In 12 years, Latinos have gone from casting 8% of the votes in city elections, in 1993, to 25% in the election that swept Villaraigosa into power in 2005. And because Latinos are not reflexive Democratic voters, the mayor can elicit backing from a Republican governor who needs the support of swing voters to stay in office.
Next year promises to be a busy one at City Hall. Most of the city's union contracts will be up for renegotiation. The city has to recruit and hire new police officers with the money generated by the new trash collection fee. Police Chief William J. Bratton's reappointment will be on the table. And if the mayor wins in Sacramento, he will be seen as practically running the schools.