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Civics & Democracy

The LA Council Runoff To Replace Nury Martinez Is Set: Marisa Alcaraz Vs. Imelda Padilla

On the left, Marisa Alcaraz smiles at the camera. She is a light-skinned Latina, with long dark hair and dark eyes. On the right, Imelda Padilla, a light-skinned Latina, smiles at the camera. She has brown eyes, and dark hair with a few blond streaks in it.
Marisa Alcaraz (left) and Imelda Padilla.
(Courtesy oAlcaraz and Padilla campaigns)
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It's official: Imelda Padilla and Marisa Alcaraz will face each other in a June runoff to replace former Los Angeles City Councilmember Nury Martinez in the San Fernando Valley. The L.A. County Registrar-Recorder certified the final results Friday.

Padilla was first in the District 6 race with 3,424 votes, or 26%. Alcaraz came in second with 2,821 votes, or 21%.

Marco Santana, the leading progressive in the race, finished third with 2,524 votes, or 19%. He was followed by Rose Grigoryan with 15%, Isaac Kim with 11%, Antoinette Scully with 6%, and Douglas Sierra with 3%.

Turnout was a minuscule 11.4% in a district that stretches from Sun Valley west through Van Nuys to Lake Balboa.

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The results “are an affirmation by the community that they want to see somebody represent them at City Hall who is part of the community [and] who fights for Valley families," Padilla said in a statement Tuesday. "For too long our neighborhoods and business corridors have felt underserved and neglected, and I plan to change that."

Alcaraz issued a statement Tuesday saying her campaign "has resonated with families in the San Fernando Valley and they deserve a leader with a proven track record and experience who can generate real solutions." She said her "entire career has been based on fighting for working families like my own."

Both Padilla and Alcaraz benefited from independent expenditure campaigns by business and labor interests.

The Central City Association, American Beverage Association, and Laborers Local 300 (representing construction and maintenance workers, among others) were among Padilla’s biggest backers. Outside groups have spent about $117,000 to support her campaign.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 and the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters were among Alcaraz’s biggest supporters. Outside groups have spent about $111,000 backing her candidacy.

Santana was endorsed by the Los Angeles Times, but he was the only candidate who faced an independent expenditure campaign against him. The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents rank-and-file LAPD officers, spent more than $70,000 on ads deriding Santana’s support for shifting money from the LAPD to social services to help unhoused people and his opposition to 41.18, the city’s anti-camping ordinance.

Padilla and Alcaraz back 41.18 and support hiring more LAPD officers to reach the authorized number of 9.700. It’s currently several hundred officers short of that number.

The results ensure Martinez will be replaced by a woman on a 15-member council that only has five others.

Martinez resigned last October after she was heard on a secret audio recording making racist, homophobic and anti-indigenous remarks. District 6 stretches nearly 20 miles from Sun Valley west to Lake Balboa. It includes the Sun Valley Power Plant and Van Nuys Airport.

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The runoff election is June 27; the registrar will start mailing out ballots in late May.

Here’s more on the two candidates in the runoff:

Marisa Alcaraz

Alcaraz is a Van Nuys resident and the environmental policy director and deputy chief of staff to City Councilmember Curren Price. Prior to joining Price’s staff in 2012, Alcaraz developed policy on business, economic development, arts and culture, health, and poverty for Richard Alarcón when he served on the city council from 2009-13.

She supports 41.18, L.A.’s anti-camping ordinance, while saying it should only be used as a last resort, and that outreach and street engagement should come first.

Alcaraz supports hiring more LAPD officers to reach the authorized number, and says on her website she wants to “reimagine public safety” through “greater accountability” and “community engagement.” She says racial profiling “must be strictly prohibited,” and calls for increased training to prevent the use of excessive force and to improve de-escalation tactics.

Alcaraz supports expanding the Quieter Nights Program, which calls for the decrease of flights at night.

She has been endorsed by Councilmember Price, Councilmember Heather Hutt, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 770, Unite HERE Local 11, and the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper. In addition to the independent expenditures on her behalf, Alcaraz has raised about $161,000 and has received $94,300 in matching funds.

Imelda Padilla

Padilla is a Sun Valley resident who has worked in community engagement with the L.A. County Women and Girls Initiative, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy and environmental justice organization Pacoima Beautiful. She is president of the L.A. Valley College Foundation board.

In 2016, Padilla unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the L.A. Unified School District board. She also spent over a year as a field deputy for Martinez’s council office.

Besides supporting 41.18, the anti-camping law, Padilla says on her campaign website that she wants “to address the unintended consequences of municipal code 85.02,” which prohibits the use of vehicles as dwellings on residential streets. (More than 500 people live in more than 400 RVs and vans in the district, according to the L.A. Homeless Services Authority.) Padilla says that law has “pushed RV’s into our industrial corridors causing a lack of parking for business owners, customers and workers.”

She says it’s “incredibly unacceptable that we have allowed as a city for these individuals to park and live in the regions with the worst air-quality.”

In addition to her support of hiring more police to reach the LAPD’s authorized force size, Padilla says she would work with the department “to identify innovative community-centric models of policing.” She says “our public safety goals should include a preventative model rather than a reactive model that sends too many to prison.”

Padilla says she would use discretionary funds for sanitation trucks dedicated to District 6 to make bulky item pickup more efficient.

She has been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas, City Councilmember Monica Rodriguez, the Central City Association of Los Angeles, and East Area Progressive Democrats.

In addition to the independent expenditures on her behalf, through March 29 Padilla had raised about $98,000. She received more than $150,000 in city matching funds.

To qualify for city matching funds, a candidate is not allowed to loan their campaign more than $37,000, must raise at least $5 from 100 individuals who live in the council district, and receive a minimum cumulative threshold of contributions from individuals who reside in the city — in this election that was $11,400.

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