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Live blog: Garcetti speaks like a winner; Trutanich concedes city attorney's race

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Los Angeles Mayor race 2013Update: Eric Garcetti elected mayor of Los Angeles; Wendy Greuel concedes 

Update 12:20 a.m.: Trutanich concedes to Feuer

Shortly before midnight, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich conceded the race to former Assemblyman Mike Feuer, Trutanich's spokesman John Schwada said.

Feuer had nearly 61 percent of the votes, with about 12 percent of the city's precincts having been counted. 

The campaign had been a bitter one, with Trutanich filing an Ethics Commission complaint against Feuer midway through the race, alleging Feuer was receiving unfair help in the form of discounted campaign services from a consultant. Feuer countered with a complaint that Trutanich was violating city campaign rules by sending too many official emails. — Sharon McNary

Update 12:10 a.m.: Garcetti takes the stage

Eric Garcetti took the stage shortly after 11:30 tonight, praising his supporters and sounding supremely confident of winning even though full results had not yet come in. 

"The results aren't all in yet, but this is shaping up to be a great night," he said. He went on to paint his campaign as a struggle against deeper an opponent with deeper pockets and high-profile support, and casting himself as a grass-roots underdog.

"We faced some powerful forces," Garcetti said.

At points, his address sounded just shy of a victory speech. He called on thanked his family and friends, and called on his supporters to consider the night as the beginning to a larger struggle. 

"Tonight is just a beginning," he said. "Our work has just begun."

Eric Zassenhaus

Update 12:02 a.m. Wednesday: Results stream in ... slowly

Wonder why it takes so long for election results in L.A.? Here’s a clue: 

As midnight approached, five council districts had reported at least 36 percent of their precincts, while others were notably absent.
 
The laggard districts were the farthest from downtown, which means those ballots had the longest journey to where the city clerk’s office counts the ballots.

  • Council District 3, in the western San Fernando Valley, reported no precincts counted by 11:30 p.m.
  • District 15 in San Pedro, had just 3 percent of precincts counted.
  • District 12 in the Northwest San Fernando Valley, had only 5 percent of precincts counted.

NBC Los Angeles' Kim Baldonado caught a slew of the trucks on their way to be counted:

— Sharon McNary

Update 11:34 p.m.: In overtime, Greuel thanks, rallies supporters

Wendy Greuel took to the stage shortly after 11 p.m. to thank her supporters and tell them the race is not over.

“When you’re playing in the championship of L.A. politics, sometimes the game goes into overtime,” Greuel said.

She reminded supporters that she won her first city council race against Tony Cardenas by just 225 votes.

Greuel thanked her supporters and gave a special shout-out to the labor interests who poured millions of dollars into her campaign.

“I want to thank particularly my labor brothers and sisters and the working people of Los Angeles who stood with me through this race,” Greuel said. “You know, a lot of people were telling me I needed to throw working people under the bus to win this race, but that was never going to happen under my watch.

“I will never apologize for the early support and earning the support of our police officers, our firefighters, our city workers and yes, and yes, our electrical workers.” – Alice Walton

Update 11:20 p.m.: In early returns, Garcetti has slight lead

With 14 percent of precincts counted, Eric Garcetti opened his first —albeit slight — lead over Wendy Greuel in the race to become mayor. Garcetti had 51.1 percent to Greuel's 48.9 percent of the vote. Greuel had led in three earlier results releases that mostly included vote-by-mail ballots.

In other citywide races, challenger Mike Feuer held a big lead over City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, and private attorney Ron Galperin led Councilman Dennis Zine in the City Controller race, 53.3 percent to 46.7 percent.

In City Council District 1, with about one-third of the votes counted, former state Sen. Gilbert Cedillo had a lead of 53.2 percent to 46.7 percent for Jose Gardea, who is chief of staff to the district’s current councilman Ed Reyes.
 
State Sen. Curren Price led the District 9 race with 54.2 percent over former council chief of staff Ana Cubas, who had 45.8 percent. That was with almost one-third of the counted votes in the district.
 
The District 13 council race appeared to be the closest of the three runoff elections to fill open council seats.  Mitch O'Farrell led John Choi, 50.6 percent  percent to 49.4 percent. That’s with about 40% of the votes counted. O'Farrell had worked in the council office of outgoing City Councilman Eric Garcetti. Choi is a former public works commissioner. — Sharon McNary

Measure D ahead by a large margin  

Caption: Marijuana supporters gather at Eric Garcetti's event at the Palladium in Hollywood, Calif. on May 21st, 2013.

The future of the medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles could be at stake in tonight's election. In early returns, Measure D, which would impose some stiff restrictions on the city's pot shops if passed but keep them open, is ahead by a wide margin. Only 135 of the city's pot shops would  be allowed to exist.

Still, says KPCC's Frank Stoltze, there must be some relief in the medical marijuana community. There is some concern that none of the measures will pass.

Measure E, which is trailing in the polls, would reduce the number of pot shops in the city, but demand fewer taxes from them. Its supporters have since thrown their weight behind D.  

Measures F would allow all of the city's marijuana dispensaries to remain open.  — Eric Zassenhaus

Update 10:27 p.m.: Polls show Garcetti leading with whites, Latinos; Greuel leading with African-Americans

An exit poll by Loyola Marymount University's  Center for the Study of Los Angeles predicts that Eric Garcetti will win the mayor’s race over Wendy Greuel by five to eight percentage points.
 
Fernando Guerra, who directs the LMU center, said Garcetti should win by about 54 to 46 percent.
 
Guerra said the poll shows Garcetti getting about 59 percent in support from white voters, who comprise the largest voting demographic in the city. Garcetti would get as much as 63 percent of the Latino vote.

According to the poll, Wendy Greuel is doing particularly well with Black voters, with 71 percent of the African-American vote.
 
The Center for the Study of Los Angeles has been conducting exit polls of city voters since 2005.

The women vote was split about 50/50 between the two, but Guerra said that Greuel needs a margin of about 55 percent of women voters to win the race.

Garcetti appeared to be doing better among Republicans, with about 65 percent of the vote. 

LMU students surveyed 800 voters at polling places in English and Spanish.

Sharon McNary

Update 10:22: 2 updates in 2.5 hours. Queue the reporter angst

The long wait for updates, and the prospect of no decision coming down tonight in the mayoral race, L.A. reporters are taking some of their frustration to Twitter: 

...And from the floor of the Greuel celebrations, our own Alice Walton and L.A. Times' Seema Mehta debate the deejay's musical selections: 

Update 9:55 p.m.: High profile political players turn out for Greuel

A low energy crowd welcomed former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, labor leader Dolores Huerta and Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell to the stage about 9:30 p.m. The three have been vocal supporters of Greuel.

“I am proud to have been one of the co-chairs of this great effort and we are going to win this campaign,” Hertzberg said.

In her speech, Mitchell called attention to how Greuel was able to involve her 9-year-old son, Thomas, in the political process.

“Now that may seem like a little thing to many of you,” said Mitchell, “but for me that’s indicative of her orientation around policy, of her view of what it means to raise a family in the city of Los Angeles.”

Also at the party are consultants Ace Smith and Sean Clegg -- the men behind the Working Californians PAC.

Alice Walton

Update 9:38 p.m.: At the Palladium, Garcetti team full of confidence election night 

Eric Garcetti is holding his election night party at the Hollywood Palladium. His supporters started filling the popular music venue shortly after 8 p.m. The campaign is providing free popcorn, but the bar is no-host. 

Spirits were high in the first hour after voting locations closed. Garcetti entered Election Day up in the polls. His strategist said he feels good about the campaign.
 
“The DWP thing was a very big deal,” said strategist Bill Carrick, referring to the spending by the Department of Water and Power union on Greuel’s behalf. That spending allowed Garcettit to argue he was more independent of city labor unions.

Former mayoral candidate Kevin James hit a snag at the door this evening. KPCC reporter Mae Ryan said the one-time rival (and recent supporter) was briefly stopped at the door before a member of Garcetti's team came over and whisked him in. 

Some supporters who gathered at the Palladium gushed over the candidate.
 
“He’s got vision,” said Rebecca Beatty of Sherman Oaks. “I like his idea of growing communities around public transit.” Beatty and her husband volunteered for Garcetti during the campaign. —Frank Stoltze

Update 9:05 p.m.: LMU exit poll predicts Garcetti win
 
Loyola Marymount University’s Center for the Study of Los Angeles released its exit poll results, which predict a 54-to-46 percent victory for Eric Garcetti.

Maybe Wendy Greuel's supporters got word. Forty minutes after the doors opened, Greuel's election night party was looking sparse. About 50 or 60 people stood in the Exchange, watching campaign commercials and listening to ‘80s music. There's not a lot of excitement in the room ... except for a table full of reporters waiting for the first numbers to post.  — Alice Walton

Update 8:46 p.m.: Follow @StoltzeFrankly and @TheCityMaven

... for updates from the Garcetti and Greuel camps. They'll be there all night, along with KPCC photographers Mae Ryan and Grant Slater.  

Update 8:33 p.m.: Campaigning done, Greuel watches returns in DTLA

Wendy Greuel is spending election night at The Exchange, a downtown club that opened in 1931 as the Los Angeles Stock Exchange. Supporters filtered in as the polls closed and Greuel settled in to watch the returns with her family in a private room.

In the main room, Greuel’s campaign ads are playing on a large screen set up on a stage. The campaign’s logo and colors of blue and green are projected on the walls, and any available space is covered with campaign signs. 

Even as late as 7:30 p.m., Greuel volunteers were calling voters from the party, urging them to get to the polls before they closed.

There was a lot of activity here this afternoon when Greuel came out for a soundcheck. She then stuck around for 45 minutes to speak with reporters. The interviews followed a day that took Greuel all over the city to speak with undecided voters. She’s also hoping for a better turnout than the March 5 primary, when just one in five Angelenos voted.

“We reached out to a lot of people who were not a part of that primary pool of voters,” Greuel said. 

“We tried to get a broad swath of Los Angeles and tell everyone that their vote is going to matter.

“So, I think we reached out to a lot of people who hadn’t voted before and who I know are going to vote for me today.”

Time will tell whether Greuel becomes L.A.’s first-ever woman mayor. — Alice Walton

8:00 p.m.: The polls are closed—let the counting begin! 

Caption: Katsy Chappell, a longtime poll worker, describes what happens in the polling places when the voting is over.

The city clerk reports that as of Tuesday morning, 23.6 percent of requested vote-by-mail ballots has been returned. That’s slightly higher than the number returned for the March primary.  

As for the votes that were cast in person on Election Day, it takes a small army of workers to get them to the counting machines in downtown Los Angeles.

The process is laid out in the poll workers’ manual, and reinforced at the two-hours of training every worker must attend—and even pass a test--before being assigned to a polling place.

RELATED: Full Election Day results

Longtime poll worker Katsy Chappell describes what it’s like at 8 p.m. when voting stops. She says she stands behind the last voter in line and calls out, “The polls are now closed! It’s like, ‘Hear ye, hear ye’ — like the old town crier.“

The poll workers then pack up the registers, unused ballots and other materials. What happens next determines whether the ballots get to the counting machines early in the evening or late.

“We’re counting the ballots that are in the box, and it should match the ballots that we gave out,” Chappell says. Sighing heavily, she adds: “Fingers crossed!”

If workers find too many or too few ballots, they can try to resolve the discrepancy, but only for a limited time, Chappell says.

“If we don’t find it by 9:30, we stop” —and leave it for the City Clerk to sort out.

Finally, two poll workers –-always two, in the same vehicle, to maintain the integrity of the ballots--drive the ballots to a handoff point. From there, the ballots are trucked to the counting machines downtown.

“It’s really dummy-proof to get you out of there in decent time because you’ve been there since 6:30 a.m.,” Chappell says.

Meanwhile, at the city clerk’s office, the count gets started. — Sharon McNary

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