The city of Los Angeles went to the polls on Tuesday, May 21 and were faced with a choice between City Councilman Eric Garcetti, whose mother is Jewish – but not his father – and Wendy Greuel, LA’s City Controller, who would have been its first female Mayor. Greuel’s husband is Jewish and her son attends Hebrew school. Also, Greuel’s mother’s first husband was Jewish. And the third highest vote-getter in LA’s March primary, Jan Perry, converted to Judaism.
Yes, it’s California, where almost everybody is a little bit of everything.
In a tight race that remained tough to call until early Wednesday morning, Garcetti came out on top with 54 percent of the votes and Greuel with 46 percent.
“Thank you Los Angeles–the hard work begins but I am honored to lead this city for the next four years. Let’s make this a great city again,” Garcetti tweeted.
Garcetti’s mother is Jewish, although his father is Latino and was raised Catholic. Before Jewish audiences, Garcetti has referred to himself as a “kosher burrito.” His family attended synagogue on High Holy days, but he also attended Jewish summer camp and told the Los Angeles Times that he attended minyan while a graduate student at Oxford University.
Garcetti and Greuel are also both Democrats – LA’s mayoral race is non-partisan.
The winner replaces Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who is barred from running again for mayor after his two terms in office. Villaraigosa did not endorse either candidate in this election.
Villaraigosa, a high-profile Latino politician, chaired the 2012 Democratic National Convention. One of the most-watched moments of the Convention was the incredibly awkward floor change to the official Democratic Party Platform.
As Convention Chair, Villaraigosa was tasked with polling the delegates to change the Democratic Party Platform to reinsert language strongly supportive of Israel, and affirming God, which had been removed. To his everlasting embarrassment, Villaraigosa tried three times to achieve a clear two thirds majority voice approval required for the change. When his efforts failed to produce an obvious win, Villaraigosa nonetheless declared the measure had passed.
That awful moment in American history:
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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