Los Angeles voters cast ballots Tuesday to decide several citywide measures and races for mayor and city council.
Mayor: Mayor Eric Garcetti proclaimed victory relatively early Tuesday night — when early returns had already given him about 80 percent of the vote — greeting supporters at a campaign party in downtown Los Angeles, touting his achievements over the past four years and vowing that more is to come. Garcetti faced 10 challengers, but held a significant fundraising advantage. Garcetti had raised more than $3.3 million as of March 1, dwarfing his opponents.
City Council: Los Angeles voters chose from 42 city council candidates vying for six seats, with five incumbents fighting to keep their jobs and 20 candidates looking to claim the open seat in the 7th Council District. Six members of the council were celebrating re-election victories, while Councilman Curren Price appeared to have won as well, but by a tenuous margin over activist/businessman Joe Bray-Ali.
Measure M (Yes): Los Angeles voters overwhelmingly approved a measure that gives the city tools to regulate the recreational and medical marijuana industry. The city-sponsored Measure M easily bested a competing ballot issue, the initiative Measure N, which was crafted and pushed onto the ballot by a marijuana trade group that later opted to throw its support behind the City Council’s measure.
Measure S (No): The most expensive — and in many ways the most bitter — campaign in Los Angeles city election was not for mayor or a council seat but over Measure S, the much-debated initiative aimed at limiting development. The measure, defeated by a large margin, would have halted all General Plan amendments, or special permission to developers known as “spot zoning,” for two years while the city updates its General Plan and community plans that guide neighborhood development.
Measure H: A quarter-cent Los Angeles County sales tax to fund anti-homelessness programs appeared to emerge victorious by a thin margin, but it wasn’t immediately clear how many provisional, questioned or late ballots still needed to be tallied. The Board of Supervisors has declared homelessness a countywid emergency and chose the sales tax hike over a number of other funding alternatives, including a millionaire’s tax, a parcel tax and a special tax on marijuana.
LAUSD: Incumbent Los Angeles Unified School District board member Monica Garcia was celebrating her re-election, but board President Steve Zimmer — who was the target of a well-financed opposition campaign funded largely by charter-school backers — is heading for a May runoff. Zimmer led a field of four candidates in the District 4 race, but he fell short of the 50 percent margin needed to win re-election outright. He will square off with Nick Melvoin, a teacher/attorney, who placed second in the race ahead of Allison Polhill, a former president of the Palisades Charter High School board, and public relations executive Gregory Martayan. Backers of charter schools, hoping to gain a majority of supporters on the seven-member LAUSD board, threw their financial might behind Melvoin and Polhill in hopes of unseating Zimmer. The District 6 seat is vacant thanks to the departure of Monica Ratliff, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council. The District 6 race will be decided in a runoff between charter-school-backed teacher Kelly Fitzpatrick-Gonez and activist Imelda Padilla, who was supported by United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing LAUSD teachers. Rounding out the field were former Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, parents/activists Gwendolyn Posey and Araz Parseghian, and animal-rights activist Jose Sandoval.