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Gearing up for the Next L.A. Elections

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Seven city council seats--the most valuable city wide public office in America!--are up for grabs in March (one with no incumbent), and L.A Unified School District and L.A. Community College District seats are in contention as well. The full candidate slates are now official.

The Daily News has many details on who is running:

In the 12th District in the northwest San Fernando Valley, incumbent Councilman Greig Smith decided against running for a third term, and a field of seven candidates is seeking to replace him. The four-year term pays an annual salary of $178,789.

The most well-funded candidate seeking to replace Smith is his chief of staff, Mitch Englander, who has raised more than $400,000. Others who have taken out declarations are businesswoman Lucie Volotzky, security officer Timothy Flanagan, energy utility auditor Yehuda "YJ" Draiman, accountant Armineh Chelebian, businessperson Dinesh "Danny" Lakhanpal, businessman/restaurant owner Navraj "Singh" Singh, neighborhood council representative Glenn Bailey and small-business owner Kelly M. Lord Jr.

Other Valley seats include District2, where Councilman Paul Krekorian is being challenged by community activist Michael McCue, and District 6, where City Councilman Tony Cardenas faces six challengers.

The other City Council seats on the ballot feature incumbents seeking re-election - council members Tom LaBonge, Jose Huizar, Bernard Parks and Herb Wesson.

LAUSD has four seats being vied for, with one district, the 5th, featuring no incumbent; incumbents Marguerite Poindexter Lamotte, Tamar Galatzan and Richard Vladovic are fighting for re-election. The Community College District has four seats in contention, two of them with no incumbents.

And this other Daily News article hints at what is at stake, both in candidate money and the future of LAUSD and Mayor Villaraigosa's hopes for it:

More than $1 million has already been contributed for the races. One candidate, Mitch Englander for the 12th District council seat, already has $400,000 in the bank. Another candidate, Rudy Martinez, has contributed more than $150,000 of his own money to challenge Councilman Jose Huizar.

Over at the LAUSD, early word is United Teachers Los Angeles will have upward of $5 million available to try to wrest back control from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's reform candidates.

UTLA President A.J. Duffy takes exception to the idea that his union is opposed to reform. "It is not about taking back the board," Duffy said. "It is about finding a group of candidates who will lead with progressive views. We will back and support the candidates who will fit that bill."

The full official list of intended candidates for the March 8 city election.

The City Council is still mulling over what measures will be on the ballot for voter approval. Details from the L.A. Times about the:

as many as 13 measures in the March 8 election, including ballot proposals to shore up library funding, scale back public employee pension costs and create an independent watchdog at the Department of Water and Power.

With so many issues in play, some on the council have begun warning that there are simply too many ideas being cooked up for a single election.

"I hope we don't put them all on the ballot, is all I can say," Councilman Richard Alarcon said. "If we want an informed electorate, they have to be able to absorb what we give them."

Local watchdog Ron Kaye thinks most of the potential measures are nonsense, except for reining in DWP:


the Council intends to clog the ballot with phony reform measures that will do little or nothing to solve the pension crisis with its billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities or the budget crisis that threatens to force the city into bankruptcy.

The only significant proposals have to do with reining in the DWP, a rogue agency that operates as a law unto itself without regard to the needs, values or interests of the public, serving only IBEW union the special interests that fund the political campaigns of the incumbent elected officials and the self-servers chosen to succeed them.

Past City of Angles blogging on conflicting education plans between the mayor and the teachers unions.

Image taken by Flickr user theocean. Used under user Creative Commons license.