Mayor of Los Angeles

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Mayor of The City of Los Angeles
Seal of Los Angeles.svg
Flag of Los Angeles, California.svg
Eric Garcetti in Suit and Tie (1).jpg
Eric Garcetti

since July 1, 2013
ResidenceGetty House
Term lengthFour years (renewable once)
Inaugural holderAlpheus P. Hodges

The mayor of the City of Los Angeles is the official head and chief executive officer of Los Angeles. The officeholder is elected for a four-year term and is limited to serving no more than two terms. (Under the Constitution of California, all judicial, school, county and city offices are nonpartisan.)

Forty-two men have been mayor since 1850, when California became a state following the American Conquest of California. Between 1781 and the conquest, Californios, or native-born residents of the Mexican territory, served as alcalde, equivalent to mayor. Eric Garcetti has been in the office since 2013.[1]

Duties and powers[edit]

Los Angeles has a strong mayor–council form of government, giving the mayor the position of chief executive of the city. The mayor appoints general managers and commissioners, removes officials from city posts, and proposes a yearly budget. Most of the mayor's appointments and proposals are subject to approval by the City Council. The mayor has the power to veto or to approve certain City Council actions.[2]

The organization of the mayor's office changes with administration, but is almost always governed by a chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, director of communications, and several deputy mayors. Each mayor organizes his office into different offices, usually containing the Los Angeles Housing Team, Los Angeles Business Team, International Trade Office, Mayor's Volunteer Corps, and Office of Immigrant Affairs, among other divisions.[3]

The mayor has an office in the Los Angeles City Hall[4] and resides at the Mayor's Mansion, Getty House, located in Windsor Square.[5] As of 2017, the mayor received a salary of $248,141.[6]


The mayor is elected in citywide election. Elections follow a two-round system. The first round of the election is called the primary election. The candidate receiving a majority of the vote in the primary is elected outright. If no candidate receives a majority, the top two candidates advance to a runoff election, called the general election. The city charter allows for write-in candidates for the primary election, but not for the runoff in the general election. The mayor is elected to a four-year term, with a limit of two consecutive terms.[7] The office of mayor is officially nonpartisan by state law, although most mayoral candidates identify a party preference.[8]

Elections for mayor were held in odd-numbered years from 1909 until 2013. In October 2014, the Los Angeles City Council recommended consolidating city elections with gubernatorial and presidential elections in even-numbered years in an effort to increase turnout.[9][10] On March 3, 2015, voters passed a charter amendment to extend the term of the mayor elected in 2017 to five-and-a-half years. From 2022 and onward, mayoral elections will be consolidated with the statewide gubernatorial elections held every four years.[11]

The most recent election was held in March 2017. Incumbent mayor Eric Garcetti was re-elected for a second term.


In the case of an office vacancy, the city council has a choice to appoint a new mayor or to hold a special election. The replacement, if appointed, will serve until the next regularly scheduled primary for a city general election. If any portion remains on the term, a special election will be held to elect a candidate to serve the remainder of the term.[7]

The mayor is subject to recall by registered voters if at least 15 percent of eligible voters sign a recall petition within 120 days of the first day of circulation. If the petition is successful, a special election is held asking whether the incumbent should be removed and who among a list of candidates should replace the incumbent. If the recall is successful, the replacement candidate with the majority of votes succeeds the ousted incumbent. If no replacement candidate receives a majority of the votes, a special runoff election is held between the top two candidates.[7]

List of mayors of Los Angeles[edit]

As of September 2022, 42 men have been mayor or alcalde since the Spanish days. Six served non-consecutive terms, the first of which began in 1854 and the last of which ended in 1921. Those who served non-consecutive terms are counted just once. Stephen Clark Foster was appointed mayor in 1848 before California statehood and the city's incorporation.[citation needed]

The longest length of service was that of Tom Bradley (twenty years). Not counting city council presidents who served briefly as acting mayors, the shortest term was that of William Stephens, for less than two weeks after Arthur Cyprian Harper resigned. Two mayors died in office: Henry Mellus and Frederick A. MacDougall.

As for ethnic or national background, four Latinos have been mayor since incorporation: Antonio F. Coronel, Cristóbal Aguilar, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Eric Garcetti. Manuel Requena was acting mayor post-statehood in his role as city council president. Tom Bradley, the city's longest-serving mayor, was the only African American. Two French Canadians were in the office — Damien Marchesseault and Prudent Beaudry.

This list includes three presidents of the City Council who served as acting mayor because of a vacancy in the office but who were not officially appointed as mayor. Council presidents are not included in the count of mayors.

Stephen Clark Foster, fifth officeholder, was appointed mayor in 1848 before the city's incorporation.
Prudent Beaudry, 13th officeholder, was the second French-Canadian in the office, the first being Damien Marchesseault.
Meredith Snyder, 23rd officeholder, served three separate terms.
Fred Eaton, 24th officeholder, was instrumental in developing the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
Thomas Bradley, 38th officeholder, was the city's longest-serving mayor and Los Angeles' only African American mayor to date.
# Portrait Mayor Term start Term end Terms   Party
1 Alpheus P. Hodges July 1, 1850 May 7, 1851 1
2 Benjamin Davis Wilson.jpg Benjamin Davis Wilson May 7, 1851 May 4, 1852 1
3 Portret Johna G. Nicholsa.jpg John G. Nichols May 4, 1852 May 3, 1853 1 Democratic
4 Portret Antonio Coronela.jpg Antonio F. Coronel May 3, 1853 May 4, 1854 1 Democratic
5 Stephen Clark Foster.jpg Stephen C. Foster (2nd)[a] May 4, 1854 January 13, 1855 12[b] Democratic
Vacant (January 13, 1855–January 25, 1855)
(5) Stephen Clark Foster.jpg Stephen C. Foster (3rd)[c] January 25, 1855 May 9, 1855 12[b] Democratic
6 Dr. Thomas Foster May 9, 1855 May 7, 1856 1 Democratic
(5) Stephen Clark Foster.jpg Stephen C. Foster (4th)[c] May 7, 1856 September 22, 1856 12[d] Democratic
Portrait of Judge Manuel Requena, ca.1830-1880 (CHS-870).jpg Manuel Requena† (3rd)[e] September 22, 1856 October 4, 1856 Partial[d] Republican
(3) Portret Johna G. Nicholsa.jpg John G. Nichols (2nd)[c] October 4, 1856 May 9, 1859 2+12 Democratic
7 Damien Marchesseault.jpg Damien Marchesseault May 9, 1859 May 9, 1860 1 Democratic
8 Major Henry Mellus, 1860.jpg Henry Mellus May 9, 1860 December 26, 1860 12[f] Democratic
Wallace Woodworth, 1860.jpg Wallace Woodworth December 26, 1860 January 7, 1861 Partial[f] Democratic
(7) Damien Marchesseault.jpg Damien Marchesseault (2nd)[c] January 7, 1861 May 6, 1865 4+12 Democratic
9 Jose Mascarel, circa 1920.jpg Jose Mascarel May 5, 1865 May 10, 1866 1 Republican
10 José Cristóbal Aguilar (cropped).jpg Cristóbal Aguilar May 10, 1866 May 8, 1867 1 Democratic
(7) Damien Marchesseault.jpg Damien Marchesseault (3rd)[c] May 8, 1867 August 8, 1867 Partial[g] Democratic
(10) José Cristóbal Aguilar (cropped).jpg Cristóbal Aguilar (2nd)[c] August 8, 1867 December 7, 1868 1[g] Democratic
11 Joel Turner December 9, 1868 December 9, 1870 2 Democratic
(10) José Cristóbal Aguilar (cropped).jpg Cristóbal Aguilar (3rd)[c] December 9, 1870 December 5, 1872 2 Democratic
12 Portret James R. Tobermana.jpg James R. Toberman December 5, 1872 December 18, 1874 2 Democratic
13 Portret Prudenta Beaudry'ego.jpg Prudent Beaudry December 18, 1874 December 8, 1876 2
14 Frederick Alexander MacDougall, 1863.jpg Frederick A. MacDougall December 8, 1876 November 16, 1878 2[h] Democratic
Vacant (November 16, 1878–November 21, 1878)
15 Bernard Cohn November 21, 1878 December 5, 1878 Partial[h] Democratic
(12) Portret James R. Tobermana.jpg James R. Toberman (2nd)[c] December 5, 1878 December 9, 1882 4 Democratic
16 Portret Camerona Erskina Thoma.jpg Cameron E. Thom December 9, 1882 December 9, 1884 2 Democratic
17 Portet Edwarda Spence'a.jpg Edward F. Spence December 9, 1884 December 14, 1886 2 Republican
18 William-Henry-Workman.jpg William H. Workman December 14, 1886 December 10, 1888 2 Democratic
19 Portret Johna Brysona.jpg John Bryson December 10, 1888 February 25, 1889 1[i] Democratic
20 Portret Henry'ego Hazarda.jpg Henry T. Hazard February 25, 1889 December 5, 1892 2 Republican
William Hartshorn Bonsall, 1905.jpg William H. Bonsall December 5, 1892 December 12, 1892 Partial[j] Republican
21 Thomas E. Rowan (00034071).jpg Thomas E. Rowan December 12, 1892 December 12, 1894 1 Democratic
22 Portret Franka Radera.jpg Frank Rader December 12, 1894 December 16, 1896 1 Republican
23 Portret Mereditha P. Snydera.jpg Meredith P. Snyder December 16, 1896 December 15, 1898 1 Democratic
24 Fred-Eaton-inoffice.jpg Fred Eaton December 15, 1898 December 12, 1900 1 Republican
(23) Portret Mereditha P. Snydera.jpg Meredith P. Snyder (2nd)[c] December 12, 1900 December 8, 1904 2 Democratic
25 Owen McAleer.jpg Owen McAleer December 8, 1904 December 13, 1906 1 Republican
26 ArthurCyprianHarper.jpg Arthur C. Harper December 13, 1906 March 11, 1909 12[k] Democratic
27 William D. Stephens LCCN2014715011 (cropped).jpg William D. Stephens March 15, 1909 March 26, 1909 Partial[k] Republican
28 LAmayor-GeorgeAlexander.jpg George Alexander March 26, 1909 July 1, 1913 2+12 Democratic
29 Portret Henry'ego H. Rose'a.jpg Henry R. Rose July 1, 1913 July 1, 1915 1 Republican
30 Portet Charlesa Sebastiana.jpg Charles E. Sebastian July 1, 1915 September 2, 1916 12[l] Democratic
31 Portret Fredericka Woodmana.jpg Frederick T. Woodman September 5, 1916 July 1, 1919 1+12[l] Republican
(23) Portret Mereditha P. Snydera.jpg Meredith P. Snyder (3rd)[c] July 1, 1919 July 1, 1921 1 Democratic
32 George Cryer (1).jpg George E. Cryer July 1, 1921 July 1, 1929 3 Republican
33 John Clinton Porter (1).png John C. Porter July 1, 1929 July 1, 1933 1 Democratic
34 Frank L. Shaw, 1935.jpg Frank L. Shaw July 1, 1933 September 26, 1938 1+12[m] Republican[12]
35 FletcherBowron (1).jpg Fletcher Bowron September 26, 1938 July 1, 1953 3+12[m] Republican
36 Norris Poulson.jpg C. Norris Poulson July 1, 1953 July 1, 1961 2 Republican
37 Sam Yorty, 1968.jpg Samuel W. Yorty July 1, 1961 July 1, 1973 3 Democratic
38 Tom Bradley (1).jpg Thomas Bradley July 1, 1973 July 1, 1993 5 Democratic
39 Richard Riordan (cropped).jpg Richard J. Riordan July 1, 1993 July 1, 2001 2 Republican
40 James Hahn at the Long Beach Port (1).jpg James K. Hahn July 1, 2001 July 1, 2005 1 Democratic
41 AntonioVillaraigosaHWOFMay2013.jpg Antonio Villaraigosa July 1, 2005 July 1, 2013 2 Democratic
42 Eric Garcetti in Suit and Tie (1).jpg Eric Garcetti July 1, 2013 incumbent 2 Democratic

† Council presidents who temporarily served as acting mayor in case of a vacancy but were not officially appointed to the position are not included in the count of mayors.

Living former mayors[edit]

As of September 2022, three former mayors of Los Angeles were alive, the oldest being Richard J. Riordan (1993–2001, born 1930). The most recent to die was Thomas Bradley (1973–1993), on September 29, 1998.

Name Mayoral term Date of birth
Richard J. Riordan 1993–2001 (1930-05-01) May 1, 1930 (age 92)
James K. Hahn 2001–2005 (1950-07-03) July 3, 1950 (age 72)
Antonio Villaraigosa 2005–2013 (1953-01-23) January 23, 1953 (age 69)

See also[edit]


  • a Stephen Clark Foster previously served as mayor of Los Angeles under United States military rule prior to official incorporation.[13]
  • b On January 13, 1855, Stephen Clark Foster resigned as mayor to lead a lynch mob. After the lynching, Foster was reelected as mayor in a special election and returned to office for the remainder of his term.[13]
  • c In cases where the same person served non-consecutive terms as mayor, the city only counts one mayoralty.
  • d On September 22, 1856, Stephen Clark Foster resigned as mayor to attend to the executorship of the estate of his brother-in-law.[13] City Council president Manuel Requena served as acting mayor until a special election could be held. Requena's term as acting mayor is not counted as an official mayoralty.[14]
  • e Manuel Requena previously served two terms as Alcalde of Los Angeles under Independent Mexican rule prior to California statehood in the United States.[14]
  • f On December 26, 1860, Henry Mellus died in office. City Council president Wallace Woodworth served as acting mayor until a special election could be held. Woodworth's term as acting mayor is not counted as an official mayoralty.
  • g On May 8, 1867, Damien Marchesseault assumed the office of mayor, interrupting the term of Cristóbal Aguilar. After three months, Marchesseault was deposed and Aguilar was restored as mayor.
  • h On November 16, 1878, Frederick A. MacDougal died in office. Bernard Cohn was appointed as mayor until a special election could be held.[15]
  • i John Bryson's term lasted a little over two months before he was legislated out of service with the adoption of a new city charter.
  • j City Council president William Hartshorn Bonsall served as acting mayor for a week during the vacancy between the terms of Henry T. Hazard and Thomas E. Rowan. Bonsall's term as acting mayor is not counted as an official mayoralty.
  • k On March 11, 1909, Arthur Harper was forced to resign in the wake of a recall drive. William Stephens was appointed mayor for less than two weeks until a new election could be held.
  • l On September 2, 1916, Charles Sebastian resigned as mayor amid personal scandal. Frederick Woodman was appointed to finish the balance of Sebastian's term and later was elected to a full term in his own right.
  • m On September 16, 1938, Frank Shaw was successfully recalled from office amid allegations of corruption. Fletcher Bowron was elected to take Shaw's place.


  2. ^ "Los Angeles City Charter, Vol I, Article II". Americal Legal Publishing Corporation. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  3. ^ "Mayor - Directory" (PDF). CityFone Department Information. City of Los Angeles. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  4. ^ "Contact Us". Mayor of Los Angeles. City of Los Angeles. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  5. ^ "Getty House". Getty House. Getty House Foundation. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  6. ^ "GCC : Positions - Mayors (2017)". California State Controller. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "Los Angeles City Charter, Vol I, Article IV". Americal Legal Publishing Corporation. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  8. ^ California Constitution, Article II, Section 6 Archived 2010-10-08 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Walton, Alice (October 17, 2014). "Proposal to move Los Angeles elections passes key committee". KPCC. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  10. ^ Saillant, Catherine (January 15, 2015). "Effort would consolidate L.A. elections with state and federal voting". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  11. ^ "Hoping to Boost Dismal Turnouts, L.A. Votes to Change Election Dates". KCET. City News Service. March 4, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  12. ^ Jacqueline R., Braitman; Gerald F., Uelmen (November 27, 2012). Justice Stanley Mosk: A Life at the Center of California Politics and Justice. McFarland. p. 288.
  13. ^ a b c "Supervisor Stephen Clark Foster" (PDF). Los Angeles County. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2016. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Supervisor Manuel Requena" (PDF). Los Angeles County. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  15. ^ Rasmussen, Cecilia (May 8, 2005). "The City of Angels Has Had Mayors With Demons". Los Angeles Times. pp. B-2. Retrieved November 8, 2014.

External links[edit]