LA's April Elections Deserve Their Own Reality Show

Twelve cities across Los Angeles County will be heading to the polls tomorrow – take a look at what’s happening in each city:

City of Arcadia: In Arcadia, six candidates are running for two open seats on the city council. Among those running are three former councilmembers – Bob Harbicht, Peter Amundson and Sheng Chang, two candidates that ran for council in 2014 – Paul Van Fleet and Burton Brink, and one newcomer – April Verlato. Arcadia city is facing tough issues this cycle, including mansionization and Measure A, which could repeal Utility User’s Tax, eliminating $7 million in revenue for the city.

City of Avalon: Incumbents Oley Olsen and Richard Hernandez are facing six challengers (one of which is a former councilmember) for just two seats on the city council. Incumbent Anni Marshall is facing two challengers –one of them current Councilmember Cinde Cassidy, the other former councilmember Ralph Morrow—for the Mayor’s seat.

City of Culver City: Seven candidates are running for three seats on the council (with only one incumbent –Meghan Sahli-Wells—running to keep her seat). Two slates seem to have formed between the candidates –Goran Eriksson, Marcus Tiggs and Scott Wyant are endorsed by BizFed PAC, the Culver City Chamber of Commerce, the Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors and the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles. Candidates Daniel Lee, Megan Sahli-Wells and Thomas Small are backed by the Culver City Democratic Club, LA Democrat Party, Sierra Club and the Culver City Community Coalition.

City of El Segundo: Two incumbents and three challengers are running for three seats on the El Segundo city council. El Segundo residents also will vote on a ballot measure to raise the city’s hotel tax from 8 to 12 percent.

Lancaster: Incumbents Ken Mann and Angela Underwood-Jacobs are facing two challengers, Oscar Mejia and Michael Rives for two seats on the council. Current Mayor R. Rex Parris has two challengers after his mayoral seat, Gualberto Melendez and David Paul.

City of La Puente: Three incumbents are facing three challengers for three seats on the Council. The three incumbents—Dan Holloway, Charlie Klinakis and Violeta Lewis –are running on a slate, while the others are looking for change in the city. 

City of Lawndale: Robert Pullen-Miles is unchallenged for his second term as Mayor, while challenger Wallace Reed faces off against two incumbents – Dan Reid and James Osborne. Reid was appointed when Pullen-Miles took the mayor’s seat back in 2014, and Councilman James Osborne has held his seat since 2008.

City of Long Beach:  

  • In District 2, three candidates are running for an open seat (Suja Lowenthal has chosen not to seek a third term) – Joen Garnica, Eric Gray and Jannine Pearce. Garnica is supported by local artists and business owners. Gray is supported by former Long Beach mayor Bob Foster, Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez and Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell. Pearce has the endorsement of outgoing Councilwoman Lowenthal and Councilmembers Roberto Uranga and Rex Richardson. The race has drawn attention for being very competitive, as well as bizarre, with a fake twitter account and negative mail circulating around the district.
  • In District 6, Incumbent Dee Andrews is seeking third term, although Long Beach election law requires he do so as a write-in candidate. He faces three challengers –Erik Miller, Robert Harmon and Josephine A. Villasenor.
  • The race in District 8 has been heated – with a few not-so positive mailers causing controversy. Councilman Al Austin is running to keep his seat against two challengers, businessman Wesley Turnbow and business manager Laurie Angel.

Sierra Madre: Incumbents John Capoccia and John Harabedian are facing write-in candidate, Barry Gold for city council. Voters in Sierra Madre will also be voting on a utility user’s tax measure, which would increase the city's utility users tax to 10 percent indefinitely.

Vernon: The tiny town of Vernon, with a total of 65 registered voters, is hosting an all-mail ballot election with one candidate running to keep his seat on the council –Current Mayor W. Michael McCormick.

City of Walnut: Two incumbents and four challengers are running for three seats on the Walnut City Council. The race hasn’t been pretty, with issues around building a parking structure for Mount San Antonio College and PAC money spending. The city is also voting on Measure A, which would enact term limits for councilmembers.

City of Whittier: This election will be the first in which residents vote by district and directly elect their mayor. The current council is guaranteed to see a shift as three candidates are running for mayor, two current councilmembers –Joe Vinatieri and Owen Newcomer—and businessman Nick Donovan. Three Latinos are in the running for the District 1 seat, ensuring that for the second time in Whittier’s history, a Latino will sit on the council. The three candidates running for this seat -- Josue Alvarado, Robert Canales, and David Gonzalez – are hoping to increase voter turnout in a district that is 84% Latino and had only 8.5% voter turnout in the 2014 election.