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LA political power brokers put weight behind moving election

A view of City Hall in downtown Los Angeles, Calif.
Omar Omar/Flickr CC
City Hall's most powerful operators are coming together to support two ballot measures that would move L.A.'s municipal elections.

A coalition of Los Angeles City Hall's movers and shakers have formed a committee to back two ballot proposals to move the city of L.A.'s elections so that they sync up with state and federal races and increase voter participation.

The city's current off-cycle elections - held  in March and May of odd-numbered years - have been blamed for the city's low turnout in local races. The 2013 mayoral runoff between Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti attracted only 23 percent of registered voters. 

The co-chairs of Citizens for Increased Voter Participation will be familiar to those who follow good government reforms: Kathay Feng of California Common Cause, Fernando Guerra of the city's Municipal Elections Reform Commission, and Dan Schnur, former chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission.

The rest of the committee incorporates City Hall's pro-labor, pro-business and pro-neighborhood factions:

  • Rusty Hicks, L.A. County Federation of Labor
  • Stuart Waldman, Valley Industry and Commerce Association
  • Gary Toebben, LA Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Antonia Hernandez, 2020 Commission 
  • Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, West Angeles Community Development Corporation
  • Patricia Berman, Downtown Neighborhood Council 
  • George Thomas, Van Nuys Neighborhood Council

It's unclear how much money the campaign will raise in support of Charter Amendments 1 and 2. There is very little opposition to its passage among local politicians.
"We anticipate this to be a citizen-powered, citizen-driven, and citizen-energized campaign that's organically grown from the grassroots and good government community. As such, at this early stage in the race, it's difficult to put a precise dollar figure on the amount we'll raise," said Dave Jacobson, a campaign spokesman.

"With that said, our goal is to raise whatever is necessary to get our message out to voters throughout Los Angeles," he added.

If the measures pass, Los Angeles municipal elections would line up with state and federal races in 2020.