1 City Council race headed to May runoff; charter amendments appear to pass

It appears there will be runoff to replace termed-out Councilman Tom LaBonge in the 4th District

Just one Los Angeles City Council race was headed to a runoff, with incumbents cruising to easy victories in five other contests around the city.

Based on Tuesday’s election results, the May 19 runoff to replace termed-out Councilman Tom LaBonge in the 4th District, which includes Los Feliz, Miracle Mile and Sherman Oaks, will likely be between Carolyn Ramsay, a former LaBonge aide, and community health director David Ryu. That could change as more provisional and vote-by-mail ballots are counted. Fewer than 700 votes separate Ryu from the next three finishers: nonprofit director Tomas O’Grady, attorney Wally Knox and attorney Teddy Davis.

With a 14-candidate field, it was difficult to break through to voters, according to a volunteer with the Davis campaign.

"They'd say, how am I supposed to read up on all of them? I'm not informed. I'm not going to vote," said Joe Ferrell.

If many voters in the 4th District didn’t go to the polls, they weren’t alone. Preliminary numbers from the City Clerk’s Office show voter turnout was 8.62%. That figure will likely increase in the coming days as additional ballots are counted. Four years ago, turnout was 14.1%.

"The truth of the matter is, I don't know why people are so lazy," said Patricia Casado, whose parents own Lucy's El Adobe Cafe in Hollywood, a spot long favored by politicians, including a young Gov. Jerry Brown.

Two charter amendments intended to reverse the low turnout trend appeared victorious Tuesday evening. With each receiving 76% of the vote, Charter Amendments 1 and 2 would move city and school board elections to even-numbered years when presidential and gubernatorial races are held.

Five incumbent L.A. City Council members won their elections outright and will avoid the May runoff. Council members Paul Krekorian, Nury Martinez, Herb Wesson, Mitch Englander and Jose Huizar all won with more than 50% of the vote. The 14th District’s Huizar had faced serious competition from former county Supervisor Gloria Molina, but he won with 66% of the vote compared to her 24%.

"I think this was a testament to all the work we've done over nine years," Huizar said. "The voters spoke to it.

“This election was about constituents getting what they want from the city.”

In South Los Angeles’ 8th District, Marqueece Harris-Dawson of the Community Coalition beat out three other candidates to replace termed-out Councilman Bernard Parks.

Tuesday’s election included four races for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board of Education.

Incumbent  Tamar Galatzan and principal Scott Mark Schmerelson advanced to the May runoff. So did school board member Bennet Kayser and charter school advocate Ref Rodriguez, and incumbent Richard Vladovic and teacher Lydia A. Gutierrez.

Incumbent George McKenna was reelected without opposition.

Three candidates were elected to the L.A. Community College District’s Board of Trustees: incumbent Scott Svonkin, Sydney Kamlager and Mike Fong. Andra Hoffman appeared to be leading Francesca Vega in Seat 1.

Preliminary results from the City Clerk’s Office show 55% of votes cast Tuesday were mail-in ballots.

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