LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich has a long and storied history of inappropriate remarks and actions that are totally out-of-line with his constituents.
Here’s a trip down memory lane…
2014 – Immigration Order is “Welfare”
Antonovich criticized President Obama’s executive orders on undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Obama had suspended deportations of undocumented immigrants brought into the U.S. as children as well as the parents of Americans and legal immigrants. Antonovich called the executive order, which protects approximately 500,000 residents of Los Angeles County, “a tax-supported welfare program that rewards those who have broken the law.”(1)
2013 – Lone Vote Opposing the Voting Rights Act
Antonovich was the lone vote against encouraging Congress “to restore a portion of the Voting Rights Act struck down by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina called for an update of Section 4 of the 1965 federal law, urging their colleagues to allow county lobbyists in Washington, D.C., to go to work on the issue.”(2)
2007 – Law Professor Comparable to Al Qaida
Antonovich launched a campaign to force UC Irvine School of Law to fire noted constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky because of Chemerinsky’s stances supporting the separation of church and state and a woman’s right to choose. “It's like putting al-Qaida in charge of homeland security,” Antonovich said.(3)
2007 – No to a Living Wage
Antonovich voted against raising the minimum wage paid to county-contracted full-time employees. “The plan calls for the "living wage" to be increased from $8.32 an hour with health-care benefits to $9.64 per hour, and $9.46 per hour without health benefits to $11.84 an hour. The ordinance, which will receive final approval next week, would apply to about 1,600 full-time employees contracted by Los Angeles County, including janitors, landscapers and cafeteria employees.”(4)
2006 – Attacking the Catholic Church
Antonovich criticized officials with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for announcing they would “ignore a proposed federal law that would require churches to ask immigrants for residency documents before administering help.” Cardinal Roger Mahoney said, “The church is not in a position of negotiating the spiritual and the corporal works of mercy. We must be able to minister to people, regardless of how they got here.” Antonovich criticized the cardinal's views, saying Mahony is trying to divert attention away from sexual abuse allegations that have rocked the Catholic Church in recent years.(5)
2004 – Pay for Pets, But Not People
Antonovich proposed the county commission a report on the feasibility of providing discounted pet insurance for county employees.
From the Los Angeles Daily News:
When Antonovich's proposal to ask for a report on a discounted pet insurance program for county employees came up for a vote Tuesday, fellow Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky blasted it, saying it "spelled foolishness," and that the report alone would cost thousands of dollars.
The Democrats also used the opportunity to criticize Antonovich, a Republican and avowed animal lover, for his past votes against proposals to expand the living-wage ordinance to more county contractors and provide health benefits to domestic partners of county employees.
"The foolishness of this speaks for itself," Molina said. "It's unbelievable, at a time like this, with all the crises we have."
1999 – Any Gun You Want, You Got It
Antonovich made a number of moves in 1999 to block any gun control whatsoever. He voted to support gun manufactures over gun victims,(6) and he voted against a measure to ban the junk guns known as “Saturday Night Specials”.(7)
He also voted to support a gun show so unregulated, that during a sting operation, law enforcement officers “found illegal weapons so readily available...that agents ran out of money” trying to buy them back. Antonovich claimed the ban was “political grandstanding that penalizes the law-abiding.”(8)
1995-1996 – Defending a Disgraced Officer
In 1996, Antonovich served as a member of the “Homecoming Committee” at a fundraiser for convicted former LAPD officer Lawrence Powell in Washington, DC. “The national Anti-Defamation League denounced the event and members of the NAACP picketed the dinner at the Omni Shores Hotel.” Powell was “convicted of violating Rodney King’s civil rights during a 1991 videotaped beating in Lake View Terrace.”(9)
Antonovich was to have hosted an earlier party for Powell “on the grounds of the Los Angeles Police Academy.” That party was forced elsewhere after pressure from the City of Los Angeles.
Even more tasteless, in an earlier invitation for the event, Antonovich wrote that the police had “been taking a beating lately.”(10)
From the LA Times:
In a solicitation printed on stationery topped by the Los Angeles County seal, Antonovich begins his pitch to prospective supporters by writing: "The law enforcement community has been taking a beating lately," and continues by asking for support in raising $25,000 to help Powell pay his bills.
"This will be both a show of support and an effort to pay off Larry's old legal bills," Antonovich wrote. "You can bet the national news media will be watching to see what support Larry gets on his release from prison. Please be there to shake Larry's hand and thank him for his sacrifice for our community."
1995 – No Benefits for Gays
Antonovich opposed extending health benefits to the domestic partners of gay, lesbian and unmarried heterosexual county employees. “Antonovich said through a spokesman that it is wrong to extend benefits to gay or unmarried heterosexual partners of county employees”.(11)
1991 – The “Hot Flash” Incident
In a stunning display of sexism, Supervisor Antonovich referred to his female colleague’s idea as a result of a hot flash.(12)
From the LA Times:
…the argument was over Molina's proposal to pay for a replacement county bandwagon, a trailer that transports musical groups to parks and other public locations.
Molina suggested that the $90,000 trailer be purchased with funds accrued by departments that have saved money by leaving jobs vacant.
During the debate, Molina reiterated her criticism of the use of departmental savings for such things as expensive office renovations.
"The reality is the money is sitting there," she said. "Either we use it for a county bandwagon or we let it be used for a marble tabletop or some other fancy thing."
Calling Molina's remark "a cheap shot," Antonovich said such money had also been used for "innovative things." If supervisors seize control of those departmental savings, instead of leaving decisions about their use to department heads, it will remove the incentive to save, he said.
"What are you going to tell people? You're going to have your budget raided sometime in the year, when someone has a hot flash," said Antonovich, his face red with anger.
Trying to justify his remarks, Antonovich said “That's a term we've used in this board room for years. You say that when someone has a crazy idea.”
Antonovich was blasted for the remark by the LA Times Editorial Board:
A hot flash is a sensation of heat produced by fluctuating levels of the hormone estrogen. Many women experience hot flashes during menopause. … Not only is the implication -- that hot flashes are associated with mental or emotional instability -- incorrect, it is offensive. Antonovich's spokesman compounded the insult while expressing the supervisor's "regrets" by denying that his statement represented an apology because "he did not intend the remark as an insult" to "Gloria Molina or women . . . ."
1990 – No Gays Allowed
Antonovich pushed the Board of Supervisors to offer support to the Boy Scouts of America, which was fighting a lawsuit by a “scoutmaster who was excluded from the organization because he is gay.” The measure failed on a split vote.(13)
1985 – The answer to the AIDS crisis was for gays to “go straight.”
Antonovich said the answer to the AIDS crisis was for homosexuals to go straight. He later amended that position to only healthy gays should go straight. "Seventy-five percent of the people who have AIDS are homosexual. Their promiscuous behavior has helped spread this disease," Antonovich said.(14)
1985 – A Funeral for Fetuses
Antonovich took a leading role in a funeral ceremony for 16,000 aborted fetuses to protest a woman’s right to choose. The funeral included hymns, prayers by five clergy members, a message from President Reagan, and a U.S. Marine Corps color guard.(15)
The Daily Breeze, 11/20/2014
City News Service, 8/27/2013
Orange County Register, 9/18/2007
City News Service, 2/6/2007
City News Service, 3/1/2006
Metropolitan News Enterprise, 2/3/1999
Metropolitan News Enterprise, 2/3/1999
Venture County Star, 8/29/1999
City News Service, 2/23/1996
Los Angeles Times, 10/28/1995
Los Angeles Times, 12/20/1995
Editorial, Los Angeles Times, 11/22/1991
Los Angeles Times, 10/31/1990
Los Angeles Times, 12/1/1985
Los Angeles Times, 10/7/1985