Los Angeles City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, savoring his convincing victory early Wednesday, pledged to explore all means of curbing further growth in the congested 5th District during his coming term.
The councilman, who was criticized during the campaign for the amount of commercial development in communities such as Sherman Oaks, Westwood and the Beverly-Fairfax area, despite his co-sponsorship of the city's landmark slow-growth measure, conceded that more must be done to protect neighborhoods.
"We have to take a closer look at growth," Yaroslavsky said. "My district is overzoned, even now. . . . There's no question you'll see tighter controls on commercial development in the Westside and the San Fernando Valley."
Yaroslavsky said he will consider moratoriums on construction, downzoning and tougher planning guidelines as ways to slow the area's explosive growth.
The 40-year-old councilman said he will also focus on such citywide problems as police staffing and the affordable housing crisis, signaling that he expects to continue his high-profile role on the council.
On Tuesday, nearly 200 Yaroslavsky supporters crowded into his campaign party at the Beverly Plaza Hotel in West Los Angeles to cheer him on. There was wild applause as Yaroslavsky, accompanied by his wife, Barbara, emerged to claim victory about 10:30 p.m., and the celebration lasted late into the evening.
Yaroslavsky, who was once expected to run for mayor, faced the stiffest challenge of any Westside councilman this year. Mike Woo, who represents the 13th District, had nominal opposition and received about 71% of the vote. Marvin Braude of the 11th District was unopposed, receiving 100% of the vote.
After the election, Yaroslavsky said his constituents provided a mandate for his programs and policies when they reelected him with 63% of the vote against environmental activist Laura M. Lake, transportation consultant Ryan Snyder and political adviser Jack McGrath, a write-in candidate.
Yaroslavsky extended his hand to Lake, his chief rival, but said his opponents, who were highly critical of his 14-year stewardship of the sprawling 5th District, must be more reasonable if they want to work with him.
"Anyone who wants to play a constructive role will have a role to play . . . because we need to work together," he said. "But just because you don't get 110% of what you want does not mean that your councilman is a sellout."
Lake, the feisty Westwood activist who rallied the support of about 33% of the voters by branding Yaroslavsky a political insider and a latecomer to the slow-growth movement, did not immediately take up Yaroslavsky's offer.
She said the councilman must prove that his commitment to quality-of-life issues is genuine before his opponents return to the fold. Lake, a UCLA professor, said she was proud of her showing Tuesday. She blamed her defeat on Yaroslavsky's high name recognition and his fund-raising advantage.
Lake, who raised less than half of the $215,000 collected by Yaroslavsky, said the race would have been closer if more challengers had emerged and if the voter turnout had been higher. Nevertheless, Lake said she is proud of her campaign. "We went into this with our eyes open," she said. "And we built a wonderful base against a political machine that's rarely challenged."
Lake's campaign party at her West Los Angeles headquarters attracted about 75 people. The event was fairly lively in the early going, but turned solemn as the returns showed Yaroslavsky holding on to his substantial lead. And by midnight, as the final results rolled in, the room was nearly empty.
Lake, 42, and her family will spend several days vacationing in Northern California. Upon her return, the environmentalist said she expects to continue her work as president of Friends of Westwood and Not Yet New York.
She will also start looking toward the next council election in 1993.
"I enjoyed this race," Lake said from her home Wednesday. "And I have wonderful supporters who said all along that if not this time, next time."