Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA vote count not slow, elections chief says, discounting complaints

City Clerk elections counting room

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Los Angeles City Clerk employees ready computers and counting machines for a final tally following the March 5 primary.

It took until 3 a.m. Wednesday morning for the L.A. City Clerk to report the results of Tuesday's vote.

Some election watchers complained that vote counting in the city was just too slow, while the City Clerk's office says the count was normal, with no unusual delays.

Election night Twitter posts mocked the glacial pace of ballot counting. Attendees at campaign parties around town waited — and waited — for a definitive result.

Rick Jacobs, who raised money to help elect Eric Garcetti, was among the impatient masses milling about at the candidate's party at the Hollywood Palladium: "It was slow! I mean, it was really slow, and that has to be fixed."

The City Clerk counted 380,000 votes by 3 a.m. Wednesday morning. Los Angeles County managed to count more than 3 million ballots in about the same amount of time in last fall's presidential election.
There were a few minor glitches in getting ballots transported from 1,600 polling places to downtown Tuesday night. A helicopter pad on the city's Westside was fogged in, so ballot cards that might have been flown downtown were instead taken by car.


House already sparring over Senate immigration bill

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Kitty Felde/KPCC

Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of San Jose is a member of the House "Gang of Eight" that is negotiating a comprehensive immigration bill.

You might call it a preview of the battle to come over immigration in the House.

Less than 24 hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a comprehensive immigration bill, the House Judiciary Committee used a hearing to find its flaws. The divide was clearly along party lines.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee asked witnesses whether they agreed the border enforcement provisions in the Senate bill were weaker than current law. Democrats asked whether witnesses agreed that E-verify, the electronic employment verification system in the Senate bill, would create more secure documents.

GOP members asked witnesses if they believed the President would actually enforce immigration laws. Democrat Luis Gutierrez of Illinois pointed to deportation numbers, saying the current administration had an “appetite” for deportation. Republicans countered that the President was “cooking the books.”


State's prison overseer blasts CA officials for stalling reforms

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Mike Roe/KPCC

Prisoners at the California Institution for Men in Chino line up, waiting for medical appointments.

The federal receiver in charge of medical care in California’s 33 prisons says state officials have dug in and are resisting mandated reforms.  

In a report filed in U.S. District Court late Wednesday, Clark Kelso said state officials have changed their tone “from acquiescence bordering on support for the Receiver’s work, to opposition bordering on contempt.”

Kelso cited the state's refusal last month to follow his directive to immediately transfer vulnerable inmates from prisons where Valley Fever has proliferated.

Deborah Hoffman with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's called the receiver's report, "less about the health of inmates and more about shifting blame."

The Department, she said, has been "working cooperatively with the Receiver to combat Valley Fever in California prisons for a long time."


Garcetti proves there's no litmus test for Latinos

Mayor Race - Eric Garcetti

Grant Slater/KPCC

Eric Garcetti at a fundraiser for Latino supporters during his mayoral campaign.

Eight years ago, when I was editor-in-chief of Ciudad Magazine, we heralded the election of Antonio Villaraigosa as L.A.'s first modern-day Mexican-American mayor.

At another junction during the magazine's three-year life, we published a cover story titled: "The New Angelenos Are Half-Latino: How They're Changing the Face of Our Wildly Diverse Metropolis." The story examined how Latinos in L.A. are increasingly the children or partners of people from other ethnicities and races.

And now L.A. has a mayor who fits that bill.

Some Latinos quibble with Eric Garcetti's pedigree. His mother is Jewish, and his Italian surname comes from a European ancestor who emigrated to Mexico. But he is firm about his ethnic bona fides. 

“Both of my father’s parents were proudly Mexican-American, both spoke Spanish as their first language," Garcetti told KPCC last year. "My grandfather was born in Mexico, my grandmother’s parents were from Mexico.” He's also spoken of his grandparents' former house in Boyle Heights being his second home.


Eric Garcetti's first priority as mayor: Rebuild LA's middle class

Eric Garcetti

Alice Walton/KPCC

Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti addresses supporters and reporters in Echo Park Wednesday.

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Alice Walton/KPCC

Reporters and photographers descended on Echo Park Wednesday as Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti gave his first availability since Tuesday's victory.

Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti was mobbed by reporters and enthusiastic supporters Wednesday afternoon during his first availability since defeating Controller Wendy Greuel for the city's top job. 

Preliminary results show Garcetti won with 54 percent of the vote. 

"I want to thank the voters who believed in the idea that a record of results was worth voting for," Garcetti said.  "That something they could see with their own eyes on the  streets of the heart of Los Angeles from Hollywood to Atwater Village, here where the city started, they’ve seen turn around for over a decade. And they also believed that an independent mayor was worth voting for."

Garcetti's last remark continues the campaign's mantra that labor support for Greuel would unfairly sway her when it came time for contract negotiations. The Garcetti campaign didn't benefit from the same outside spending and high-profile endorsements that Greuel received.