Apathy wins Los Angeles a Republican mayor: Another disappointment for Clinton as minority turnout and support by whites hand victory to self-made millionaire - World - News - The Independent

Apathy wins Los Angeles a Republican mayor: Another disappointment for Clinton as minority turnout and support by whites hand victory to self-made millionaire

NEARLY 14 months after it exploded into riots, the multi-ethnic and Democratic city of Los Angeles awoke yesterday morning to discover that a minority had elected a Republican self- made multi-millionaire as mayor.

An estimated third of the electorate voted, delivering victory to Richard Riordan, a 63-year-old investor and lawyer who spent dollars 6m ( pounds 4m) of his personal fortune in his campaign to lead the divided, volatile city.

His triumph represents another disappointment for the beleaguered President Clinton, who endorsed his opponent, Michael Woo, a Chinese-American city councillor with a strong multi- racial following, even though the mayoral race was technically non-partisan.

Mr Riordan, an Irish-American, was an unknown six months ago, but lavished money on a campaign which built a rump of support in the white, conservative-leaning suburbs, where the professional classes seek refuge from inner-city crime in gated communities and large, guarded homes.

The strategy worked - not least because whites, who comprise just under one in four of the population, vote in far greater numbers than other ethnic groups. Apathy appears to have played a key role. In a predominantly Democratic city, enough of Mr Woo's supporters simply did not turn out.

The election follows the retirement of Tom Bradley, the city's veteran black mayor who held office for 20 years, supported by a fragile coalition of blacks, white liberals, and Jews which Mr Woo hoped to inherit. Mr Riordan, the first Republican mayor since 1961, appears to represent a swing back to Los Angeles's traditional roots, when it was a mostly white city, a Riviera on the Pacific. The outcome brought a 'smell of cigar smoke' back to Los Angeles city hall, much like the 'big-shouldered politics of Chicago and Boston', observed Kevin Starr, a historian of Californian politics.

Like Ross Perot, Mr Riordan has presented himself as a self-financed outsider bent on cleaning up a profligate city government, hit hard by recession and facing a dollars 500m deficit. But his record tells a different story. He belongs to the city's most elite clubs, and has contributed millions to politicians across the spectrum.

A Roman Catholic with strong ties to the church hierarchy (he once gave a cardinal a helicopter to enable him to avoid the freeway traffic), he claims to be pro-choice and owes some of his riches to investing in the pharmaceutical company that came up with the world's first birth control pill. Yet he has also poured thousands of dollars into anti-abortion groups.

He campaigned heavily on law and order although, to his embarrassment, it emerged recently that he had three alcohol-related arrests, two for drink- driving in the 1960s and 1970s. He is also a friend of Michael Milken, the junk bond king who recently finished a jail term.

Whether Mr Riordan offers much prospect of reuniting a fractured city is open to question, but the signs are not good. Pre-election surveys showed that the negative ratings of both candidates were higher then their favourable ratings - a result which partly reflects the mud-slinging that characterised the race.

Asked what they most liked about Mr Riordan, only 2 per cent of his supporters said it was his understanding of the new multi-racial city. In his victory speech, he pledged his administration would involve people 'of every race, creed, colour and sexual orientation'. But it will be a long time before many of Los Angeles's Hispanics and blacks - who together comprise the majority - believe him.

Suggested Topics
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week