Spending spree continues on council district candidates

If you are a registered voter living in either Council District 1 or Council District 13, make room in your mail box.

With a week  left to go before the city’s run off elections on May 21,  large amounts of money from public employee unions and special business interests  as well as smaller contributions from individuals  continue to flow into the campaigns to replace Eric Garcetti, the termed-out councilman of the 13th Council District (Atwater, Echo Park, Silver Lake and other areas) and Ed Reyes, who is also serving his final term as representative of the 1st Council District (Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights, Mt. Washington and other areas).

All that money is quickly being spent to send out more glossy campaign brochures and postcards into mail boxes as well as pay for billboards and other ads.

The flood of independent expenditures has given a financial and marketing edge to Gil Cedillo, who is running against Jose Gardea in Council District 1, and John Choi, who is up against Mitch O’Farrell in the Council District 13 race. Unlike campaign contributions, which are restricted by the city, there are no caps on independent expenditures. However, those expenditures cannot be  made in coordination or approved by the  candidates.

With the help of those independent expenditures, an estimated $1.4 million has been in support of Cedillo, a former state assemblyman, which is more than twice the amount spent in favor of Gardea, who now serves as Chief of Staff to Councilman Reyes, according to figures from city’s Ethics Commission.

Meanwhile in Council District 13, campaign spending in favor of Choi, a former Public Works commissioner, have totaled more than $1.2 million, or nearly three times as much as the money backing O’Farrell, a former aide to Councilman Garcetti.

While Gardea and O’Farrell can claim many years of working directly with residents and community groups in their respective districts,  the combination of independent expenditures and campaign contributions has helped Cedillo and Choi to quickly raise their profiles among area voters.

Figures reflect direct spending by candidates and independent expenditures in support of candidates as of May 4. Source: City Ethics Commission.


Figures reflect direct spending by the candidates and independent expenditures in support of candidates as of May 4. Source: City Ethics Commission.

Choi and O’Farrell are scheduled to appear at a Council District 13 candidate forum tonight at 6:30 p.m. in Elysian Valley.  Click here for details.

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  1. Wouldn’t it just be easier to just pay voters directly for their votes? Oh wait maybe that’s why Choi needs so much money. Who needs to waste time living and working in the community when he can just buy a seat on the City Council because “he’s ambitious and wants to further his career.”

  2. What a waste of money…

  3. It is sad to see outside “special interest” money having so much say in who governs. This is true local, statewide and at a national level. It’s easy to see why voters are so disengaged and turn-out in such low numbers. It will take a victory by Mitch, Jose and others like them to rattle the “political machines” that usurp public office. Their victory will help restore faith in an otherwise unfair/unbalanced electoral process.

  4. Leonardo Perez

    It’s funny, not haha funny, how the same special interest are backing both Cedillo and Choi. If they win we will have LAMAR digital billboards, Fraking and a Walmart on every corner.

  5. There are Choi yard signs all over my neighborhood. Those mailers must be working, unfortunately.

  6. It’s a really easy solution. Don’t vote for anyone whom does not represent your interests. Encourage others to do the same. It’s a different world, in politics, now. Don’t let corporate interests run the show. I’m voting for Gardea,in my district. He is a community based candidate, and knows the landscape, and the people here, in CD1. He lives here, and has navigated Los Angeles City Hall for over a decade. VOTE LOCAL, NOT LOCA.

  7. I am Armenian, I have video of my neighbor with ballot please look. We are broken now. I come to America with my family for good life, and now my mother and father are hurt,


  8. mr. choi…please leave us alone!

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