LA Election Results: the Establishment Wins

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

In an era when populist uprisings have brought surprising election results nationally and internationally, the opposite was true in the Los Angeles elections yesterday. The establishment held its ground as most incumbents, led by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s overwhelming victory, retained their seats and the powers-that-be held sway on high profile city and county ballot measures.

Garcetti brushed aside 10 challengers by capturing over 80% of the vote, a one-sided result that sets him up for a possible run for higher office. Compare Garcetti’s finish to that of his predecessor, Antonio Villaraigosa, who faced nine little known challenges in his 2009 re-election bid and managed to avoid a run-off election by scoring 55% of the vote.

The former L.A. mayor is a candidate for governor of California, a seat Garcetti is rumored to covet. Should Garcetti use his landslide win to vault into the governor’s race that could complicate matters for Villaraigosa. However, having both the current and most recent mayors of California’s biggest city in the same contest could undermine both men when the field will offer a contingent of well-known candidates.

In the hotly contested campaign over Measure S, which would put a moratorium on city development, the no side backed by a broad coalition that included both business and labor crushed the proposal by 69% to 31%.

The issue of over development seemed to have a chance given concerns over congestion in the city with some of the world’s worst traffic. Early polls showed the measure leading. The question was, would the establishment, by rounding up many endorsements and spending heavily, overcome voter concerns. While the strategy of amassing a broad coalition was successful the money side was not so one-sided.

Led by the Aids Healthcare Foundation, the Yes side spent $5 million on the campaign to counter the $8 raised by opponents. Yet, the arguments that the building moratorium would increase housing costs, a sore point though out the city, and reduce efforts to build housing for the homeless, carried the day.

Many in the No on Measure S coalition, including elected officials and business, also teamed up to push through a county quarter-cent sales tax for ten years for homeless services. The measure, which was behind in early vote counts based on vote-by-mail, rallied to achieve the necessary two-thirds vote on Election Day. Countywide about 60% of the vote came at the polls.

All in all, a good day for the downtown Los Angeles establishment.

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