RAFU STAFF REPORT

The June 7 ballot in Los Angeles County includes a number of Nikkei names.

Candidates for Superior Court of Los Angeles County include:

Keith Koyano

Office 14 — Warren Masami Kato, incumbent. This primary was canceled and the unopposed candidate was elected.

Office 31 — Gary Y. Tanaka, incumbent. This primary was canceled and the unopposed candidate was elected.

Office 118 — Keith Koyano is part of a crowded field. Also running are Melissa Hammond, Georgia Huerta, Klint McKay, Carolyn Park and Shawn Thever.

A biography released by Koyano’s campaign reads, in part: “Keith is a second generation Asian-American and a native Angeleno. His mother and father immigrated to the United States from different cultures but shared the American Dream – to seek better lives and futures. As individuals who arrived with only their good names and incredible work ethic, they shaped his integrity and morality, the most important character traits in a judge.

“Keith’s multi-ethnic heritage – Filipino, Chinese, and Japanese – and experiences growing up in Los Angeles amidst the Cold War, a perceived Japanese industrial takeover, and the 1992 riots gave him insight into interactions of people from various backgrounds. These diverse beginnings taught him empathy and consideration he will show every person who appears before him.

“Keith is unique in his experience with people suffering from substance addiction and the ongoing opioid crisis. In People v. Lisa Tseng, he personally interacted with surviving victims of addiction suffering the throes of unfettered prescription of controlled substances. He understands the balance between therapeutic prescription for gravely-ill patients and violation of professional medical duties exposing the public to risks of addiction.

“Keith understands every person charged with a criminal offense is a human being with individual circumstances, and treats each with dignity. His respect fosters the trust of charged defendants and criminally liable witnesses alike, and facilitates leniency, immunity, and plea agreements that serve the interests of justice.

“Keith’s interest in serving the public came from his mother’s dedication to teaching at the Los Angeles Harbor College. She was eager to share knowledge with her students, especially those with humble resources, and, as an immigrant, urged Keith to take part as an American by fulfilling his civic duty as a juror.

“After serving as a juror on a trial at the Compton Courthouse, he applied to law school in hopes of becoming a trial attorney. Keith attained his goal, beginning his career as a criminal defense attorney, and later becoming a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney.”

Office 166 — John R. Takasugi, incumbent. This primary was canceled and the unopposed candidate was elected.

Eric Nakano

City of San Dimas — City Council candidates for District 2 are technology industry executive Eric Nakano, owner and co-founder of San Dimas Community Post, and sales executive Brandon M. Moon. The District 2 race will fill the seat of Councilmember Dennis Burton, who plans to retire.

Nakano’s priorities: “With the Gold Line coming, I’ll work with residents and public safety partners to get our homeless into services while adding cameras and patrols around the Gold Line to keep our city safe.

“San Dimas is running a $2M deficit. Leveraging my business background, I’ll go through our budget and optimize citizen-centered transparency and fiscal responsibility.

“The city is considering a proposal to add a new hotel, restaurants, and townhomes. If elected, I’ll ensure adequate parking, traffic management, and the right mix of retail and restaurants to ensure downtown is vibrant.”

If elected, Nakano would be the first person of color on the City Council.

Moon has pledged to strengthen public safety, promote economic and housing development, and grow impactful programs for seniors, youth, veterans and the homeless.

As previously announced, other municipal candidates in the county include Gardena City Councilmember Rodney Tanaka, who is seeking re-election, and businessman Jon Kaji, who is running for Torrance City Council.

Other Races

Shawn Kumagai

Assembly District 20 (Pleasanton) — Dublin City Councilmember Shawn Kumagai, a Democrat, is running against Jennifer Esteen (D), a psychiatric registered nurse; Liz Ortega (D), a labor council executive; and Joseph Grcar (R), a retired laboratory scientist. The seat is currently held by Democrat Bill Quirk, who is not running.

Kumagai’s campaign describes him as follows: “He’s a third-generation LGBTQ veteran. Son of a first-generation Japanese immigrant and only Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) candidate in the race. He’s a national security expert with 20 years of Navy experience, district director for a progressive assemblywoman, and lifelong Democrat who made history as the first openly gay city councilmember elected in Dublin. Shawn worked his way through school, and as a naval linguist holds a degree in Mandarin Chinese and a masters in instructional science and technology. 

Assembly District 66 (South Bay) — Democratic incumbent Al Muratsuchi is seeking re-election. His Republican opponent is business owner George Barks.

6th Congressional District (Sacramento) — Democratic incumbent Doris Matsui is seeking re-election. Her opponents are teacher/bartender Jimmy Fremgen, a fellow Democrat, and small business owner Max Semenenko, a Republican.

16th Congressional District (Palo Alto) — Palo Alto City Councilmember Greg Lin Tanaka, a Democrat, and financial management vice president Peter Ohtaki, a Republican, are among seven candidates challenging Democratic incumbent Anna Eshoo. Also running are Saratoga City Councilmember Rishi Kumar (D), attorney/entrepreneur Ajwang Rading (D), physician/attorney Richard B. Fox (R), fintech startup owner B enjamin Thomas Solomon (R), and teacher John Karl Fredrich (no pary preference).

39th Congressional District (Riverside) — Democratic incumbent Mark Takano is seeking re-election. His challengers, all Republican, are small business owner John Lordsal Minnella, businessman Tony Moreno, retired university president Art Peterson, small business owner Aja Smith, retired businessman Bill Spinney, and poolman/caretaker  Emmanuel L. Suarez.

49th Congressional District (Oceanside) — Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, a Japanese American, is a Republican candidate for the seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Mike Levin, who is running for re-election. Also running are private nurse/businesswoman Nadia Bahia Smalley (D), businessman/nonprofit executive Brian Maryott (R), sheriff’s deputy/businessman Josiah O’Neil (R), Oceanside City Councilmember Christopher Rodriguez (R), and cybersecurity manager/airman Rense Taylor (R).

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