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Category: elections

James calls mayoral run 'rewarding,' unsure if he will run again

Kevin James, who finished third as the sole Republican in the Los Angeles mayor’s race, said Wednesday that the experience was among the “most rewarding” in his life, and declined to rule out another run for office.

“Seeing so many people get involved in their community and being challenged every day …. by the other candidates, being challenged by voters, I thought that scrutiny was interesting and exciting, just everything about,” James said in an interview. “Fundraising is a bit monotonous, but other than that….I did 42 debates, I would have done 52 debates.”

He has not decided whether he will endorse one of the Democrats who made the runoff. But he said he has strict criteria on which he would make his decision and plans to meet with both City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Councilman Eric Garcetti.

“For Ms. Greuel, I need to have some confidence that there’s going to be some semblance of independence between her position as mayor and the public-sector unions,” James said.

Greuel was a major beneficiary of union spending in the race, and on Wednesday picked up the endorsement of a powerful union that represents 10,000 city workers.

“That just means that her hill gets steeper. That doesn’t mean she can’t achieve it,” James said.

“For Mr. Garcetti, I need to have some confidence and belief that he will run the office of mayor differently than he did as council president,” he said.

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Headed for May 21 runoff, Greuel gets influential labor backing

Standing aside Los Angeles trash collectors and machinists, mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel accepted the endorsement Wednesday of a powerful city workers union the morning after she won a spot in the May 21 runoff. She pledged to make sure labor has a role as the city struggles to navigate its dire financial straits.

“I am so grateful to the workers who every single day provide the services to our residents. Let’s not demonize them, let’s not divide our city. Let’s support our city,” Greuel said, accepting the endorsement of Service Employees International Union, Local 721, which represents 10,000 city workers. “Let’s support our workers, let’s support business and let’s support a brighter future because each of us can make a difference. It means the world to me to stand here today with all of you because you make us proud.”

If she is elected mayor, City Controller Greuel will face tough financial decisions that were exacerbated by the loss of Measure A on Tuesday, the half-cent sales tax measure. She said she could not rule out layoffs or furloughs, but pledged to work with all interests to find a solution.

“We can do this without balancing the city budget on the backs of working people. We can do this by not dividing our city but in fact bringing our city together. Does the city need to make changes in how we operate, collect and spend resources? Absolutely,” she said, adding that the city workers she stood with at the SEIU endorsement were part of the solution. “But I believe many of these changes that have happened in the city could have been done differently, through collaboration, partnership, collective bargaining with our city workers instead of behind closed doors. I think that’s important.”

The endorsement announcement was in a conference room at the union headquarters in downtown Los Angeles, adorned with a large freshly printed “Wendy for Mayor” poster in the union’s signature colors of purple and yellow. City workers surrounded the candidate, holding signs in the same colors that said, “LA City Workers for Wendy.”

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Sacramento veterans dominate L.A. City Council races

Assemblyman Bob BlumenfieldThree current and former state lawmakers won their races for Los Angeles City Council outright in Tuesday's primary election while two others were heading into runoffs, raising the possibility that about half of the council's 15 seats could be held by ex-Sacramento veterans.

Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills) prevailed in his race to replace Councilman Dennis Zine in the west San Fernando Valley. Former Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes won his contest in the northeast San Fernando Valley, where Councilman Richard Alarcon will step down this summer.

On the Eastside, former Assemblyman Gil Cedillo appeared headed to a May 21 runoff against council aide Jose Gardea, in the race to replace Councilman Ed Reyes. And in South Los Angeles, state Sen. Curren Price (D-Los Angeles) will be in a runoff with former council aide Ana Cubas.

RESULTS: Los Angeles primary election

Price, who is seeking to replace Councilwoman Jan Perry, said residents wanted "someone who can hit the ground running and bring about some change." Fuentes said the Sacramento candidates will bring expertise to City Hall. And Blumenfield said his constituents did not view his time in Sacramento negatively.

"I live in Woodland Hills. My kids are here, my wife is here, parents live across the street and they see me every day," he said at his election night party. "Nobody in this room feels that I'm a guy from Sacramento."

The council is undergoing its biggest transformation in 12 years. With incumbents stepping down in six of the eight races, dozens of candidates stepped forward to seek seats on the 15-member council, including several who spent time as legislators in Sacramento.

INTERACTIVE MAP: How your neighborhood voted

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Low turnout prompts talk of shifting L.A. election schedule

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Alarmed by poor turnout in this week's election, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson suggested Wednesday that city leaders look at scheduling city elections so that they coincide with state electoral contests. 

Turnout was just above 16%, according to the unofficial results released by the city clerk’s election division. Wesson called that number “awful” and “embarrassing” and said it should send a message to the city’s elected officials -- as well as to the voters themselves.  

“We need to look at maybe consolidating our elections with the state,” Wesson told his colleagues at Wednesday's council meeting. “We have to bring those turnout numbers … higher.” 

INTERACTIVE MAP: How your neighborhood voted

Wesson pushed for passage of Proposition A, the half-cent sales tax hike that would have generated $200 million to help balance the budget. The measure was rejected by 55% of voters. 

Wesson said he thought those who turned out were more politically conservative and that there were “maybe some angry folks as well.” 

ALSO:

Steve Lopez: Switch local elections to national cycle?

Suspect sought in polling place 'love triangle' shooting

L.A. mayor's race: SEIU, a key city union, endorses Wendy Greuel

--David Zahniser and Jessica Garrison at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times 

L.A. Votes: Dismal turnout, mayoral runoff, and failed sales tax

PHOTOS: Los Angeles voters go to the polls

This post has been corrected. See below for details.

After months of buildup and millions of dollars spent on a blizzard of television ads and mailers, Los Angeles voters went to the polls Tuesday and selected Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel to advance to a mayoral runoff. The long-time City Hall hands don’t have any plans to let up the day after the primary. They will be busy on the campaign trail on Wednesday, with Greuel expected to pick up the endorsement of another union representing city workers.

Rivals Jan Perry and Kevin James did not offer their concessions Tuesday night. James, who has never held elected office, received a hair more support than Perry, a three-term  Los Angeles councilwoman, in the final tally. A key question going forward will be whether they endorse Garcetti or Greuel, because their supporters could propel one of the finalists to victory.

Turnout in the city races was dismal at 16% in a contested mayoral primary. That’s lower than four years ago, when an incumbent was running for reelection. Political experts have speculated that the distinct lack of enthusiasm may have been caused by voter fatigue after a bruising and long presidential contest, coupled with a lack of excitement about the mayoral field. 

RESULTS: Los Angeles primary election

The voters who turned out overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to raise the city’s sales tax by a half-cent to one of the highest in the state. While all the major mayoral candidates opposed the measure, its failure creates a new headache for the next mayor of the city, which will face budget deficits projected at $216 million a year and more.

The city school board races saw an inordinate amount of outside spending, with two camps pouring millions of dollars into the contests. One side is funded by supporters of the policies advocated by L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa;  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote a $1 million check for that camp. The other side has the support of teachers unions. The result is a mixed bag for both sides, with board president Monica Garcia, a Deasy supporter, and Steve Zimmer, a union-backed candidate, both winning reelection.

Sacramento veterans lead in City Council races, and the city attorney and controller are also headed for a runoff.

INTERACTIVE MAP: How your neighborhood voted

Vote-counting took hours, but the greatest drama of the day took place in the morning. A morning shooting occurred outside a polling place in Watts, injuring a poll worker and halting voting for 30 minutes. The 35-year-old victim’s injuries were not life threatening. Police described the incident as a possible “love triangle” and are seeking a suspect.

Columnist Steve Lopez checked in on Election Day with the voters he has been in periodic touch with since January. They voted, despite their frustration with the field and with City Hall. “No one is turning cartwheels,” Lopez wrote.

[For the Record, 9:56 a.m. March 6: An earlier version of this online post gave the wrong name for  L.A. Unified School District Supt. John Deasy.]

ALSO:

Steve Lopez: Switch local elections to national cycle?

Suspect sought in polling place 'love triangle' shooting

L.A. mayor's race: SEIU, a key city union, endorses Wendy Greuel

-- Seema Mehta

Comments, questions or tips on city elections? Tweet me at @LATSeema 

Photo: Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel speak to supporters during election night gatherings. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times; Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

L.A. mayor's race: Garcetti and Greuel top the field

PHOTOS: Los Angeles voters go to the polls

City Councilman Eric Garcetti and Controller Wendy Greuel remained ahead of the pack in the race for mayor of Los Angeles early Wednesday morning with all city precincts reporting.

The top-two finishers in Tuesday’s election will face off in what is expected to be a bruising May 21 runoff. Only 16% of the city's 1.8 million registered voters cast ballots in the election.

Standing on a stage lined with supporters Tuesday evening, Garcetti thanked the those in the crowd for their help and said he’s ready to get to work on winning the runoff election in May. Garcetti held a slim margin over Greuel and a significant lead over the six other candidates in the mayoral race, returns showed.

INTERACTIVE MAP: How your neighborhood voted

“We have the most votes tonight, and it looks like we are heading to a runoff,” he said. “I’m ready to work as hard as it takes, I’m ready to get up as early as it takes. Tomorrow we’re going to get up, we’re going to get to work and we’re going to win this campaign.”

Greuel took the stage at 11 p.m. after being introduced by Assembly Speaker John Pérez to chants of “Wendy! Wendy! Wendy!”

“Although not all the votes are in, it sure looks good,” Greuel said. She thanked the other candidates: “After 42 debates, I know what your priorities are. In fact, I could probably recite your best lines.”

RESULTS: Los Angeles primary election

“We’re 11 weeks from making history, electing the first woman mayor,” Greuel said. “And, of course, the first mom.”

As with most elections, however, some ballots have yet to be tallied. The pool of uncounted votes usually consists of vote-by-mail ballots, including some that were turned in on election day, as well as provisional and damaged ballots.

Still, Garcetti and Greuel hold seemingly insurmountable leads over the next closest finishers -- attorney Kevin James and Councilwoman Jan Perry -- who appeared to be in a dead heat for third place, the vote count showed.

Emanuel Pleitez on Tuesday night conceded defeat as early returns showed he was capturing just a sliver of the vote.

FULL COVERAGE: L.A.'s race for mayor

"I'm feeling proud of what we accomplished, the issues we raised, the people we inspired and motivated in the city. At every turn, especially these last few days, there were people saying thank you for running, thank you for challenging the status quo," he said as he arrived at the M Bar in Boyle Heights to wait for the results with staff and supporters.

The vote for a measure to add a half-cent to the city’s sales tax appeared to lose by a wide margin, the vote tally showed. The increase, Proposition A, would bring sales taxes in Los Angeles to 9.5%, one of the highest rates in the state, and raise $200 million a year for the city treasury.

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L.A. school board election: Zimmer maintains slim lead

L.A. school board election: Zimmer maintains slim lead
As results in the Los Angeles school board election continued to be tabulated early Wednesday, two-term incumbent Monica Garcia held a strong lead in District 2, one-term incumbent Steve Zimmer maintained his slim lead in District 4 and Antonio Sanchez captured the most votes in the race for District 6 -- but he could be headed for a runoff.

The school board race attracted national money and attention, becoming a battle over the reform policies of Supt. John Deasy.

LIVE RESULTS: Los Angeles primary election

In the most expensive battle, Zimmer garnered the support of the teachers union and other employee unions against parent and attorney Kate Anderson, who is backed by the Coalition for School Reform, a political action committee spearheaded by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

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L.A. school board election: Garcia, Zimmer maintain early leads

PHOTOS: Los Angeles voters go to the polls

As early election results in the Los Angeles school board election continued to trickle in late Tuesday, two-term incumbent Monica Garcia bolstered her strong lead in District 2, one-term incumbent Steve Zimmer continued to maintain his hold on District 4 and Antonio Sanchez captured the most votes in the race for District 6 -- but he could be headed for a runoff.

The school board race attracted national money and attention, becoming a battle over the reform policies of Supt. John Deasy.

LIVE RESULTS: Los Angeles primary election

In the most expensive battle, Zimmer garnered the support of the teachers union and other employee unions against parent and attorney Kate Anderson, who is backed by the Coalition for School Reform, a political action committee spearheaded by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The coalition amassed a war chest that surpassed $3.8 million in support of candidates considered Deasy allies: Garcia, Anderson and Sanchez.

Donations to the coalition included $1 million from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; $300,000 from the California Charter Schools Assn.; $250,000 from StudentsFirst, the advocacy group headed by former District of Columbia schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee; and $250,000 from a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

FULL COVERAGE: L.A.'s race for mayor

Campaign committees affiliated with United Teachers Los Angeles, the local teachers union, spent close to $1 million, according to the city Ethics Commission. This included $150,000 from the American Federation of Teachers.

In the east San Fernando Valley, Monica Ratliff, a former attorney who became a teacher, continued to trail Sanchez. The early results, however, showed the two could be headed for a May 21 runoff.

ALSO:

Garcetti, Greuel ahead in early voting for L.A. mayor

L.A. mayor's election: 'It could be a long night,' Jan Perry says

In milestone, West Hollywood approves term limits for City Council

-- Stephen Ceasar

Photo: L.A. Unified school board candidate Steve Zimmer speaks to supporters at an election-night party in Los Angeles. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

L.A. mayor's race: Garcetti, Greuel locked in tight battle

PHOTOS: Los Angeles voters go to the polls

Councilman Eric Garcetti and Controller Wendy Greuel solidified their leads in the race for mayor of Los Angeles with just under a quarter of the precincts reporting Tuesday night.

The top-two finishers in Tuesday’s election will face off in a May runoff election. Garcetti and Greuel emerged as the early front-runners in the race, polls showed, and early returns Tuesday night appeared to show similar results.

Standing on a stage lined with supporters, Garcetti thanked the crowd for their help and said he’s ready to get to work on winning the runoff election in May.

LIVE RESULTS: Los Angeles primary election

“We have the most votes tonight, and it looks like we are heading to a runoff,” he said. “I’m ready to work as hard as it takes, I’m ready to get up as early as it takes. Tomorrow we’re going to get up, we’re going to get to work, and we’re going to win this campaign.”

Greuel took the stage at 11 p.m. in a red suit after being introduced by Assembly Speaker John Pérez to chants of “Wendy! Wendy! Wendy!”

“Although not all the votes are in, it sure looks good,” Greuel said. She thanked the other candidates: “After 42 debates, I know what your priorities are. In fact, I could probably recite your best lines.”

FULL COVERAGE: L.A.'s race for mayor

“We’re 11 weeks from making history, electing the first woman mayor,” Greuel said. “And, of course, the first mom.”

Councilwoman Jan Perry was holding onto third place, with attorney Kevin James, the only Republican in the race, slightly behind her.

Emanuel Pleitez on Tuesday night conceded defeat as early returns showed he was capturing just a sliver of the vote.

PHOTOS: Los Angeles voters go to the polls

"I concede that I am not going to be one of the top two, but I think it will be a respectable showing," he said as he arrived at the M Bar in Boyle Heights to wait for the results with staff and supporters. "I'm feeling proud of what we accomplished, the issues we raised, the people we inspired and motivated in the city. At every turn, especially these last few days, there were people saying thank you for running, thank you for challenging the status quo."

Continue reading »

In milestone, West Hollywood approves term limits for City Council

 

West Hollywood voters on Tuesday approved a ballot measure establishing term limits for City Council members.

All but one of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council have spent more than a decade in office. With all 11 precincts reporting, Measure C, establishing term limits, was passed with 2,690 votes in favor and 1,653 votes opposed, according to unofficial results released by the city. 

Measure C will limit council members to three four-year terms. The term limit, however, would not be retroactive, city officials said. Each existing council member will be allowed three additional four-year terms after the measure's adoption.

LIVE RESULTS: West Hollywood municipal election

"Measure C ensures that West Hollywood has a mechanism in place to bring fresh perspectives and new energy to the council," said Lauren Meister, a West Hollywood resident who helped spearhead a campaign that gathered more than 3,000 signatures and put the measure on the municipal election ballot.

"It opens the door to broader public participation in the legislative process in our city, which benefits everyone," Meister said in a statement.

Incumbents have lost an election only twice in the city's history, city officials said.

PHOTOS: Los Angeles voters go to the polls

Previous attempts at term limits were rejected. In 1997, voters balked at a measure that would have limited council members to two consecutive terms.

Voters on Tuesday also reelected two incumbent councilmen, John Duran and Mayor Jeffrey Prang, who were running. Seven others competed for those seats.

Several council members were vocal about their opposition to the measure but voted during a November council meeting to put it on the ballot.

FULL COVERAGE: L.A.'s race for mayor

"I am not supportive of term limits -- I have always been very upfront about that -- but the signatures were collected, and it deserves to go to the people," Councilwoman Abbe Land said during that meeting.

Additional ballots will be counted at West Hollywood City Hall in the coming days, city officials said. Those ballots will be counted in the city's final, official election results.

ALSO:

Polling place shooting sparked by 'love triangle,' LAPD says

L.A. mayor’s race live: Garcetti, Greuel pull out to early lead

L.A. city elections: Incumbent council members take early lead

-- Hailey Branson-Potts

twitter.com/haileybranson

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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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