Political newcomers compete for Nury Martinez’s vacated council seat

The last remnants of the scathing racist recording scandal that ousted former City Council President Nury Martinez are set to be resolved. 

Next week, the city will hold a special election to see which political newcomer will represent the Sixth District. The area consists of Arleta, Lake Balboa, North Hills, North Hollywood, Van Nuys Airport and many others. The residents in those neighborhoods have remained unrepresented since Martinez resigned in October.

Political Science Professor Fernando Guerra said this election will be challenging for voters. 

“First and foremost, none of the candidates have held elected office before,” said Guerra. “There is no major differentiating issues amongst the candidates.” 

The top three candidates based on prominent endorsements and campaign donations are:

  • Marisa Alcaraz, an environmental policy director for LA Council Member Curren Price,
  • Imelda Padilla, a community relations manager 
  • Marco Santana, director of a housing nonprofit

“I want to do everything to make sure our region is clean, safe and well-represented,” said Padilla.

The other candidates are small business owner Isaac Kim, activist Rose Grigoryan, community organizer Antoinette Scully and business consultant Douglas Sierra.

The candidates gathered for a forum in mid-march, hosted by the Neighborhood Council Sustainability Alliance. 

“I find it hard to believe we can’t do anything to improve the quality of life living here,” said Kim. “I want to bring a different perspective and a can-do attitude.”

Candidates like Santana their work in government, especially with the unhoused, while candidates like Scully touted their frontline activism efforts.

“What sets me apart from the other people running in this race is that I am a frontline activist,” said Scully. “When we talk about environmental justice and sustainability that comes straight from my work.”

Each candidate tried to define their perspective. 

“I’m not running as a politician,” said Sierra. “I’m running as a father.”

“I am a woman entrepreneur,” said Grigoryan. “I own two businesses. I have worked for the local Armenian television stations for may years.”

Main-in ballots have already been sent to voters. 

“Now we’re going to go to a turnout that won’t surpass 15%,” said Guerra. “Special elections are incredibly undemocratic and they will solidify and whoever wins this will end up in this position for about 13 years.”

Candidates must get 50% or more of the vote to win it outright. If none do, it will go to a runoff in June. 

The seat is up for grabs again in March 2024.

Source link