Los Angeles Times - 04.03.2020

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Four well-funded Los An-
geles politicians — two of
them incumbents, two of
them looking to win new of-
fices — were leading in their
respective races for City
Council late Tuesday, ac-
cording to partial returns.
In a Hollywood Hills dis-
trict, Councilman David
Ryu was leading his oppo-
nents but was at risk of being
pushed into a November
runoff election against non-
profit leader Nithya Raman.
In the northwest San Fer-
nando Valley, Councilman
John Lee was leading college
educator Loraine Lundquist
in their second head-to-
head contest in eight
Former state Senate
leader Kevin de León was
ahead of his opponents in
the five-way race to replace
Councilman Jose Huizar on
the Eastside. And Los Ange-
les County Supervisor Mark
Ridley-Thomas was leading
attorney Grace Yoo as well
as three other challengers in
the race to replace Council-
man Herb Wesson in South
Los Angeles.
“I think this is an affirma-
tion of the leadership I have
displayed over several dec-
ades now — that I am com-
mitted to results, committed
to reform, which has been
my mantra ever since I took
office,” Ridley-Thomas said
shortly after the results
Yoo said she expected to
force Ridley-Thomas into a
runoff. While she was happy
to be placing second, Yoo
said the county’s handling of
the election — and the fact
that voters had to wait in line
for hours — was “completely

“The voter suppression
going on in the county of Los
Angeles is awful,” she said.
Council President Nury
Martinez and Councilman
Paul Krekorian, both repre-
sentatives of the San Fer-
nando Valley, were coasting
to victory. And Councilman
Marqueece Harris-Dawson
prevailed in his race for re-
election in South Los Ange-
les. He was the only candi-
date on the ballot.
In contests where no one
receives a majority, the top
two candidates will compete
in a runoff election in No-
vember. De León, who held
slightly more than a major-
ity of the vote at about 11
p.m., said he was “cautiously
optimistic” about his pro-
“I’ve never taken any-
thing for granted, and I will
not take anything for
granted tonight,” he said.

Tuesday’s election was in
many ways historic for L.A.
For the first time in at least a
century, the municipal elec-
tion was conducted on the
same day as the state’s pres-
idential primary, a change
made by voters in hopes of
boosting voter turnout. The
presidential primary and
other high-profile races were
expected to lure more
Democrats to the polls.
Democrats had been
hoping a bigger turnout
would boost Lundquist, a
Democrat running in the
northwest Valley to unseat
Lee, who was until recently
registered as a Republican.
Lee said the early results,
which had him ahead by a
significant margin, showed
that the election “wasn’t
about party politics.”
“This is about potholes.
This is about funding po-
lice,” he said.

In other ways, Tuesday’s
election was much like those
that have been held in previ-
ous years. Incumbents and
established politicians were
far more successful in col-
lecting campaign donations
and big-ticket endorse-
Ryu, who is running for
his second term, raised more
than $1 million for his reelec-
tion campaign. De León,
who lost his race for U.S.
Senate in 2018, raised more
than $830,000. Ridley-Thom-
as, who is looking to return
to the council after an 18-
year absence, took in more
than $700,000.
All three secured the en-
dorsements of the Los Ange-
les County Democratic
Party, the Federation of La-
bor and an array of politi-
cians, including Mayor Eric
Garcetti. All three were
viewed by their rivals as part

of the city’s political estab-
Former marketing execu-
tive Cyndi Otteson, running
a distant second behind De
León in the race to replace
Huizar, said she decided not
to accept contributions from
real estate developers, char-
ter school operators and
others with business at City
Hall. That decision, she said,
made the campaign more
challenging but also sent an
important message to the
Ridley-Thomas, who has
been in office for 29 years,
had been viewed as the
front-runner in his race
against Yoo, former city
commissioner Aura
Vasquez, community organ-
izer Channing Martinez and
activist Melvin Snell. His ri-
vals attempted to run to his
left, calling for such mea-
sures as free bus and train
fares, a rent freeze and new
restrictions on oil drilling in
De León was running
ahead of Otteson, school
board member Mónica
García, high school counsel-
or Raquel Zamora and non-
profit founder John
Both De León and Rid-
ley-Thomas faced criticism
from their rivals for refusing
to rule out a run for mayor in
Ryu, for his part, faced
criticism from his rivals over
the city’s handling of an on-
going homelessness crisis.
Screenwriter Sarah Kate
Levy called for the city to set
up safe sites for people to
pitch tents or sleep in their
vehicles. Raman outlined
plans for a network of service
centers that would assist un-
housed Angelenos.
Ryu pointed to his efforts
to open homeless shelters
and housing developments.

Familiar faces lead for council

FORMERstate Senate leader Kevin de León was ahead of four opponents in the race to replace Councilman Jose Huizar on the Eastside.

Luis SincoLos Angeles Times

COUNCILMAN David Ryu was ahead of his two opponents, with the crisis over
homelessness being a major campaign issue in the Hollywood Hills district.

Francine OrrLos Angeles Times

By Emily Alpert Reyes
and David Zahniser

A bond measure that
would raise $15 billion for
new construction and reno-
vation at schools and col-
leges across California was
trailing in returns Tuesday
night, but nearly half of the
state's precincts had yet to
report any results.
Although “no” votes were
leading statewide, early
numbers from some of the
state’s heavily Democratic
counties, including San
Francisco and Alameda,
suggested a closer race. The
measure, which is not a tax
and will be funded through
general obligation bonds,
needs a simple majority to
Of the bond’s $15-billion
total, $6 billion would be
divided evenly among the
University of California, Cal
State and community col-
lege systems, and $9 billion
would go to preschool
through K-12 schools, includ-
ing charter schools and ca-
reer and technical education
“I feel very optimistic,”
said Jeff Freitas, president of
the California Federation of
Teachers, which endorsed
the measure. “I believe in the
voters of California who have
done a great job in support-
ing schools in California, and
I think it can pass.”
Ahead of the vote, Pro-
position 13, which has no re-
lation to the 1978 measure
that capped property tax in-
creases, enjoyed widespread
support from public school
districts, teachers unions,
charter advocates and all
three systems of higher edu-
cation. Notably absent from
the list of endorsers was
the Los Angeles Unified
School District, where offi-
cials did not say how much
money they expected to
lose or gain from the mea-
Concerns about L.A.’s eli-
gibility for the funds and re-
duced revenue from devel-
oper fees may have played a
role in their lack of an official
endorsement. L.A. schools
Supt. Austin Beutner said
he considered Proposition 13
helpful, but L.A. public
schools need much more
than the bond measure
would provide.
In the past, the state
awarded funds on a “first
come, first served” basis,
which critics said gave an ad-
vantage to bigger and
wealthier districts. Under
the new Proposition 13, dis-
tricts that demonstrate a
need to make “health and
life-safety repairs,” have a
hard time raising funds lo-
cally, and serve high shares
of low-income students,
English learners and foster
youth will receive priority
The measure also
changes how districts may
raise money locally. It in-
creases the amount they can
issue in local bonds but re-
duces the “impact fees” that
they may charge developers
of multifamily housing.

Prop. 13




By Nina Agrawal

In early results Tuesday
night, Jackie Goldberg had a
comfortable lead in her bid
to remain on the Los Angeles
Board of Education. Results
in two other competitive
contests were tighter, follow-
ing campaigns marked by
big spending from outside
interests and negative, fre-
quently inaccurate mailers
against some of the candi-
The early tallies in all
races were too small to be
Four of seven board seats
were on the ballot in con-
tests that are expected to
determine whether the
teachers union or charter
school supporters will have
greater influence in the na-
tion’s second-largest school
system. Headed into the
election, all four seats were
held by board members who
leaned pro-union, and the
shift of even one seat could
result in a more pro-charter

Board of Education.

District 1, parts
of south and
southwest L.A.
The easiest race was in
District 1. One-term incum-
bent George McKenna was
opposed only by write-in
candidate Michael Batie,
whose name does not ap-
pear on the ballot.

District 5, parts of
east and north L.A.,
southeast cities
In District 5, Goldberg
has been the presumed fa-
vorite. But that did not stop
businessman Bill Bloom-
field from swamping the
race with positive mailers
about opponent Christina
Martinez Duran and nega-
tive mailers about Goldberg.
Goldberg had a comfort-
able majority in early re-
Bloomfield spent more
than $600,000 in support of
Duran and more than
$744,000 on negative mailers

that distorted Goldberg’s
record of pushing for in-
creased funding for schools
and supporting gun control.
Unions spent about $232,
on behalf of Goldberg, who
already was well-known in
areas of her district north
and northeast of downtown.
She’s less well-known in the
cities of southeast L.A.
Goldberg first served on
the board in the 1980s and
later on the L.A. City Council
and in the state Assembly.
She returned to the Board of
Education last May in a spe-
cial election to complete the
term of Ref Rodriguez, who
resigned after pleading
guilty to campaign finance
The switch from Rodri-
guez, co-founder of a group
of charter schools, to Gold-
berg, a union ally and char-
ter critic, altered the board’s
ideological balance. Char-
ters are privately operated
public schools that compete
with district operated
schools for students. Most
charters are non-union.

In her first year, Goldberg
has suggested that she
would look with some skep-
ticism at petitions for new
charters, but also insisted
she would not target exist-
ing charters — more than
200 — for shutdown.

District 3, West
San Fernando
To tilt the board toward
supporting charter growth,
backers needed only one
win, and they pushed hard in
District 3. In this race, one-
term incumbent Scott
Schmerelson — a retired
principal backed by the dis-
trict’s employee unions —
was opposed by charter-
backed Marilyn Koziatek, a
district parent who has led
community outreach efforts
at a local charter school.
Schmerelson was ahead
in early returns, but the race
was far from settled.
Charter backers spent
more than $1.6 million to
boost Koziatek and more
than $1 million against

Schmerelson. Unions spent
more than $671,000 in sup-
port of Schmerelson and
also tried to flood neighbor-
hoods with teachers who
volunteered to walk pre-
The other candidate,
Elizabeth Bartels-Badger,
was third in early returns,
suggesting that she may pull
in enough votes to keep the
other two candidates from
winning an outright major-
ity. If no candidate wins a
majority of votes, the top two
finishers will face off in No-

District 7, South
L.A. and Harbor
This competitive seat
opened up because term
limits prevented incumbent
Richard Vladovic from run-
ning again.
In early returns, the lead-
ing vote-getters included the
three candidates who ben-
efited most from outside
campaigns: Mike Lansing,
Tanya Ortiz Franklin and

Patricia Castellanos. But
Lydia Gutiérrez, who had no
significant funding support,
was in that tight grouping.
As in District 5, the cam-
paign spending pitted char-
ter ally Bloomfield against
the teachers union and its al-
lies. And, as in District 5, his
dollars swamped what ei-
ther the unions or individual
candidates were able to do
on their own.
In this race, Bloomfield
backed two candidates: for-
mer two-term school board
member Lansing and edu-
cation-program administra-
tor Franklin. Bloomfield’s
apparent goal was to keep
edge out union-backed can-
didate Castellanos from
making a runoff.
Bloomfield also funded
negative campaigns against
Gutiérrez, a teacher, and
Castellanos, a veteran labor
organizer and district par-
Also running in District 7
was Silke M. Bradford, a
school district administra-
tor who evaluates the per-
formance of charter schools.

Union-backed Goldberg ahead in school board race

By Howard Blume
and Sonali Kohli

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