Following Councilmember Nury Martinez’s resignation from office last year, a special election is being held on April 4. Ballots will be mailed out soon. If no candidate received a majority of the vote in April, a run-off between the top-two vote-getters will be held in June. Our editorial sent out surveys to the seven candidates, all of whom responded, to get a sense of where they stand on the issues. We will be publishing their responses, lightly edited for clarity. Their responses are presented in the order in which they responses to the survey.
What three ordinances would you pass to help your district?
What would you do to promote economic growth in the city and in your district?
Question: How would you evaluate Nury Martinez’s tenure on the council (before the leaked audio)?
She got things done for the people she would strategically gain from. I’m not as bothered by what was said on the tapes as much as I am bothered by what they were doing on the tapes – gerrymandering. But for me, her worst moment was years ago when she gave Kim Kardashian a tour of people experiencing homelessness like it was entertainment.
I fully share the opinion of the people living in my district. So, when collecting signatures to put my candidacy, I visited hundreds of constituents and spoke with them about the subject. Majority have expressed that during Nury Martinez’s tenure on the council they felt their voices were unheard and their needs were not adequately addressed. The district was overlooked in terms of addressing important issues, such as the cleanliness of roads and sidewalks, the repair of broken infrastructure, the reduction of crime levels and many other issues.
The things shared in Nury’s leaked tape were terrible, but they were not surprising. In my talks with many neighbors in CD 6, it became obvious that we collectively felt abandoned. She was unwilling to collaborate and used her lack of knowledge in a subject as a way to hoard power and dismiss community building. Her leaked audio confirmed what many of us already knew.
First of all, I want to express how deeply disturbing and unacceptable the comments that we heard on those leaked audio tapes are. I completely condemn both the nature of what the meeting was about and the offensive racist language used in that room.
There were aspects of Nury Martinez’s tenure that were meaningful. She was the first Latina elected to serve as Los Angeles City Council President, and as a daughter of working-class Mexican immigrants, she started her term as a vocal advocate for the working families of the Valley, but I absolutely believe the residents of the Northeast San Fernando Valley deserve better.
As someone who has been dedicated to advocating for members of my community, I spent early months working in the council office as a field deputy, connecting with community members daily to ensure they felt safe, engaged and responded to when it came to day to day community needs. I pride myself in being an accessible representative of my community, and I am committed to restoring integrity and trust in local leadership if elected to serve as Council District 6’s next councilmember.
Nury was a pioneer for Latina voices in government, growing the influence of the Valley within the Los Angeles City Council. She championed immigration rights and tackled human trafficking within Los Angeles. She combated the Trump Administration’s child detainment policies, which I believe are outright inhumane.
However, Nury fell into the trap that is politics. Rather than seeing her position as a means to serve our community, she began to see it as a potential stepping stone to propel her career further in politics. She focused too much on big names and rubbing shoulders, and she perpetuated what I think is a toxic environment within the city council. As council president, she had a significant role in transitioning the council from a non-partisan institution meant to serve all community members to one which promotes political division and minimizing diverse backgrounds.
As I’ve been talking with constituents in my community and knocking on doors, one of the most consistent things I hear is that they feel as though City Hall has kept them at arm’s length. They feel forgotten and left behind in decisions the city is making.
Councilmember Nury Martinez wasn’t always the most responsive to her constituents and stakeholders. I’m running to change that. We’re leading a campaign that is positive, rooted in community, and brings structural change. I’ve worked in and dedicated so much to the Valley my entire life, and it’s time we ensure we’re placing the needs of the people and businesses over ego and politics.
This community knows me and trusts that I will fight for them.
Many at City Hall saw Nury Martinez as a ruler with an iron fist, someone who finessed her will above seeking community input and collaboration.
By contrast, I’m not about divisive politics or shutting people out. I’m a unifier and a coalition builder with a common sense approach.
All my fights at City Hall have been on behalf of marginalized communities and the underserved.
Over time, we succeeded in raising the minimum wage, expanding Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), adopting Hero Pay, investing in municipal workers, legalizing sidewalk vending, and more — because working together got us to the finish line. I have had the opportunity to work on some of the most progressive policies impacting our entire city, but I’ve always taken the time to consider all sides of an issue.
As we move forward, I will listen, collaborate and lock arms with others to find common ground, this includes my future colleagues on the City Council, my constituents, and local businesses because strategic partnerships are needed to create a cohesive unit that works for the benefit of all people.