While money is important, blaming lack of money in CD 4 is myopic. Challengers can run inept campaigns, and with more money, their campaigns would have been just as poorly run.
First, LaBonge was widely unpopular throughout most of CD 4. Thus, 80% of the work had been done for Box.
Box had a track record extending back several years of supporting the needs of the homeowners in CD 4, but he chose to keep that a secret and to allow Mr. O'Grady to gain the upper hand with homeowners by identifying himself as a homeowners who had paid off his mortgage early -- what a hero! -- although those still paying off mortgages were touched with pangs of envy. LOL
Box allowed himself to be painted as a bicycle advocate and an activist. When he spoke, Box hid his accomplishments for homeowners in incomprehensible obscurities.
* When Box found $25 M in outside funds to repair Wilshire Boulevard in CD 4, LaBonge never spent the funds, but all Box would nebulously say was, "He didn't cash the check."
* While LaBonge allowed $1.5 Billion of property taxes slip into the CRA, Box said Labonge lacked Leadership. (We knew that!) The City is broke due to the CRA's siphoning off $1.5 Billion, but that was not mentioned.
* When LaBonge supported defunding schools by 20% with Prop 22, all Box said once or twice, "LaBonge supported Prop 22" without explaining that it defunded schools.
* Box did not bring up that LaBonge had downsized the 2 acre Fire Station 82 by 75% and moved it to a location that increased the response time to the hills and Griffith Park.
* Box did not explain to homeowners how a continued CRA imperils Prop 13.
* Box did not advise homeowners that LaBonge supported AB 2531 with its Kelo Eminent Domain for the entire city. Kelo eminent domain is where the city takes any piece of private property and gives it to any developer friend to make a profit. Then, that property goes off the incremental property tax rolls, shrinking the property tax base and increasing the city debt which further endangers Prop 13.
Near the end, however, Box did wake up. His Titanic analogy at end of the GGPNC Candidate Forum was best closing I have ever heard. He appeared at Housing Cmte to denounce the fraud involved with CRA's 1601 N Vine and he did call for a City Prosecutor. He held a press conference to support Gov Brown's attempt to abolish the CRA and he renewed his support for The Garfield Park and for the Memorial for the Armenian Genocide.
Box was on the right side of all the homeowner issues, but homeowners without psychic powers had no way to know.
O'Grady cannot be criticized of the same shortcomings since he had never paid attention to city matters and had only volunteered at a couple schools in one small section of Los Feliz. Thus, he had no track record on city issues to present to the voters, but he did brilliantly let all the homeowners that he too was a homeowner and he was/is a decent fellow. That counts for a lot!
There were dirty tricks and smears against Box at the last moment, but there is no evidence that they cost him the election.
On the other hand, there is no evidence that Box would have done better if he had run a campaign to inform homeowners how he had supported their interests for several years and how he would fight for a fiscally sound city which always benefits homeowners. Box did talk a lot about the budget, but he failed to tailor his message to homeowners.
The problem with my hindsight analysis is that everything I say after, "if Box had done such and such," is fantasy.