The final flameout of Carmen Trutanich
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SoCal politics in 2013: Some rose, some fell -- and L.A. lost its women, almost

He was once celebrated as a breath of anti-establishment fresh air in Los Angeles City Hall, but the beginning of the end of Carmen Trutanich’s romance with voters came last year when he broke his pledge to stay as head of the city attorney’s office and not seek the district attorney’s post. Voters spoke what is likely the final word on his political career on May 21, when they defeated him soundly for reelection as city attorney.

Above: Trutanich holds a news conference in March.

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Eric Garcetti would likely object and assert that he has always tried to defend Los Angeles water and electric ratepayers by seeking curbs on the Department of Water and Power. But this year the DWP’s employee union spent millions to back Wendy Greuel against Garcetti for mayor, and in so doing gave the newly elected Garcetti the political opportunity -- perhaps even the obligation -- to drive a harder bargain with the union in contract talks and become something of a hero to residents who pay the water and power bills.

Above: Mayor Garcetti, center, at a City Hall news conference in August.

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Compton was in many ways Southern California’s meltdown city, written off and largely forgotten until the election of Aja Brown as mayor on June 4. An experienced urban planner who has worked or served on commissions in several cities, Brown has brought Compton a reform agenda and a planning sensibility based in new urbanist theory. Supporters argue that the sudden attention she has gotten from outside her city has nothing to do with her being especially young (she’s 31) and photogenic.

Above: Brown jokes with Mark Ridley-Thomas before her swearing-in in July.

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Former prosecutor and conservative radio talk show host Kevin James completed his transition from featured speaker at anti-illegal-immigration and tea party rallies to mayoral candidate to fixture in Eric Garcetti’s progressive City Hall with his appointment as president of the Board of Public Works, which oversees crucial city functions such as trash collection, street maintenance and engineering. The move has puzzled both his former election supporters and his new Team Garcetti colleagues.

Above: James speaks to a reporter during a news conference in April.

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It wasn’t so much that voters rejected female candidates for the 11 offices on this year’s ballot, although Wendy Greuel and Jan Perry were both serious candidates for mayor, and Ana Cubas made the runoff in the 9th Council District race but fell short. But there were no women at all running for city attorney or controller, or for several of the City Council offices. From July 1, when the all-male victors took office, to Aug. 2, when they were joined by new Councilwoman Nury Martinez, Los Angeles City Hall had no elected women in office for the first time in decades.

Above: L.A. City Hall.

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It was clear that there would be one woman in City Hall after a special election primary for a City Council seat in the San Fernando Valley resulted in a runoff between school board member Nury Martinez and former Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez. But Montanez led by a comfortable enough margin in the primary, and had accumulated a large enough campaign treasury, that she was surprised by Martinez’s come-from-behind victory.

Above: Martinez celebrates with supporters at her campaign headquarters in July.

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Rumors of sexual harassment turned into public accusations against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner in July. He took a leave of absence for “intensive therapy.” Meanwhile, a recall petition drive began, Filner returned to take part in mediation, and he resigned from office effective Aug. 30. He pleaded guilty to three criminal counts stemming from his treatment of women while in office. On Monday, he was sentenced to 90 days of home confinement, was placed on probation for three years and was fined about $1,500.

Above: Filner at a news conference at City Hall in San Diego in July.

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John Deasy, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, sensing that his support among school board members was wavering, let it be known that he planned to resign, and in so doing won expressions of strong support from community leaders. He position strengthened, he was backed by a majority of the board and stayed put.

Above: Deasy talks to a reporter after a news conference at L.A. Unified headquarters in November.

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The FBI raided the Capitol offices of state Sen. Ronald Calderon on June 4. An affidavit obtained and published by cable network Al Jazeera America asserted that Calderon had accepted $88,000 in bribes from a studio executive and undercover agent. He has not been charged, but in November, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg stripped him of his legislative committee assignments.

Above: Calderon at a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento in June.

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