Bob Blumenfield is well ahead of Joyce Pearson in the early vote count for Los Angeles City Council District 3 in the West San Fernando Valley, with 54.09 percent of the vote to Pearson's 18.68. But in this crowded field of candidates, Blumenfield must maintain 50 percent plus one vote to win outright tonight as votes are fully counted from polling places. Blumenfeld has 4,290 votes and Pearson 1,482.
Elizabeth Badger was in third with 9.8 percent, and Cary Iaccino was in fourth with 7 percent.
Blumenfield is the latest job-hopper legislator in what is being dubbed the “Sacramento South” movement of legislators angling to win the far higher-paying $178,789 Los Angeles City Council jobs.
Los Angeles has the highest-paid city council jobs in the United States. California legislators are paid a mere $135,000 including a base salary plus an extravagant “per diem.”
Pearson is a longtime member of the highly-organized San Fernando Valley neighborhood council system and has acted as a cheerleader for heavy development of Warner Center.
Cary Iaccino, a candidate who received some key endorsements, is a young father and a big bicyclist, and is also a member of the San Fernando Valley neighborhood council system. He, like Pearson and Blumenfield, is deep into such issues as land-use, transportation and traffic improvements.
Before Blumenfield announced he was running for City Council he was dragooned by blogger and former Los Angeles Daily News Editor Ron Kaye, who peppered him with questions about his “abusive” and “outrageous” plan to abandon his State Assembly District 45 seat if he could win the L.A. City Council seat.
Kaye, with a videographer taping his testy-yet-funny exchange, demanded to know, “Are you going to pay for the special election?!” (that will have to be held if Blumenfield leaves the Assembly almost two years early to join the L.A. City Council.)
Kaye never got his answer. Blumenfield talked around the job-hopping controversy for several minutes, looking slightly ill.
Blumenfield did get one good line off, however, retorting, ” I don't know if you want to see my retina scan, if that's what you're trying for.”
Pearson is perhaps best known for buying into the glittery claims of Australian mall giant Westfield, which promised the communities of Canoga Park and Warner Center that it was going to build an upscale, transit-oriented development “village” of homes and shops on a vast piece of land walking distance from the Orange Line.
Many residents and advocates believed the gazillionaire developers and spent thousands of hours over several years working out plans with Westfield for the “village.”
Then Westfield announced it was going to build a Costco instead, and a whole lot less village.
In the controversy that followed, City Councilman Dennis Zine largely acted as an apologist for Westfield. Pearson publicly castigated Zine for failing to call public meetings on the issue, and wrote a stormy editorial in a small Valley newspaper, saying:
Costco hasn't even relocated yet, but it is already turning what Westfield once promised as an upscale “shop/dine/work destination” into a strip mall with a wholesale arm behind it, that is destined to hurt traffic, surrounding businesses and neighborhoods, not to mention leaving blight behind in Canoga Park, just blocks away.