Next month, Angelenos can go to the polls to vote for a number of very important City offices in the March 7 municipal election. Officials elected in this cycle will serve longer terms (an extra 18 months) because of a recent voter-approved change in the election schedule, which aligns city election cycles with federal and state elections.
While it’s easy to be distracted by the relentless flood of national news, it’s also important to remember that local elections have the greatest impact on our daily lives. Still, turnout is expected to be low this month — in the last mayoral election, only 23 percent of voters cast ballots. But voter participation in our specific neighborhoods is usually quite high. Which means that if the rest of city doesn’t vote, small groups like our neighborhoods end up having a greater impact on the election and the composition of city government.
The Buzz is not endorsing any candidates or measures on the current ballot, but to encourage your electoral participation we will be collecting some of the vast amounts of information about the various candidates and measures over the next few weeks, to help you review the various races and issues and make informed decisions.
We’ll start today with the uncontested races.
City Attorney Mike Feuer has no opposition. Last month, Feuer was enthusiastically endorsed by the Los Angeles Times editorial board for his efforts to make the City Attorney’s office work like a “top-flight law firms — a destination not merely for career City Hall lawyers, but for sharp young law school graduates and seasoned lawyers in the private sector. That has helped him use the office to curb improper housing practices, combat crimes that until recent years were assigned by law to the district attorney, protect consumers from abusive practices (as in his action against Wells Fargo), and take national leadership in the fight against gun violence.”
Also running unopposed is City Controller Ron Galperin, who also wins high marks from the Times for his professionalism…but also some criticism for not going farther with his efforts.
“The Editorial Board assessed Galperin’s performance in 2015 and gave him a B-. It was a grade that spoke of both his performance and our belief in his potential. We thought he could do better and think bigger, and we still do. There are hopeful signs that Galperin’s next term will be an improvement. He’s made some pivotal staff changes and has promised to make greater use of his soap box. As the public’s advocate, his voice should be out there on the big issues facing the city.”
Next time, we’ll look further at the Mayor’s race, which features two candidates from our neighborhood. One is the incumbent (the mayor’s residence is in Windsor Square)…and the other is long-shot candidate Mitchell Schwartz, a long-time resident. In today’s Los Angeles Times, Schwartz likens his uphill struggle to that of former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The Buzz met with Schwartz last year.
Remember: Voting is easy. You can vote by mail or drop off your ballot (find a location at lavote.net), or vote on election day at your local precinct — the location is printed on the back of your sample ballot or you can look it up at lavote.net.