Narrow Race for Second in Council District 6 Special Election

A person standing inside his home holding his mail in voting ballot

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Community relations manager Imelda Padilla is the leader Wednesday in the special election to fill the Los Angeles City Council seat vacated by Nury Martinez, and the race for second is tight between Marisa Alcaraz, Rose Grigoryan and Marco Santana.

Padilla has 2,288 votes, 25.55%, according to figures released at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. Alcaraz was second with 1,723 votes, 19.24%. Grigoryan was third with 1,610 votes, 17.98%, and Santana was fourth with 1,568 votes, 17.51%.

Small business owner Issac Kim was the only other candidate in the field of seven to top 10%, with 1,033 votes, 11.53%.

If no candidate receives a majority, there will be a runoff between the top-two in the election, with the deadline to cast ballots June 27.

The next update to the vote count is scheduled to be announced Friday afternoon.

Council District 6 consists of Van Nuys, Arleta, Lake Balboa, Panorama City, Sun Valley and the eastern portions of North Hills and North Hollywood.

Early voting for the special election began March 25. The deadline to cast ballots was 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Turnout was low, with 9,085 registered voters casting ballots, or 7.67% of the 109,388 voters registered in District 6. There were 8,301 ballots from voters by mail and 784 ballots from in-person vote centers.

Padilla has pledged to prioritize "an immediate solution to the unhoused crisis because what is currently occurring is not working."

"I will propose an emergency remediation of encampments, connecting the unhoused population to essential services that will support them in finding housing, employment, and health services," Padilla said her campaign's website.

"I will work cohesively with all stakeholders, residents, non-profits organizations, religious leaders, business owners and health organizations to develop and implement sensible hyper-local solutions that make our communities safer, sanitary, and sustainable."

The 35-year-old Padilla was born in Van Nuys and raised in Sun Valley, graduating from Roscoe Elementary School, Byrd Middle School and Polytechnic High School. She received a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's degree from Cal State Northridge.

Alcaraz, deputy chief of staff and environmental policy director to Ninth District Councilman Curren Price, touts several accomplishments, such as crafting L.A.'s "Hero Pay" law to protect and honor frontline workers during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. She is 38.

Grigoryan, a social activist and journalist who immigrated from Armenia a decade ago, promises to advocate for permanent supportive housing for the unhoused, more affordable housing units and working to eliminate food insecurity. She is 37.

Santana, a housing nonprofit director who has worked for former state Sen. Bob Hertzberg and Rep. Tony Cardenas, said his focus would be addressing homelessness, public safety and environmental justice. He is 32.

Martinez represented the district until October, when she resigned first her council presidency and then, two days later, her seat altogether. Her resignations came in the wake of Martinez being caught making racist comments in a meeting that was secretly taped and leaked to the news media.

Former Councilman Gil Cedillo was also in that meeting, along with Councilman Kevin de León and Ron Herrera, president of the L.A. County Federation of Labor. Herrera also resigned his post, while Cedillo ultimately left the council at the end of his term after losing his bid for re-election in June.

De León has defied continued calls for his resignation but has been stripped by the council of major committee assignments and largely shunned by council colleagues.

The district is being overseen by a non-voting caretaker, the city's chief legislative analyst, Sharon Tso. A non-voting caretaker does not hold a seat on the council, but oversees the council office to make sure the district provides constituent services and other basic functions.

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