By Jim Smith
The March 3 city election, in which Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ran for reelection inspired only about 3,000 Venetians to troop to the polls. About half that many turned out to vote, Feb. 21, in the Neighborhood Council’s ad hoc referendum on permit parking.
Rosendahl, who had one token opponent, Harry “Craig” Wilson, received 67 percent of the Venice vote, nearly exactly the percentage he received four years ago. Villaraigosa, on the other hand, running against nine seriously underfunded candidates, received only 54 percent of the Venice vote. In 2005, he won 70 percent of our votes. The Mayor’s closest runner-up was Walter Moore, a Republican, who won more than 20 percent of the vote in Venice, and 26 percent citywide. The relative poor showing by Villaraigosa may cast doubt on his ability to raise money and votes in a bid for the governorship.
About 10 percent of those who bothered to vote skipped voting for anyone for city council. This may indicate dissatisfaction with Rosendahl, but an unwillingness to vote for Wilson, who was politically to the right of the incumbent.
The most hotly contested ballot measure was Measure B – Solar Power and Job Creation (see February Beachhead). The measure went down to defeat citywide by less than 3,000 votes. Venice, north of Washington, narrowly favored the measure, 52%-48%, while south of Washington voters turned it down, 42%-58%.
Wait! We’re not done voting yet. On May 19, a statewide election will be held to vote on six ballot propositions. The election was the price that had to be paid to get Republican votes to pass this year’s state budget. Most of them are cuts in needed social services, including education, child and family programs, and mental health services, despite clever wording. Please read them carefully before voting.
Also at stake is the city attorney’s race where tenant and community groups are working to block Jack Weiss’ election.