A rather startling stat from the Center for Governmental Studies report on money and politics in L.A.:
In the first seven months of 2009, the council voted unanimously 99.993% of the time. Even considering that most votes are on uncontroversial matters, that's pretty astounding.
What's going on here?
The report suggests that the council members are experiencing a form of peer pressure. That is, they don't want to vote against a colleague's idea for fear of having the favor returned.
It's also the case that the council members tend to settle their differences before a consensus motion is crafted. That is, they can count votes without actually counting the votes.
Who were the biggest dissenters? On 1854 votes the researchers studied, Councilman Greig Smith won the title by dissenting 5 times. Councilman Richard Alarcon was a close second with 4 “no” votes.