If Los Angeles County government is a dysfunctional family, who better than a mother of four to fix it?
Roxanne Beckford Hoge is proud to show her maternal stripes in her race to become the next District 3 County Supervisor — it’s a core value of her campaign, along with her unapologetically right-of-center, no-nonsense approach.
Beckford was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1970s. For the past 30 years, Beckford has been a television actor, known for her work on A Different World. She also found success in the business world when she and her husband founded a maternity clothing website in the late 1990s.
Now, she’s ready to turn her focus on serving the people.
“When LA’s children and businesses were sacrificed over the past two years, while vulnerable seniors and our homeless population were ignored and all of us felt the rise in crime, we all looked to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and found most of them completely lacking,” she said.
What is your take on the Board of Supervisors and retiring Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose position you are hoping to take over?
I think many people who go into public service start out with one intention and then the job ends up being about getting re-elected. She has never been seen in the Valley that I know of in the past five years.
By the way, the districts for the Board of Supervisors in our county are ridiculously large. Really, we should have better representation, which means more direct representation. It’s kind of crazy that the most populous county in the United States of America has one of the smallest board of supervisors. All they do is spend their time getting elected and then now that we have term limits, which I think people thought would help, they just seek another office, so there’s this Hollywood Squares type of rotation.
We should go back to what the Founders intended, which is, people leave the private sector to serve for a time in the public sector and then leave to live under the rules and the laws that they themselves made. These people treat their constituents and anyone who differs from them politically like trash. They are condescending and mean to people in the office and people out of the office.
For two years, the Board of Supervisors deemed themselves essential enough to get their paycheck but not to show up anywhere. So it was just two weeks ago they went back to the office and they still don’t let people petition for a redress of grievances.
We need real diversity.
What would you bring to the board?
My melanin content doesn’t have anything to do with my abilities. When everyone just goes “yeah yeah yeah” in a room, you don’t get to good decisions. Nobody ever starts out on the same page. And so the job is to hear all sides and come to a conclusion that — in a funny way of saying it — makes everyone feel bad.
That they gave up something. You want everyone to have to get in the game and you want everyone to understand why you came to the conclusion you did. I was actually just at dinner last night with some friends who had been robbed. Literally someone came into their house with weapons. They didn’t care about the vaccination data of the cops who showed up. They just wanted to not be executed in their beds at night.
Where do you place yourself on the spectrum between liberal and conservative?
It’s a non-partisan race. I became a citizen in 2000 and I registered no party preference. As I always say I’m a member of the “leave me the heck alone” party. What’s missing in Los Angeles is balance and we can see that on the board. Everything they vote on is 5-0 or 4-1, and while I’m sure they’re all lovely ladies, there’s no reason not to have viewpoint diversity on the board. I’m pretty sure I would not agree policy-wise with all four of them on anything.
Does your political stance line up with your potential constituents’ values?
A group of moms pushed me to run. They are all Democrats who have become absolute 100 percent single issue voters. They’re saying stop hurting my children. They’re ACT Blue, they have Bernie stickers, they’re all in on Kamala Harris, and they’re done. They have two issues: medical freedom and crime. And if the only way to get that is to vote for someone who’s a conservative or a member of the Republican Party, they’re all in.
The Board of Supervisors has a difficult and adversarial relationship with the Sheriff’s Department. What would you do differently?
I think this is where being a mother of four actually should be a requirement for this job because this is a dysfunctional family relationship if you’ve ever seen one. They’re supposed to work together. The sheriff is supposed to be handling more important things than plastic forks or whether furriers work in in L.A. County. And the relationship shouldn’t be cozy. It shouldn’t be ‘We’re besties and rubber stamping everything.’ I can’t really talk about the Sheriff’s relationship with the Board without also talking about the L.A. Public Health Department’s relationship with the Board because those are two extremes.
The relationship should be one that requires critical thinking. I’m gonna ask you hard questions. I deserve and need answers for our constituents. I want to know where the money is going. I want to know what your plan is to solve x, y and z problems. I understand the frustration on both sides but especially for the sheriff. He is where the buck actually stops. Everyone knows we have a sheriff; not everyone knows we have a board of supervisors. He’s the face of anything that should go wrong.
By the way, this contentious relationship hasn’t, by the grace of God, led to a wholesale disaster yet … but it will because he’s had to sign off on over 100 hours of overtime for his officers that are remaining and allowed to work thanks to the hiring freeze and the budget freeze. At some point one of those officers will make a mistake that will be deadly. I 100 percent support the Sheriff on the crucial things, our right to pursuit of happiness, life and liberty and actual bodily protection. The relationship needs to get a reset, which we will get if I’m elected to the Board of Supervisors.
What direction is L.A. County heading in?
The thing about Angelinos is we’re all so chill, right? We’ll pass tax increases because we just want to solve problems. We want to help people and we will sacrifice our own personal safety and even that of our children so that nobody thinks we’re bad or racist. Nobody will say, “You know, I know it’s pretty crappy to have piles of garbage on the street,” because they don’t want to be that one, but guess what? It looks really crappy to have garbage on the street. And it was one of the things that, when I came to this country, I marveled at. I remember saying to my stepdad, “Hey where’s your garbage?” He’s like “We don’t just put it on the side of the road, and we have a garbage collection.”
And we have a library system. Again, one of the things that the Board of Supervisors is supposed to take care of. And I don’t think people appreciate that other countries don’t have that. So if you are a kid with an intellectual bed but your family doesn’t have one or your poor or your whatever going into a public library is like opening a golden ticket to a whole new world and the fact that we can’t go to our library because they’re homeless centers. When we take away libraries, guess what, that’s pretty racist. And that leads to inequity, because that’s a place where kids could get a leg up.
When we closed school, we sentenced untold numbers of children to bad futures. There’s a cohort of kids between the ages of 1 and 4 — their vocabulary is restricted by a huge amount. L.A. psychiatrist Dr. Mark McDonald has written and talked about this. Now that schools are back, public and private are all saying that the kids back in school are having huge behavior problems. They don’t know how to function. Kids who are in ninth grade for example: The last time they had school, they were in seventh grade. A kid who’s in second grade has never seen their teachers’ face until this year. So we have done a grand experiment on a grand scale that will have some repercussions for young people for years to come.
How could you represent WeHo better than Lindsey Horvath, an elected official who’s already represented the city?
I am not a career politician. I am not interested in esthetic stuff. I am not interested in being in this for life. When I said I was gonna run some unnamed people came to me and said, “Well you know Bob Hertzberg, we think he’s gonna win, and maybe if you step out of the race you could work for him.” And I was like, “I have no interest in being a bureaucrat.” What little girl wakes up and says, “One day if play my cards right, I’d like to ticket people or ruin their lives or write regulations that we’d love to make you jump through?” But that’s not what I want to do. I’m a problem solver. I’ve always been a problem solver and a storyteller in my business and into my professional life as an actor. And there are too many untold stories in L.A.. There’s too many of us who came here to live a dream and ended up in a nightmare.