L.A.'s March election triggers avalanche of candidates
Ninety-two people have filed papers to run for city offices in the March 5 Los Angeles election, with three-fourths of them angling for seats on the 15-member council, according to a list posted Saturday by the Los Angeles city clerk.
With Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa stepping down next year, 14 people are seeking to replace him, including City Controller Wendy Greuel, council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry and former prosecutor Kevin James. Six people filed to run for city controller, a position being vacated by Greuel. Three are seeking to unseat City Atty. Carmen Trutanich: police and firefighter attorney Greg Smith, lawyer/advocate Noel Weiss and Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles).
Sixty-eight people turned in papers saying they intend to run for eight open council seats. That flood of interest was caused in large part by term limits, which will force the mayor and five council members to step down next year.
"Whenever there's a seat open, it's a field day," said Robert Stern, who helped draft the city's campaign finance law. "It's 12 years of a very high salary and lots of power."
The deadline for candidates to file a declaration of intent was noon Saturday. The biggest response came from people seeking to replace City Councilman Eric Garcetti, who must leave his Echo Park-to-Hollywood district after 12 years. Twenty people filed papers to run for his seat.
The candidate pool could shrink over the next month, as some contenders fail to collect the signatures required to get on the ballot. But with six out of eight council races lacking an incumbent, the number of candidates will almost certainly be the largest in at least 12 years.
In South Los Angeles, 12 people are seeking to replace Councilwoman Jan Perry, who was first elected in 2001 and is also running for mayor. In the west San Fernando Valley, eight filed papers to run for the seat being vacated by Councilman Dennis Zine, also elected in 2001 and a candidate for city controller.
Eight people are aiming for the northeast Valley post held by Councilman Richard Alarcon, who was first elected in 1993 and is finishing his last term. Seven are seeking to replace Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who is retiring because of illness after two terms representing a coastal district. And five are running for the Eastside seat held by Councilman Ed Reyes, who also faces term limits.
Two incumbent council members also face challenges. Four people are looking to unseat Councilman Paul Koretz, who is running for reelection and represents a heavily Westside district. And two are challenging Councilman Joe Buscaino, who is running for his first full four-year term in a district that stretches from Watts to San Pedro.
In addition to the city contests, 23 people are running for three board seats at the Los Angeles Unified School District. Sixteen are seeking spots on the seven-member Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees.
- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall