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October 29, 2022

LA to Hold $7.7M Special Election for Nury Martinez's Former Seat


The former council president stepped down after an audio recording surfaced of her making racist and derogatory comments.

A special election to fill the Los Angeles City Council's Sixth District seat vacated by Nury Martinez's resignation will take place on April 4, 2023, after the council voted 11-0 Tuesday to move forward with the election.

The special election will cost the city up to $7.65 million, according to the City Clerk's Office. A runoff, if necessary, will take place on June 27.

Council President Paul Krekorian said the funding would be discussed further in the Budget and Finance Committee.

The Sixth District -- which includes central and eastern portions of the San Fernando Valley -- is being overseen by a non-voting caretaker, the city's chief legislative analyst, Sharon Tso the city's assistant chief legislative analyst, Avak Keotahian. A non-voting caretaker does not hold a seat on the council, but oversees the council office to make sure the district provides constituent services and other basic functions.

Martinez resigned two weeks ago after she was heard uttering several racial slurs in a leaked conversation about city redistricting from October 2021. Her term was set to expire in December 2024.

Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, D-Arleta, who was floated as a candidate for the seat if the council holds a special election, said this week that she wasn't interested.

"I love my role in the state Assembly, which allows me to work on -- and make progress on -- the issues that I care most about, especially environmental justice and empowering underserved communities," Rivas said on Twitter.

The other two council members involved in the leaked conversation that spurred the scandal, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, have so far defied calls to resign.

De León's term also expires in December 2024.

Cedillo lost his re-election bid to Eunessis Hernandez in June and will leave office in December. Council President Paul Krekorian has suggested swearing in Hernandez immediately if Cedillo resigns.

Recently, Councilwoman Heather Hutt served as non-voting caretaker of the 10th District for several months before being appointed as council member last month in place of Mark Ridley-Thomas, who is suspended as he awaits trial on federal corruption charges. Previous fill-in Councilman Herb Wesson was legally barred from serving on the council.

In the leaked 2021 recording, Martinez and her colleagues discussed appointing Hutt to the seat, claiming that Hutt would support them.

Hutt, in a statement after the tapes were leaked, said she was not aware of the conversation before she was appointed and claimed she was "not a pawn."

"The way they talked about the appointment process has sullied the appointment process, so if there's any way to prevent us from having to go through that again, I think we do that," Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson told City News Service after Martinez's resignation. "The best way is to go directly to the voters."

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