In West Hollywood election, a famously liberal city appears to take a moderate turn
On a summer night in West Hollywood, the first votes of the Los Angeles County municipal election were counted. This was the first vote in this year’s local election cycle, and because polling places were closed, a large fraction of voters (as many as 35,000) had to vote at the polls, in-person, through a touchscreen computer system, or by visiting a party headquarters or another polling precinct. West Hollywood, a large, overwhelmingly liberal, Democratic-leaning, and culturally progressive city just east of Los Angeles, was at the center of an extraordinary election year, which included several candidates who got their first serious shot at elected office, several others who got their first serious shots at elected office, and one incumbent who got her first serious try at elected office and has so far refused to make a concession.
The year in Los Angeles municipal politics was a roller coaster in which everything happened so fast that some of the results have not yet become apparent, but the primary election was notable for a number of things. It was marked by a large number of newcomers to local politics, including (by my count):
• Four city council members: two of them first elected in 2010 and two of them first elected in 2013.
• A new mayor for the first time since 1979. This despite the fact that this mayor was elected in 2015, and then reelected last year.
• Three new council members elected in 2017, all in the party-changing, historically low turnout election.
One of them, District 2 councilmember Nury Martinez, had the distinction of being the first councilmember to be elected in both of the city’s new districts this year and the first councilmember to become a public official in both districts of a city that had elected two at the same time. As far as I know, in other cities I’ve looked at this has never happened to be the case.
Other highlights of the year in Los Angeles municipal politics this year included the following:
• The passage, by a vote of 23 to 10, of legislation permitting, and then requiring, elected officials to hold city referendums on issues. That will give residents