LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles’ new city controller-elect, Kenneth Mejia, did not care to take a conventional approach to politics. 

Instead, he dressed up in a giant Pikachu costume to do voter outreach. He placed billboards around LA featuring a corgi dressed as Sherlock Holmes, breaking down city budget facts.

He even performed TikTok dances to explain the responsibilities of the city controller position, and on election night, his untraditional methods paid off.

What You Need To Know

  • Kenneth Mejia, 32, won the race for Los Angeles city controller over three-term City Councilman Paul Koretz

  • Mejia used unconventional campaign strategies, such as TikTok and Twitch, to promote his platform and motivate young Angelenos to vote

  • He is the first Filipino American elected in Los Angeles and the first Asian American elected to citywide office in LA

Mejia swept all 15 city council districts in a landslide victory over three-term City Councilman Paul Koretz. 

The 32-year-old accountant and community organizer says his campaign intentionally rewrote Southern California’s political playbook in order to reach younger, more diverse voters.

“Many of us on our team are Gen Z-ers or Millennials and we were thinking about those groups who were neglected, who can’t be communicated with through the traditional mediums. We took that advice of our younger team members who said you should make a TikTok, you should make a Twitch,” he told “Inside the Issues,” host Alex Cohen.

Mejia’s unconventional, yet successful campaign was aided by Gen-Z activists and community organizers who stepped up to volunteer, and a key endorsement from the LA Times

During the race for LA city controller, he ran as the progressive, anti-establishment candidate who focused his platform on functionally ending homelessness, creating more affordable housing and better public transportation options. 

On his website, he compiled city data into easy-to-read tools to illustrate how he could provide more financial transparency to Angelenos. These resources included a map of LAPD traffic and pedestrian stops, locations where parking tickets are most likely to be issued in LA, and an interactive map of green spaces throughout the city. Mejia also published resources analyzing LA’s budget and payroll of city employees. 

“We took large sets of data, PDFs that were 500 pages and we found the most important information and we communicated it in a way to people that’s really understandable. We educated people how to find that information too,” Mejia noted. “As city controller, as the city’s accountant, one of our goals is to make information easily transparent and accessible.” 

Once he takes office in January, Mejia will be the primary accounting officer, auditor and paymaster for Los Angeles, as well as oversee the city’s Audit Services, Accounting Operations and Financial Reporting divisions and 160 employees.

“We want to make sure that we are auditing departments and programs to make sure that $11.8 billion is actually used effectively and efficiently. It’s a lot of money,” he added.

Mejia is the first Asian American elected to citywide office and the first Filipino American elected official in Los Angeles. He attributes his historic victory to a people-based campaign that used old and new media to genuinely connect with residents across the city.

“We made the impossible possible. That’s what really is so special about this campaign. And even though a lot of younger people came out and voted, I think a lot of older people too were sick of the traditional ways of campaigning and politicking,” Mejia said. “We really changed the whole landscape of how to communicate with voters.”

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