AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card “The city has been blessed to have had Alex Padilla in charge during those years,” said Councilman Eric Garcettti, who took over as council president last week and presented Padilla with a lucite-encased gavel. Padilla surrendered the post to concentrate on his bid for the state Senate. He is challenging Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez, D-San Fernando, for the seat. Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The truth behind the success of City Councilman Alex Padilla‘s bid nearly five years ago to become council president finally came out on Tuesday – it was a pair of tickets to the Acadamy Awards show given to a key ally on the council. “Alex called me up and said he had two tickets he couldn’t use and he knew I wanted to go, so he gave them to me,” Councilman Dennis Zine said during an hourlong council tribute to Padilla. Zine, who insisted he would have voted for Padilla in any case, said the gesture locked in his vote for the presidency. Padilla, who was elected council president when he was 28 – the youngest person ever to hold the post – was honored for leading the panel during troublesome times that included budget crises, San Fernando Valley secession and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.