Today is Election Day in Los Angeles. While most Angelenos don't care very much, those of us at Daily Kos Elections are true politics geeks, so we care, at least a little. Before the primary I wrote a diary with extensive background information about the city and the races. Click on my name to find that. This diary is more just looking at the campaign since then and what we are likely to see tonight. Also people can use the comments section to give their predictions and insights about today's events.
The polls are open until 8PM Pacific tonight and we might see the first bulletins from the vote counters by around 9:30. If the races aren't super close we should know most of the winners late tonight. Otherwise it could take up to three weeks to get the final results. Absentee ballots turned in at the polls and provisional ballots take a long time to check and tally. The election will be certified by mid-June and the new terms begin July 1. Now let's look at the ballot.
Mayor of L.A. is the headlining race with Councilmember Eric Garcetti running against Controller Wendy Greuel. They are both mainstream Democrats and not too far apart politically. When people ask about their differences I joke that the biggest disagreement is over who should be the next Mayor. Part of their difference is the source of their support and funding for their campaigns. For example, the Garcetti campaign has used the fact that that Greuel has the strong support of the city worker unions to call her the DWP's Mayor and raise doubts about her among more conservative voters. Greuel had a spot with Garcetti meeting with some shady developer on a polo field. A polo field? Hipster elitist!
Then there are the endorsements. My house has been called by the robocall Big Dog two days in a row. My mom hung up on Clinton, but I listened to his pitch for Wendy. Guess which candidate supported Hillary in 2008 and which one supported Obama in the primary? One of Wendy's best ads had Magic Johnson, Barbara Boxer and Dick Riordan (the last GOP Mayor of L.A.) all endorsing her (and presumably helping increase her support in the Black community and among sports fans, with Democratic women, and with Republicans). Garcetti has his endorsers as well, including the third, fourth and fifth place finishers in the primary. Wendy has Maxine Waters, Eric has Karen Bass. It all comes down to who can turn out their voters.
The polling has Garcetti in the lead. The most recent L.A. Times/USC poll has Eric at 48% and Wendy at 41%. The other poll I saw had it at 49% to 44%. A Greuel win is not impossible, but for now LEANS GARCETTI.
City Attorney has a wider difference between the two candidates, incumbent Carmen Trutanich and progressive challenger. Trutanich is an "independent" (former Repubs change their registration to independent when running citywide) running against Mike Feuer, a Democratic former Assemblymember and L.A. Councilmember. Feuer. Feuer has all the Democratic endorsements and leads the Times poll by 42% to 24%. LIKELY FEUER
Controller might be the closest race tonight. The seat is open because Greuel is running for Mayor. Dennis Zine is the Repub "independent" termed out of his council seat. He has more money and name recognition. Ron Galperin is the Democratic candidate. He has served on commissions to increase local government efficiency and is a very pleasant fellow. The Times poll has this at Zine 31% and Galperin 28%. This is closer than before and as more voters become aware of the party affiliations of the candidates then Ron might close the gap. TOSS UP/TILT ZINE
The LACCD Board of Trustees runs the Community Colleges. Voters from throughout the district get to vote on all the seats. The only seat that went to a runoff was Seat 6 where incumbent Nancy Pearlman was forced into a runoff against challenger David Vela. Normally you would think the incumbent would be favored but this time all of the power players in LACCD politics have turned against Pearlman and are supporting Vela. Nancy can be a little prickly at times, but has been a strong supporter of environmentally sustainable construction in the colleges and has the experience of twelve years on the board. I voted for her but she's going to lose. LIKELY VELA
LAUSD School Board: District 6: Antonio Sanchez, an up and coming political activist and staffer for Mayor Villaraigosa is running against Monica Ratliff, a fifth grade teacher and attorney. Antonio has lots of money and endorsements including from the school "reform" crowd. He's a good guy, a friend from when he and I were among the leadership of a local Democratic club, but I wonder about the agenda of some of his backers. Monica is a good candidate also, but doesn't have the money or institutional support. The UTLA teachers' union is not putting resources in this race despite Ms Ratliff being a member. She interviewed quite well (I sat in on the DP/SFV interviews) and could have a future in LAUSD politics but is likely to lose this race. LIKELY SANCHEZ
L.A. City Council: CD-1 Gil Cedillo (former CA legislator) vs Jose Gardea (council staffer). Cedillo barely missed winning in the primary (~49%) so he is favored. LEAN CEDILLO
CD-6 is a special election primary because Councilmember Tony Cardenas was elected to Congress last November. There are are six candidates running with the top two going on to a July runoff if nobody tops 50%. The two well-known candidates are Cindy Montanez, a former CA Assemblymember, and Nury Martinez, who is giving up her seat on the LAUSD School Board to run here. All the others are Some Dudes. LIKELY RUNOFF MONTANEZ VS MARTINEZ
CD-9 Curren Price (CA legislator) against Ana Cubas (council staffer). This is Jan Perry's Downtown and South L.A. based seat. I haven't followed this one closely but I would think Price would have the edge. LEAN PRICE
CD-13 Mitch O'Farrell (council staffer) vs John Choi (union staffer). This is Eric Garcetti's Hollywood to Silver Lake district. I'll leave this one to CD-13 locals. I would guess that O'Farrell might have the advantage as the guy already working in the district, but haven't seen the campaign or the debate.
It is interesting that the CA Legislature is now serving as the "minor leagues" for people running for city office. Assemblymembers Bob Blumenfield and Felipe Fuentes were elected to the Council in March. They may be joined by these others. Also small town governments serve that role. Both Martinez and Montanez previously served on the San Fernando City Council. Paul Koretz (CD-5, re-elected in March) was on the West Hollywood Council (as well as the Assembly) and Paul Krekorian (CD-2) was on the Burbank School Board before the Assembly.
Prop C is a resolution to support a constitutional amendment regarding limits on political campaign spending and rights of corporations. Yes on C say NO on Citizens United. It is advisory only but I hope and expect it will pass
Props D, E, and F: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Regulations.
E and F were put on the ballot as initiatives by voter signatures. D was put up by the City Council. E is similar to D so proponents of E are now supporting D instead of E. The biggest difference is that D will only allow MMDs that were in existence since 9/2007 (a little over a hundred citywide) while F allows newer dispensaries but creates regulations and increases the city tax on sales. There are now somewhere between 500 and 1000 MMDs citywide. If there is enough demand to support that many dispensaries then the remaining few will be swamped with business (and traffic and parking problems) if most are closed. D would hurt the commercial rental market as hundreds of businesses would no longer be renting offices and storefronts. I support F but guess that D will get more votes. If both D and F pass the one with more votes goes into effect. If neither pass then it goes to the new City Council and Mayor to be resolved. If this is close then we will have the Mother of all Ganga Breaks at the City Clerk's office...
So what do you all think? What will happen today? It looks like I'll get this published just before the polls close at 8PM. Thanks for reading, for commenting and for voting!