South L.A. is the neediest and most politically challenging part of the city that gets in the news chiefly for the story of its shifting demographics — from mostly black to mostly Latino. Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti’s background fits nicely into that story. He is being touted as the first Jewish mayor, although the heritage he touted openly and often during campaign season was Latino. That’s identity politics, technically, but his win was hardly as landmark a moment as were Tom Bradley or Antonio Villaraigosa’s victories. But it was effective. Garcetti captured a solid majority of the Latino vote — 60 percent. Every elected official in the country and especially in California and Los Angeles is keenly aware of the upward trend of Latino political influence and the need to address it.
Garcetti didn’t really have to do a hard sell because of the Mexican heritage on his father’s side—his great-grandfather was killed during the Mexican Revolution—and he speaks fluent Spanish.
Is it too soon to hope that the snickering will end?
One theme of our coverage of the marijuana industry has been to make it clear that dispensaries are an industry and should exist. They employ L.A. residents, they have suppliers and customers, they pay rents and taxes. Like it or not, this industry is here to stay; it is not a sideshow, and it deserves some respect. With the preliminary results from Tuesday’s election, it seems that voters embraced the notion.
At the time of this writing on Wednesday morning, it appears that Los Angeles passed Measure D by a margin of more than 25 percentage points. More people voted for Measure D than voted for either mayoral candidate. Measure D was put on the ballot by the City Council, and was backed by a set of dispensaries, as well as the United Food and Commercial Workers Union,
Councilmember Eric Garcetti’s two-year campaign to become Los Angeles’ first Jewish-Mexican-Italian-American mayor ended in victory early this morning when his challenger, City Controller Wendy Greuel, phoned the candidate shortly before 2 a.m. to concede.
A preliminary count released by the L.A. City Clerk’s office put the margin of victory at eight points, with Garcetti taking 53.92 percent to Gruel’s 46.07 percent. Those numbers mirrored an unofficial Loyola Marymount exit poll taken earlier on Tuesday.
With 380,108 total votes cast, Garcetti’s victory comes amid one of the lowest voter turnouts ever for an L.A. mayor’s race, with a mere 19 percent of registered voters bothering to cast a ballot.
Early returns had Greuel out in front by a slim two-point margin. And while the Garcetti camp remained publicly confident throughout the evening, campaign insiders were nervously eying their smart phones, worried that an especially low turnout could result in the kind of squeaker that would deny their candidate a definitive win until the City Clerk’s official tally three weeks from now.
Although voters had been warned that it might take weeks after Election Day for a winner in the Los Angeles mayoral race to be declared, outgoing City Councilman Eric Garcetti decisively bested the outgoing Controller, Wendy Greuel, to become the city’s 42nd mayor. Garcetti, 42, will take office July 1.
The race, which had been predicted by some pollsters to be headed toward a dead heat, was effectively over by 11 p.m. last night, when Garcetti pulled ahead of Greuel and never looked back. In a forecast of his victory made hours before, exit polling by Loyola Marymount University showed Garcetti ahead by a comfortable eight points.
By 3:15 a.m. Wednesday, the City Clerk’s final election bulletin placed the vote count as 181,995 for Garcetti (53.92 percent) and 155,497 (46.07 percent) for Greuel.
Frying Pan News will post first-hand coverage of scenes from the two candidates’ Election Night celebrations later this morning.
Los Angeles’ polls close at 8 p.m. tonight, so there’s plenty of time to vote – and brush up on who and what is on the ballot. Frying Pan News, which does not endorse candidates, has been providing election coverage throughout the spring — offering in-depth interviews with mayoral hopefuls Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti, as well as asking political thinkers like Raphe Sonenshein and Jonathan Parfrey their opinions on what L.A.’s next mayor should do in his or her first term. We also sent veteran reporter Marc Haefele around town to ask what advice (and complaints) voters have for City Hall.
For a complete index of our features, see Frying Pan News’ Next L.A. section.