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Candidates For LA Mayor To Protest Voter Suppression and Debate Exclusion

LOS ANGELES:- Four candidates for Mayor of Los Angeles, who have been certified to appear on the June primary ballot, have been purposely excluded from participating in a debate at Cal State LA scheduled for May 1st, based solely on personal bias in place of any independent criteria, according to a statement.

“These same certified candidates have also been excluded from previous Mayoral debates. These candidates will now participate in a protest rally highlighting their exclusion and the blatant voter suppression by debate organizers at a taxpayer-funded public educational institution. They are joined by former Council member Dennis Zine and supporters,” said the statement.

The hosting institutions of these debates have only invited those candidates they have arbitrarily anointed for inclusion in their personal judgment, without any independent criteria. They have instead relied solely on the personal preference of Raphael Sonenshein, Director of the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State LA.

This arbitrary decision denies citizens the opportunity to hear from all qualified candidates for Mayor. Cal State LA is a public educational institution that has no business engaging in voter suppression, censorship, or denying the public an open debate.

The League of Women Voters Los Angeles is also participating in this voter suppression, a direct affront to their long-standing tradition of inclusion and fairness. As voter education is one of LWV’s primary goals, they are running in direct opposition to their call for “integrity, impartiality, and equality” for all local elections, breaking a more than 100-year tradition of inclusion. By their own statement, they have not created criteria, but instead deferred entirely to Professor Sonenshein’s sole, arbitrary discretion.

To date, the only Los Angeles mayoral candidates invited to take the stage at Cal State LA have been Rep. Karen Bass, City Atty. Mike Feuer, businessman Rick Caruso, and Councilmen Kevin de León and Joe Buscaino. No independent criteria for inclusion or exclusion of participating candidates was used. If these candidates honestly care about transparency in government and the democratic process, they would refuse to participate unless all certified candidates are allowed to participate. The fact that they have not says much about them.

California has a strong track record of embracing democracy, as seen in debates over the last decade, which have included up to sixteen people, and even a former porn star debating Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, breaking that reputation, here in Los Angeles, no institution has set any independent criteria for inclusion or exclusion of debates – this is simply the preference of self-anointed individuals and public institutions who are substituting their biased judgment over the desires of citizens for free and open debates.

At a time when this city is in crisis, the people of Los Angeles deserve to hear from more voices, not fewer. At a time when over half the population is undecided, voters deserve to hear from everyone. Angelenos demand a fair and independent criterion. The people of Los Angeles deserve to decide this election, instead of having institutions like Cal State LA and the League of Women Voters engage in active censorship and suppression.


Mayoral candidates (in alphabetical order) Craig Greiwe, Alex Grunenfelder, Gina Viola and Mel Wilson.
Supporters and former Council member Dennis Zine

Tuesday, April 12, 2022
12:00 PM PT

Cal State Los Angeles
5151 State University Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90032
(More Details to Come)


The city of Los Angeles is in crisis and this election is a pivotal moment in the future of our city. The citizens of Los Angeles deserve the right to hear from all certified candidates, so they make a truly informed decision of who to vote for.

For far too long, candidates with fresh ideas on how to improve Los Angeles and tackle its many problems have been ignored; their voices silenced by the career elected officials and insiders running for Mayor. In what is too often the case, public institutions and the media have decided for the voters that they should only hear from elected officials and the wealthy. That is wrong, it is undemocratic and it’s a form of voter suppression.

“Angelenos, for the most part, are only hearing from Joe Busciano, Kevin DeLeon, Mike Feuer, Karen Bass and Rick Caruso this time around. This is not right and must change. The citizens of Los Angeles deserve the chance to make a fully informed decision on whom to vote for in June,” said the statement.


Craig Greiwe

Former Chief Strategy Officer of Rogers & Cowan/PMK, Craig Greiwe, helped major Fortune 500 Companies realign their resources to reach major goals and designed programs that helped thousands of people. Now he is running for Mayor of Los Angeles as a centrist. If elected, Greiwe pledges to apply the same mentality from his career to rebuild LA from the ground up with a series of ambitious programs, all without raising taxes, while simultaneously breaking the cycle of broken leadership in LA.

Greiwe’s plan to tackle the city’s problems in homelessness, affordability, crime, corruption and more—the only full, published plans of any candidate—includes results-oriented policies to prevent new homelessness and end the crisis on the streets of LA through comprehensive, proven solutions of both housing and care that are working nationally, but have not been implemented in Los Angeles. His approach to ending homelessness will also allow LAPD to focus on the recent increase in crime, putting 3,000 officers back on patrol without needing new funding; his approach to affordability plan will create a city everyone can afford and wants to live, work, and play in. Learn more at and online on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @CraigForMayorLA.

Alex Grunenfelder

Alex Gruenenfelder Smith is a social justice advocate, community organizer, and Echo Park Neighborhood Councilman. As the youngest mayoral candidate in Los Angeles history, Alex is fighting for fact-based progressive policies. Alex is working to bring his experience working in the community and in local government to City Hall. Visit and follow @MayorAlexLA on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Gina Viola

Gina Viola is a grassroots-based Mayoral candidate for the city of Los Angeles. Gina has lived her entire life in Los Angeles and felt compelled to run a people-powered campaign to provide this beloved city with a candidate that wants every community to thrive; a candidate that understands that when the most vulnerable among us are well, we are all well! Viola is also a mother of 2 LAUSD children, a business owner of 25 years, and a community advocate. Viola spent her early years in Los Angeles organizing around LGBTQ rights with APLA and then mentoring with an organization, Girls & Gangs, whose board she eventually sat on. In addition, she fights for racial and social justice and works to combat the glaring inequities in Los Angeles. Visit and follow @GinaforLA on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Mel Wilson

Los Angeles Mayoral candidate Mel Wilson was raised in the San Fernando Valley and attended church in South Los Angeles. He is a CSUN business graduate and an All-American and NFL football player. He is a long-time housing advocate, business leader and community advocate. As owner of the Mel Wilson & Associates, a real estate brokerage firm, he has helped thousands of first-time buyers create generational wealth. The former Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board member and Los Angeles City Fire Department commissioner has been trusted by three L.A. City mayors – Democrats and Republicans. Mel is the father of three grown children and lives in Northridge with his wife of more than 48 years, Bessie. Under his leadership, Los Angeles will become a better city to live, work and play. Visit and follow Instagram/Twitter @mel4abetterla and


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