L.A. Votes: Election Day! Candidates barnstorm, new controversies emerge
Tuesday is election day in Los Angeles, and voters will weigh in on who should be the city’s next mayor and decide on a measure that would boost the city’s sales tax. Also on the ballot are contests for city controller, city attorney, eight council districts, and board seats for the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles Community College District. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and voters can also drop off mail-in ballots at polling stations.
After many months of campaigning and a frenzy of television ads and mailers, voters still have few details of how the top mayoral contenders would deal with the city's financial problems.
In their final push before voters headed to the polls, the candidates barnstormed Los Angeles. Eric Garcetti had an early morning meeting with union workers in Wilmington before embarking on a “whistle-stop” tour, taking public transit to greet voters throughout the city. Greuel completed a swing that took her to 30 events in the three days preceding Election Day, including testing out her moves with an elementary school drill team. Jan Perry campaigned not only for herself, but also against Measure A, which would raise the city’s sales tax to 9.5%. Kevin James hit the Original Farmers Market with former Mayor Richard Riordan.
Candidates in the down-ballot races were also busy. City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, who is facing a tough reelection bid, returned to the campaign trail Monday after taking time off because of the death of his mother on Saturday. And Eastside council hopeful Gil Cedillo put out a call from California Gov. Jerry Brown.
Last-minute controversies continued to dog the candidates. The California chapter of the National Organization of Women and Garcetti slammed radio and Web ads by Greuel and her allies that pointed out that Perry declared bankruptcy years ago. And county supervisor and fellow Republican Michael Antonovich cried foul over a James fundraising plea that purported to come from Antonovich. The supervisor said the appeal included comments he never made. James’ campaign manager apologized.
The candidates are voting today, but they will continue to woo voters around the city, mindful that in what is expected to be a low-turnout contest, a small number of votes could swing key races. After the polls close, they will settle in and wait for the results before speaking at election night parties.
The public might get a brief respite from campaign ads because the top two candidates continuing to the May 21 runoff in any unresolved races must begin raising donations again. As for the losers, they will have to decide whether to endorse one of the rivals they have spent months attacking.
For comprehensive coverage of today's developments and tonight's results, visit www.latimes.com for updates from the campaign trail, scenes from election night parties, Web chats with the reporters covering the races, and video reports.
-- Seema Mehta
Comments, questions or tips on city elections? Tweet me at @LATSeema
Photo: Mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti, left, and mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, right, talk to media after casting his ballot at separate polling stations. (Irfan Khan and Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)