The deadline is Tuesday to cast a ballot in the special election between Imelda Padilla and Marisa Alcaraz to fill the Sixth District Los Angeles City Council seat vacated when former Council President Nury Martinez resigned.
Padilla, a community relations manager, led the seven-candidate field in the first round of voting April 4 with 25.65% of the vote but fell short of a majority, necessitating a runoff against Alcaraz, a City Council aide who was second with 21.13%.
Padilla told City News Service in an email that she is "very hopeful for the communities of CD 6," which has been without a representative since Martinez resigned in November 2022.
"As someone who has been a community organizer and coalition builder in the Valley for 20 years, I am ready to be the community's champion in L.A. City Council to ensure that we get our fair share of resources to thrive," she wrote.
She stressed that local elections are "very important" and have an immediate impact on the polices and program that shape day-to-day lives. Padilla added that she hopes her campaign has "energized and motivated constituents to exercise their right to vote."
Alcaraz had just turned in her ballot with her daughter late Tuesday morning when she told City News Service that she was "proud of the campaign we've run, the endorsements that we have, and the team that we've built."
She touted several endorsements from labor unions and coalitions, including grocery workers, hotel workers, electricians and city workers.
Reflecting on the low turnout of the special election in April, she urged voters in the Sixth District to "do their research, look at who's behind campaigns" and vote.
"It's such an important election. People don't realize sometimes everything the council does, and what they're in charge of," Alcaraz told CNS. "It really does make a difference and especially in a low turnout election. Every vote really does count."
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 on 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."
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 has said she "will prioritize helping people without homes off our streets and into housing, where they can get the care they need to get back on their feet."
"We need to continue to invest in outreach teams, especially the multi-disciplinary teams that include a nurse and mental health professional," she said.
Alcaraz has also called for using existing government property, including Metro parcels, to immediately build temporary shelter facilities; master lease existing buildings, including apartments and motels, to swiftly move people off of the streets; acquire vacant properties for long-term housing development; and create a Homeless Navigation Center where individuals can access services including case management, health care, job training, restrooms and showers, laundry facilities and storage.
The 38-year-old Alcaraz is deputy chief of staff and environmental policy director to Ninth District Councilman Curren Price. She was raised in Lake Balboa and graduated from Birmingham High School. She received a bachelor's degree from UC Irvine and a master's degree from USC.
District 6 consists of Van Nuys, Arleta, Lake Balboa, Panorama City, Sun Valley and the eastern portions of North Hills and North Hollywood.
All registered voters in the district received a vote-by-mail ballot in late May, according to Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott.
Voters can cast ballots from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at:
- Albert Piantanida Intergenerational Center, 9540 Van Nuys Blvd. in Panorama City;
- Goodwill Southern California, 14565 Lanark St., Panorama City;
- Central Lutheran Church, 6425 Tyrone Ave., Van Nuys;
- LA Family Housing, 7843 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood;
- Fernangeles Elementary School, 12001 Art St., Sun Valley;
- Bassett Street Elementary School, 15756 Bassett St., Van Nuys, and;
- Gault Street Elementary School at 17000 Gault St., Van Nuys.
The locations of the 14 vote-by-mail drop boxes, which will be open through 8 p.m.
Eligible residents who missed the registration deadline can still vote at any vote center. Under California election law, conditional voter registration allows a prospective voter to register and cast a ballot.
Martinez represented the district until October, when she resigned first her Council presidency and then, two days later, her seat altogether after she was caught making racist comments in a meeting that was secretly taped and leaked to the news media.
The winner will finish Martinez's term, which ends in December 2024.