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.
“But it is really upon the community to hold him accountable for that,” said Rev. Lee. “We will be sending him a congratulatory letter and request a meeting regarding the covenant. And we will be meeting amongst ourselves to outline a process for accountability,” added the BCCLA representative.
That meeting will be held May 29 from noon-2 p.m. at the African American Cultural Center, 3018 W. 48th St.
Lee continued by saying that who is elected has no bearing on the covenant.
“From the beginning we have said this is a new paradigm in politics and regardless of who you (African Americans) support and voted for, the covenant is foremost among issues we, as a community, will continue to push.”
While maintaining that the covenant can be implemented in its entirety, Rev. Lee did say there are some crisis issues that are and will rise to the forefront to become some of the first concerns Garcetti must address. These include transportation, employment and education.
Transportation primarily encompasses the Crenshaw rail line.
According to the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, the contract award for the Crenshaw light rail line, and a decision on a Leimert Park Village station stop are scheduled for review on June 27, just three days before Garcetti is slated to take office.
Additionally, closing briefs in the Coalition’s lawsuit against the MTA are due on July 2.
The coalition is advocating that the train go underground along an 11-block stretch on Crenshaw Boulevard. The group has also been among those pushing for the addition of a Leimert Park stop to the line.
(At a meeting Wednesday, the L.A. City Council approved a recommendation that $40 million in Measure R funds be used to underwrite a Leimert Park stop. The MTA board of directors is scheduled to take up the issue at its meeting today.)
Garcetti supports the Leimert Park stop, and has offered vocal support in public forums, but refused to put it in writing.
The new mayor-elect has also said in multiple community forums that he “supports undergrounding the line,” but when the Subway Coalition requested he put his verbal statements in writing the then-candidate added several conditions that he never had publicly stated in the forums.
BCCLA is also looking for economic development along the Crenshaw rail line that will encompass providing construction jobs and opportunities to businesses.
In terms of employment, Rev. Lee said the BCCLA is highlighting the movement to “ban the box” that asks potential applicants if they have felonies or misdemeanors.
Garcetti has pegged helping small businesses grow as one way he will create more jobs in the city. He has also said he will couple that effort with new job training partnerships with local community colleges and improvements in neighborhood infrastructure that will attract customers and investments.
The new mayor-elect said he has already started working with L.A. tech companies to explore the concept of “Silicon South,” and he also wants to highlight the attributes in South L.A. that would make the region inviting to startup companies.
In other unofficial election results on Wednesday in the 9th Council District race, Senator Curren Price defeated Ana Cubas 52.7 percent to 47.24 percent.
Now Price can begin to implement his new 9th District strategy. Price said this includes giving residents not only the opportunity to interact with their elected representative, but also be enabled to share their concerns with decision-makers in city departments responsible for maintaining quality of life.
“This movement in the ‘New 9th District’ is about refocusing our efforts at City Hall, and bringing a new measure of accountability that will reap benefits for everyone who lives, works or owns a business in the district,” said Price in a statement just before the election. “When I speak with my neighbors, time and time again I hear their deep concerns about the equal allocation of public safety and other city services.”
In the race for city attorney, Councilman Mike Feuer unseated one-term incumbent Carmen Trutanich 62.14 to 37.85 percent.
In the race for controller, Ron Galperin defeated Dennis Zine 56.20 to 43.79 percent.
In the 6th District Council race in the San Fernando Valley, Cindy Montanez collected 43.54 percent of votes cast to top a field of six candidates. She will face school board member Nury Martinez, who won 23.93 percent of votes, during a runoff election July 23. Then the City Council will determine when the winner will be seated.
The results of this race put to rest speculation that the council could have been without a woman elected Councilmember.
Montanez and Martinez are vying for a seat vacated by Tony Cardenas who was elected to the State Assembly.
This averted absence of women’s voices on the Council is in direct contrast to what was happening about a decade go, when women represented one-third of the 15-member body.
For the past few years, Jan Perry has served as the lone female voice on the Council, but she is termed out and will leave office June 30.
In the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustee race, incumbent Nancy Pearlman defeated David Vela 57.18 percent to 42.81 percent.
Two of the four propositions on the ballot were defeated by voters.
Proposition C was one of the two measures approved. It places a limit on political campaign spending by corporations and directs city officials to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that says corporations cannot be treated as human beings when it comes to free speech and election spending.
It was approved by voters 76.56 percent to 23.43.
Voters also passed Proposition D. This measure would increase taxation on medical marijuana collectives and limit the number of such establishments.
Propositions E and F, which also dealt with medical marijuana regulation and taxation, were both defeated by voters.