Campaign to shift date of L.A. elections wrongly claimed mayor's backing

Campaign to shift date of L.A. elections wrongly claimed in videos it had the backing of Mayor Eric Garcetti

A leader of a campaign to shift Los Angeles city elections to align with state and federal contests acknowledged Wednesday that the campaign erroneously claimed it had the backing of Mayor Eric Garcetti in videos championing the measures.

The misstatement, first reported by City News Service, was made in videos recorded by the city television station, Channel 35. Both are available online on the city clerk's website.

At the end of the videos, California Common Cause Executive Director Kathay Feng urged voters to join her, Garcetti and other groups in voting yes on the measures, which would move city and school board elections from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years.

But Garcetti has not endorsed the measures, spokesman Jeff Millman said Wednesday. Earlier this month, the mayor declined to take a position at a City Hall news conference, which was reported on at the time by the Los Angeles Daily News.

"As of now, I'm not taking a position," he told reporters two weeks ago.

Feng, a co-chair of the campaign, said she erroneously believed Garcetti was supporting the measures before she recorded the videos in January, after a campaign conference call in which people listed supporters. She said she did not know who specifically named Garcetti.

Campaign committee spokesman Dave Jacobson said the campaign planned to contact Channel 35 on Wednesday to ask if the line mentioning Garcetti could be edited out.

“Our campaign had early conversations with a wide range of community leaders and elected officials, including the mayor, and for all of those who have not yet taken a position, we are hopeful that they will join our effort at some point,” Jacobson said in an email.

Opponents of the two measures argue the misstatement should give Los Angeles voters pause.

"If they're lying about this, what else are they lying about?" said Hans Johnson, a spokesman for the campaign against shifting city elections.

Neither Feng nor Johnson were aware of any other campaign communications that had claimed Garcetti supported the measures. Voters go to the polls to decide whether to change election schedules on March 3.

Los Angeles Times staff writer Peter Jamison contributed to this report.

Follow @latimesemily on Twitter for what's happening at Los Angeles City Hall.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
58°