LA elections: Councilman Cedillo keeping his seat, LAUSD's Zimmer losing his

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Incumbent Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo took a strong early lead in his bid to retain his seat, while incumbent LAUSD board member Steve Zimmer lost his in Tuesday's election.

In the City Council's District 7 race, candidates Karo Torossian and Monica Rodriguez were locked in a tight race that was too close to call in initial results. The same was true for the school board's District 6 race between Imelda Padilla and Kelly Fitzpatrick-Gonez.

A city ballot measure, Charter Amendment C, to allow expanded civilian review of police disciplinary matters took a big lead for the Yes side in initial results. The measure would allow police officers to choose an all-civilian review panel during disciplinary procedures. The current system involves two LAPD command staffers and one civilian.

Early results had Cedillo jumping out to nearly a 2-1 lead over Joe Bray-Ali, who had been mounting a serious challenge early in the campaign until multiple controversial statements he made online came to light.

Challenger Nick Melvoin jumped out to a 3-2 lead over Zimmer in the initial results. Zimmer conceded defeat even as ballots were still being counted.

Zimmer spent 17 years as a teacher in LAUSD and the last eight years on the board.

"I may not have been successful tonight, but...we the teachers, we the students, we the families of this district, we are not a failure," he told supporters in Mar Vista.

Unions and charter-school backers poured big money into the races, with Tuesday's runoff believed to be one of the most expensive local school board races ever, with an estimated $15 million spent for and by the candidates.

Melvoin celebrated later in the evening on his win. He thanked the parents and teachers who helped him win.

After graduating from Harvard, Melvoin taught in Watts. He went on to work for the Obama administration on education issues.

Melvoin said he plans on reaching out to Zimmer to try and unify the district after a divisive and expensive election. Despite the intense amounts of money spent on the election, voter turnout was around 6 percent.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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