LA County Federation of Labor backs Marisa Alcaraz for City Council
Spectrum News

LOS ANGELES — In the aftermath of the infamous scandal last fall, when secretly taped conversations revealed the privately expressed racist attitudes of three Los Angeles City Council members, as well as the then leader of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, City Council President Nury Martinez, representing District 6, resigned. On April 4, seven candidates vied to replace her in a primary whose top two vote-getters would go on to a deciding special run-off vote on June 27. The winner’s term will extend only through the end of Martinez’s term in December 2024.

City Council District 6 comprises a wide swath of the San Fernando Valley, including such communities as North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Panorama City, Sun Valley, Lake Balboa, Pacoima, North Hills and Arleta. Each City Councilmember represents approximately 250,000 people.

Hopes of the left were tied to candidate Marco Santana, Director of Engagement of LA Family Housing, but he came in fourth in a primary that attracted only 11.4% of registered voters in the district. Almost 120,000 ballots had been mailed out, but only 12,638 voters mailed them back, with another 872 voters casting their ballots at the polls.

The two candidates in the run-off are Imelda Padilla, who won 25.55%, and Marisa Alcaraz with 19.24%.

The level of voter participation and the results set a clear, though negative example of the power of strong get-out-the-vote movements in low-turnout elections. A better organized effort might well have propelled a more progressive candidate into second or even first place. It bears recalling, however, that District 6 went for longtime Republican and only recent Democrat developer Rick Caruso in the municipal mayoral election that brought Karen Bass to Los Angeles City Hall.

Now that voters have chosen their top two for the run-off, the LA County Fed has, by an 80% margin, endorsed Marisa Alcaraz, who is currently the deputy chief of staff and environmental policy director to Ninth District Councilman Curren Price. Among her accomplishments was drafting the city’s “Hero Pay” law, aimed at protecting and honoring frontline workers during the worst times of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In their endorsement, the LA Fed wrote, “Marisa has been at the forefront of fighting against systemic inequality, advocating for livable wages, demanding safer working conditions, and directly improving the lives of all modern day working families.”

In response to the Fed’s endorsement, Alcaraz said, “This latest endorsement is the acknowledgement of the allegiance and respect I have demonstrated over the years to our working families. The choice is clear, and I choose fair wages, good health benefits and worker protections over everything else.”

Other endorsements include a dozen or so individual unions, Democratic clubs, City Councilmembers and members of both houses of the California state legislature.

Marisa Alcaraz is the labor-backed candidate for City Council in LA’s 6th District. | Facebook

Imelda Padilla is a former field deputy in Nury Martinez’s office (2013-14), who has pledged to prioritize “an immediate solution to the unhoused crisis because what is currently occurring is not working.”

Her opponents to her left felt they had the right to question the integrity of such sentiments, however, owing to one critical endorsement she enjoyed from the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, a pro-landlord organization.

“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 says on her website.

Padilla has gained endorsements from the Los Angeles Times and La Opinión, and can also boast some union support (Longshore and Warehouse, Laborers, Teamsters, SEIU-USWW) as well as endorsements from her own lengthy list of political figures. More information on her campaign can be found at her website:

One potentially devastating drawback to Alcaraz’s campaign at this juncture is the June 13th revelation that her boss, Curren Price, a 10-year veteran of the City Council, has been charged by the L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón on ten counts of corruption—five counts of grand theft by embezzlement, two for conflict of interest, and another three for perjury. He has already given up his position as President Pro Tem of the City Council and all his committee assignments. Voters may assume that Alcaraz was somehow complicit in these acts, and Padilla’s campaign may try to taint her with them.

Still, the County Fed continues to endorse her, and there is no apparent reason to withhold support for her on account of Councilmember Price’s alleged behavior. To learn more about Alcaraz or volunteer in the campaign, visit:

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Eric A. Gordon
Eric A. Gordon

Eric A. Gordon, People’s World Cultural Editor, wrote a biography of radical American composer Marc Blitzstein and co-authored composer Earl Robinson’s autobiography. He has received numerous awards for his People's World writing from the International Labor Communications Association. He has translated all nine books of fiction by Manuel Tiago (pseudonym for Álvaro Cunhal) from Portuguese, available from International Publishers NY.