The final results of the November election haven’t quite been tallied, yet city elections are already beginning.
Since election night, current West Hollywood City Councilman Jeffrey Prang’s lead has increased in the race for Los Angeles County assessor. Prang led deputy city attorney John Morris by approximately 9,000 votes after all precincts were in on election night. There were an estimated 250,000 ballots (provisionals and late absentees) that still needed to be counted.
As of Wednesday, county officials had counted 93,908 more votes. Prang’s vote lead increased to 17,735. He has 50.9 percent of the vote versus Morris’ 49.1 percent. The county will certify the election near the end of the month.
Should the lead carry, the West Hollywood City Council will have a decision to make in the near future.
According to assistant city clerk Melissa Crowder, Prang must resign his city council seat before he is officially sworn in as assessor. The city council then can do one of two things — appoint someone to serve out the last two-plus years of his term, or call for a special election.
Due to special election timing rules, Prang would had to have resigned from the council by Saturday, Nov. 8, in order for his seat to be considered open during the upcoming March election. Instead, if the city council wants to fill that seat with a special election, the election would have to take place, by itself, in June 2015, with an additional cost of $100,000 to $150,000.
“We had to call the special election by this last week [in order for it to be a part of the March election],” Crowder said.
If the city council wants to appoint someone, there are not definitive rules.
“They can handle the appointment process however they choose,” Crowder said. “There is no law about how it needs to be conducted.”
The petitioning process began this week for people looking to fill three different West Hollywood City Council seats — those held currently by John D’Amico, Abbe Land and John Heilman.
West Hollywood residents who have submitted candidate intention statements so far include: Larry Block, D’Amico, Cole Ettman, Matthew Fritch, Mikel Gerle, Joe Guardarrama, Heilman, Lindsey Horvath, Lucas John Junkin, James Duke Mason, Lauren Meister and Heidi Shink.
Each potential candidate must submit signatures from 20 registered voters in the city by early December. There are 25,076 registered voters in West Hollywood. Overall, there are five city council seats.
Los Angeles also began the mechanisms for its local election with an eye toward the March 2015 primaries.
Voters then will decide on city council districts 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14, along with Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education districts 1, 3, 5 and 7. The 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th seats of the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees are also up for grabs, and those are decided on an at-large basis.
Councilman Tom LaBonge, 4th District, will be termed out. Those seeking his seat have created a large pool of candidates.
Residents who have declared that they will collect petitions in order to run for the 4th District include: Jay Beeber (community advocate/businessman), Sheila Irani (businesswoman/community leader), Eric Weyenberd (undeclared), Step Jones (vapor advocate), Michael Schaefer (public interest advocate), David Ryu (community health director), Fred Mariscal (marketing executive), Carolyn Ramsay (council member chief of staff), Tomas O’Grady (nonprofit director/entrepreneur), Tara Bannister (association director/educator), Wally Knox (attorney), Steve Veres (trustee, Los Angeles colleges), Joan Pelico (council member’s staff chief), Oscar Winslow (attorney/retired policeman), Teddy Davis (attorney/educator), John “JP” Perron (nonprofit executive), Charles Craig Jackson (retired electrician) and Rostom “Ross” Sarkissian (small business owner).
“That doesn’t mean they are certified yet, they still have to submit a nominating petition,” said Maria Garcia, senior project coordinator at the office of the city clerk, election division.
Each prospective candidate must submit signatures from registered voters in their district. If the candidate pays a $300 fee, they must submit 500 signatures, and if they choose to bypass the fee, they must submit 1,000 signatures.
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