LOS ANGELES (CNS) – In the eastern San Fernando Valley’s 6th District, incumbent Nury Martinez emerged victorious in a rematch with former Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez on Tuesday, March 3. Montanez was the top vote-getter in the 2013 primary election to complete Tony Cardenas’ unexpired term, but she lost to Martinez in a surprise upset in the runoff election. Martinez said during her more than 18 months on the job, she has fought prostitution and human trafficking crimes, brought in economic opportunities and jobs, and worked to clear up blight.
But Montanez accused the incumbent of moving too slowly to address the needs of the district. She said the district lacked the leadership needed to curb crime and eliminate a recurring problem of bulky items being left on sidewalks, alleys and other public places.
Martinez and Montanez are former friends and both served previously on the city of San Fernando city council. Both moved out of their hometown to seek higher office.
Montanez put out a series of “hit pieces,” against Martinez accusing her of “selling out,” the community by taking tobacco and development money and said that voters had a “choice to vote for what they currently had or vote for change.” Martinez countered that the problems in the district have existed for a very long time and cannot be solved overnight but pointed to her success in putting a dent in crime with the arrests of “pimps and johns.” District 6 runs across the north San Fernando Valley, including the neighborhoods of Sun Valley, North Hollywood and Van Nuys.
Councilman Mitch Englander ran unopposed in the 12th District, which includes Reseda, North Hills, Northridge, Chatsworth and Porter Ranch.
City Councilman Jose Huizar fended off a spirited challenge from former Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina to retain his 14th District seat, headlining a winning night for council incumbents. “We did it!” Huizar shouted at his election-night party Tuesday night at Salesian High School, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Huizar’s battle with Molina — billed a heavyweight bout between two Eastside political veterans — turned out to be a largely one-sided affair.
Huizar grabbed a commanding lead when vote-by-mail ballots were tallied, and he never looked back.
Molina was the best known of the four challengers attempting to unseat Huizar, who will return for his third and final term representing the district that stretches from Boyle Heights to downtown Los Angeles.
Molina was elected to the state Assembly in 1982 and the Los Angeles City Council in 1987. She was elected in 1991 to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, where she served five terms until she was forced to vacate her seat in 2014 due to term limits. In each job, she claimed the distinction of being the first Latina to join the body.
Huizar — whose most recent term was marred by sexual harassment allegations — insisted the 14th District has seen improvements thanks to his efforts to secure funding for graffiti removal, repair work on a City Hall building in Eagle Rock, initiatives to help the homeless and other programs to address local needs.
But Molina criticized the city for responding slowly to police, street repair, trash and other needs, and said leadership is needed to create more affordable housing and improve Angelenos’ quality of life.
Herb Wesson, who represents the 10th Council District, cruised to victory over Koreatown activist Grace Yoo, who last clashed with the powerful council president during contentious proceedings to redraw district lines in the Koreatown area.
Councilman Paul Krekorian also held onto his early lead in his bid for a second term representing the 2nd District — which includes North Hollywood, Studio City, Valley Village and Van Nuys– against challenger Eric Preven, a television writer who is a regular gadfly at City Council and County Board of Supervisor meetings.
In the 8th District, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, a former executive director of a nonprofit founded by Rep. Karen Bass to improve economic conditions in South Los Angeles communities, defeated three other candidates to replace termed-out Councilman Bernard Parks.
“Our community has been battered and neglected and ignored for so long but people still have hope that we can have a better neighborhood and a better community,” Harris-Dawson told ABC7.
The race to replace termed-out Tom LaBonge in the 4th District will move to a May 19 runoff election, with 14 candidates splitting the vote and preventing any candidate from earning the more than 50 percent needed to win the seat outright.
The council members elected today will serve 5 1/2-year terms. The passage of Charter Amendment 1 will mean a one-time lengthening of the terms of city and school board officials elected in the 2015 and 2017 elections, with future elections being held in even-numbered years
The San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol contributed to this article.