Mixer: Who’s on the ballot, and what’s up for grabs?

Written by

friday mixer bannerVoters in Los Angeles County will head to the polls on Tuesday.

They’re set to cast ballots for City Council, School Board and Community College District Board members.

And then there are also a couple of charter amendments that would change when we hold local elections, with the goal of boosting voter turnout.

Only 23 percent of voters turned out for the last mayoral election.

Dave Zahniser covers city hall for the Los Angeles Times and Joe Mathews is California Columnist for Zocalo Public Square. Both joined us for the Mixer this week to break down the election, and all the money being poured into the campaigns.

Seven out of 15 city council districts are up for grabs this time. The most high profile contest seems to be in the 14th District, which includes parts of downtown and Boyle Heights. That’s where incumbent Councilman Jose Huizar is being challenged by Gloria Molina, who was termed out of her seat on the L-A County Board of Supervisors.

That race, Zahniser says, has been entertaining one from a journalism standpoint.

In San Fernando Valley, District 6, Council member Nury Martinez is up for re-election after winning a special election there. But her opponent, Cindy Montanez, has gone after where she’s been getting her money.

You also have Councilman Tom LaBonge getting termed out of office after 14 years, and more than a dozen candidates wanting to replace him.

And there’s a School Board race, with Bennet Kayser being challenged by Ref Rodriguez, which has turned into a battle over charter schools.

Also, two charter amendments are up for grabs: amendments 1 and 2 would move city and LA Unified school board elections from March (with a May runoff) in odd-numbered years to June (with a November runoff) in even-numbered years.

If Charter Amendments 1 and 2 pass, it means city and school board candidates elected this year and in 2017 will serve 5-1/2 years in office rather than the standard four-year term… so these candidates will serve extra-long terms.

A number of City Council candidates are coming out against the amendments, saying they’d make it harder to defeat incumbents.