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Homelessness Is Biggest Challenge For Next Elected Leader of Council District 6

An RV is park under a freeway overpass with bicycles piled on top of it and on a trailer behind it.
This RV is one of more than 400 parked in L.A.'s 6th Council District in the San Fernando Valley.
(Frank Stoltze
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The special election to fill the seat once occupied by former Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez is on Tuesday, April 4. As you may remember, Martinez resigned last fall after being caught on tape spewing racist and homophobic remarks with two other councilmembers and the president of the L.A. County Federation of Labor.

The Big Challenge In District 6

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Martinez’s old seat is in Council District 6, which includes neighborhoods like Van Nuys, Arleta, Lake Balboa and Panorama City. There are seven candidates on the ballot and four write-in candidates — some of them have never served in public office before. Here's a comprehensive guide to who’s running. City councilmembers have a lot of power over what gets done in their districts, and whoever wins this seat will have their hands full.

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One big issue: District 6 has the highest number of unhoused people in the San Fernando Valley. In his latest story, my colleague Frank Stoltze wrote about the more than 500 people that live in more than 400 vans and RVs parked along streets in the district, and the challenges the city has run up against trying to get people into housing.

It’s one of the top concerns for the people who live in the communities that make up District 6 — some residents say they don’t feel safe walking down the street. But, as Frank points out, moving people into transitional housing has proven to be easier said than done.

How To LA podcast host Brian De Los Santos walked the streets of District 6 with Frank to see what’s going on in these neighborhoods and talked to residents about the change they want to see. The two break down what’s at stake for the area and the big job that's facing the next, newest member on the L.A. City Council. For more, read Frank's story and listen to the HTLA podcast episode here.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

  • Expect another cold storm today and tomorrow, my friends. We’ll have light to moderate showers this morning as well as a chance of thunderstorms through tomorrow morning. My colleague Gillian Morán Pérez has more details on what we can expect with the rain and snow. 
  • The Metropolitan Water District is beginning to refill one of the largest reservoirs in Southern California for the first time in three years. My colleague Jacob Margolis has more about the refilling of Diamond Valley Lake and why storing water there is so critical for the drought. 
  • Could L.A. be a walkable city after all? We all know it’s not the safest for pedestrians, BUT there are some hidden gem locations that you should explore on foot. 
  • The city of El Monte has a new guaranteed income program for single mothers. Those who qualify can receive $500 per month for one year if they qualify. The application is open until April 15. 
  • Panera Bread will be the first national restaurant company to use hand palm scanners to see if customers are a part of its loyalty program. This new development doesn’t come without concerns of collecting and tracking customers’ data. 
  • Our solar system friends are showing up and out this week for a “planetary parade.” Depending on the weather, hot stuff Venus should be the brightest and the easiest to see. NPR’s Manuela López Restrepo has more details on viewing our neighboring astronomical orbs. 
  • ADHD patients experience inconsistent urine test screening several times a year. Kaiser Health News’ Arielle Zionts reported on why that is and what doctors have to say about it.
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

Wait! One More Thing....

The 100th Anniversary Of L.A.'s Most Lavish Hotel

We’ve made it to hump day, my friends. It’s time to hop in my yellow DeLorean lowrider coupe for another edition of "Way Back in the Day in L.A."

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Not only does this year mark the 100th anniversary of our favorite landmark glitz and glam gworl The Hollywood Sign and our iconic sports darling the L.A. Memorial Coliseum (which hosted the 1932 and the 1984 Olympics), 2023 is also the centennial for the Biltmore Hotel.

The Biltmore is kind of a legend in this town. There are tales of little boy ghosts who live there and stories of U.S. heads of state who stayed in The Presidential Suite. There are tales of The Beatles making a grand entrance on the rooftop and of it being a safe place for Black travelers to stay.

It became the popping place for Hollywood socialites and political VIPs. But there was just one small little issue that I’m sure you’ve read about in your history books: Prohibition.

Read Hadley Meares’ story about how the Biltmore Hotel got it’s MLH status (that's the most lush hotel), how a little speakeasy was created in one of the ballrooms and how it figures into the history of the Oscars. Also, is there a Black Dahlia connection? I don’t want to give too much away. You have to read for more.

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