City Councilmember Antonio Villaraigosa received 33 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s Los Angeles mayoral election, giving him the top spot in the May 17 runoff election.
The second runoff position went to Mayor James Hahn with 23 percent of the vote. Third-place candidate Bob Hertzberg conceded the race Wednesday.
Richard Corona, lecturer in the Chicano/a Studies Department, said these candidates offer Los Angeles two contrasting personalities.
Corona said she supports Villaraigosa because of his understanding of Los Angeles’ demographics and his experience in Sacramento.
“(Hahn) didn’t have a vision,” Corona said. “He was play for pay.”
Kenneth Hahn, James Hahn’s father, did a lot for the Los Angeles community, especially the African American community, said Antonia Garcia-Orozco, lecturer in the Chicano/a Studies Department. Now, however, the community feels betrayed by him, which has cost him votes and support, she said.
“He’s done a good job in trying to avoid controversy, but not in addressing the needs of all of Los Angeles,” Garcia-Orozco said.
Garcia-Orozco said she is concerned that as Hahn’s campaign gets more ugly and aggressive in attacking his opponent, Villaraigosa will not fight back.
Isai Hernandez, senior biology major, said he did not vote because he did not feel he knew enough about the candidates to make an intelligent choice.
Isai Hernandez said he could not get a sense of what any candidate stood for, because all the commercials focused on attacking opponents, rather than dealing with the issues.
He said, however, that he thinks Hahn is the better candidate.
“Hahn’s been there already, and he knows what he’s doing,” Isai Hernandez said. “Hahn has made the city a safer place.”
While Hahn has been mayor, crime has gone down and he has addressed important issues, such as safety and environment, Isai Hernandez said. Now, Hahn needs to be given the chance to continue his efforts in improving conditions, he said.
Jose Hernandez, junior mechanical engineering major, said he heard Villaraigosa speak at his old high school, and is convinced that he is the candidate who can best represent the Los Angeles community.
“He’s done a lot to improve the east side of Los Angeles by securing the streets and putting more officers out there,” Jose Hernandez said.
Jose Hernandez said that if one learns about Villaraigosa’s life history and experiences, one can understand that he knows what it is like growing up in the Los Angeles community.
Jose Hernandez said that no matter which candidate wins May 17, he hopes issues like environment, education and low-income housing top the priority list.