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Valley voters head to polls to decide heated, big-money L.A. council race

December 8, 2009 |  6:30 am

Vote
Voters in the San Fernando Valley head to the polls today to decide who should replace former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel. The runoff between state Assemblyman Paul Krekorian and former Paramount Pictures Corp. executive Christine Essel has grown heated in recent weeks as outside groups have poured nearly $1 million into the race.

In a district that includes portions of Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village, Valley Glen, North Hollywood, Sun Valley, Shadow Hills and Sunland-Tujunga, many voters have expressed concerns about development and what they characterize as a disconnect between City Hall and Valley residents.

Essel, who previously headed the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency board and served as chairwoman of the Central City Assn., has characterized Krekorian as a job-hopping politician. Krekorian, a former president of the Burbank school board who has assiduously courted neighborhood leaders, argued that Essel was too closely tied to “downtown interests” and criticized the spending on her behalf by unions representing the construction trades and Los Angeles Department Water and Power workers. (For full coverage of the 2nd District race, click here.)

About 13% of voters in the 2nd District participated in the Sept. 22 primary race, which had nine candidates. Krekorian led Essel in that round 34% to 28%. With 124,867 voters registered for today’s election, the Los Angeles City Clerk’s office issued 22,437 vote-by-mail ballots. Just under half had been returned Monday. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.. For information on polling places call (213) 978-0444 or (888) 873-1000.

-- Maeve Reston at L.A. City Hall

Photo: Joe and Mildred Higgins put up signs marking the way to vote at the Osula Education Center in Studio City. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Twitter.com/LATimesReston

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