LOS ANGELES—According to newly elected Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, he wore out two pairs of shoes walking precincts in advance of his May 21st win over opponent John Choi by 1,332 votes.
While the margin of victory—with O’Farrell taking 53% of the vote compared to Choi’s 47%—is still unofficial by City Clerk standards, Choi has hinted he might challenge the results (see story at right) while O’Farrell was busy last week putting assembling a transition team to help him get staffed for his first official day on the job, July 1st.
Last Friday, he spoke on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall promising supporters he would keep the momentum his predecessor—and now Mayor Eric Garcetti—started in Council District 13 (CD13): continuing improvements along Sunset Boulevard, in Atwater Village, Echo Park and revitalizing East Hollywood with improved basic infrastructure.
But he said he could not do it alone.
“Input from the community will be first with all of my deliberations. It’s your neighborhood and you need to have a say in how it grows,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of changes take place here. And I can tell you this: The 13th district is on the rise. The energy is contagious.”
O’Farrell who has lived in the district for 31 years, also promised not to change his cell phone.
“Government works best for the people when it works with the people. That is why I will always have an open door policy,” he said.
In the next six weeks, he said, he said he would be composing a staff, a task, he said, that will not be difficult.
“There’s so much talent in the 13th district. And I can say this: My staff, my administration will be representative of the district.”
According to a Los Angeles City Ethics commission report through May 15th, O’Farrell’s campaign expenses were $497,716. Money raised, including contributions and city matching funds were $502,388. He received $234,547 in independent expenditures.
The commission reported Choi’s expenses were $815,187 while raising $813,418. Choi also received $684,342 in independent expenditures.
Regarding the long and increasingly contentious campaign—which saw accusations on both sides of voter fraud and theft—O’Farrell promised to heal divisions.
“That’s what I am known for,” he said, “I’m a coalition builder.”
Regarding other parts of CD13, O’Farrell said he would continue to bring the glamour of Hollywood back—the area’s turnaround was a key success of Garcetti’s—and work to “stop runaway film production.”
And in reference to the city as a whole, he said he wants to help create more affordable housing, reform how the city deals with small businesses, grow the public transit system and key, he said, would be being smarter about public safety.
“I know the next four years will be a challenge. We will have tough choices to make,” he said, “and some may even be painful. But I am ready for that challenge. That is the main reason you brought me here to this place today.”