Candidate-controlled ballot measure committees arguably represent a legal gray area. They live somewhere in between candidate campaigns and ballot measure campaigns. The Supreme Court has said that contributions to candidates can lead, or at least appear to lead, to corruption and can therefore be limited. The Court has also said that contributions to ballot measure committees cannot lead, or cannot appear to lead, to corruption because there is simply no one to corrupt. But what about those committees which are controlled by candidates?
About 90,000 ballots from Tuesday's primary election remained uncounted today, casting a hint of uncertainty over City Council races in which two candidates narrowly earned enough votes to win seats outright, while another barely missed the cut and appeared bound for a runoff.
The only definitive results from the voting were the re-elections of 5th District Councilman Paul Koretz and 15th District Councilman Joe Buscaino. Outgoing 11th District Councilman Bill Rosendahl's chief deputy, Mike Bonin, also easily defeated three other candidates to replace his boss, who announced last year he was suffering from cancer and would not seek a third term.
Two council races will be decided in a May 21 runoff:
The city's police, fire, and other departments are all in danger of being subjected to hefty budget cuts in response to voters' rejection of a proposed half-cent sales tax, the president of the City Council said today.
Councilman Herb Wesson said that without the tax, things are "going to get ugly" for the police and other city departments.
"There will be some very hard choices," he said. "Every department will be on the table. Nothing is sacred."
FOR MAY 21 ELECTION RESULTS, CLICK HERE.
The polls closed at 8 p.m. and the Los Angeles City Clerk will be updating results as they come in, first with vote-by-mail ballots, then from polling locations fanned across the city. Watch this page for updates throughout the night.
2:26 a.m.: The final election bulletin has been posted with 100 percent of precincts reporting. These results are not certified yet, but unless a race is super close (think about uncounted provisional ballots), this paints a pretty accurate picture:
- Turnout: Out of 1.8 million registered voters in L.A. city limits, 16 percent, or 293,000, showed up to vote. The results are worse for the two educational races -- LAUSD and L.A. Community College District -- the turnout there hovered in the 6 to 7 percent range.
- Mayor: Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel head to the May 21 runoff.
- City Attorney: Assemblymember Mike Feuer and incumbent Carmen Trutanich will face off on May 21 as well.
- City Controller: Tied at 37 percent, businessman Ron Galperin and City Councilman Dennis Zine will also be on the late spring ballot.
- City Council: Runoffs will definitely be held for districts 9 (Curren Price, Ana Cubas) and 13 (Mitch O'Farrell, John Choi) while one is likely -- final numbers are very close -- in District 1 (Gilbert Cedillo, Jose Gardea). In districts 1 and 3, Assemblymembers Bob Blumenfield and Felipe Fuentes appear to have won seats in their respective races, finishing just above the 50 percent mark (provisional ballots could change this result). Otherwise, it was a landslide for candidates in District 5 (incumbent Paul Koretz), District 11 (Chief of Staff for the district Mike Bonin), and District 15 (incumbent Joe Buscaino).
- Props: Prop A, the sales tax increase lost while Prop B, the pension plan for fire and police, passed.
- LAUSD: Incumbent Monica Garcia in District 2 has won, and it appears District 4 incumbent Steve Zimmer is also a winner. A runoff will be held between Antonio Sanchez and Monica Ratliff in District 6.
- L.A. Community College District: Seats 2 and 4 go to Mike Eng and Ernest Henry Moreno, respectively, but it looks like a runoff will be held between David Vela and Nancy Pearlman for Seat 6.
2:06 a.m.: "Despite warnings that its failure would lead to layoffs of police officers and more red ink at Los Angeles City Hall, a proposed half-cent sales tax was defeated by voters -- a victory for opponents who said the city needs to better control its spending," reports City News Service on the measure that was losing 45 to 55 in the ninth election bulletin. "Proposition A would have increased the city's sales tax by a half-cent, putting it at 9.5 percent overall, just under the 10 percent cap imposed by state law. According to the city, the tax hike would have raised about $211 million a year."
1:33 a.m.: In a city of about 4 million people -- the second largest city in the country -- how many votes does it take to represent a quarter million of them? In some cases, less than 10,000, according to numbers reported thus far. "I just find it CRAZY how few voters it takes to win a City Council seat!" exclaimed Chrissy Eleanor-Scarborough Cutting, a former Southern California organizer for Greenpeace, on her Facebook page.
1:22 a.m.: The eighth election bulletin has been posted, showing that 78 percent of precincts are reporting. No major movement, but this is a good time to check out voter turnout, which -- no surprise -- is low so far: 14 percent.
1:12 a.m.: 62 percent of the precincts were reporting by the seventh bulletin of the night. Nothing much new since the last update directly below.
12:15 a.m.: The sixth election bulletin has been posted showing 44 percent of precincts reporting. Notes:
- Mayor: Unless something crazy happens -- it probably won't -- this is going to a runoff between Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel.
- City Attorney: Likely going to a runoff between Mike Feuer and Carmen Trutanich.
- City Controller: Also likely going to a runoff between Dennis Zine and Ron Galperin, but precincts in the West Valley, which Zine has partially represented for several years, have only barely reported numbers.
- Council Districts: It appears districts 1, 9, and 13 will be on the May 21 ballot. Districts 3 and 7 may or may not go to a runoff.
- LAUSD: It looks like incumbents Monica Garcia and Steve Zimmer may keep their seats while the race for District 4 will go to a runoff.
- Props: The sales tax initiative continues to hover with support in the high 40s, but that may not be enough. Prop B, the "cost neutral" fire and police pension plan initiative is winning.
12:06 a.m.: Considering the huge sums of independent expenditure money put behind Kate Anderson for LAUSD's District 4, incumbent Steve Zimmer continues to hold his lead. This race is actually quite fascinating and worth 11 minutes of your time to watch this "SoCal Connected" report (hat tip: Co-Executive Producer Rebecca Haggerty):
The biggest surprise I see so far is that Steve Zimmer may hold onto
his school board seat despite the $$ raised by coalition to support
his opponent Kate Anderson.
12:02 a.m.: They were pretty quiet on Twitter tonight, but the two mayoral frontrunners finally tweeted -- a few minutes apart, no less:
It's been a whirlwind. Because of your support, we've made it through the primary. I am humbled and grateful for everything.— Eric Garcetti (@ericgarcetti) March 6, 2013
11:30 p.m.: Notable in the fifth election bulletin (32 percent of precincts reporting): City Councilman Dennis Zine's lead (38 percent) for City Controller tightens as businessman Ron Galperin (35 percent) jumps ahead.
11:14 p.m.: So, did you watch any of the debates? Reporting for KPCC, Alice Walton is at Wendy Greuel's election party and tweets this:
She thanks her opponents for engaging in this election. Notes that there have been 42 debates and says she can recite others' best lines.— Alice Walton (@TheCityMaven) March 6, 2013
11:01 p.m. Fourth election bulletin is in and the dial is starting to move. Some notes:
- Mayor: Eric Garcetti's lead over Wendy Greuel widens, getting more in line with LMU's exit polling (see below at 9:23 p.m.)
- Council District 9: The open seat left by mayoral hopeful Jan Perry will likely go to a runoff between Assemblyman Curren Price (26 percent) and former Jose Huizar Chief of Staff to Councilman Ana Cubas (25 percent).
- Council District 13*: Sam Kbushyan's surprisingly strong lead at over 27 percent is no more. He's now second between frontrunners John Choi (17 percent) and Mitch O'Farrell (16 percent). (For the Record: I originally said Kbushyan was in third; he was actually in second)
- Proposition A: This proposed increased to the city's sales tax remains behind at 47 percent.
10:49 p.m. What's going on in the race for the three open board seats on the L.A. Unified School District?
L.A. School Report has this handy graphic (right).
It shows incumbents Monica Garcia (District 2) and Steve Zimmer (District 4) in the lead for their respective races while the open seat in District 6 educator/community organizer Antonio Sanchez (41 percent) and teacher Monica Ratliff (34 percent) vying for a runoff.
10:41 p.m.: With the third election bulletin posted (10 percent of precincts reporting), the stronghold for Sam Kbushyn in Council District 13 starts to fall short, indicating his supporters were big into early voting. He's now at 20.74 percent, where he started out at above 27 percent. Frontrunners John Choi (16.52 percent) and Mitch O'Farrell (14.86 percent) may actually end up in the runoff if this pattern continues. 22 percent of precincts in that district have reported.
10:30 p.m.: Seema Mehta at the L.A. Times points out the slow pace of updates, but it's reminding me of the unsurprisingly low voter turnout L.A. tends to get.
If you want to know why, here's a good explainer with Raphael Sonenshein of CSULA's Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs from our show "SoCal Connected":
10:27 p.m.: By the way, if you've been following the city council for several years, today is the beginning of its major facelift. Earlier story can be read here.
10:17 p.m.: With the City Clerk's second election bulletin of the night posted (that's with only 2.61 percent of precincts reporting), not much as changed. However, Sam Kbushyn's surprise lead in the crowded Council District 13 race has changed, but not by much: He's down to 25.73 percent from 27.13. This will be an interesting race to watch tonight and presumably into the May 21 runoff.
10:14 p.m.: If you're wondering why we haven't updated with new numbers, it's because there are no new numbers in yet.
Hey, boys and girls covering the LA elections - how about kicking some serious City Clerk booty? WHAT is with this delayed posting?!— Joel Bellman (@jbmediaman) March 6, 2013
9:38 p.m.: If you were wondering what's going on in the popular and crowded Council District 13 race (where mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti has been embedded), the frontrunners are not out front. In the lead with mail-in ballots is Hollywood activist Sam Kbushyn with 27.13 percent of the vote. L.A. Weekly's Patrick Range McDonald describes this as coming "out of nowhere" in a story tonight.
9:30 p.m.: As we wait for more results to come in, a peek at Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's schedule for tomorrow includes what are probably live post-election interviews with "Good Day LA" on Fox and "KTLA Morning News." They happen sometime between 7 and 8 a.m.
9:23 p.m.: Exit polling done by Loyola Marymount University at 25 precincts throughout the city projects Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel will come out as the winners tonight with 34 percent and 28 percent of the vote, respectively. The margin of error is +/- 3 percent. The remaining winners, in order, are Jan Perry, Kevin James, and Emanuel Pleitez. So far, that order is exactly how tonight's race is playing out, although Garcetti does not have that big of a lead against Greuel.
9:13 p.m.: Per vote-by-mail ballots, here are the city council races that appear to be a landslide:
- Council District 3: Newcomer and Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (54.09 percent) takes a comfortable lead.
- Council District 5: So does incumbent Paul Koretz (73.28 percent).
- Council District 7: Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (52.36 percent) is ahead of education advocate Nicole Chase (27.55 percent).
- Council District 11: Chief of Staff for the current council member Mike Bonin (59.96 percent) takes the lead to attorney Tina Hess (20.95 percent).
- Council District 15: Incumbent and former LAPD office Joe Buscaino (81.43 percent) likely has the race secured.
9:03 p.m.:A tally of mail-in ballots shows Prop A, the proposed half-cent Los Angeles sales tax to fund public safety and other city services, is falling short. The early ballots show only 45 percent support for the measure, which needs a simple majority to pass.
8:58 p.m.: In other citywide races, as determined by only vote-by-mail ballots:
- City Attorney: Mike Feuer (40.57 percent) takes the lead over incumbent Carmen Trutanich (33.77 percent).
- City Controller: Dennis Zine (41.55 percent) has a healthy advantage over Ron Galperin (32.13 percent).
8:51 p.m.: As expected, mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti (31.15 percent) and Wendy Greuel (30.85 percent) are in the lead -- at least with the first bulletin (vote-by-mail ballots) from the L.A. City Clerk. Jan Perry (19.12 percent), Kevin James (14.17 percent), and Emanuel Pleitez (2.57 percent) trail behind.
With some contributions from City News Service.
The Los Angeles City Council will undergo a major facelift beginning tomorrow, as voters in eight of the panel's 15 districts choose representatives from candidate fields as small as two and as large as 12.
With council members Dennis Zine, Eric Garcetti, Jan Perry, Richard Alarcon, and Ed Reyes terming out, and Bill Rosendahl opting not to seek re-election, the race will usher in an unusually high number of new members -- but not all the faces will be completely new.
Voters across the city will go to the polls tomorrow to choose from a slate of eight candidates vying for a spot in a likely May run-off for the mayor's office.
Despite two cash-flush candidates -- Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel -- taking clear leads in the fundraising race by collecting more than $4 million apiece, the competition could prove unpredictable with an expected low turnout at the polls and all five major candidates fiercely campaigning to capture voters' hearts and minds.