Today is the last day of voting in the special election for Los Angeles City Council District 6. This seat was vacated by Nury Martinez after leaked audio captured her making racist and homophobic statements about her colleagues.
District 6 encompasses the San Fernando Valley neighborhoods of Van Nuys, Arleta, Lake Balboa, Panorama City, Sun Valley and parts of North Hills and North Hollywood. The major issues here are homelessness and housing, crime, traffic safety, and impacts from the Van Nuys Airport. Recent events have also made public corruption a central theme in this race.
The candidates are Imelda Padilla and Marisa Alcaraz. They were the top two vote-getters in the April 4 primary, but neither garnered the 50%+ needed to avoid today’s runoff.
The candidates bear many similarities. Both are Latina Democrats who have never held political office before. They also agree on some important issues. These include support for minimum wage increases, additional police officers, and rule 41.18, which prohibits homeless encampments near daycare centers and elementary schools.
The two women also have ties to controversial political figures.
Padilla is a community organizer with experience in the non-profit sector as well as the City and County of L.A. She served as a field deputy for the council office when Nury Martinez held the seat and currently serves as President of the L.A. Valley College Foundation Board.
Marisa Alcaraz serves as Deputy Chief of Staff and Environmental Policy Director for City Councilmember Curren Price. She previously worked for Richard Alarcón.
Alcaraz’s current and former bosses could end up being a liability. Price was just charged with five counts of grand theft by embezzlement, three counts of perjury, and two counts of conflict of interest. Alarcón was convicted of voter fraud and perjury in 2014, though the conviction was later overturned.
Padilla’s campaign began capitalizing on Alcaraz’s connections to Price following the indictment.
“We must STOP Marisa Alcaraz and vote NO to bringing corruption to the Valley,” text messages from Padilla’s campaign read.
But Padilla has her own baggage, having previously worked for the district’s disgraced former council member.
This race could hinge on very few votes. The primary election only drew in 11.40% of registered voters. Turnout in the runoff is also expected to be low.