At five polling stations in and around Hollywood, nine out of 12 voters who spoke to the Weekly said they voted against Measure B. On Sierra Bonita Avenue, USC student Yetta Howard, wearing a T-shirt depicting former President George W. Bush blowing his brains out with a gun, said she voted for the measure largely on the basis of a Democratic voting guide she received. “Yes for greener,” she said. “It is good to spend for greener.”
Mabel Richardson, who lives in South Central Los Angeles, said she had voted for the measure in the hope that some residents of South Central would get hired as installers. “I saw that they had both men and women working on putting in those solar panels,” Richardson said, describing Measure B’s TV ads. “If it gets more jobs, I’ll vote for it.”
With Los Angeles suffering from high unemployment, the split views over a ballot measure sold as a job creator suggest that anti–Measure B bloggers and gadflies made significant inroads against the high-level multimillion-dollar campaign.
One blogger who helped to lead the fight, and who eventually publicly debated IBEW Local 18 manager Brian D’Arcy, is former Daily News editor Ron Kaye. Kaye slammed the plan and its murky genesis at www.ronkayela.com, then debated D’Arcy at a town-hall event on the Westside packed with IBEW’s city workers. Kaye shouted at D’Arcy, “You know what this is? This is nothing but a power grab for you!” D’Arcy shot back: “This is about creating jobs! Something you, Ron Kaye, don’t want to do!”
D’Arcy got big whoops from the stacked audience that night, but now the whoops have been subdued. The Los Angeles city election division says it is working to count final ballots, and will have official results in several days.
If Measure B ultimately loses, its City Hall supporters are expected to begin pushing ahead anyway, but this time without seeking the voters’ backing. That effort at City Hall is expected to face a fight, especially if the costs are still open-ended and private-sector solar workers are still cut out.
At 5:32 a.m. on March 4, veteran journalist Kaye uploaded a victory post on his site. He wrote that the apparent defeat of Measure B was a “miracle” that sent a clear message: “The political machine has crashed and the people are taking back the city.”