L.A. Times endorsement of Lindsey Horvath raises conflict of interest questions

Despite her cozy relationship with the newspaper owner’s daughter — Nika Soon-Shiong — Horvath sees no conflict of interest

The Los Angeles Times‘ editorial board has endorsed WeHo Councilmember Lindsey Horvath in the race to become one of the most powerful elected officials in L.A. County.

The Times said Horvath’s election to the five-member Board of Supervisors would give it “a jolt of youthful energy and accelerate its sense of urgency.”

The newspaper described her as being on the “cutting edge in demanding law enforcement accountability, deep coordination among municipalities, thinking through unarmed responses to people experiencing mental health breakdowns or other crises, and getting services to people living on the street,” mirroring her campaign claim that she got 80 percent of homeless people in WeHo into housing and supportive care.

The Los Angeles Times is owned by billionaire mogul Patrick Soon-Shiong. His daughter, Nika Soon-Shiong, is a friend and political ally of Horvath’s. The two met through the Mayors for Guaranteed Income program, and last year Horvath appointed Soon-Shiong to the influential Public Safety Commission. Together they’ve advocated for several controversial policies that have come before City Council, including the proposal to slash the sheriff’s budget and reduce the number of deputies patrolling West Hollywood. That proposal elicited a fierce public backlash, with much of the ire directed toward Soon-Shiong. Horvath defended Soon-Shiong on more than one occasion, even claiming the public’s criticism was “rooted in racism.”

“We would not have had this conversation tonight were it not for a courageous commissioner who spoke up and spoke her mind,” Horvath said in early April during discussion of the sheriff’s reduced budget. “And I find it disgusting the way that she has been vilified in local blogs and demonized for offering an alternative point of view.”

Many WEHOville readers wondered whether Horvath believed that receiving or even seeking the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times would be unethical, or at the very least give the appearance of a conflict of interest.

“I don’t,” she told WEHOville in an exclusive interview last week. “Nika isn’t part of the editorial board. She’s not a staff member of the L.A. Times so I’m going to leave that to them to decide whether they believe it is a conflict of interest.”

But investigative journalists tell a different story.

“She’s not on the masthead, but Nika Soon-Shiong has become a regular voice in the Los Angeles Times’ newsroom” wrote the Daily Beast.

The social justice-crusading daughter of the publisher of the LA Times may have an outsized influence at the paper. wrote LA Mag.

Far from being a distant figure, Soon-Shiong has in fact emerged as a leading voice at the Times, advising her father on the direction of the paper and gaining clout and influence in the newsroom for her progressive viewpoints and her rapport with the editorial staff. She was instrumental in preventing the word “looting” from being used by L.A. Times writers in stories about the George Floyd protests of 2020.

Whether the Times‘ endorsement has any bearing on the vote totals of next month’s primary remains to be seen. Absentee and early voting ballots began dropping this week. Election Day is June 7, and because there are so many candidates running, a runoff election in November likely will be necessary.

If Horvath succeeds in making the runoff and then emerges victorious, she will relinquish her seat on City Council and take office as the next District 3 Supervisor next year.

If she does not make the runoff, she will likely shift her campaign mode, jumping back into the re-election race for City Council.

If she makes the runoff but does not win, she will be forced to relinquish her seat on City Council and will not be able to run for re-election.

Was it ethical for Lindsey Horvath to seek the endorsement of the LA Times?

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Left Field
Left Field
14 days ago

The politicians of West Hollywood have used different variations of the same old song and dance for 20 years. Past council members were just better singers and dancers.

What next!
What next!
14 days ago

Give me a break. The Los Angeles Times. It’s nothing but a mouthpiece for Dr Schlong and his daughter. The print edition is so small you can’t even wrap a fish in it. You can get the online edition for a dollar… For 6 months. There is no advertising. No one under 40 even takes it. Horvath does but she is over 40. The Chandler knew it was dying. John Duran was endorsed by the Times in his race for Supervisor. He lost. What are Horvath’s odds? No one would even take a bet? The old maid Barbie Doll is… Read more »

Pedro Baptista
Pedro Baptista
14 days ago

74% – 26%? Wow! She must be thrilled that no one in WeHo really supports her and her carpet bagger banker.

Jo Perry
Jo Perry
14 days ago

It is the L.A. Times’s Editorial Board that is unethical here when they failed to disclose the relationship between Horvath and Nika Soon-Shiong and that Horvath appointed her to the commission. At minimum the Editorial Board should have noted that fact.

Joshua88
Joshua88
13 days ago
Reply to  Jo Perry

As far as I know, the Ed Board stays out of the news business and vice versa.
If they didn’t endorse, would CC member Horvath have rescinded her appointment?

WehoFan
WehoFan
11 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

The editorial board stays out of the news business? Seriously? You are living in a different era.

The Three Stooges
The Three Stooges
15 days ago

Welcome to a new generation of corruption and pay to play politics from Horvath, Erickson and Shyne. This is just the beginning of their quest to sell off West Hollywood to their special interest cronies while ignoring the actual citizens of the City or worst, treating them with complete contempt and disrespect, which has been seen countless time now in their short terms in office. But hey at least we are WOKE and housekeepers are getting $40/hour. How soon before our 1.8 square miles resembles the tenderloin in San Francisco with these pals.

Ben McCormick
Ben McCormick
15 days ago

I’ve known Lindsey for over fifteen years, since a sunny Saturday when I sat next to her during a panel for Commission and Advisory Board members held at Plummer Park; I was a newly minted member of LGAB, she of the Women’s Advisory Board. I’ve enjoyed sharing thoughts and ideas with her over the years and was quite happy to see her political career take off. As a matter of fact, I worked as part of her campaign team during her first (failed) attempt at running for a Council seat. I also used to respect Lindsey and her visions for… Read more »

So long far well
So long far well
9 days ago
Reply to  Ben McCormick

Wow! This is well said! Exactly how I feel. I was a champion for Lindsey. I supported her and convinced she would be out next congresswoman but alas the political climb has shown true colors. Very sad indeed.

voter
voter
15 days ago

Lindsey Horvath is listed as Councilmember/Small Businessowner on the ballot. I thought she claimed to be an advertising executive? What is the name, type, and nature of her business?

This type of deception–and claiming in her campaign literature to have reduced homelessness by 80%–are just a couple of reasons to be distrustful of this candidate.

JF1
JF1
15 days ago
Reply to  voter

It’s more like homelessness has increased by 80% during her time on the council. That number that she threw out is laughable.

So long far well
So long far well
9 days ago
Reply to  JF1

I think you mean decreased right?

Does This Add Up?
Does This Add Up?
11 days ago
Reply to  voter

Claims to be Advertising, Entertainment & Marketing Executive, 2004 graduate of Notre Dame, BA in Political Science & Gender Studies. UCLA Certificate in Non-Profit/Public Organizational Management 2013. Formerly listed as employed by Cold Open and Leroy & Rose, now owner of her own business unknown name. President of NOW/Hollywood 2005.

Does this add up?

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
16 days ago

The West Hollywood Mayor and LA County District Attorney should request Team Horvath-SoonShiong’s immediate resignations based on potential financial donations following any LA Times vote-for me endorsement. Will be interesting Public Comments at next council meeting.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
16 days ago

A question for anyone who might know the answer. If she leaves the City Council, do her commission appointees also leave?

Larry Block
Admin
16 days ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

Yes. The person who gets her seat will have a chance to appoint their own commission and board members.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
15 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Thanks! Follow up question, can someone be appointed again by the next person who gets her seat. I could see Wright or Oliver bringing Soon-Shiong back, if it’s possible. There might be another way Soon-Shiong can participate in politics (get lots of attention) if Lindsey is elected, so she may not want to be appointed again.

Larry Block
Admin
15 days ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

Shiong is a direct appointed of Horvath. All commissioners serve 2 years, Oliver is an at-large and would have to be appointed direct or voted in by a majority of the new council.

The Three Stooges
The Three Stooges
15 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Oliver and Wright are running and would be allies to the Three Stooges if elected. They are part of the same outside machine. Shiong would be back and chair.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
14 days ago

That’s what I was thinking as well. Wright seems like a D.C. politician, and will try to build “coalitions” with all kinds of people from outside. Oliver will want to seem relevant, and part of the cool crowd, despite the lack of intersectionality.

OUT
OUT
16 days ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

Clean sweep OUT for some of the aggressive parrots.

Robert Kechter
Robert Kechter
16 days ago

I have never and can say with confidence, that I will never vote for Horvath. I have not seen any attempts or resuts that Horvath has brought while in office. I have seen her pursue many self-interest proposals while taking every opportunity to self-promote herself. She has never been one to pass an opportunity to be the spokesperson of West Hollywood. During her first term on the council, I remember her quest to ban smoking in front of bars and nightclubs, forgetting that these venues paid the city for the use of the sidewalks, paying a hefty fee at that.… Read more »

History Doesn't Forget, We Forget
History Doesn't Forget, We Forget
16 days ago
Reply to  Robert Kechter

The propagator of platitudes. Many observed the same evolution of non-evolution at the risk of the residents.

So long far well
So long far well
9 days ago
Reply to  Robert Kechter

Fantastic testament

West
16 days ago

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the… Read more »

History Doesn't Forget, We Forget
History Doesn't Forget, We Forget
16 days ago
Reply to  West

A great quote at an important time. Time for folks to review or learn the history they never knew.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
15 days ago
Reply to  West

Wow, completely apt. “He rots the soul of a nation” speaks to our lived reality that Lindsey Horvath has ushered in a period and level of divisiveness never before seen in West Hollywood. Hers has always been an agenda of her. She speaks of being “called to service”. Who isn’t called to service? Nurses, housekeepers, architects, teachers, fireman, doctors, lawyers, assembly line workers, pilots, waiters, actors, we’re all of service to the greater good. Her sanctimonious platitudes infect the body politic with the self-promoting insincerity attendant to them. Her lies and exaggerations are on full display for the world to… Read more »

Rose
Rose
16 days ago

I have very strong mixed emotions about Horvath going for Being On Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors 1. She was so incompetent & lacking skills, experience or a willingness to put two thoughts together. She has had a long run in WeHo resulting in most just a lack of any improvements for City & Residents for Daily Life (kitchen table issues) 2 YEAH! YES! BEST CHOICE POSSIBLE! as EASIEST WAY TO GET HER OUR OF WEHO AND HAVE NOTHING MORE TO DO WITH OUR SMALL LOCAL BIG (RELATIVELY) Issues. I vote at this moment, let’s get behind her County… Read more »

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