Los Angeles Times

Seven in race to replace Martinez

Candidates in April 4 special election talk on homelessne­ss and policing in District 6.

- By Dakota Smith

Residents in Los Angeles City Council District 6 lost their representa­tive after council President Nury Martinez resigned last year following the leak of audio that captured her making incendiary remarks.

Now, seven candidates are running in the April 4 special election to fill the vacant San Fernando Valley seat. The race is nonpartisa­n, though every candidate but one is a registered Democrat. All are under age 40, and none has been elected to a major office.

Mail-in ballots are being sent to voters starting this week. If no candidate gets more more than 50% of the vote, a June runoff between the top two finishers is planned.

The seat will again be up for election in March 2024, when Martinez’s term was due to expire.

Street vending regulation­s, a lack of green space and complaints about noise

[District 6, from B1] and fumes from Van Nuys Airport are some of the major issues in the race. For this guide, The Times focused on homelessne­ss and policing, which are also hot-button topics.

Where is District 6?

The district takes in all or part of the neighborho­ods of Lake Balboa, Van Nuys, Panorama City, Arleta, North Hills, North Hollywood and Sun Valley.

Major job centers include Van Nuys Airport and the Anheuser-Busch brewery. The Sepulveda Basin lies in the southern portion of the district.

Meet the candidates

Marisa Alcaraz, 38, pitches herself as an advocate for working families and is deputy chief of staff and environmen­tal policy director to L.A. Councilmem­ber Curren Price.

She’s worked on several antipovert­y programs, including one that gave “hero pay” to grocery store employees who worked during the pandemic.

She grew up in Lake Balboa and is a single mom.

Rose Grigoryan, 37, emigrated from Armenia a decade ago.

A North Hollywood resident, she started a marketing company and is a former journalist at the Armenian TV station ARTN-SHANT.

She has also helped educate the Armenian community about mental health issues.

Her voter registrati­on says “no party preference,” and she described herself as having liberal views.

Isaac Kim, 34, said he wants to redefine the role of a City Council member to be less political and more of a “good and helpful neighbor.”

A Van Nuys resident, he is active in in his church and regularly volunteers to help homeless people.

Kim said his parents, who were born in Korea, inspired him to start a men’s hair and skin care company.

Imelda Padilla , 35, is a longtime community organizer who has worked on raising the minimum wage, the environmen­t, and women’s economic and health issues.

Her background includes working for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy and Pacoima Beautiful.

Padilla was raised in Sun Valley and lives in the home she grew up in, she said.

Marco Santana, 32, touts the community work that he’s done in his profession­al career, which includes helping create a shelter for homeless women and doing healthcare outreach.

He’s worked for former state Sen. Bob Hertzberg and Rep. Tony Cardenas. At L.A. Family Housing, he leads a department that places families and individual­s into housing.

Santana, who lives in Van Nuys, has talked about the housing insecurity his family faced when he was growing up.

Antoinette Scully, 38, has a background in racial justice. She is a national organizer at the Unitarian Universali­st Women’s Federation.

She’s also worked as a field caseworker and housing coordinato­r at NoHo Home Alliance.

She founded the Valley Justice Coalition/Collective, which has led food distributi­on drives, fought for environmen­t justice, and protested against transphobi­a. Scully lives in Van Nuys.

Douglas Sierra, 37, touts his background in business and education.

Until recently, Sierra worked at management consulting firm Monitor Deloitte, he said.

He also was an educationa­l services coordinato­r at A Place Called Home in South L.A., according to his resume.

He grew up in Sun Valley. At points in his life, he and his family have struggled with financial insecurity, which has pushed him to succeed, he said.

On homelessne­ss

Alcaraz wants to increase funding for “Solid Ground,” a city program she worked on to help families and individual­s avoid homelessne­ss. She’d look at raising the city’s minimum wage and wants a by-right program to approve supportive, affordable or workforce housing. She supports 41.18 — the city’s anti-encampment law — in targeted areas. “As a mom, we shouldn’t have encampment­s near day-care centers and schools,” she said.

Grigoryan would focus on creating jobs and building affordable housing and “tiny home” villages. She wants both mental health and entertainm­ent services provided at the villages. Homeless people should “feel cared [for] and feel that they are part of the community,” she said.

Kim supports tenant protection­s and wants to ensure that all homeless-related street and sidewalk cleanings are publicized so homeless people can prepare for them. He wants to pursue more state funding for homelessne­ss. He would vote to repeal 41.18. “I don’t believe Jesus would sweep a homeless person off the street just because they are 500 feet from a school,” Kim said.

Padilla wants to audit Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to better understand who is being served. She wants more types of housing, including emergency interim housing, in District 6. She said she has relationsh­ips with county officials that will help with the city’s handling of homelessne­ss. She supports 41.18.

Santana wants to turn publicly owned land into housing. He wants faithbased organizati­ons to turn their unused land into housing.

He’d look at creating a city public health department and would seek to expand a city program that gives cash to residents at or below the poverty line. He opposes 41.18.

Sierra wants to cancel all city fees for any developer or nonprofit that builds 100% affordable housing.

He would focus on adding emergency shelters, “tiny homes” and permanent housing. He would ensure that there isn’t a “bottleneck” of one type of city housing. He would audit Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. “I don’t want to enforce 41.18 unless we are offering housing,” he told the blog Up in the Valley.

Scully wants to create a drop-in service center program to let unhoused people sign up for mail addresses and ID cards. She also wants to apply the rent stabilizat­ion ordinance to rental homes. Scully would seek to include homeless and low-income people in discussion­s about city policies. She would work to repeal 41.18, which is “definitely a reason why I decided to run,” she said in an interview with former Councilmem­ber Mike Bonin.

On policing

Alcaraz said that she wants to “double down” on alternativ­e policing models, including using mental health experts to respond to homeless people in crises. She also wants to see the LAPD hire more officers and enough civilian personnel. She wants to expand both the city’s Community Safety Partnershi­p program and the “safe route” schools program.

Grigoryan said she would hold LAPD accountabl­e for misconduct, including racial profiling and excessive force. She also wants to ensure that the LAPD doesn’t do any work with immigratio­n enforcemen­t agencies to deport immigrants. At the same time, she wants the LAPD to “have the resources” to be able to do its job.

Kim wants to review the city’s LAPD budget. If he finds that LAPD policies aren’t working, he wants to redirect those funds to preventati­ve services such as youth developmen­t and drug rehabilita­tion. He has called the phrase “defunding” the police “terrible marketing.”

Padilla supports Mayor Karen Bass’ goals on policing, including increasing the size of the LAPD force. “I want to be a partner with her,” Padilla said. At the same time, she supports reforms. She talked about her brother, who is incarcerat­ed, and said she supports anticrime policies for youths, such as summer job programs.

Santana said the LAPD should be adequately staffed and trained so that a gun is a “last resort.” He wants to look at using unarmed officers for traffic stops. He’ll focus on “natural deterrents” to crime, such as adding more lighting along Sepulveda Boulevard to stop sex traffickin­g.

Scully is a police abolitioni­st. Scully wants to put more money into department­s that deal with homelessne­ss and sanitation to “help reduce what police officers are being called out for.” Scully will vote against increasing the LAPD budget if elected.

Sierra wants to make it easier for the city to hire LAPD officers and suggested the department do more outreach to schools and the community. He also wants officers to live in Los Angeles neighborho­ods. He wants both the community and the LAPD to work on building trust. “People should know who the officer is who patrols the streets,” Sierra said.

Their endorsemen­ts

Alcaraz has the support of Councilmem­bers Curren Price and Heather Hutt, the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, ILWU Local 94 and UFCW Local 770, among others.

Kim is supported by Youth Climate Strike and Sunrise Movement at Occidental, among others.

Padilla is supported by Councilmem­ber Monica Rodriguez, Laborers Local Union Local 300, and Los Angeles Unified School Board members Scott Schmerelso­n, Rocio Rivas and George McKenna, among others.

Santana is endorsed by Los Angeles Unified School Board member Kelly Gonez, Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36, Los Angeles League of Conservati­on Voters, L.A. Forward, and the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley, among others.

Scully is endorsed by East Valley Indivisibl­e and Feel the Bern San Fernando Valley, among others.

Sierra is endorsed by the L.A. Daily News.

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L.A. City Council District 6 candidates, clockwise from top left: Antoinette Scully, Isaac Kim, Rose Grigoryan, Douglas Sierra, Marco Santana, Imelda Padilla and Marisa Alcaraz.
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