Special Election Guide: L.A. Council District 6

In a week, residents in the San Fernando Valley will choose a replacement for former L.A. City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who resigned in disgrace last year. Voting is already underway in the April 4 special election for District 6. A candidate needs over 50% of the vote to win, otherwise the race heads to a June runoff.

An outright victory is unlikely Tuesday, given the large pool of candidates. Seven people are running and, although some have worked in local government, none of them have held political office before. By now, L.A. is used to novices. Nearly half of the council consists of recently elected newcomers.

There is a desire for fresh blood, even as the city struggles with immense challenges like rising homelessness, a lack of affordable housing, high cost of living, crime, and an overall air of distrust. Residents of CD6 — which runs from Sun Valley to Lake Balboa — have additional concerns about potholes, traffic safety, and pollution from the Van Nuys Airport. 

One of the most contentious issues in all of Los Angeles is rule 41.18. The ordinance prohibits the homeless from camping near schools, daycares centers, libraries and parks. Expansion of the L.A. City Council and the creation of an independent redistricting commission are also big topics. Both of these ideas are supported by the majority of CD6 candidates.

The Candidates 

Marisa Alcaraz serves as Deputy Chief of Staff and Environmental Policy Director for City Councilmember Curren Price. Until 2013, she worked for former council member Richard Alarcón. She touts her experience, especially on homeless prevention efforts. She wants to fast-track affordable and supportive housing development and add more officers to the LAPD. She also supports the city’s anti-camping law. 

Rose Grigoryan immigrated to the U.S. from Armenia 13 years ago. She’s a journalist and social activist who has vowed to create transitional and permanent housing for the homeless. She also supports the creation of a city-run health department.

Isaac Kim is a small business owner and self-described progressive who opposes 41.18. He thinks LAPD’s budget should be reviewed for possible re-allocation of funds.  

Imelda 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. Padilla currently serves as President of the L.A. Valley College Foundation Board. She supports the anti-camping ordinance and wants an audit of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). She is in favor of boosting LAPD’s ranks to focus on violent crime. 

Marco Santana works for the nonprofit organization, LA Family Housing. He is Vice President of the San Fernando Valley Young Democrats and Controller for the San Fernando Valley Democratic Party. He has worked as a staffer for U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas and State Sen. Bob Hertzberg. Santana opposes the anti-camping law and wants to divert public safety funds to address mental health.

Antoinette Scully is a community organizer who advocates for racial and environmental justice. She previously worked as a field case worker and housing coordinator for the unhoused. She also founded the Black & Bookish literary collective and the Valley Justice Collective. Scully wants to repeal 41.18, expand homeless services, and decrease the LAPD’s size and budget. 

Douglas Sierra is a political newcomer with a background in business and nonprofits. He wants to amend the anti-camping law, establish a 24/7 cleanup task force for the district, and audit the police department to ensure funds are being spent properly. 

Read more about the candidates at LAist.