Seventeen hours from the close of polls in LA County leaves a mixed set of results – from polar opposite wins, to hopeful-anticipation.
While 100% of LAC’s precincts have reported partial results, VBM (Vote By Mail) ballots continue to be delivered to ballot counting facilities statewide, including LAC’s Norwalk, where the count is on-going. Updates to LAC counts will not come before the close of day and starting next week, only twice per week.
When registration for delivery of VBM ballots closed last month, 5,709,853 were registered to vote in LAC. Registrations at Vote Centers since that time, including right up through the close of election day, remain unreported.
Of the 5.7K (minimum) registered voters reported, 55.8% (3.2K of 5.7K) have currently been tallied. Approximately three-quarters of those were VBM (74%; 2.4K of 3.2K) and ¼ (26%; 0.83K of 3.2K) were VCB (Vote Center Ballots).
In LAUSD’s school board races, board district 3 (west Valley) incumbent, former District principal Scott Schmerelson is winning with 54% of the currently tallied vote. In board district 7 (southern reaches), former PLAS (Partnership for LA Schools; a public-private partnership operating a handful of District schools) administrator Tanya Franklin is winning with 58% of the currently tallied vote.
This new configuration of the board will revert to a policy alignment favoring the ideology of public-private school partnerships
This outcome will alter the ideological alignment of LAUSD’s school board. Formerly after PUC charter chain co-founder Ref Rodriguez resigned because of felony charges surrounding his campaign financing, the board’s majority flipped to favor a public-sector-oriented policy. Now, this new configuration of the board will revert to a policy alignment favoring the ideology of public-private school partnerships (charters, PLAS, and other “school choice” vehicles).
In school funding opportunities the news is hopeful. LAUSD Bond Measure RR authorizes issuance of $7 billion in bonds to “update classrooms, labs, and technology for 21st century learning; reduce asbestos, earthquake, water quality hazards; and replace/renovate aging school classrooms and buildings, with independent audits, citizens’ oversight, and no funds for administrative salaries.” 55% of votes are required to pass such a funding measure; the current margin of 71% approval seems comfortable to expect passage.
At the state level, Proposition 15 is too close to call. A change to taxation on commercial and industrial properties for Education and local government funding, Prop 15 would net an anticipated $3.7b to LAC. While the proposition is currently passing in LAC with 53%, statewide the current tally is 51.7% against. However, analysis from the Prop 15 campaign calculates ‘roughly 5 million votes yet to be counted, … with more complete reporting from the counties that voted against Prop 15.’ Counties where support for Prop 15 is high (eg, Alameda, Santa Clara, LAC) have the larger share of outstanding and unreported ballots. Like the recent State Superintendent race, there is reason to hope this current tally could be reversed too.
We also looked at the finances of George Gascón who was running against and defeated incumbent Jackie Lacey. While we found some of Gascón’s largest donors were also donors to charter candidates, voters’ support for Gascón is largely seen as a victory for police reform and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Mindful of LAC Sheriff Villanueva’s reform candidacy, electorate expectations are important after the polls close… and it’s clear that Gascón’s voters expect more accountability from police departments and more transparency about charging in cases of officer-involved shootings and violence.
“This is an important win to show the people can and will hold even the most powerful DA in the country accountable,” said Kendrick Sampson, actor and co-founder of BLD PWR, in a statement released by Black Lives Matter LA. The race has not yet been called, however.
Amidst national turmoil and a political movement with calls to “defund” the police, County Measure J also reflects initiatives impacting school kids locally. Reflective of local LAUSD board action to shift $25m from LASPD’s $70.5m budget (0.8% of LAUSD’s total budget overall) to “supportive” professionals and community based organizations, County Measure J passed with 57% (simple majority is required) addressing the disproportionate impact of racial injustice by ensuring minimum LAC ‘community investment and alternatives to incarceration.’
Los Angeles Education Exchange
(Damien Newton contributed to this article.)