Martinez’s resignation sets off scramble for mid-San Fernando Valley seat

Before last week, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez was spearheading a borough in the middle of the San Fernando Valley that has been facing a myriad of problems, including homelessness, major transportation plans and the 2028 Olympics.

Now she has resigned after explosive leaked audio captured her racist remarks. And there has already been speculation about who will run for City Council District 6, which includes Van Nuys, Arleta, Panorama City, Lake Balboa and Sun Valley.

Cindy Montañez, who twice ran unsuccessfully against Martinez for the District 6 seat, told the Times on Sunday that three political advisers called her last week after the scandal to ask if she was interested in running. Montañez now serves on the San Fernando City Council.

Montañez, a former state assemblyman, didn’t rule out a run definitively, but said she’s happy in her San Fernando headquarters and as executive director of environmental nonprofit Tree People. “I want to support someone really good,” she said. “Someone who cares about the community and not just about their political career.”

Community members and political advisors are also speaking about MP Luz Rivas for the district seat, Montañez said. Rivas is chair of the assembly’s natural resources committee and a “huge advocate” on climate issues, Montañez said, adding, “I would hate to lose her in the assembly.”

Rivas and Los Angeles School Board President Kelly Gonez, who may also be a contender, are up for re-election in the Nov. 8 election, making it less likely they would support running for the council seat now to run for LA. The Times couldn’t reach her on Sunday.

But Angelica Dueñas, who is challenging MP Tony Cardenas (D-Pacoima) in the upcoming election, told the Times that if she lost in November she would run in Council District 6 race. According to their website, Dueñas will be supported by Ground Game LA and Teamster Local 360 in this race.

Antoinette Scully, an organizer and activist, is also considering running for the vacant seat, she told the Times.

The special election for the District 6 seat would likely take place next year. A non-voting caretaker will oversee the district in the short-term, city officials said last week.

Martinez himself was first elected in a special election in 2013 after Cardenas won his seat in Congress.

Whoever is chosen will face challenges such as homelessness and sex trafficking along the main corridors in the district. “We need all the help we can get,” said Panorama City Chamber of Commerce President Saul Mejia, who described broken streets and crumbling sidewalks in his neighborhood.

Development is underway for the 9.2-mile East San Fernando Valley Light Rail line, connecting the Van Nuys Metro G Line station to Metrolink at the Sylmar/San Fernando station. The project aims to connect the working-class communities of the Northeast Valley, a corner of the city that has long been economically isolated from Los Angeles, with the rest of the region.

The line will run from Van Nuys to San Fernando in a north-south direction, with 14 stops along the way, including at the Van Nuys Civic Center and in Panorama City, Arleta and Pacoima.

At the same time, the Metro G busway line is being upgraded and the massive Sepulveda Pass project that will connect the Valley to the Westside is under review.

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who represents the East Valley and serves on the board of directors for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said Sunday that these transit lines are “a really high priority for me and there will be no disruption to any projects at all.” ‘ due to the absence of a City Council member.

The Sepulveda Basin urban recreation area in District 6 is a key venue for the planned 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games. Each new city council member would play a role in working with the LA28 committee, the non-profit organization overseeing the Games, and community members .

Ron Herrera, President of the LA County Federation of Labor, who served on the LA 2028 board, can also be heard on the audio with Martinez. He resigned from the Olympic Committee board last week, LA 2028 spokeswoman Lauren Lamkin said. He also resigned from the union federation.

Times contributor Rachel Uranga contributed to this report. Martinez’s resignation sets off scramble for mid-San Fernando Valley seat

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