Local business groups fared pretty well by backing the winners in last week’s municipal elections.
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Central City Association and the Los Angeles County Business Federation, or BizFed, all endorsed incumbent Los Angeles City Council members Jose Huizar and Nury Martinez, who easily fended off challengers. BizFed and the Central City Association also backed winning candidate Marqueece Harris-Dawson for the open seat in South Los Angeles being vacated by termed-out Bernard Parks.
Two of the four candidates that BizFed endorsed in the wide-open race to replace term-limited Tom LaBonge moved on to the May runoff: Carolyn Ramsay and David Ryu.
In the four races for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, all four candidates supported by the chamber either won outright or advanced to the May runoff.
The chamber had a split record in endorsements for the Los Angeles Community College District Board, as two of its four endorsed candidates lost. BizFed did slightly better, as only one of its endorsements lost. Both groups endorsed Francesca Vega, who fell short by just 900 votes; provisional votes were still being counted late last week, so that result wasn’t final.
All three groups also supported the two ballot measures to move the city and school board elections to be consolidated with gubernatorial and presidential elections in even-numbered years in a bid to boost turnout; both measures passed overwhelmingly.
“We were 13 and 2 in our endorsements this time around,” said chamber Chief Executive Gary Toebben. “We’re very happy with the results.”
In the rest of the county, BizFed had a similar track record, as the vast majority of candidates it endorsed for city councils prevailed.
But BizFed had mixed results for the two ballot measures it took sides on.
The group claimed victory in La Habra Heights, as an oil drilling ban it opposed went down to defeat. But in Redondo Beach, a BizFed-backed measure to redevelop the site of a power plant narrowly lost.
Battle lines have been drawn once again over whether Los Angeles can fine billboard operators for hundreds of signs lacking permits or violating permit conditions.
In December, City Councilman Mitch Englander proposed granting amnesty to the operators of more than 900 billboards, saying that an obscure state code would make taking enforcement actions difficult or impossible. That code allows unpermitted and noncompliant billboards to become legal if the city hasn’t gone after them in five years.
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