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District 5 County Supervisorial Candidates Gather at Altadena Forum

Candidates range from seasoned politicians to ‘Rubik’s Cube’ champion, ‘Neuro-diverse’ candidate, and former homeless actor turned Burbank mayor

Published on Thursday, February 22, 2024 | 5:21 am

Five candidates for the Fifth District LA County Supervisor seat in the March 5 elections gathered before a packed community room at Loma Alta Park in Altadena Wednesday evening for a candidate forum presented by The League of Women Voters-Pasadena Area and Neighbors Building a Better Altadena.  

The candidates—Konstantine Anthony, incumbent Kathryn Barger, Perry Goldberg, State Assemblymember Chris Holden, and Marlon Marroquin—represented a particularly wide range of backgrounds, from a candidate who, at 17, bested the world’s record for solving a Rubik’s Cube, to a former professional actor who served as Burbank’s first formally diagnosed autistic mayor of that city, another who described himself as “neuro-diverse,” along with two seasoned and experienced longtime politicians.  

Candidate Perry Goldberg, of Rubik’s Cube fame, identified the County’s problems in his opening statement as crime and homelessness. 

“LA County is the least affordable place to live in the entire country,” he said. “The cost of housing is sky high.” But, he added, “I don’t need to be doom and gloom because I’m actually an optimist. I consider myself a professional problem solver.”

“Neurodivergent” candidate Marroquin grew up in Sylmar and Little Rock, near Palmdale, and said, “ I’ve always praised Los Angeles County. I’ve always praised my home city and it worries me how everyone’s been feeling on the edge lately and how everyone has been not comfortable, and living in fear. And all we do is just kind of lock ourselves into our houses and try to figure out what is the next step, ‘What can we do?’ And I want to be that next step for the district.”

Konstantine Anthony, who was elected to the Burbank City Council in 2020, was an actor and a professional entertainer for about 20 years and off and on, which, he said, led to homelessness due to the nature of the career. 

“I was actually homeless six weeks before I was elected to the Burbank City Council,” he said. “And when I got into the seat, I took the time to fundamentally shift the way the city dealt with homelessness.” 

Anthony said that a recent local newspaper article showed that because of his proposals, the city of Burbank reduced homelessness by 8%, while County numbers increased by 4 percent. 

He also noted that he spent all last year as the mayor of the media capital of the world, “and for 191 days I was on the front lines with the WGA strike.” 

State Assemblymember Chris Holden, who was a Pasadena Councilmember from 1989 to 2012 and during that time the City’s Mayor for 2 years, highlighted his accomplishments in the State assembly. Holden terms out of the Assembly this year.

“I think we’ve been able to get a lot accomplished” in the Assembly, Holden said.

“I grew up in this community,” said Holden. “I’ve lived here my entire life and it’s been very much of a privilege to be able to address issues as I’ve heard them from the community. So whether it was my first year on the city council in Pasadena and working to bring a healthcare clinic to meet the needs of  the uninsured, all of what I’ve been trying to do for the last three, five years in elected office in this area, and in this region is to solve problems.”

Incumbent Kathryn Barger also pointed to her record of eight years on the LA County Board of Supervisors and said that homelessness had dropped in the County by four percent but that was “not enough.”

Said Barger, “We have to get out of the way and allow building to take place not only on transit borders but throughout the entire region. The county has an opportunity in the next six years to put 90,000 units online through the state mandate that we bring housing forward. My commitment is to work with not only Altadena, but to change the landscape of the entire county.”

Barger also said that she “took the initiative to allocate funding for law enforcement to increase in areas where we have unincorporated shops, and to increase patrols. But, she added, “Arresting our way out  is not going to address what’s going on. It’s important to collaborate with our district attorney and with our justice partners, whether it be the diversion program or with boys and girls clubs to address the prevention side of it, finding out what is going on and why our kids are filling up the juveniles and  our jails.” 

All of the five candidates pointed to the problems with homelessness and crime in the county, with Perry proposing that the County purchase thousands of acres of farmland in Northern Los Angeles county to build affordable housing, while both Barger and Holden praised the recent order by Board of State and Community Corrections, which declared both Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, and the Barry J. Nidorf Secure Youth Treatment Facility in Sylmar, to be shut down in the next 60 days over “substandard” conditions.

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