The Los Angeles City Council 7th District race between Monica Rodriguez, 43, and Karo Torossian, 33, was neck-and-neck throughout election night, but Rodriguez slowly pulled ahead and finished the night with about 53 percent of the vote, winning the seat.
The 7th Council District that Rodriguez will represent includes Pacoima, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, Sunland-Tujunga and Sylmar.
Rodriguez — a resident of Mission Hills — becomes the second woman on the council, joining Nury Martinez who represents Panorama City, Arleta and Van Nuys.
Rodriguez and Torossian fought hard for the open seat in this race that became open when Felipe Fuentes vacated it last year.
It was said that Fuentes had resigned to take a job as a lobbyist. However, the relationship between Fuentes and his constituents had become negative. Those living in the district grew increasingly disappointed with Fuentes, who they had described as “unresponsive” and felt they had received better service when the office of Herb Wesson stepped in to temporarily represent them.
Both Rodriguez and Torossian, who supporters called “El Toro,” emerged as front runners from a 20-candidate field in the primary.
Rodriguez is a former LA City Public Works commissioner who has also worked as an aide for some past council members, while Torossian is the director of planning and environment for Councilman Paul Krekorian.
The race became a showdown to the end, and Rodriguez’ camp was accused more than once of illegal campaign practices.
Torossian had received Krekorian’s endorsement, while Rodriguez was endorsed by Mayor Garcetti and received financial backing from that political relationship. She had the fundraising support from the mayor’s longtime political advisor Rick Jacobs. Garcetti appointed Rodriguez to the Board of Public Works.
The environment and high-speed rail were among the major concerns in the district, and although Torossian late in the campaign won the support from SAFE — the organization actively fighting against the High-Speed Rail project — it wasn’t enough for him to win. Torossian had already been involved in these issues and his work was more well known to voters in the Sunland Tujunga area.
Rodriguez, appealed to many voters in the Northeast valley’s Latino community.
In addition to voters’ concerns with the proposed route of the California bullet train currently proposed to go through areas of the district and potentially impact the environment and communities, Rodriguez will face tough issues that include crime, homelessness, and illegal dumping.
Torossian, a Tujunga resident, opposed the rail project outright. Rodriguez supports high-speed rail, but said the route should connect Palmdale to downtown Los Angeles, rather than going through the district.