Government of Los Angeles

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    A sign in front of City Hall points to the sister cities of Los Angeles

    The government of Los Angeles operates as a charter city (as opposed to a general law city) under the charter of the City of Los Angeles. The elected government is composed of the Los Angeles City Council with 15 city council districts and the mayor of Los Angeles, which operate under a mayor–council government, as well as several other elective offices. The current mayor is Karen Bass, the current city attorney is Hydee Feldstein Soto and the current city controller is Kenneth Mejia.

    In addition, there are numerous departments and appointed officers such as the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), the Los Angeles Department of Public Works (LADPW), and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).


    The government of the city of Los Angeles includes the following city officers:[1]

    • Mayor
    • Members of the Council
    • City Attorney
    • City Clerk
    • Controller
    • Treasurer
    • The members of the boards or commissions of the departments and the chief administrative officer of each department and office
    • An Executive Director of the Board of Police Commissioners
    • Other officers as prescribed by ordinance


    The mayor of Los Angeles is the chief executive officer of the city.[2] The officeholder is elected for a four-year term,[3] and limited to serving no more than two terms.[4] Under the California Constitution, all judicial, school, county, and city offices, including those of chartered cities, are nonpartisan.[5] The 43rd and current mayor is Karen Bass.

    City Council

    The Los Angeles City Council is the governing body of Los Angeles. The council is composed of fifteen members elected from single-member districts for four-year terms and limited to three terms. The president of the council and the president pro tempore are chosen by the council at the first regular meeting after June 30 in odd-numbered years. An assistant president pro tempore is appointed by the president. The current president of the Los Angeles City Council is Paul Krekorian, the president pro tempore is Mitch O'Farrell and the assistant president pro tempore is Vacant.

    Regular council meetings are held in the City Hall on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10 am except on holidays or if decided by special resolution.[6]

    Police Department

    The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) polices the city of Los Angeles. It is governed by the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners and the Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.

    The city also maintains specialized police agencies; the Port Police, within the Harbor Department (which is responsible for land, air and sea law enforcement services at the Port of Los Angeles), Los Angeles City Park Rangers, within the Parks and Recreation Department (which are responsible for security and fire protection in Griffith Park, and the Airport Police, within the Los Angeles World Airports Department (which is responsible for law enforcement services for the 2 city-owned airports; Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and Van Nuys Airport (VNY)). The Los Angeles General Services Police, which provided police coverage for Los Angeles city owned property and parks (except for Griffith Park) was absorbed into the LAPD in 2012. The Los Angeles Unified School District maintains it own separate police department, as do many other school districts and college campuses within the city.

    Neighborhood councils

    The charter of the City of Los Angeles ratified by voters in 1999 created a system of advisory neighborhood councils that would represent the diversity of stakeholders, defined as those who live, work or own property in the neighborhood.[7] The neighborhood councils are relatively autonomous and spontaneous in that they identify their own boundaries, establish their own bylaws, and elect their own officers.[8] There are currently 99 neighborhood councils.


    The Los Angeles city attorney is an elected official whose job is legal counsel for the city and may prosecute misdemeanor criminal offenses within the city. The Los Angeles City Clerk is in charge of record-keeping for the city and elections. The Los Angeles City Controller is the elected auditor and chief accounting officer of the city. The Los Angeles City Treasurer handles financial matters.

    In addition, there are numerous departments and appointed officers such as the:


    The most recent elections were in May 2013, with 13th district city councilman Eric Garcetti defeating city controller Wendy Greuel for Mayor.[9] The voter turnout was about 19% of registered voters, one of the lowest turnouts on record, with Garcetti garnering about 54% of the votes.[10][11]


    Los Angeles has voted for every Democratic Party candidate for president since at least 1964. In the seven presidential elections since George H.W. Bush's re-election bid in 1992, no Republican candidate has received as much as 30% of the vote in Los Angeles.

    Los Angeles vote
    by party in presidential elections
    Year Democratic Republican
    2020 76.6% 1,223,737 21.4% 342,545
    2016 78.5% 1,017,038 16.4% 212,080
    2012 76.4% 902,038 21.0% 248,182
    2008 76.3% 931,093 21.8% 265,941
    2004 71.4% 785,489 27.4% 301,097
    2000 73.1% 574,300 22.2% 174,693
    1996 67.2% 576,146 23.5% 201,739
    1992 62.4% 633,283 21.7% 220,539
    1988 61.3% 607,541 37.4% 370,980
    1984 54.9% 503,393 44.0% 404,232
    1980 47.6% 424,363 42.0% 374,604
    1976 56.3% 517,485 41.8% 383,774
    1972 51.2% 549,176 46.3% 496,896
    1968 55.7% 565,804 39.9% 405,570
    1964 64.5% 696,234 35.5% 383,144


    The charter of the City of Los Angeles is the founding document of Los Angeles. Pursuant to its charter, all legislative power is vested in the council and is exercised by ordinance subject to a veto by the Mayor.

    Pursuant to this power, the council has caused to be promulgated the Administrative Code, consisting of administrative and procedural ordinances, and the Municipal Code, consisting of codified regulatory and penal ordinances. Violations of the ordinances are misdemeanor crimes unless otherwise specified as an infraction and may be prosecuted by city authorities.[12][13]

    Other governments


    The Los Angeles Superior Court, which covers the entire county, is not a county department but a division of the State's trial court system. Historically, the courthouses were county-owned buildings that were maintained at county expense, which created significant friction since the trial court judges, as officials of the state government, had to lobby the county Board of Supervisors for facility renovations and upgrades. In turn, the state judiciary successfully persuaded the state Legislature to authorize the transfer of all courthouses to the state government in 2008 and 2009 (so that judges would have direct control over their own courthouses). Courthouse security is still provided by the county government under a contract with the state.

    Los Angeles County

    Los Angeles is also part of Los Angeles County, for which the government of Los Angeles County is defined and authorized under the California Constitution, California law, and the charter of the County of Los Angeles.[14] The county government provides countywide services such as elections and voter registration, law enforcement, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, public health, and social services. The county government is primarily composed of the elected five-member Board of Supervisors, other elected offices including the sheriff, district attorney, and assessor, and numerous county departments and entities under the supervision of the chief executive officer. The majority of the county department headquarters are physically located within the city of Los Angeles.

    See also


    1. ^ Los Angeles Charter, Vol I, Article II, Sec 200
    2. ^ Los Angeles City Charter, Vol I, Article II, Sec 230
    3. ^ Los Angeles City Charter, Vol I, Article II, Sec 205
    4. ^ Los Angeles City Charter, Vol I, Article II, Sec 206
    5. ^ California Constitution, Article II, Section 6 Archived 2010-10-08 at the Wayback Machine
    6. ^ "Los Angeles City Council". 2009-01-01. Archived from the original on 2010-04-11. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
    7. ^ Musso et al. 2007, p. 4.
    8. ^ Chen et al. 2009, p. S110.
    9. ^ Mehta, Seema; Nelson, Laura J. (22 May 2013). "Garcetti wins race for L.A. mayor; Greuel concedes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
    10. ^ McGreevy, Patrick (23 May 2013). "Lawmaker has solution to low voter turnout in Los Angeles". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
    11. ^ Medina, Jennifer (22 May 2013). "Garcetti Is Elected Mayor of Los Angeles, Thwarting Opposition of Labor Unions". New York Times. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
    12. ^ California Government Code § 36900 et seq.
    13. ^ California Government Code § 36900(a)
    14. ^ California Government Code § 23004


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