Kenneth Mejia: A class politician, and L.A.’s next Controller
Kenneth Mejia | Mejia Campaign photo

LOS ANGELES—In a stellar victory, candidate Kenneth Mejia has claimed victory in the election for Los Angeles City Controller. The race was called with a landslide 24-point lead.

A 31-year-old Certified Public Accountant, first generation Filipino-American Mejia ran on a trailblazing campaign of transparency for Los Angeles, combining the latest efforts of youth volunteers and Gen Z technology to prove that working-class Angelenos are indeed ready for fresh faces and new policies at City Hall.

The Controller does not legislate or govern. But in his capacity as the city’s bursar, he is in a position to call attention to where the city is budgeting its resources and to ascertain that the monies are spent accountably. Mejia clearly does not see this as a cushy, laid-back office where he can discreetly hideout.

Mejia’s opponent, the longtime political figure Paul Koretz, a Democrat who has served as the Councilmember for the 5th District in Los Angeles since 2009, claims “we tried our best” after putting up numerous billboards and sending out thousands of mailers attempting to paint Mejia as “too radical” for Los Angeles. It was telling that the liberal Los Angeles Times, not a radical newspaper by any means, but certainly no longer conservative, as in the old days, endorsed Mejia from the outset of the race.

As People’s World has reported, “Koretz has been a mild-mannered, consistent progressive voice, a pro-labor political figure for decades. He has further endorsements from many of his colleagues in city and state government who know him well. The main criticism against him is that he just seems to term out of one position after another and is always seeking his next one.” Even in the primary race, Mejia scored a good 20 points above Koretz. In the end, Koretz’s campaign tried to focus on what it felt had to be the broadest sections of the people by attacking Mejia for his youth, bravado, and radical statements. It turned out, he miscalculated the public mood.

In fact, the Mejia campaign has been so successful that the candidate has won over some voters who also voted for Rick Caruso for mayor of Los Angeles, a billionaire spending over $100 million in campaign advertising in order to buy the election.

Mejia Billboard | Mejia Campaign photo.

Transparency has been one of the biggest themes of Mejia’s months-long campaign, and it clearly resonated with voters. Billboards presenting graphs such as the Los Angeles city budget allocation being excessively imbalanced in favor of police funding, as well as the misappropriation of COVID-19 city relief funds toward the police, exploded with engagement on social media on numerous occasions. Additionally, the campaign made memes out of numerous TikTok videos showcasing the campaign’s mascot Corgis. Viral messaging spread throughout the platform. Informed voters saw in this a subtle criticism of Koretz, who chaired the animal welfare subcommittee on the City Council and was caught off-guard during the campaign when stories came out about how badly animal services were being handled in the city—shelter dogs not being walked for weeks, for example.

Mejia’s digital prowess and tact did not stop there. The campaign website featured several tools available for the public at their disposal, such as an Affordable Housing map, a Parks & Dog Parks map, a City of Los Angeles payroll database, and heatmaps highlighting Los Angeles Police Department traffic and pedestrian stops and parking tickets.

A unique quality of Mejia’s electoral work has been his ability to awaken the youth of Los Angeles. In the primary, he nearly received as many votes as Karen Bass did for mayor (at press time that close race has still not been called). Thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, young voters have come out in droves all over the country to support progressive candidates, and Mejia is no exception. Additionally, the campaign gathered over 1000 volunteers to work for his election, most of whom working class and under 35.

Daily canvassing, door hanging, poster delivery, billboards, and dancing in a Pikachu costume holding a Mejia sign over the freeway near the campaign headquarters were some of the chosen methods used to draw in as large a vote as possible. With someone this in tune with the people of Los Angeles, it is hard to imagine Kenneth Mejia not going above and beyond the goals his campaign set as he starts upsetting apple carts as the next City Controller of Los Angeles.


Elias Moya
Elias Moya

Elias Moya is active in the CPUSA Southeast Los Angeles Club. When he isn't working, he enjoys reading philosophical and political texts. He also enjoys hobbies where you can experiment, such as cooking, chess, and video games.