At Election Night party in Hollywood, loud music and diversity as L.A. elects its first Jewish mayor

VICTORY: Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti told supporters at the Hollywood Palladium that it was time to

BP photo by Shoshi Miller

VICTORY: Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti told supporters at the Hollywood Palladium that it was time to “rebuild Los Angeles.” He became the city’s first Jewish mayor and won a majority of nearly every ethnic, geographic and demographic group.

By Daniel Steinberg, Staff Writer

STILL SMILING: City Controller Wendy Greuel stayed optimistic - and friendly - as the vote tally turned toward Councilman Eric Garcetti on Election Night.  Her party was at The Exchange in downtown Lo Angeles.
STILL SMILING: City Controller Wendy Greuel stayed optimistic – and friendly – as the vote tally turned toward Councilman Eric Garcetti on Election Night. Her party was at The Exchange in downtown Lo Angeles.

The Hollywood Palladium is most famous for its weekend events, but last Tuesday night it was filled with thousands of Eric Garcetti supporters cheering on their candidate. By the time the sun rose the next morning, he had defeated Wendy Greuel, and Los Angeles had elected its first Jewish mayor.

Despite the abnormally political crowd, the Palladium — located in the heart of Mr. Garcetti’s city council district — was in party mode. The venue, which holds up to 1,500 people, was nearly full. With 80’s music blasting overhead, some supporters were even willing to purchase the $12 cups of beer being sold at the bars scattered across the hall. (The Boiling Point did not partake.)

Near midnight, the DJ turned down Daft Punk’s “One More Time” and Mr. Garcetti, 42, walked onto the stage accompanied by an entourage of close friends, family and prominent supporters. Hugging his Jewish mom and Italian dad — former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti — the mayor-elect addressed the crowd.

“Let me start by saying thank you,” Councilman Garcetti announced. “Thank you to the thousands of residents of L.A. who voted for strong, independent leadership to lead this city forward.”

Mr. Garcetti promised to use his office to increase job growth, keep the city safe and improve education.

“LA is worth fighting for,” he declared. “I’m ready to fight for strong schools and safe streets. I’m ready to fight for good jobs and great neighborhoods.”

The crowd was ecstatic.

 A female Jewish supporter explained her enthusiasm.

“I think it’s good that Garcetti is Jewish, but he’s also Italian, Hispanic, and even Russian on his Jewish side — that’s L.A.,” said the woman, whose first name was Carol but who wouldn’t give her last name.

“He brings people together. We need a uniter, not a divider. The best mayors we’ve had in the past knew how to unite people and bring them together, regardless of their party.”

The diversity of Mr. Garcetti’s support base was evident in what the party-ers were wearing. There were “Latinos for Eric Garcetti” lapel pins being handed out at the door, an abundance of “Blacks for Garcetti” T-shirts, and a large group of senior veterans in full army regalia.

“Eric is going to be really good for the city.” said one man in a Blacks for Garcetti shirt. “His district was number one in job growth. He instated after-school programs and libraries, provided safe parks for kids in the neighborhood, things we need. So, just across the board, Eric is solid.”

Veterans in attendance said they felt a strong connection to Mr. Garcetti’s campaign.

“He’s done a lot for us veterans.” said Tony Zapata, a medal-wearing veteran of the Korean conflict. “He is what I call the future of Los Angeles.”

Meanwhile, Controller Greuel was throwing her own festivities downtown at the Exchange. She conceded the election on Wednesday morning.

Instead of music, Ms. Greuel’s supporters heard a succession of speakers, including State Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, who worked along with Cesar Chavez to found the United Farmworkers Union.

Chanting slogans about Los Angeles in Spanish, the crowd that had been quiet while listening grew boisterous when the speeches stopped.  But they noticed that Ms. Greuel had slipped out of the lead as more precincts were counted.

“She’s down,” one woman said.

Around that time, a Boiling Point photographer encountered Ms. Greuel near the stage. Showing no sign of pessimism, the candidate greeted the photographer courteously, saying, “How are you?”

Controller Greuel started off ahead on Election night, leading Mr. Garcetti by two percentage points with less than a percent of precincts counted.  But Garcetti passed her by 11 P.M. and eventually reached an eight-point lead.

The lead held, and Councilman Garcetti was declared the winner shortly before 3 A.M. with 53.9 percent of the vote.

Post-election analyses of exit polls conducted by Loyola-Marymount University showed the mayor-elect had carried nearly every demographic and geographic group — including 58 percent of Jewish voters, 64 percent of veterans, 60 percent of Latinos, 61 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of voters ages 18 – 29, and 50.1 percent of women. Ms. Greuel would have been the first female mayor of Los Angeles if she had won.

The only group that voted strongly for Ms. Greuel was were African-Americans, 69 percent. Ms. Greuel had been endorsed by former President Bill Clinton, Magic Johnson and longtime South L.A. Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Councilman Garcetti won the votes of 59 percent of whites and 55 percent of Asians, according to LMU.

Garcetti’s endorsements included the Los Angeles Times, numerous other publications, and nearly all of the City Council, including Councilman Paul Koretz of Shalhevet’s district.

“Tonight is just the beginning, our work has just begun,”  Mr. Garcetti told the crowd when the tally began to tilt his way. “Tomorrow, we roll up our sleeves and get to work rebuilding a great Los Angeles.”

“”If this lead holds, and it looks like it will, on July 1, we will assume the responsibility of improving jobs, of keeping our city streets safe, and improving the quality of life for all Angelenos. I welcome that responsibility and I can’t wait to work with all of you to get that job done.”

Photography Editor Goldie Fields contributed to this story.

Related: Garcetti and Greuel answers questions from the Boiling Point as mayoral election nears