By The Signal Editorial Board
Ever since L.A. County’s 5th District voters first sent Kathryn Barger to downtown Los Angeles as their representative in 2016, she has done an exemplary job representing the residents of the district, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley.
She hit the ground running because she had plenty of experience responding to 5th District residents’ concerns while serving as the chief of staff for her predecessor, Michael Antonovich. Her responsiveness and her ability to be so effective in advocating for local residents are among the reasons why voters elected her in a landslide, and why they should do so again this year.
Barger has our unequivocal endorsement for the March 5 primary election, for what is to be her third and final term on the county board, which limits supervisors to three four-year terms. Four years ago, Barger was elected directly from the primary without a November runoff because she earned more than 50% of the vote. She deserves a repeat of that outcome.
Being an L.A. County supervisor is a big job, but even more so in the sprawling 5th District, by far the geographically largest of the five county districts.
The 2,785-square-mile district touches borders with three different counties, and includes 20 cities and 63 unincorporated areas.
Yet, she has always kept a careful lookout for SCV residents and is a regular presence at local government and nonprofit events.
Further, Barger is often the lone voice of reason on the Board of Supervisors. While the supervisors’ positions are considered nonpartisan offices, clearly the other four supervisors’ politics steer further to the left than those of much of the 5th District. Yet, Barger works harmoniously with her board colleagues, finding common ground where it can be found and still choosing the right battles when they need to be chosen on behalf of her constituents.
For example, when the state looked to realign its juvenile justice system in a plan that would have turned two closed juvenile detention camps in Saugus into a higher-security facility that would house the county’s most violent male youth offenders ages 18 to 24, Barger stepped up and provided much-needed leadership and reason.
Listening to the calls from the nearby community that cited the unnecessary cost and public safety concerns, Barger had the plan sent back to the drawing board and once again fought for a better outcome for our valley’s residents.
She’s also helped raise awareness about the concerns the community has with policies of the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office that have made communities less safe, and she’s said so in no uncertain terms.
Other local subjects and issues that have benefited from Barger’s support and leadership have included transit — of note, her support for the brand new Vista Canyon Multi-Modal Transit Center — as well as mental health resources, veteran services and issues surrounding homelessness.
Whether Los Angeles County officials are going after “vanlords” who are exploiting some of the county’s most vulnerable residents or targeting smash-and-grab robberies that have left business owners frustrated and looking to leave the state, Barger is usually the one leading the charge on authoring or co-authoring a motion.
Her work as a champion of public safety has drawn her some key endorsements, including those of L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna, the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, L.A. Professional Peace Officers Association, L.A. Police Protective League, as well as the Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena police officers associations.
Barger has helped bring more resources to support our veterans both here and in the neighboring valleys where they’ve been proven to be able to make a big difference in helping those who have served transition to successful careers in the civilian sector after they leave the armed forces. She’s also secured additional funding to help residents who might need mental heatlh support or addiction treatment help.
It’s hard to find a local project that hasn’t benefitted significantly from L.A. County support, whether that’s the SCV Bella Vida Senior Center, the new SCV Sheriff’s Station, a new permanent homeless shelter — opening soon — and many others that serve local residents every day.
Her support of the Santa Clarita Valley in particular has earned her the endorsements of Santa Clarita City Council members Jason Gibbs, Bill Miranda and Marsha McLean.
She has bipartisan support, too. Among her notable additional endorsements are Abundant Housing Los Angeles, Planned Parenthood, SEIU 721, LA/OC Building Trades, Carpenters, LiUNA! Local 300, Teamsters 42, LA Jobs PAC (Los Angeles Area Chamber), Los Angeles County Business Federation and over 40 5th District mayors and council members.
They all agree that Kathryn Barger has more than earned her third term on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. We hope you agree, too, and cast your vote for her on March 5.