“WE DID IT! WE WON BY 23 POINTS!” Mejia tweeted just minutes after the polls closed Tuesday, pointing out all of the firsts in his win.
Mejia is the first Filipino elected official in LA and the first person of color in the position in over 100 years.
Mejia’s strategy is a blueprint for young progressive candidates in the future. Not only were his billboards bold, but they worked to educate voters about what was at stake in the elections. Instead of spending time and money bashing Koretz, 67, who had a significant fundraising advantage, Mejia spent his time and money on proving his value in the role.
The first obvious step was demonstrating that he could budget; a CPA had never before been elected city controller in LA, despite the role relying on a person capable of acting as “Chief Accounting Officer, Auditor, and Paymaster of the city.”
Then he took to the issues, calling out the city’s “lack of oversight and financial transparency ” in how the $1.2B allocated to addressing homelessness has somehow resulted in an 83% increase in the unhoused population since 2013. At the root of those issues, Mejia says, is “a lack of political will to address the root causes” of homelessness—affordable housing, access to adequate health care, and systemic racism.
Mejia campaigned similarly on environmental issues, housing, transit, and animal welfare—breaking down the failures in the city’s current budget and programs, proposing new policies for managing those programs, and giving potential voters a clear view of how LA can be made better through transparent governance.
And then there were the billboards.
“People say a grassroots, city-wide campaign can’t win. We just proved them all wrong,” Mejia said Tuesday evening.
During the campaign, Koretz attacked Mejiafor supporting Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and once tweeted that President Joe Biden was a racist, a rapist, or both.
Mejia has called out his rival as part of the establishment, backed by LA’s police union, developers, and big oil.
At Mejia’s campaign victory party, his campaign manager Jane Nguyen said, “Our opponent ran one of the dirtiest campaigns I’ve ever seen. […] It’s not enough just to drag Kenneth’s name through the mud; they had to viciously attack some of the youngest members of our team for daring to speak out. Here’s what I have to say about that: FUCK THAT!!”
In Mejia’s new role, he will handle the city’s bills and audit its spending.
Mejia said in an Election Night speech, per the Los Angeles Times: “We changed the game. We basically did the role of city controller before getting elected.”