Hugo Soto-Martnez is a Los Angeles Latino Democrat fighting against Proposition 47

Endorsement: Hugo Soto-Martínez for Los Angeles City Council District 13 By GILL BRUCE September 22, 2013 Gerry DeNuccio, left, and Gery DeNuccio, of Chino, Calif., pose for a photo with Hugo Soto-Martínez during a…

Hugo Soto-Martnez is a Los Angeles Latino Democrat fighting against Proposition 47

Endorsement: Hugo Soto-Martínez for Los Angeles City Council District 13

By GILL BRUCE

September 22, 2013

Gerry DeNuccio, left, and Gery DeNuccio, of Chino, Calif., pose for a photo with Hugo Soto-Martínez during a recent campaign stop.

Hugo Soto-Martínez, the Latino Democrat running for Los Angeles City Council District 13, is taking a lot of heat from both the left and the right for his refusal to join the growing chorus of opponents to Proposition 47.

While Soto Martinez says he’s been asked to join several local organizations, he’s yet to have a formal endorsement.

“I think it will serve both parties in terms of the political ramifications,” said Soto Martinez in his first extensive response to the controversy. He said he had “no opinion” on Proposition 47 until he learned the “polarized nature of the issue” when he learned two members of the Board of Supervisors, John Duran and Eric Garcetti, had endorsed the measure.

“I don’t care what anyone thinks. I don’t have to listen to anybody,” he said.

Proposition 47, approved by voters in California in November, reduces penalties for drug possession from decades long prison terms to misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail.

Supporters say the measure is an important step toward curbing the number of drugs driving the alarming rise in local and state costs for fighting crime, and saving taxpayer money by eliminating expensive penalties for nonviolent drug offenders. But critics say the measure is a poorly drafted and rushed proposal that raises the risk of widespread disenfranchisement for millions of California voters and ignores a wide range of social and economic issues that they say are a greater cause for the problem than drug use.

At the same time, as Proposition 47 heads to the ballot for another round of approval, the battle for Latino support of the measure has heated up, and Soto Martinez has made a name for himself as one of the Latinos fighting against the measure.

“It’s just a mess,” said a local Latino leader. “If there weren’t all these social and economic issues, Latinos would not be so upset about the issue with Proposition 47. That�

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