Two Los Angeles City Council seats are up for grabs in Tuesday’s election, with one incumbent termed out and the other seeking a seat on the county Board of Supervisors.
Councilman Herb Wesson of the 10th District is running for the county board seat being vacated by termed-out Mark Ridley-Thomas, who is in turn seeking to win Wesson’s seat on the council. Councilman Jose Huizar of the council’s 14th District is termed out.
Addressing homelessness is a common theme among the candidates vying for both seats, but they all have varying takes on various other issues.
Vying for Wesson’s 10th District seat are:
— Ridley-Thomas, who touts his sponsorship of Measure H, the county ballot measure expected to generate more than $3.5 billion over 10 years to build supportive housing to combat homelessness. He is also a co-chair on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors. Ridley-Thomas said he wants to transform public transportation, the criminal justice system and enhance renewable energy opportunities.
— Grace Yoo, an attorney, said she wants to focus on improving city infrastructure and public safety, and she said she would work with city staff and residents to be as transparent with her policymaking as possible. She also said she wants to improve city services and tackle any corruption issues that arise at City Hall.
— Melvin Snell, a human rights activist, said he will work to increase services for mental health care and provide people a safe place for proper recovery and treatment. He also said he wants to create programs to help children succeed in school.
— Channing Martinez, a community organizer, said his top priorities would be to slash the LAPD’s budget in half, make public transportation free — first cutting the cost in half — and require 50% of all new units built in Los Angeles to be affordable for low-income earners. He said he also wants an affirmative action requirement enacted, beginning with a mandatory 50% quota for hiring black job applicants.
— Aura Vasquez, a former Board of Water and Power commissioner, said she wants to bring renewable energy jobs to Los Angeles while dismantling the city’s contributions to the oil and gas industry. She said she wants to improve city services and make them more resident-friendly, such as street repairs and permitting.
–Write-in candidate Althea Shaw said she has lived in the district and spent 12 years working in a civilian role at the Los Angeles Police Department, and eight years at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. She said she has been a public safety activist for more than 10 years and a caregiver since 2012. She said she wants to address unemployment and voter suppression, and she would try to end the city’s “sanctuary city” status.
— Write-in candidate G. Juan Johnson said he would try to reform the city’s oversight of the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, and he’s a proponent of local zoning and planning authority. He said he would support a law that would require all new housing complexes to set aside 85% of units aside for low- and moderate-income tenants.
The district includes much of central and South Los Angeles, including communities such as Koreatown, Mid City, Leimert Park, Arlington Heights, West Adams and Little Ethiopia.
Vying for Huizar’s 14th District seat are:
— Raquel Zamora, a social worker in local foster homes, said she would represent the children of Los Angeles and wants advocates to help them find opportunities. She said she is “tired of issues going unaddressed,” such as displacement of residents, homelessness and making streets safer.
— Cyndi Otteson, a businesswoman, said she wants to bring more transparency to the City Council, and said she would raise neighborhood council budgets to $50,000 or more. She said the city should make it easier for those councils to distribute funds to public schools and parks, and not the city’s general fund. Otteson also said the city should provide neighborhood council members training in land use issues, to “encourage smart development and curb misinformed opposition.”
— Kevin de Leon, the former state Senate President Pro Tempore, said he wants to improve immigrant rights and local transportation. He said he wants to make zero-emission public transportation available for everyone, and he wants to make open space and green areas a priority. He also said he wants to make the streets safer by employing tailored policing to individual neighborhoods, either by increasing foot patrols or creating community policing.
— John Jimenez, a nonprofit organizer, is leaning on his four-and-a-half decades of experience in leading grassroots organizations. He’s a board member of the Operation Youth Educational Services, or YES. According to his campaign statement, he wants to create a “clean and safe” environment for the district.
— Monica Garcia, a longtime Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education member, has her campaign centered on building more homes, pressing for a multibillion-dollar expansion to the city’s housing bonds and curtailing rent increases. On the LAUSD board, she said she championed a $7 billion school bond for improvements to facilities.
— Write-in candidate Maria Janossy, an immigration attorney, said she has been working with Hungarian community centers and has increased attendance, including people from multiple ethnicities, to discuss community issues. She said she has been able to build a “diverse clientele” from dozens of countries, and she wants to make the city’s streets safer and approach city government with a sustainable and humane policies.
The district includes downtown, Boyle Heights, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Glassell Park and Highland Park.
As of Feb. 27, in the CD 10 race, Ridley-Thomas has received the most in campaign contributions, with more than $633,000 coming in, and he has spent more than $546,000. His campaign has received more than $134,000 in support. Yoo is in second in campaign fundraising, gaining about $239,000, but she’s spent about $283,000.
A political action committee backed by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 18 has spent more than $14,000 just to oppose Vasquez, whose campaign has raised $101,000 but has spent more than $150,000, according to Los Angeles Ethics Commission reports.
In the CD 14 race, de Leon has amassed a war chest of more than $763,000, and he’s spend all but about $50,000 of it. His campaign also received the support of $511,000 in independent expenses from organizations seeking his election.
Garcia is second in campaign fundraising in that election, as she’s received $217,000 but has spent $277,000.
Other even-numbered council seats will also be voted upon in Tuesday’s election.
In Council District Two, incumbent Councilman Paul Krekorian faces laborer and artist Rudy Melendez and attorney Ayinde Jones. The write-in candidate is Stacey Slichta.
In Council District Four, incumbent Councilman David Ryu faces Nithya Raman, a homeless nonprofit leader, as well as writer and women’s advocate Sarah Kate Levy. The write-in candidates are Eric Christie and Susan Collins.
In Council District Six, City Council President Nury Martinez faces music studio owner Bill Haller and community advocate Benito Benny Bernal.
Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson of the Eighth Council District is running unopposed on the ballot, but the write-in candidates are Tara Perry, Denise Woods and Ingrid Rivera-Guzman.
In Council District 12, incumbent Councilman John Lee, who won a special election in August, will face a rematch against Loraine Lundquist, an educator and astrophysicist. The write-in candidate is Asaad Alnajjar.
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