Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley (above right) has endorsed Antonio Villaraigosa (left) for California governor, citing his tough-on-crime stance during his time as mayor of Los Angeles and as speaker of the California State Assembly. “He wants to do all he can to prevent crime and make communities safe, not just talk tough,” Dudley said during a press conference on 5/21. As speaker, Villaraigosa fought for tougher gun restrictions; he authored one of the nation’s most stringent bans on assault weapons and helped pass a bill prohibiting individuals from purchasing more than one concealable firearm within a 30-day period. Under his two mayoral terms, Villaraigosa helped elect a reform-minded school board and created nonprofit assistance for Los Angeles Unified School District’s worst-performing schools.
Wealthy supporters of charter schools have donated more than $13.7 million to Villaraigosa’s campaign, which has been criticized by teachers’ unions. Critics contend that charters utilized federal money, leading to poorly funded public schools, teacher layoffs, and even school closures. However, Dudley and Villaraigosa are adamant about providing better education options to parents. “Public school have let communities down in other parts of our state,” Dudley said. “I’m hoping that changes.” Dudley clarified, “Santa Barbara schools are excellent.”