Los Angeles has spoken.
In a high-spending election that pitted two longtime City Hall insiders against one another for the top elected post in the city, Councilman Eric Garcetti has handily defeated City Controller Wendy Greuel for mayor 53.92 to 46.07 percent.
The unofficial results reflect more than 380,000 ballots cast--57.78 percent at the polls and 42.21 by mail.
The results will become official 21 calendar days from Tuesday, and the new mayor will take office July 1.
In a statement released Wednesday morning, Greuel noted that her opponent "cares deeply for Los Angeles and will work tirelessly to be the strong and innovative leader we need at this critical moment in our history."
Outgoing two-term Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called Garcetti "... a true leader who I trust to guide our city into its bright future. I know I am leaving Los Angeles in good hands ...."
Garcetti supporter 8th District Councilman Bernard Parks said this about his Council colleague's win: "I am very pleased with the outcome of the Los Angeles City's mayoral race. I believe Eric Garcetti is the absolute best candidate to lead the city over the next four years."
Outgoing 9th District Councilwoman Jan Perry called Garcetti's election a new era for the city.
"It's a new era for leadership and direction in the city of Los Angeles, and I am looking forward to his hands-on, neighborhood-to-neighborhood management style that will focus on getting jobs here, building out transportation systems and focusing on the needs of families and children."
Perry believes that the high-profile endorsements given Greuel by former President Bill Clinton and basketball great Earvin "Magic" Johnson played a big part in why African Americans voted so heavily for the city controller. Consequently, she believes that Garcetti will need to engage in some long-term personal relationship building with the African American community. This includes connecting with its traditional organizations like the New Frontier Democratic Club, the NAACP, and the National Council of Negro Women. Perry says he will also need to connect with some of the newer emerging organizations to build a broad base of support.
However, she is confident that Garcetti is the kind of person and will be the kind of mayor who reaches beyond the superficial to build those relationships.
Now that all the politicking is done for the moment, what can Black L.A. expect from the new mayor, particularly given the fact that about 70 percent of African Americans supported Greuel compared to 29 percent for Garcetti. These are the unofficial results from exit polls conducted by the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University.
Rev. Eric Lee, who is part of the Black Community, Clergy and Labor Alliance (BCCLA), a newly formed organization that presented Garcetti and Greuel with a precedent-setting Black Community-Candidate covenant, said that the mayor-elect sent a communiqué via email indicating that he would embrace the covenant and use it as his "guide" for moving forward and committing to the Black community.