2020 Elections: Who's Running For LA City Council And LAUSD School Board In The March Primary?

Shay Samuel displays her "I Voted" sticker after voting at a polling place inside the gymnasium at the Barack Obama Prep Academy on November 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (File photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

By Kyle Stokes and Libby Denkmann

UPDATED, Dec. 16 — Planning to cast a ballot in California's high-stakes presidential primary on its new, earlier date this March? In many parts of Los Angeles, you'll also be voting in a city council or school board race.

After years of terrible voter turnout rates in local elections held in odd-numbered years, L.A. will begin holding its local elections alongside statewide and presidential contests early next year.

We now know who will be running in those primary elections, which are just under three months away.

Seventeen candidates qualified to run for seven seats on the L.A. City Council. Another 11 candidates will be running for four L.A. Unified School Board positions.

WHEN IS THIS ELECTION?

Primary Election Day is March 3, 2020. Anyone registered to vote by mail should receive a ballot in early February.

Any candidate who wins more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary wins the seat. But if no candidate wins a majority, the race will advance to a runoff election on Nov. 3, 2020.

For the candidates running — perhaps especially for the five incumbents running to hold onto city council seats and the three hoping to retain LAUSD board posts — the question is whether they'll be able to win back their seats without having to campaign through next fall.

Only two incumbents are set to run unopposed: L.A. Unified School Board member George McKenna and L.A. City Council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

AM I VOTING IN THIS ELECTION?

City council and school board members are elected from geographic districts. Some neighborhoods will cast ballots for both school and city candidates; some will cast ballots for neither. Check the map below — or search by your address here.

WHO'S ON THE BALLOT?

To qualify for the ballot, candidates were required to turn in at least 500 signatures from registered voters.

After the Dec. 4 filing deadline, city election officials double-checked these petitions. They checked whether those who signed candidates' petitions were actually registered to vote and reported an address matching their registration. If anything was amiss, officials invalidated the signature — and enough invalid signatures could've disqualified the candidate from the ballot.

The City Clerk's office finalized this list of candidates late on Friday, Dec. 13, ruling 15 council hopefuls had not submitted enough valid signatures. Three people who had hoped to run for LAUSD board were ruled off the ballot, too. (Other candidates withdrew on their own.)

Here's who made the ballot:


L.A. CITY COUNCIL RACES


COUNCIL DISTRICT 2
(East San Fernando Valley, North Hollywood, Valley Village, and Studio City)

  • Paul Krekorian (incumbent): first elected in 2009, Krekorian chairs the city's Budget and Finance Committee
  • Ayinde Jones: attorney
  • Rudy Melendez: former state senate candidate

COUNCIL DISTRICT 4
(Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Silverlake, Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Larchmont and a portion of Koreatown)

  • David Ryu (incumbent): first elected in 2015, Ryu chairs the Health, Education, and Neighborhood Councils Committee
  • Nithya Raman: cofounder of homelessness nonprofit, former director of Time's Up Entertainment
  • Sarah Kate Levy: writer, head of the National Women's Political Caucus in L.A.

COUNCIL DISTRICT 6
(Van Nuys, Arleta, Lake Balboa, Sun Valley, Panorama City, North Hills East, and North Hollywood)

  • Nury Martinez (incumbent): first elected in 2013, set to become the first Latina city council president Jan. 5, 2020
  • Bill Haller: music studio owner
  • Benito "Benny" Bernal: former leader in SEIU Local 99 labor union, former candidate for U.S. House

COUNCIL DISTRICT 8
(Baldwin Hills, Chesterfield Square, Crenshaw, Leimert Park, Jefferson Park, and West Adams)

  • Marqueece Harris-Dawson (incumbent): a former nonprofit executive first elected in 2015, Harris-Dawson now chairs the powerful Planning, Land Use and Management (PLUM) Committee

COUNCIL DISTRICT 10
(Arlington Heights, Koreatown, Mid-City, Olympic Park, Palms, South Robertson, West Adams, West Pico and Wilshire Center)

This is an open seat because Councilman Herb Wesson is termed out in 2020.

  • Channing Martinez: community and labor organizer
  • Mark Ridley-Thomas: outgoing L.A. County Supervisor for 2nd District
  • Melvin Snell: businessman
  • Aura Vásquez: environmental justice organizer, former LADWP Commissioner
  • Grace Yoo: attorney

COUNCIL DISTRICT 12
(Northwest San Fernando Valley, including Porter Ranch, Granada Hills, Chatsworth, and Northridge)

COUNCIL DISTRICT 14
(DTLA, Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, stretching up to Northeast L.A. neighborhoods of Highland Park and Eagle Rock)

This is an open seat because Councilman Jose Huizar is termed out in 2020.

  • Mónica García: current LAUSD board member
  • John Jimenez: nonprofit organization executive
  • Kevin de León: former State Senate Leader
  • Cyndi Otteson: head of marketing at advertising tech company, board president at refugee nonprofit
  • Raquel Zamora: social worker and school counselor

CANDIDATES FILED SIGNATURES, BUT WHO DIDN'T MAKE THE BALLOT (ALL CITY COUNCIL DISTRICTS)

  • District 2: Eric Preven (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 2: Adam Summer (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 4: Susan Collins (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 8: Denise Francis-Woods (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 8: Tara Perry (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 8: Ingrid Rivera-Guzman (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 8: Cliff Smith (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 10: Jace Dawson (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 10: Dallas Fowler (withdrawn)
  • District 10: Althea Shaw (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 12: Asaad Alnajjar (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 14: Dentis Fowlkes (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 14: Marcus Lovingood (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 14: Jamie Tijerina (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 14: Barry "Boenvilla" Boen (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 14: Hal Bastian (not enough valid signatures)

L.A. UNIFIED SCHOOL BOARD RACES


BOARD DISTRICT 1
(Palms, Mid-City, Crenshaw, Gramercy Park)

  • George McKenna (incumbent): first elected in 2014; retired LAUSD principal, teacher and consultant

BOARD DISTRICT 3

(West San Fernando Valley, Studio City)

  • Scott Schmerelson (incumbent): elected in 2015; retired LAUSD principal, counselor and teacher
  • Elizabeth Bartels-Badger: runs the Minority Outreach Committee, a non-profit; previous candidate for this LAUSD seat and other elected offices
  • Marilyn Koziatek: community outreach manager for Granada Hills Charter school, chair of Valley Industry Commerce Association's education committee

BOARD DISTRICT 5
(Los Feliz, Eagle Rock, Southeast Cities)

  • Jackie Goldberg (incumbent): former teacher, city council member and state legislator; won a special election in May for the same school board seat she held in the '80s
  • Christina Martinez Duran: teacher and fiscal advisor

BOARD DISTRICT 7
(Florence-Firestone, Watts, Gardena, Harbor Gateway, San Pedro)

This is an open seat because LAUSD board member Richard Vladovic is termed out in Dec. 2020.

  • Silke Bradford: teacher and school administrator at charter and district-run campuses; charter school regulator for Oakland Unified, L.A. County, and now for Compton Unified
  • Patricia Castellanos: deputy director of L.A. Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) and co-founder of Reclaim Our Schools Los Angeles
  • Lydia Gutiérrez: math teacher; previous candidate for this seat and for state schools superintendent
  • Mike Lansing: leads the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor, held this LAUSD board seat between 1999 and 2007
  • Tanya Ortiz Franklin: lawyer, former teacher, now works for the Partnership for L.A. Schools, which operates several high-need LAUSD schools

CANDIDATES WHO FILED SIGNATURES, BUT DIDN'T MAKE THE BALLOT (ALL LAUSD DISTRICTS)

  • District 1: Tunette Powell (not enough valid signatures) — Powell has said she may file a legal challenge to her exclusion from the ballot.
  • District 3: Kenchy Ragsdale (not enough valid signatures)
  • District 5: Maria Del Pilar Avalos (not enough valid signatures)

UPDATES:

Dec. 9, 2019: This article was updated to more accurately-reflect the current list, adding several city council candidates and removing the names of several other candidates who, officials ruled, did not turned in enough valid signatures.

Dec. 11, 2019, 8 a.m.: This article was updated to reflect three additional candidate whom city officials said didn't turn in enough valid signatures to make the ballot.

Dec. 16, 2019, 9 a.m.: This article was updated to reflect the City Clerk's final list of candidates.

This article was originally published on Dec. 4, 2019.