the author of “A Common Sense Approach to English.”
Hertzberg’s “service above self” approach to government has showered his candidacy with a plethora of endorsements including:
- US Senator Alex Padilla
- Former US Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor
- California Attorney General Rob Bonta
- California Treasurer Fiona Ma
- Retired California Assembly member Autumn Burke
- LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger
In addition, a diverse number of organizations from both the public and private sector are enthusiastically behind Hertzberg as well:
- LA Latino Chamber of Commerce
- LA County Firefighters
- LA Police Chiefs Association
- LA County Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO)
- Numerous Building Trades, Electrical Workers, Operating Engineers, Teamsters and Steelworkers
In summing up his candidacy, Hertzberg replied, “To fix the mess in LA County, we need creative and innovative new ideas to solve old problems. As Supervisor, I’ll take responsibility and work harder than anyone else to make sure county government actually gets things done.”
Divorced with three adult sons, Hertzberg is seeking to finish his long public service in such a way that delivers on solving some of the most controversial issues before the public today.
“I’m ready to meet the challenge.”
Nick Antonicello is a long-time resident of Venice who covers the political and governmental scene and how it impacts Venice. A member of the Oceanfront Walk Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council, he can reached via e-mail at email@example.com