Mitchell Schwartz

Rancor over development, crime shadow LA mayor's race

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's toughest competitor in his campaign for a second term might not be another candidate.

Anxiety over taller, denser development, a jump in violent crime and the city's notoriously fickle voters together inject a faint hue of uncertainty into what otherwise looks like a lopsided contest.

Slim and polished, the 46-year-old Democrat is nearing the end of a relatively steady first term blessed by an improved national economy. He helped secure new funds for rail lines intended to help unclog freeways, relaxed business taxes and championed a $1 billion program to get control of a homeless crisis.

Powerful business and labor interests are...