Donald Trump versus the city of Los Angeles: The big story of 2017?
A bid for the Olympics, a citywide election, the issue of campaign contributions from developers and the potential showdown with Trump all loom large for Los Angeles leaders in the new year.
As 2017 begins Sunday, one date that immediately sticks out prominently on the calendar for the city is Jan. 20, the day Trump is set to take office as president of the United States.
Trump threatened during his campaign to shut off funding for cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities on illegal immigration, but Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck have both reiterated the city’s police force will continue its policy of not actively helping federal officials apprehend immigrants living in the country illegally.
Whether Trump will follow through with the threat is anyone’s guess, since he has already abandoned several prominent campaign promises, but an estimated $500 million in annual federal dollars is potentially at stake.
Another big date on the city calendar is March 7, when the primary election will be held and voters will weigh in on the races for mayor, some City Council seats and a number of measures.
Garcetti faces a lineup of 10 challengers, although many are political unknowns with little or no money raised. The most high-profile challenger is Mitchell Schwartz, who has worked on campaigns for former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama.
Odd-numbered council seats are also up for grabs, and voters will also decide on Measure S, which would halt some large-scale construction projects in the city for two years. City Attorney Mike Feuer and City Controller Ron Galperin are running unopposed.
County voters, meanwhile, are set to vote on a measure that would create a quarter-cent sales-tax increase to fund the fight against homelessness. The vote comes after Los Angeles city voters in November approved HHH, a $1.2 billion bond measure, for homeless initiatives.
The private LA 2024 Bid Committee will also be working this year on Los Angeles’ proposal to host the 2024 Olympics, as the city is a finalist for the event along with Paris and Budapest, Hungary. The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to make its selection in September.
The issue of campaign contributions by real estate developers to city leaders is likely to bring more headlines in 2017. In November, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office opened a review of questionable campaign contributions alleged to be linked to the developer of a $72 million apartment complex in Harbor Gateway.
Donors identified in a Los Angeles Times investigation as having such ties gave more than $600,000 in campaign funding to several members of the City Council and an independent campaign committee that supported Garcetti.
Many people who donated were working-class residents with direct or indirect ties to the developer, Samuel Leung. Some donors denied ever making the contributions, and at least one said she was reimbursed, giving the appearance that some campaign finance laws may have been broken.
—City News Service
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