Attorney Ron Galperin will become the next Los Angeles city controller thanks to a comfortable defeat of termed-out Councilman Dennis Zine, according to final election results released today.
Galperin, 49, is an attorney who sits on two volunteer city commissions, one focused on revenue efficiency and the other on quality and productivity. He said that as controller, he will have a 10-point plan focused on recovering fees that often go uncollected in the city, reining in "runaway" contracts with outside companies that go over budget and making use of city assets such as two asphalt plants with "excess capacity" that he said could be better marketed to other cities.
"We've had some real serious problems and we've got to get ourselves out of it," he told ABC7 during his election night party. "You can be in any elected position in the city of L.A., and if the finances are a mess, then nothing gets done."
In the March primary, Zine, who positioned himself as an experienced City Hall veteran, finished a few hundred votes behind Galperin, who touted his "outside" perspective.
Galperin will take over the controller's job from Wendy Greuel, who fell short in her bid for mayor.
The 65-year-old Zine spent the last 12 years representing a west San Fernando Valley council district and was a Los Angeles Police Department officer for 33 years.
"It's a commitment to the people, it's a commitment that you really care about the city, you care about the people," he told Channel 7 at his election party. "And as a council member for 12 years, I've learned a lot about government and I wanted to apply that to the controller's office."
In the latest update to the city charter, the controller's job, which pays $182,200 a year, was revised to focus more on conducting audits of not only financial matters, but of anything the controller thinks deserves closer inspection. Though the controller can only make suggestions to the City Council, audits by former officeholder Laura Chick played a role in swaying public opinion on a failed solar panel ballot initiative sponsored by the Department of Water and Power and drew attention to a backlog in processing DNA rape kits.