5 California Races That Hollywood Cares About
With the nation focused on the presidential contest, some in-state races are drawing Hollywood attention.
Berman vs. Sherman: Hollywood's interest in state politics will be on display in the bitter Democratic battle for the Valley's new 30th district. For years, U.S. Rep. Howard Berman has been the industry's go-to guy in the House on economic issues like piracy. Redistricting has thrust Berman into a newly configured district with fellow Dem Brad Sherman. Hollywood's biggest names -- Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and others -- have poured major money into his campaign, but Berman will be lucky to pull it out since Sherman's long representation of most of the district has provided formidable name identification.
Henry Waxman: Unlike his friend Berman, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman seems likely to cruise to victory against Republican Bill Bloomfield, who has pumped $3.7 million of his money into the campaign. Tennis Channel chief Ken Solomon has hosted a Waxman fund-raiser, but the veteran Democrat doesn't seem to need the money. Waxman is seeking to represent the newly configured 33rd district, which stretches from Malibu to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
L.A. District Attorney: Hollywood doesn't usually intervene in purely L.A. politics, but district attorney candidate Jackie Lacey is a rare exception. The chance to elect the county's first woman prosecutor, a local African-American progressive with an inspirational life story, has made her a draw on the showbiz fund-raising circuit as she battles Phil Spector prosecutor Alan Jackson. A Lacey fund-raiser at producer Lawrence Bender's house drew Brett Ratner and Ben Silverman.
Death Penalty: Although it's a long shot California voters will abolish capital punishment in favor of life sentences without parole, this is a cause dear to progressive Hollywood's heart. If Prop 34 passes, Hollywood's backing, led in part by singer Jackson Browne and actor Mike Farrell, will have been a critical element.
Condoms in Porn: Cue the "only-in-L.A." jokes. Measure B would mandate condom use by adult movie actors filming in L.A. County. Backers say the measure will protect health and promote safe sex. Opponents argue it would push the adult industry out of the San Fernando Valley, where it employs as many as 10,000 people.