Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Los Angeles Election Results

Los Angeles voters went to the polls yesterday unimpressed by the choices. Only 16% of the 1.8 million registered voters turned out to vote in the City’s election (292,760/1,817,107). As expected the two front runners for Mayor, Eric Carcetti and Wendy Greuel, came in first and second with 32.93% and 29.19% respectively. They proved yet again that money and TV ads can prevail against underfunded opponents. Kevin James, the Republican in the race, polled 16.4%, which approximates the Republican voter registration in the City of Angels. The public employee unions are celebrating. Indeed, SEIU Local 724 with 10,000 city employees, quickly endorsed Wendy Greuel. They know the winner of the May 21 runoff will be sympathetic to the unions and will not push for reform of the labor contracts. Wendy Greuel has pledged to “make LA more business friendly,” which does not correlate to keeping LA “union friendly.” Gil Carcetti has a more modest goal: “to fix LA one block at a time.” That will take more than 4 or 8 years in office since LA is 469 square miles. Unfortunately for the unions, Mayor Villaraigosa, and City Council President Herbert Wesson, the 16% who did vote rejected by a 10% margin the proposed ½ cent increase in the sales tax. The idea of a 9.75% city sales tax for declining municipal services was not attractive to voters. Voters realize that unfunded pension liabilities are the black hole in municipal budgets. LA’s current budget deficit is $200 million, but it’s rising like mercury in the warm Southern California clime. The new Mayor faces a budgetary train wreck.

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