Los Angeles Times

Martinez won’t run for mayor

- BY DAVID ZAHNISER Times staff writer Benjamin Oreskes contribute­d to this report.

City Council president rules out bid, says L.A. needs stable leadership in pandemic.

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez said Thursday that she has ruled out a run for mayor, arguing the city needs stable political leadership as it emerges from the pandemic.

Martinez said that, even though she wants to see a woman elected mayor, she has decided to continue serving as council president, focusing on homelessne­ss, the economic recovery, jobs and housing production.

“I think L.A. needs stability. It needs steady leadership,” said Martinez, who represents part of the San Fernando Valley. “And I’m not worried about what’s next for myself. I’m more focused on what’s before us, and I know I can best serve the city as council president.”

Martinez, known for her blunt speaking style and her focus on working-class issues, would have upended the race had she jumped in. The contest currently features just two major political figures — City Atty. Mike Feuer and Councilman Joe Buscaino — which has caused some civic leaders to cast around for alternativ­es.

Martinez, 48, grew up in Pacoima and is the daughter of Mexican immigrants, one a dishwasher, the other a factory worker. Her decision comes a month after Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas also declined to pursue a mayoral bid.

Still, the contest to replace Garcetti could soon get more crowded. Three major figures are considerin­g a run for mayor: Councilman Kevin de León, real estate developer Rick Caruso and U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles).

So far, the most significan­t candidate to emerge from the vote-rich Valley is real estate agent Mel Wilson, who spent several years on the board of the Los Angeles County Metropolit­an Transporta­tion Authority.

In recent weeks, Martinez sounded reluctant to give up her post presiding over the 15-member council, which has enormous influence over local legislatio­n, public policy and real estate developmen­t.

To run for mayor, “I’d have to give up the presidency, which is the most powerful position in the city,” Martinez told The Times last week.

Martinez, first elected to the council in 2013, has spent nearly two years as council president, a period dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout that followed. She was entering her third month as president when much of the city shut down.

In the period that followed, Martinez led the committee that distribute­d hundreds of millions of dollars for rent relief, business aid, programs to assist homeless Angelenos and financial aid for people unable to pay their water and power bills.

Ron Herrera, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFLCIO, said Martinez has been a champion for working families during her presidency, pushing for aid programs, workplace protection­s and, most recently, vaccine requiremen­ts for city workers.

“I admire her for taking a strong stance,” he said. “A lot of folks you hear talking about it, they’ll play middle of the road. She squarely took a position of advocating for the vaccine, and that folks do get vaccinated.”

Martinez also has been serving as acting mayor when Garcetti is traveling out of state. Garcetti has been nominated by President Biden to become U.S. ambassador to India, but is awaiting a confirmati­on hearing.

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