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Voters hardly went to the polls in droves Tuesday, but an estimated 15 percent of registered voters cast their ballots and elected seven incumbent city councilmembers, including Councilmember Tom LaBonge, 4th District, to a third term. Voters also decided measures ranging from a medical marijuana tax, to money for libraries, and police pension reform.
In West Hollywood, incumbent councilmembers John Heilman and Abbe Land won decisively, as did newcomer John D’Amico, who received the second most votes behind Land. Incumbent Lindsey Horvath was not re-elected. The controversial billboard tax, Measure A, was also soundly defeated.
Heilman’s office would not comment on the election victory, as results were not official as of Wednesday.
In the 4th District race, which saw some fiery pre-election candidate forums, LaBonge won with 55 percent of the vote, followed by Tomas O’Grady, with nearly 31 percent, and Stephen Box with almost 14 percent.
“I’m very grateful to the voters of the Fourth District for re-electing me to the Los Angeles City Council,” LaBonge said. “We had a dedicated group of volunteers who did a fantastic job talking to voters and helping to get out the vote.
With the election behind him, LaBonge is excited to continue with the tasks at hand.
“My priority has always been to serve the people of the fourth district and the City of Los Angeles,” LaBonge said. “Our challenge as a city is to resolve our fiscal matters and to re-engineer Los Angeles city government to be more effective, with a renewed focus on meeting the needs of our communities. I’m confident that, together, we can overcome these challenges. We have to work together to make the hard choices that face us and agree on the best way forward in these uncertain times.”
Despite not winning the election, O’Grady was proud of his campaign and is determined to remain a city political figure.
“I got 30 percent of the vote, that’s more than I had expected,” O’Grady said. “The fact that I got 5,000 votes, to LaBonge’s 8,000, is really amazing.”
O’Grady will begin creating his own non-profit group this week targeting education and environmental issues.
“I want to get gardens in every school. I want to get back to some action items,” O’Grady said.
Voters favored fire and police pension plan reforms (Charter Amendment G); and voted yes to allocating more money to libraries (Charter Amendment L); yes to taxing medical marijuana (Charter Amendment M); and no, narrowly by less than three percent, to taxing local oil producers (Proposition O).
Amendment L was an important measure to LaBonge.
“As one of the authors, I’m so pleased that the voters saw fit to approve Measure L,” LaBonge said. “This is an investment in our city that will pay dividends for decades to come. Our libraries and our parks, from Pan Pacific Park to Griffith Park and everywhere in between, are treasured resources that must be protected and properly funded to give Angelenos outlets for our minds and our bodies.”
Charter Amendment H, which called for contract bidder campaign contribution and fundraising restrictions won easily; as did Charter Amendments I and J which called for Department of Water and Power (DWP) oversight.
Council President Eric Garcetti, 13th District, spearheaded both of the DWP-related amendments.
I developed these ballot measures to create independent oversight and increase transparency at DWP, and I thank the voters for passing them by overwhelming margins,” Garcetti said. “The DWP’s top priority must be its customers, the people of Los Angeles. This election was about the voters making sure the agency is ultimately accountable to them. These measures are key components to making sure 2011 is the year we bring real reform to the DWP.”
As the city scrambles to plug a projected $350 million budget hole, voters said yes to establishing a contingency reserve fund (Charter Amendment P), yes to campaign finance (Charter Amendment N), and yes to implementing provisions for hiring civil servants (Charter Amendment Q).
Of the 10 City of Los Angeles charter amendments on the ballot, nine were easily decided favorably, with the lone ‘nay’ being the highly contested local oil production tax.
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