The races for mayor and other top city offices so underwhelmed Angelenos, fewer than one-fifth of registered voters bothered to cast ballots.
So, why don't we have another election in a couple of months? Say, July 23?
I'm not kidding. Because no candidate for the 6th Council District seat earned more than 50% of the votes Tuesday, residents in the district will have to trudge back to the polls for the fourth time in nine months to choose a replacement for former Councilman Tony Cardenas. The office became vacant when Cardenas won a seat in Congress last November.
The runoff will pit Cindy Montañez, who collected 43.5% of the votes, against Nury Martinez, who received 23.9%.
So why didn't the city hold the 6th District primary in March, when all the other council primaries were held? Because Cardenas didn't step down until Jan. 2, the day before he was sworn in as a member of Congress. According to city officials, there wasn't enough time left before Feb. 4, the day vote-by-mail ballots...
The Times' editorial board endorsed 5th-grade teacher Monica Ratliff for a seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District board -- twice -- but that doesn’t mean we expected her to win.
Ratliff went into Tuesday dubbed the underdog by a mile, with her relative shoestring of a campaign war chest compared with the $2 million in independent fundraising for her opponent, Antonio Sanchez. Sanchez also is the far more politically plugged in, and politically savvy, of the two, and he had the backing of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, for whom he used to work (as well as the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, for which he also used to work).
As the favored reform candidate who would favor parent triggers, charter schools and more extensive use of test scores to evaluate teachers, he had the considerable financial backing of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the rest of the education-billionaire group. On top of that, Sanchez has been working full time on his campaign for close to a year....
Well, Los Angeles has a new mayor. It’s nice-guy Eric Garcetti, who defeated nice-woman Wendy Greuel. If you’re not from here, you’ve probably never heard of either of them. If you are from here, you probably didn’t even vote -- turnout in Tuesday’s election was put at 19% (which, shamefully, was a bit higher than expected).
So how come we can’t have a mayoral race like New York’s?
That’s right -- I’m suffering from a bad case of East Coast envy. We get Garcetti vs. Greuel; the Big Apple gets Anthony Weiner vs., well, a bunch of other no-names (at least to us on the Left Coast), but who cares, because he’s got enough national name recognition for the lot of them.
Even the staid Associated Press, writing about Weinerthrowing his hat in the ring, couldn’t sugarcoat this bad boy: “Weiner is embarking on an audacious comeback quest, hoping to go from punch-line pol with a tweeted crotch shot to leader of America's...
It’s the end of the run for Antonio Villaraigosa. Not as mayor — he serves through June 30 — but as the only candidate in Los Angeles’ term-limit era ever to have ousted an incumbent running for re-election.
Term limits took hold in Los Angeles in 1993, when voters adopted a measure to restrict every city elected official to two four-year terms.
From then until now, anyone and everyone who ran for and won a first term for any city office also was elected to a second term — unless they were challenged by Villaraigosa. He defeated Councilman Nick Pacheco in 2003. Just two years later he bumped James K. Hahn from the mayor’s office. He’s now coming to the close of his second term.
Villaraigosa’s singular achievement fueled a key argument against term limits: Instead of shortening the tenure of...
Oh, how much things have changed in just a few months. Last May, Republicans and Democrats couldn't agree on any aspect of immigration reform. But on Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a far-reaching immigration bill, clearing the way for a debate in the full Senate.
Is the vote a surprise? Not really, after all the so-called Gang of Eight senators has worked hard to put the comprehensive plan together. Still, the vote is definitely noteworthy given the committee spent the better part of a week wading through about 300 amendments, including some that were clearly aimed at sinking the legislation.
The enforcement-only crowd fought hard for tougher provisions and they got $4.5 billion in border enforcement in the bill. And they won a few key battles -- in total, more than 40 Republican-sponsored amendments were approved by the committee. Fortunately, the craziest or most noxious provisions, including one by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that sought to eliminate the path to...
It's as predictable as it is disheartening: A red state gets hit hard by a tornado outbreak -- in this case killing at least 24 people, many of them children attending school -- and the first batch of letters from readers (most of them from Southern California) use the tragedy to score political points. Sure, many of the letters express heartfelt condolences, but not without landing some political punches before signing off. It's as if Americans who dwell in disaster-prone areas don't have a right to believe in low taxes and smaller government.
This isn't to say that politics should never be part of a post-tragedy discussion; there are some policy concerns that deserve airing and addressing in the wake of national disasters. But we're not even in the wake; emotions are raw and several potential victims still haven't been found. How we can have a sober, apolitical discussion of any policy actions to be taken to blunt the impact of future tornadoes is a mystery to me. That most of the...
The Department of Water and Power has been taking it in the shorts during the mayoral campaign -- some casual visitor might assume that the DWP is on the ballot.
Wendy Greuel’s single biggest source of campaign support has been nearly $1.5 million from DWP workers and union members, some of whom are getting six-figure salaries and nice juicy raises that their brethren in City Hall down the hill can only dream of.
And Eric Garcetti’s campaign and supporters have not been shy about making this a campaign issue.
The last 20 years or so of DWP history have been flashy and splashy, tales of jets chartered to give politicians tours of the DWP’s far-flung power sources, and sundry partiesand perks. In 1993, nearly 300 DWP managers stepped in to cover for striking workers and managed, over nine days, to spend $800,000 on catered food. And in a Greek-drama turn on that hubris, some of them got food poisoning. DWP ratepayers also...
In a mayoral election driven in large measure by endorsements, one leading Los Angeles official remained conspicuously silent right to the end: the mayor himself. Tuesday, as he prepared to cast his ballot, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa kept his preference to himself.
Why, I asked him, had he elected not to let voters know his preference between the two candidates vying to succeed him?
"I thought it was important, while everyone else was focused on the mayor's race, that I focus on the mayor's job," he said outside his polling place on Wilshire Boulevard.
Beyond that, he said he worried that he might have disproportionate influence with some voters and that he valued his friendships with both Councilman Eric Garcetti and Controller Wendy Greuel. Finally, he said he hopes to be a supportive influence on his successor, and he worried that if his candidate lost, that might blunt his ability to lend a hand later.