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Eric Garcetti Cruises to Reelection, But Protesters Seek Tougher Stance on Trump

Variety logo Variety 3/8/2017 Gene Maddaus
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L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti claimed a resounding victory on Tuesday, brushing aside 10 challengers and securing re-election to a 5 1/2-year term.

Speaking at a victory party at a union hall near downtown L.A., Garcetti made the case for a politics of cooperation, which he contrasted with the “division” of “Washington.”

“In Los Angeles, we don’t fight with each other. We fight for each other,” Garcetti said. “So watch us, Washington. Learn from us, Washington. Join with us and together we will move our country forward.”

Garcetti’s speech was repeatedly interrupted by protesters, who urged him to take a more confrontational approach to the Trump administration’s immigration policies. “ICE out of L.A!” they chanted. After each eruption, the protesters were escorted out. Garcetti’s supporters chanted back: “Eric! Eric! Eric!”

At one point, Garcetti acknowledged a protester: “We hear you and we’re aligned with those values, ma’am.”

The protest was organized by the Democratic Socialists of America. A group of about 35 people picketed outside, chanting “Stand up to Trump!” and carrying signs reading “Sanctuary Now!” — encouraging Garcetti to declare L.A. to be a sanctuary city. Garcetti has noted that while the LAPD has long refused to enforce immigration law, the city has never formally declared itself a sanctuary for undocumented workers.

“Garcetti is playing dumb. He’s saying ‘I don’t know what a sanctuary city is,'” said Andrea More, one of the protesters who was escorted out for shouting during Garcetti’s speech. “It’s an echo chamber, and I disrupted that,” she said.

Once the protests died down, Garcetti said, “I actually love that we have folks here exercising their First Amendment rights.” He also exhorted people to speak up for their values. “Protest, speak out, come crash a campaign party. Do whatever you need to be heard.”

In a second term, he said he would defend immigrants and work to end chronic homelessness.

“Who feels defenseless right now?” he said. “Stop thinking about the most powerful man in the country and start thinking about the most vulnerable people in our city.”

Also on Tuesday, Measure S went down to defeat. Garcetti campaigned against the measure, which would have put tight restrictions on zoning. Supporters argued the measure was needed to curb abuses at City Hall, while opponents charged that it would have exacerbated the affordable housing crisis.

And in the county, a measure to increase the sales tax by 1/4-cent to fund homeless programs was just shy of the two-thirds margin required for approval, with more than half the precincts tabulated.

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