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New faces set to join L.A. City Council

City News Service | 3/6/2013, 10:25 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.--Outgoing City Councilman Bill Rosendahl's chief deputy will be replacing his boss on the 15-member council, while a pair of Assembly members appeared to have narrowly earned enough votes to avoid a May runoff and win seats on the panel.

Rosendahl announced last year he was suffering from cancer and announced he would not run for a third term in the council's 11th District. His chief deputy, Mike Bonin, easily outpaced three opponents to claim the seat.

Thanks in large part to term limits, several former and current state lawmakers were looking to make the jump to Los Angeles City Hall, outpacing their competitors in fundraising and carrying a built-in lead in name recognition. Only two incumbents, Joe Buscaino and Paul Koretz, were seeking re-election, and both easily fended off token competition--Buscaino in the 15th District and Koretz in the 5th.

In the West Valley race to fill termed-out Dennis Zine's 3rd District council seat, Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Van Nuys, finished just above the 50 percent mark to avoid a runoff. Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, D-Arleta, also appeared to earn just enough votes to claim the 7th District seat representing the northeast San Fernando Valley--a seat being vacated by termed-out Richard Alarcon.

It was unclear early today how many provisional ballots remained to be counted in those districts and whether there were enough to potentially push either candidate below the 50 percent mark. The second-place finisher in the 3rd District was Woodland Hills tax attorney Joyce Pearson, while education advocate Nicole Chase placed second in the 7th District race.

Another race that could hinge on uncounted provisional ballots was the 1st District race to replace termed-out Ed Reyes. Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, narrowly fell below the 50 percent mark, with unofficial final tallies giving him 49.4 percent--about 83 votes shy of winning the seat outright. If that percentage holds, Cedillo will be forced to the May 21 runoff against Jose Gardea, Reyes' longtime chief of staff, in the battle to represent district, which includes northeast Los Angeles, Chinatown and Pico-Union.

Sen. Curren Price, D-Los Angeles, will advance to the runoff in the race to replace unsuccessful mayoral candidate Jan Perry in the 9th District. He will face off with Ana Cubas, Councilman Jose Huizar's former chief of staff.

In the most crowded race of the election, a dozen candidates were seeking to replace Eric Garcetti, a mayoral candidate, in the 13th District, which includes Silver Lake, Thai Town, East Hollywood and Echo Park. Mitch O'Farrell--a co-founder of the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council and president of the neighborhood's park improvement organization--and John Choi--a former Public Works commissioner and economic development director for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor--advanced to the runoff in that race.