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Your Guide To Who Is Currently On The LA City Council And What's Next
The council is roiled in yet another scandal. We help you understand who is who and what's next.
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The city council's latest scandal could shake up who your representative is in Los Angeles.

Three elected officials — councilmembers Nury Martinez, Kevin de León and Gill Cedillo — were caught on tape engaging in a racist conversation about redistricting last year. Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera also took part in the discussion.

The recording — which had been posted to Reddit — came to light on Sunday, Oct. 9 when the L.A. Times and then Knock LA reported on its contents. Everyone on that tape is facing growing calls to resign.

What's Happened Since The Leaked Audio?

Martinez is at the center of the controversy. In the recordings, she can be heard saying extremely anti-Black and anti-LGBTQ statements, including calling Councilmember Mike Bonin's very young Black son a "monkey" in Spanish. The city council's latest scandal could shake up who your representative is in Los Angeles.

The group was discussing redistricting during the October 2021 conversation — specifically how the lines could be drawn to help Latinos gain power. That's a process that takes place every 10 years, following the U.S. census. As a result of what was said in that meeting, the whole process of redistricting in LA is now under investigation by California Attorney General Rob Bonta.

9:39
Excerpts From The City Hall Tapes

Herrera resigned from the Federation of Labor on Monday, Oct. 10. Martinez stepped down as council president that same day, then announced Tuesday, Oct. 11 she would take a leave of absence before resigning from office the next afternoon, Wednesday, Oct. 12.

At a heated council meeting on Tuesday morning, Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell put forth two important motions.

  • One to select a permanent council president in place of Martinez
  • And the other, which could dramatically reshape L.A., to create a ballot measure to expand the City Council.

The council also moved to censure the group and formally demand resignation.

So what now? When it comes to day-to-day business, Frank Zerunyan, a professor at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, says residents of Martinez's district will likely see little effects from her leave.

"I think in most political circles, this leave of absence thing is about trying to make people forget about this," Zerunyan said, who currently serves as mayor of Rolling Hills Estates. "But there is an entire council office that she has, with a chief deputy, I presume, and the chief of staff that runs the office."

It's those staff members who are responsible for handling things like citizen concerns, so residents will still have a point of contact to address everyday issues.

The thing that will suffer during this detente period, if at all, will be her voice for her constituents at the policy level.
— Frank Zerunyan, USC professor and mayor of Rolling Hills

If District 6 comes into any pressing policy problems, then Zerunyan says this is where residents will lose out. (Given that District 6's councilmember is caught in a racist controversy about redistricting, some may say we're already there.)

Residents can expect things to operate as normal until her leave of absence is over — except for motions and policies coming out of her district.

Who Represents Each L.A. District?

First, let's start with which seats were up for election this year and take a look at which are still in contention on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The following districts were on the June 7 primary election ballot:

  • District 1
  • District 3
  • District 5
  • District 7
  • District 9
  • District 11
  • District 13
  • District 15

All but districts 5, 11, 13 and 15 were decided outright (the winning candidate got more than 50% of the vote). Voters in 5, 11, 13 and 15 will now choose between the top two candidates in a runoff.

The other seats will be up for election in 2024 — which includes District 6 (Nury Martinez) and District 14 (Kevin de León).


D1: Gil Cedillo (defeated)

Map shows the outline of the district which has the 110 running through it. Neighborhoods include all or part of Glassell Park, Cypress Park, Highland Park, Mount Washington, Solano Canyon, Elysian Park, Echo Park, Angelino Heights, Temple Beaudry, Chinatown, Downtown, Westlake, Rampart Village, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights, Pico Union, University Park, Victor Heights, Koreatown
District 1 boundaries
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

District 1 includes all or part of the following neighborhoods: Glassell Park, Cypress Park, Highland Park, Mount Washington, Solano Canyon, Elysian Park, Echo Park, Angelino Heights, Temple Beaudry, Chinatown, Downtown, Westlake, Rampart Village, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights, Pico Union, University Park, Victor Heights, Koreatown.

In office: Gil Cedillo
Status: Outgoing, was defeated in the primary by Eunisses Hernandez
Role in tape scandal: Cedillo is in the recording and can be heard speaking throughout the conversation, including while Martinez mocked Oaxacans in L.A.
District population: 248,124
Turnout in recent elections: 29,808

Here's the vote in the June 7 primary:


D2: Paul Krekorian (2024)

Map shows boundaries of District 2, which has the 170 and 5 freeways running across it. Neighborhoods include all or part of the East San Fernando Valley communities.
District 2
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

District 2 includes all or part of the following neighborhoods: North Hollywood, Studio City, Sun Valley, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys and Toluca Lake.

In office: Paul Krekorian
Status: Elected to serve from 2020 to 2024.
Role in tape scandal: Krekorian has denounced the conversation as "abhorrent." He's said Martinez's resignation from president is an "essential first step."
District population: 250,535
Turnout in recent elections: 46,258


D3: Bob Blumenfield (reelected)

Map shows boundaries of District 3, which has the 101 running across it. Neighborhoods include all or part of the West San Fernando Valley communities of Canoga Park, Tarzana, Reseda, Winnetka, and Woodland Hills.
District 3
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

District 3 includes all or part of the West San Fernando Valley communities of Canoga Park, Tarzana, Reseda, Winnetka, and Woodland Hills.

In office: Bob Blumenfield
Status: Reelected
Role in tape scandal: Blumenfield's calling for the three members to resign.
District population: 257,098
Turnout in recent elections: 37,128

Here's the vote in the June 7 primary:


D4: Nithya Raman (2024)

Map shows boundaries of District 4, which has the 405 and 101 running across it. Neighborhoods include all or part of Encino, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz and Silver Lake, Reseda, Sherman Oaks, Studio City and Cahuenga Pass.
District 4
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

District 4 includes all or part of the following neighborhoods: Encino, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz and Silver Lake, Reseda, Sherman Oaks, Studio City and Cahuenga Pass.

In office: Nithya Raman
Status: Elected to serve from 2020 to 2024.
Role in tape scandal: Raman is calling for their resignation, saying the comments are "disqualifying for elected officials."
District population: 269,290
Turnout in recent elections: 132,999


D5: Paul Koretz (termed out)

Map shows boundaries of District 5 which includes some or all of the following neighborhoods: Bel Air-Beverly Crest, Greater Wilshire, Mid City West, Palms, Pico, South Robertson, Westside, and Westwood.
District 5
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

District 5 includes some or all of the following neighborhoods: Bel Air-Beverly Crest, Greater Wilshire, Mid City West, Palms, Pico, South Robertson, Westside, and Westwood.

In office: Paul Koretz
Status: Termed out and running for City Controller. The race for District 5 is headed to November between Katy Young Yaroslavsky and Sam Yebri.
Role in tape scandal: Koretz is calling for Martinez to resign.
District population: 269,182
Turnout in recent elections: 57,259

Here's the vote in the June 7 primary:


D6: Nury Martinez (resigned)

Map shows boundaries of District 6, which has the 405, 5 and 170 running across it. Neighborhoods include all or part of Arleta, Van Nuys, Sun Valley, North Hollywood, Lake Balboa, North Hills and Panorama City.
District 6
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

District 6 includes some or all of the following neighborhoods: Arleta, Van Nuys, Sun Valley, North Hollywood, Lake Balboa, North Hills and Panorama City.

In office: Nury Martinez
Status: Elected to serve from 2020 to 2024. She resigned from office on Oct. 12 under heavy pressure.
Role in tape scandal: Martinez is one of main speakers in the leaked recording, where she can be heard making numerous racist and derogatory remarks.
District population: 261,114
Turnout in recent elections: 29,404


D7: Monica Rodriguez (reelected)

Map shows boundaries of District 7, which has the 210 Freeway running through it. Neighborhoods include all or part of the northeastern San Fernando Valley communities of North Hills, Sylmar, Mission Hills, Pacoima, Lake View Terrace, Sunland-Tujunga, Shadow Hills, and La Tuna Canyon.
District 7
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

District 7 includes all or part of the northeastern San Fernando Valley communities of North Hills, Sylmar, Mission Hills, Pacoima, Lake View Terrace, Sunland-Tujunga, Shadow Hills, and La Tuna Canyon.

In office: Monica Rodriguez
Status: Reelected
Role in tape scandal: Rodriguez is calling for the three to resign, and she's also prepared a motion to elect a new council president (as has councilmember Mitch O'Farrell).
District population: 266,276
Turnout in recent elections: 29,844

Here's the vote in the June 7 primary:


D8: Marqueece Harris-Dawson (2024)

Map shows boundaries of District 8, which has the 110 and 105 running across it. Neighborhoods include all or part of South Los Angeles, Baldwin Hills, Watts, Vermont Knolls, King Estates, Canterbury Knolls, Park Mesa Heights, Hyde Park, Chesterfield Square, Vermont Vista, Green Meadows, View Heights and West Park Terrace.
District 8
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

District 9 includes all or part of the following neighborhoods: South Los Angeles, Baldwin Hills, Watts, Vermont Knolls, King Estates, Canterbury Knolls, Park Mesa Heights, Hyde Park, Chesterfield Square, Vermont Vista, Green Meadows, View Heights and West Park Terrace.

In office: Marqueece Harris-Dawson
Status: Elected to serve from 2020 to 2024.
Role in tape scandal: Harris-Dawson is calling for the group to resign, saying what's on tape "disqualifies" them from service.
District population: 257,597
Turnout in recent elections: 32,415


D9: Curren Price Jr. (reelected)

Map shows boundaries of District 9 which includes all or part of the South Los Angeles communities of Vermont Square, the Central-Alameda Corridor, and Green Meadows.  It stretches north to western Downtown L.A. and includes the U.S.C campus, Exposition Park, the L.A. Live complex and the L.A. Convention Center.
District 9
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

    


District 9 includes all or part of the South Los Angeles communities of Vermont Square, the Central-Alameda Corridor, and Green Meadows. It stretches north to western Downtown L.A. and includes the U.S.C campus, Exposition Park, the L.A. Live complex and the L.A. Convention Center.

In office: Curren Price Jr.
Status: Reelected
Role in tape scandal: Price is calling for the group to resign, and organized a vigiil Monday night to demand resignation.
District population: 255,988
Turnout in recent elections: 12,528

Here's the vote in the June 7 primary:

 


D10: Heather Hutt (appointed)

Map shows boundaries of District 10, which has the 10 running across it. Neighborhoods include all or part of Arlington Heights, Koreatown, Mid-City, Olympic Park, Palms, South Robertson, West Adams, West Pico and Wilshire Center.
District 10
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

District 10 includes all or parts of the following neighborhoods: Arlington Heights, Koreatown, Mid-City, Olympic Park, Palms, South Robertson, West Adams, West Pico and Wilshire Center.

In office: Heather Hutt
Status: Appointed as an interim replacement for Mark Ridley-Thomas, who was elected to serve from 2020 to 2024.
Role in tape scandal: Hutt is calling for all to resign. Her position was brought up in the 2021 conversation as a preferred replacement in District 10. Hutt's said that as a Black woman, she's not a pawn. Hutt said she had no prior knowledge of the conversation.
District population: 270,703
Turnout in recent elections: 92,604


D11: Mike Bonin (didn't run)

Map shows boundaries of District 11 which include all or part of the following Westside neighborhoods:s, Venice, Mar Vista, Westchester, Playa del Rey, Brentwood, Del Rey, Playa Vista, Ladera, Sawtelle,and the Pacific Palisades.
District 11
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

District 11 encompasses all or part of the following Westside neighborhoods:s, Venice, Mar Vista, Westchester, Playa del Rey, Brentwood, Del Rey, Playa Vista, Ladera, Sawtelle,and the Pacific Palisades.

In office: Mike Bonin
Status: Not seeking reelection. The race for District 11 is headed to November between Erin Darling and Traci Park.
Role in tape scandal: Bonin is a key focus of the conversation because the councilmembers mocked him, made extremely racist comments about his Black son, and made anti-gay comments about him.
District population: 270,691
Turnout in recent elections: 66,171

Here's the vote in the June 7 primary:


D12: John Lee (2024)

Map shows boundaries of District 12, which has the 118 and 405 running across it. Neighborhoods include all or part of Northridge, Chatsworth, Granada Hills, West Hills, Porter Ranch, Sherwood Forest, and portions of North Hills and Reseda.
District 12
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

District 12 includes all or parts of the following neighborhoods: Northridge, Chatsworth, Granada Hills, West Hills, Porter Ranch, Sherwood Forest, and portions of North Hills and Reseda.

In office: John Lee
Status: Elected to serve from 2020 to 2024.
Role in tape scandal: Lee is calling for the group's resignation, saying it's the only way for the city to move forward.
District population: 259,564
Turnout in recent elections: 65,213


D13: Mitch O'Farrell (in runoff)

Map shows boundaries of District 13 which includes all or some of the following communities of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Echo Park, Elysian Valley, Glassell Park, Historic Filipinotown, Hollywood, Larchmont Village, Little Armenia, Melrose Hill, Rampart Village, Ridgewood-Wilton, Silver Lake, Spaulding Square, St. Andrews Square, Sunset Square, Thai Town, Verdugo Village, Virgil Village, Western-Wilton, Westlake, Wilshire Center and Windsor Square.
District 13
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

District 13 includes all or some of the following communities: Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Echo Park, Elysian Valley, Glassell Park, Historic Filipinotown, Hollywood, Larchmont Village, Little Armenia, Melrose Hill, Rampart Village, Ridgewood-Wilton, Silver Lake, Spaulding Square, St. Andrews Square, Sunset Square, Thai Town, Verdugo Village, Virgil Village, Western-Wilton, Westlake, Wilshire Center and Windsor Square.

In office: Mitch O'Farrell
Status: Seeking reelection. The race for District 13 is headed to November between O'Farrell and Hugo Soto-Martinez.
Role in tape scandal: O'Farrell began motions to replace Martinez as council president, as well create a ballot measure to expand the City Council. At Tuesday's city council meeting, he said "the court of public opinion has rendered a verdict and the verdict is they all must resign.”
District population: 252,909
Turnout in recent elections: 47,248

Here's the vote in the June 7 primary:


D14: Kevin de León (2024)

Map shows boundaries of District 14, which has the 10 and 101 running across it. Neighborhoods include all or part of Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, Downtown L.A., El Sereno and Northeast L.A.
District 14
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

District 14 includes all or part of the following neighborhoods: Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, Downtown L.A., El Sereno, Northeast L.A.

In office: Kevin de León
Status: Elected to serve from 2020 to 2024.
Role in tape scandal: De León is part of the leaked recording. He can be heard talking in racist and disrespectful ways about Black political power in L.A. with other members.
District population: 264,741
Turnout in recent elections: 47,677


D15: Joe Buscaino (didn't run)

Map shows boundaries of District 15 which includes all or part of the following neighborhoods: Watts, San Pedro, Harbor Gateway, Harbor City, Wilmington.
District 15
(Courtesy City of L.A.)

District 15 encompasses all or part of the following neighborhoods: Watts, San Pedro, Harbor Gateway, Harbor City, Wilmington.

In office: Joe Buscaino
Status: Not seeking reelection, ran for Mayor but withdrew. The race for District 15 is headed to November between Tim McOsker and Danielle Sandoval.
Role in tape scandal: Buscaino called for Martinez to step down from council president, which she did on Monday.
District population: 258,310
Turnout in recent elections: 26,244

Here's the vote in the June 7 primary:

What Does L.A.'s City Council Do?

Those who follow city government closely say Los Angeles’ City Council is the most powerful city council in the U.S. At just 15 members, each person elected to serve represents about 260,000 residents within a specific geographic area.

How does that stack up against other big cities? Well, the two other biggest cities in the nation — New York and Chicago — have 51 and 50 city council members, respectively.

Back in 1925, when the city made the switch from at-large representation to districts, each council member represented fewer than 39,000 people. Some observers of L.A. politics, including the Los Angeles Times editorial board, argue it’s time to expand the council. But for right now, we’re talking about 15 council seats, of which eight are currently up for election.

[Note: these districts just went through an extensive review and reshaping based on the results of the 2020 Census. You might not be voting in the same city council district as you did in 2020.]

With so much power in relatively few hands, the relationship the mayor has with the council is particularly important. The mayor needs the council's support to enact policy. Think of the council as L.A.'s legislature. While the mayor can make proposals and rally public support, it’s the council that writes and passes the laws.

So What Exactly Do Members Of The City Council Do?

  • Create local laws, known as ordinances (the mayor then approves or vetoes those ordinances)
  • Order elections
  • Impose and regulate city taxes
  • Authorize public improvements
  • Approve city contracts
  • Adopt traffic regulations 

Councilmembers also vote on the mayor's proposed annual budget, which allocates funds for city departments. In all, the city employs about 50,000 people — second only to New York City — in more than 40 departments. It’s a lot of money to hold the purse strings for: The city’s proposed FY 2022-23 budget totals just under $12 billion.

Here Are Some Of The Things They Don’t Do

  • Oversee the Los Angeles Unified School District (the school board does that) 
  • Oversee social services such as mental health (this is handled at the county level) 
  • Make decisions regarding people who live in unincorporated areas of the county (places that aren’t part of the city of Los Angeles or any other city) or people who live in other incorporated cities, such as West Hollywood or Inglewood

In the last few years, the City Council has made headlines for a string of corruption scandals. Three sitting or former councilmembers have been charged with corruption since 2020 (although allegations against Mark Ridley-Thomas date to his tenure on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors).

How Do They Work?

The council is governed by a set of rules covering everything from when and how often it meets to who runs the meetings (the president, who is selected by fellow council members) and how the public can participate (“each speaker shall be limited to one minute of general public comment each regular meeting”).

In addition to regular meetings of the full council, there are numerous committee meetings focused on areas such as transportation, public health, budget and finance, immigrant affairs, public safety, and information and technology. Some cover a range of topics, like the Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and River Committee, and the Personnel, Audits, and Animal Welfare Committee.

See a full list of council committees and their meeting schedule.

A City Council term is four years; a councilmember can serve a maximum of three terms. The current annual salary for a councilmember is about $224,000.

You Might Recognize Their Work From…

The City Council works as a collective to pass laws that affect the entire city, but your councilmember can have a big impact on your community. That’s because councilmembers have a lot of power to direct funds within their districts.

For example, councilmembers typically have discretion over money earmarked for transportation safety improvements in their district. LAist previously reported on how this played out in two different districts where pedestrians were killed at intersections — in District 5, traffic safety upgrades came less than two months after the pedestrian died, while the other community, which sits in District 10, has been waiting for more than two years for similar improvements.

Councilmembers also have a lot of discretion over how strongly to enforce city ordinances such as the anti-camping ban, which forbids people who are unhoused from camping on public property close to locations such as schools, parks, libraries, and underpasses. That means a person living outside in a tent might have a significantly different experience depending on which district they live in.

What Issues Are The Council Facing?

  • Funding for law enforcement will continue to be a contentious issue. Some residents continue to call for cutting the LAPD budget, some call for defunding the police altogether, and others want more police hired to combat the rising crime rate
  • The homelessness crisis continues to play a major role in city politics, sparking sharp divisions over how best to get people off the streets and into permanent housing
  • The city is falling far short of promises to end traffic deaths by 2025, with the death toll instead rising sharply. The City Council recently called for an audit of Vision Zero, the program created to meet that ambitious goal
What questions do you have about how L.A. works?
Caitlin Hernández explains what makes L.A. tick so that you can navigate our complicated city. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Why is this like this and not like that? How does that work? Does it actually work?” then they want to hear from you. Share your question below.

Updated October 12, 2022 at 3:21 PM PDT
This story updated with Nury Martinez's resignation from office and California Attorney General Rob Bonta's investigation into L.A.'s redistricting process.