Solar energy proposal goes down to defeat

The solar energy ballot measure known as Measure B went down to defeat Thursday as Los Angeles election officials finished their count of the remaining 49,000 mail-in, provisional and damaged ballots.

Sixteen days after the election, city officials announced that Measure B had fallen short of a majority -- with 50.5% of voters opposing the plan and 49.5% in favor of it.

The final count left Measure B trailing by 2,644 votes.

The defeat dealt a blow to the hopes of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who had spent $145,000 from a campaign committee on behalf of the measure and appeared in a blitz of television commercials promoting it. But it also was a setback for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, whose top officials had proposed Measure B.

The union’s various locals, nationals and affiliated nonprofit groups had spent more than $673,000 toward its passage -- more than half of the total collected by the Measure B campaign. Labor groups provided two-thirds of the campaign’s funding.

Measure B would have required the city Department of Water and Power to install 400 megawatts of solar panels by 2014. All the work would have been performed by DWP employees represented by the electrical workers union.

Backers said it would have reduced the city’s reliance on fossil fuels, provided more dependable power and created good jobs. Opponents said it would have hiked electrical rates significantly and locked out construction trade workers

In the closely divided race to replace Los Angeles school board member Julie Korenstein, San Fernando City Councilwoman Nury Martinez defeated educator Louis Pugliese, a two-time school board candidate. On election night, Pugliese trailed Martinez by 482 votes.