With more than 57 percent of the vote, Mitchell Englander won a seat on the Los Angeles City Council early Wednesday morning.
He succeeds his boss, District 12 Councilman Greig Smith, who is retiring. His closest competitor, Brad Smith, no relation to the outgoing councilman, declined to concede the race in the hope that the final tally would force a runoff. However, with 95.61% of the vote counted, Smith was more than 6,300 votes behind.
Vote totals as of 1:20 a.m.:COUNCIL DISTRICT 12
DINESH "DANNY" LAKHANPAL
KELLY M. LORD, JR.
NAVRAJ "SINGH" SINGH
Mitchell Englander looked surprisingly refreshed and relaxed when he first took the podium Tuesday evening at his campaign headquarters as the first wave of election results were posted on the city’s website.
Englander, one of six candidates vying for a council seat in Council District 12, took 58.11 percent of the absentee ballot votes as of 9:08 p.m., a showing most political pundits’ view as a testimony to his victory.
“Wow. Wow. I’m beside myself,” he told the crowd of more than 200 supporters who gathered in a Mason Avenue storefront in Chatsworth. “I’m so touched and honored.”
Englander said it was too early to declare victory, and competitor Brad Smith declined to concede the race. But, Englander wanted to thank his campaign staff and was pleased to join the effort of getting the city of Los Angeles back on track.
“I’m bringing all of you with me to City Hall,” the husband and father of two young daughters said. “I can’t do it alone … it will take a parade and I have a parade (here).”
Later in the evening, Englander said he was optimistically cautious about victory, but wanted to thank hundreds of community leaders and volunteers who were involved in his campaign.
Seven out of 15 City Council seats were up for grabs in the even-numbered districts including District 12 which encompasses Chatsworth and Encino.
The candidates in Council District 12, as they appeared on the ballot were Dinesh "Danny" Lakhanpal, a businessman; Kelly M. Lord, Jr., a small business owner; Brad Smith, a neighborhood council board member; Navrai "Singh" Singh, a businessman/restaurant owner; Armineh Chelebian, a neighborhood council board member; and Englander, a policeman and councilman deputy.
They all wanted to replace outgoing Councilman Greig Smith.
If no single candidate won a majority of the vote, a runoff election was set for May 17.
As of 1:20 a.m., the Clerk’s office was reporting Englander, who raised $507,000 in campaign contributions, collected 57.66 percent of the vote followed by Brad Smith with 25.24 percent. All of Englander’s opponents couldn’t hold a candle to his fund-raising efforts.
The who’s-who of Los Angeles politics showed up at Englander’s campaign headquarters to join in his celebration.
Council President Eric Garcetti made a personal call to the City Clerk’s office to get the absentee ballot tally before it was posted on the city’s website.
Among the elected officials were council members Dennis Zine, Tony Cardenas and Paul Koretz along with City Controller Wendy Greuel, former Assembly members Paula Boland, Richard Katz and Cameron Smyth and Englander’s mentor former councilmember Hal Bernson and of course, Greig Smith for whom he served as his chief of staff.
There are 1.6 million registered voters, including 97,227 absentee voters in the city of Los Angeles.
Council District 12 is comprised of 114 precincts in Granada Hills, Northridge, Porter Ranch, Chatsworth, Canoga Park, North Hills, West Hills, Reseda and portions of Balboa Lake, Encino and Winnetka.
The most grueling portion of the evening’s affair was waiting for an update of votes from the citys clerk's office.
Vote totals were to be posted online every 30 to 40 minutes, but more than an hour went by in some instances.
Andy Englander, Mitch’s brother from Arizona, attended the campaign party.
“You represented our family well. Mom, dad and (our sister) would be very proud,” Andy Englander said. “They are watching you today in your incredible journey.”
The Englander brothers lost their only sister, and their parents have both died. The brothers were born and raised in the San Fernando Valley.
Seats on the Los Angeles Unified School District and Community College boards were also up for grabs on Tuesday's ballot along with 10 measures and charter amendments.
LAUSD board member Tamar Galatzan took a commanding lead over her opponent, Louis Pugliese, with 62.63 percent of the vote as of midnight, while all of the propositions and charter amendments seemed to be headed toward voter approval except for Proposition O – Los Angeles Oil Production.
At the community college level, Mona Field appears to have handily won a seat on the Community College board in District 1 with 59 percent of the vote as of midnight against four competitors, as did Steve Veres, a former mayor and current council member of the city of San Fernando, who was leading the District 3 race with 57.22 percent of the unofficial votes over Joyce Burrell Garcia.
Scott Svonkin was leading a field of seven candidates for Seat 5, as was Miguel Santiago in Seat 7, where he faced one opponent.
Return to Patch later today for additional coverage.