Politics

Election 2015: LA city council incumbents fare well; Charter amendment backers declare victory (update)

Steven Whiddon votes during the Los Angeles County primary election on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at Saint Mary of the Angels in Los Feliz.
Steven Whiddon votes during the Los Angeles County primary election on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at Saint Mary of the Angels in Los Feliz.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Los Angeles County voters went to the polls Tuesday to vote on several L.A. City Council races, board seats for the Los Angeles Unified School District, two L.A. city charter amendments that would change the election cycle and several measures in cities including Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and La Habra Heights dealing with oil drilling.

Update 11:45 p.m.: A good night for LA council incumbents

With just over 40 percent of the ballots counted in L.A.'s primary elections, incumbent city council members remained comfortably ahead in the polls.

A measure to allow drilling in Hermosa Beach appeared headed for defeat, and the county's election cycle appeared to be on its way to changing to align with state and national votes. 

City council incumbents Herb Wesson (CD10), Paul Krekorian (CD2) and Nury Martinez (CD6) appeared headed to easy victories. Even Jose Huizar (CD14) — whose race against former L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina was expected to be close — looked poised to avoid a runoff. 

The only L.A. city council race in close contention appeared to be for council district 4, where Tomas O'Grady, Carolyn Ramsay and David Ryu were running neck-and-neck to appear on the ballot in the May general election. CD4 also happens to be the district in which KPCC embarked on a #MakeAlCare campaign to compel a local resident — Al Gordon — to vote. 

Tuesday's vote was tougher for LAUSD board candidates. All the races that were in contention look as though they'll continue on to a general election runoff. 

LAUSD board incumbent Bennett Kayser and charter-school advocate Ref Rodriguez will likely face each other in May, as will incumbent Tamar Galatzan and Scott Mark Schmerelson. Even LAUSD board president Richard Vladovic appears likely to face challenger Lydia Gutierrez.  

Opponents of Hermosa Beach's Measure O gathered to cheer its defeat Tuesday. The initiative would have allowed drilling for oil beneath the beach. Instead, the city will have to reimburse the company it had contracted with, E&B Natural Resources Management, $17.5 million in costs. 

Tweet: Hermosa Beach Measure O opponents

La Habra Heights' Measure A, which would have banned oil drilling and fracking in the city, appeared headed for defeat, with 60 percent opposing the initiative. 

With just over 70 percent of the L.A.'s citywide vote counted, here's where things stand: 

RACE   PERCENTAGE
     
MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL, DISTRICT NO. 2   51.13% REPORTING
ERIC PREVEN   25.78
PAUL KREKORIAN   74.21
     
MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL, DISTRICT NO. 4   57.52% REPORTING
DAVID RYU   14.86
CAROLYN RAMSAY   14.75
JOAN PELICO   5.45
TEDDY DAVIS   11.33
STEP JONES   0.56
ROSTOM "ROSS" SARKISSIAN   2.66
MIKE SCHAEFER   1.32
WALLY KNOX   11.09
TOMAS O'GRADY   14.46
JAY BEEBER   4
TARA BANNISTER   1.26
SHEILA IRANI   6.95
FRED MARISCAL   0.76
STEVE VERES   10.46
     
MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL, DISTRICT NO. 6   55.38% REPORTING
CINDY MONTANEZ   38.86
NURY MARTINEZ   61.13
     
MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL, DISTRICT NO. 8   82.35% REPORTING
FORESCEE HOGAN-ROWLES   12.47
MARQUEECE HARRIS-DAWSON   60.64
BOBBIE JEAN ANDERSON   11.63
ROBERT L. COLE, JR.   15.23
     
MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL, DISTRICT NO. 10   85.71% REPORTING
DELANEY "DOC" SMITH    6.9
GRACE YOO   30.2
HERB J.WESSON, JR.   62.89
     
MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL, DISTRICT NO. 12   51.26% REPORTING
MITCHELL ENGLANDER   100
     
MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL, DISTRICT NO. 14   84.7% REPORTING
NADINE MOMOYO DIAZ   4.43
JOSE HUIZAR   65.77
JOHN O'NEILL   2.38
MARIO CHAVEZ   3.57
GLORIA MOLINA   23.83
     
MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF ED, DIST NO. 1    
GEORGE J. MCKENNA III   100
     
MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF ED, DIST NO. 3    
CARL J. PETERSEN   11.25
ANKUR PATEL   12.42
SCOTT MARK SCHMERELSON   19.79
FILIBERTO GONZALEZ   5.72
TAMAR GALATZAN   38.66
ELIZABETH BADGER BARTELS   12.12
     
MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF ED, DIST NO. 5    
REF RODRIGUEZ   38.55
BENNETT KAYSER   35.64
ANDREW THOMAS   25.79
     
MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF ED, DIST NO. 7    
LYDIA A. GUTIERREZ   37.74
EUNA ANDERSON   19.64
RICHARD A. VLADOVIC   42.6
     
MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, SEAT NO. 1    
ANDRA HOFFMAN   35.4
MARIA "SOKIE" QUINTERO    15.22
MARK ISLER   14.41
FRANCESCA VEGA   34.95
     
MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, SEAT NO. 3    
JOZEF "JOE" THOMAS ESSAVI   14.89
SYDNEY KAMLAGER   50.02
SAM KBUSHYAN   14.08
GLENN BAILEY   20.98
     
MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, SEAT NO. 5    
STEVE SCHULTE   38.32
SCOTT SVONKIN   61.67
     
MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, SEAT NO. 7    
MIKE FONG   57.56
JOYCE BURRELL GARCIA   19.89
JOHN C. BURKE   22.53
     
CHARTER AMENDMENT 1    
YES   77.06
NO   22.93
     
CHARTER AMENDMENT 2    
YES   76.57
NO   23.42

Update 10:46 p.m.: Political newbies in the lead in LA council races without incumbents

In the two L.A. city council districts without incumbents, political novices have taken early leads. 

Community organizer Marqueece Harris-Dawson has taken a strong 55 percent lead with just 9 percent of the vote tallied in council district 8, formerly represented by longtime South L.A. politician Bernard Parks. He was followed by community businessman Robert L. Cole, Jr (19 percent). California State Commissioner and L.A. County Democratic Party Vice Chair Bobbie Jean Anderson was at just 14 percent of the vote. 

With 29 percent of council district 4 in, health director David Ryu (16 percent) maintained his lead over former councilmember LaBonge's chief of staff Carolyn Ramsay (14 percent) and entrepreneur Tomas O'Grady (13.7 percent). 

Update 10:22 p.m. Redondo Beach Measure B lead narrows

Redondo Beach reported that Measure B — which calls for tearing down a controversial power plant — was narrowly leading, with 52.2 percent yes votes and 47.8 percent no votes out of 6,772 votes counted so far.

Update 10 p.m.: Backers of election charter amendments declare victory

Backers of two charter amendments that would change the schedule for local elections have declared victory, reports the Los Angeles Times. 

Early returns show 77 percent of voters approving L.A. City charter Amendment 1 and 78 percent approving Amendment 2.

"This is a great win for the people of Los Angeles — tonight they won back their elections from the special interests who have controlled local politics for far too long," said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, who supports the measures.

If passed, the amendments would shift Los Angeles city and L.A. Unified School Board elections to even-numbered years, when there are also state and national elections.

“It makes sense to hold the election when more people are already paying more attention to politics and going to the polls,” Schnur previously told KPCC. 

Update 9:59 p.m. La Habra Heights Measure A going down to defeat

La Habra Heights' final vote tally for the night shows Measure A —which would ban oil drilling and so-called fracking — going down to defeat, with 60 percent voting no (922 votes) and 40 percent voting yes (614 votes).

Update 9:51 p.m. LAUSD school board races percentages 

As of 9:51 p.m. in the Los Angeles Unified School District races, Bennett Kayser (36.04 percent) was nearly tied with charter school advocate Ref Rodriguez (36.49 percent); teacher Andrew Thomas was polling 27.45 percent. LAUSD board president Richard Vladovic retained a lead, with 42.05 percent of the vote, over public school teacher Lydia Gutierrez (36.71 percent). 

Update 9:47 p.m. Hermosa Beach Measure O headed for defeat

The L.A. Weekly reports:

Early numbers show a potentially huge victory for opponents of oil drilling, with the city's mayor tweeting that opponents had 75.56 percent of the vote to supporters' 24.44 percent. Witnesses say cheers are erupting in the counting room as onlookers crowd in to watch.

https://twitter.com/AlanaGarrigues/status/573003469876957184

https://twitter.com/AlanaGarrigues/status/573004653404684288

8:32 p.m: Polls have closed and results are beginning to trickle in Los Angeles' 2015 primary elections.

With just 4 percent of ballots — most of them mail-in ballots —  currently counted, two charter amendments that would change the schedule for local elections were ahead, with 77 percent of voters approving L.A. City charter amendment 1 and 78 percent approving of amendment 2. The two amendments would align the city's election calendar with state and national elections in a bid to increase voter turnout. 

In other close races, the city council incumbent from district 14, Jose Huizar (63 percent), took an early lead over rival Gloria Molina (25 percent), and in council district 10, incumbent Herb Wesson (58 percent) led Grace Yoo (36 percent).

In the heavily contested council district 4, which has the largest number of candidates at 14, health care service director David Ryu led with 17 percent of the vote, followed by Carolyn Ramsay (15 percent) and Tomas O'Grady (12 percent). 

You can see the full early results at the city's election page.

A number of Los Angeles Unified School District board seats are up also for grabs Tuesday, including the closely watched race between incumbent Bennett Kayser (37 percent), charter school advocate Ref Rodriguez (35 percent), and teacher Andrew Thomas (28 percent). 

LAUSD board president Richard Vladovic (43 percent) faced strong early opposition from public school teacher Lydia Gutierrez (36 percent). 

Turnout is expected to be extremely low for Tuesday's primary vote, which doesn't include any citywide races.

In  the city's last election, which included the race for mayor, only 19 percent of registered voters turned out.

Other early results:

https://twitter.com/MayorPTBarragan/status/572984295934992384