L.A. on the Record: Who are council members supporting in the Valley race?

Good morning, and welcome to L.A. on the Record, our City Hall newsletter. It’s Dakota Smith and Jim Rainey, with an assist from David Zahniser.

A handful of Los Angeles City Council members are throwing their weight into the April 4 special election to fill the San Fernando Valley seat left vacant by Nury Martinez’s resignation.

Councilmembers Curren Price and Heather Hutt are backing Marisa Alcaraz, who is Price’s deputy chief of staff and environmental policy director.

Councilwoman Nithya Raman endorsed Marco Santana, who works as a director at L.A. Family Housing. Raman called Santana a “deep thinker on policy — especially when it comes to real solutions for ending homelessness.”

Hayes Davenport, a high-level advisor to Raman who volunteered on her 2020 council campaign, co-hosted a meet-and-greet fundraiser for Santana last month. Former Councilmember Mike Bonin was in attendance during the event at Davenport’s home, according to Santana’s campaign. Bonin hasn’t endorsed anyone in the race.

Meanwhile, Councilmember Monica Rodriguez endorsed Imelda Padilla, who has worked for the nonprofits Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy and Pacoima Beautiful. She cited Padilla’s “long record of service to the San Fernando Valley.”

Padilla is also endorsed by two former Valley council members: Joy Picus and Tony Cardenas, now a member of Congress.

Of course, endorsements from politicians don’t always matter much to voters. And let’s not forget that being a City Council member may be seen by some as a liability.

Yet some of the District 6 candidates aren’t shy about weighing in on which council members that they admire. Bonin on his podcast has interviewed each of the candidates, with the exception of Rose Grigoryan, and asked which member of the City Council they think they are most politically aligned with.

Santana flattered Bonin by saying, “I would have liked to have you there,” before naming Marqueece Harris-Dawson, whom he called a “really smart guy,” and Raman.

Isaac Kim replied, “I really like Eunisses [Hernandez] and Hugo [Soto-Martinez].”

Alcaraz said she’d be most politically aligned with Price and “probably Katy [Young] Yaroslavsky.”

Padilla said Rodriguez, while Antoinette Scully responded with, “Probably Eunisses Hernandez and Hugo Soto-Martinez and a little bit with Nithya as well.”

Douglas Sierra went with Harris-Dawson.

Look for more endorsements from politicians in the days ahead, but don’t hold your breath for some of those big progressive groups to weigh in. As we reported last week, Ground Game Los Angeles and others are staying on the sidelines.

Katy Young Yaroslavsky

(Campaign of Katy Young Yaroslavsky for City Council)

State of play

— IT’S KATY: Mayor Karen Bass announced Wednesday that she’d picked Yaroslavsky to fill an open seat on the 13-member Metro board. The other contenders for the slot were Hernandez and Rodriguez, as we spelled out last week.

— METRO MESS: Speaking of Metro, The Times’ Rachel Uranga offered an up-close look at the surge in drug use and overdose deaths by riders on the agency’s rail lines and train platforms. A train operator had a one-word assessment of the situation: “Horror.” Meanwhile, the Daily News’ Steve Scauzillo looked into the booming classical music being inflicted on customers at the Westlake/MacArthur Park station, where Metro is attempting to address crime and loitering.

— BASS AT 100: Hosting a homelessness roundtable at City Hall, Bass reported that she expects that 4,000 people will have been housed during her first 100 days in office — a milestone that arrives Tuesday. She expects that 1,000 of those will involve her Inside Safe program, which moves unhoused people into motels and hotels. The vast majority of the rest involve programs that were in motion before she took office.

— MISTRIAL MOTION: Former L.A. Deputy Mayor Raymond Chan has asked a judge to declare a mistrial in his federal corruption case, saying one lawyer is too ill to continue representing him and the other is too inexperienced. U.S. Dist. Judge John F. Walter set a hearing on the matter for next week.

2024 MOVES: Consultant Kerman Maddox, who played a big role in getting Bass to run for mayor, was appointed by President Biden to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. Bass, meanwhile, was selected to serve on the advisory board for Biden’s anticipated reelection, the Washington Post reported.

— OVERHAUL: The Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles has a new leader and a new board. Anti-poverty leader Conway Collis is now president, the nonprofit announced.

Garcetti shipping out

The U.S. Senate this week voted 52-42 to approve former Mayor Eric Garcetti as ambassador to India, ending a nearly two-year process delayed by Republican opposition and suspicions over his handling of alleged sexual harassment in his office.

“Ultimately, Biden’s unflinching loyalty to Garcetti probably saved the former mayor’s confirmation,” The Times reported in a story detailing how the vote went down. Another Times story looked at the fallout from the scandal.

In the short term, the Senate vote helps Garcetti’s political career. The Times’ earlier examination of his 9½ years leading the city had some political observers giving him a B grade, and a new survey of residents from Loyola Marymount University seems to line up with that assessment.

About 1,000 respondents were asked to choose a grade for Garcetti and responded like so: A, 19%; B, 31.1%; C, 24.8%; D,12.3%; F, 12.8%.

The six-week poll concluded last month and queried people in person, online and through phone calls.

“I’m not a grade-grubber,” was one of Garcetti’s more memorable quips — a remark he gave in response to a C grade he got from The Times in 2015.

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Quick hits

  • Where Did Inside Safe Go? The mayor’s homelessness initiative went to two locations this week: skid row, which has by far the largest concentration of unhoused residents in the city, and Echo Park.
  • On the docket for next week: On Monday, the City Council’s committee on reforming City Hall is set to take up a plan to overhaul lobbying rules — and decide whether, and how, such rules should apply to nonprofit groups.

Stay in touch

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