LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The residents of Los Angeles City Council District 6, located in the north San Fernando Valley that includes parts of Van Nuys and North Hollywood, have been without a voting councilmember for eight months.
The unexpected resignation of Council President Nury Martinez following a racist leaked audio scandal at city hall created an opening that will be filled by either Imelda Padilla or Marisa Alcazar, both Latinas in their 30s born and raised in the district.
The final day of voting is Tuesday, June 27.
"That's one of the reasons why I decided to run. The scandal and everything that happened," said Alcazar. "I always say, I wasn't someone who has ever run before. It wasn't something I necessarily planned but I saw what was happening and I thought I needed to step up. My favorite thing about this whole thing has been seeing my daughter's reaction to the election."
Padilla also has passion for building a better future for children.
"We're working jobs where we build things, we clean things, we're in factory jobs and sometimes, we don't have a lot of time to spend with our children," said Padilla. "That's why it's important for me to see that our parks are clean, our libraries are supported, our streets are safe."
Padilla started her career in city hall working for Martinez for 18 months.
Then, she received her master's degree in public administration, worked in the nonprofit space and the private sector in healthcare.
Alcazar has worked for Councilmember Curren Price since 2013, currently serving as his deputy chief of staff. Last week, Price was charged with multiple counts of embezzlement, perjury and conflicts of interest.
"What we saw with Mr. Price is more reason to why constituents of District 6 shouldn't encourage or bring in one of his political mentees into the 6th district," said Padilla. "I definitely think this speaks to her credibility, especially being so close to the councilmember and for that many years."
Alcazar believes that shouldn't be held against her.
"I think that it should be separate," she said. "This is a separate district. We are separate people. I was very saddened by the charges against the councilmember. I've known him for many years. I've worked in the office and we worked on a lot of great policies together. I've talked before about reforms needed at city hall. Whether that be more by rite development and taking some of the development decisions out of the hands of the councilmembers."
Alcazar said her focus at city hall has been on developing policy, including helping create the guaranteed basic income program and pushing for a $15 minimum wage.
Both candidates said the top issue facing District 6 is homelessness and they promise to not just house the homeless, but improve services in a district that hasn't seen the amount of outreach as other parts of the city.
Voting centers are now open through Election Day across Los Angeles if you'd rather not vote by mail.
To find your vote center, you can visit https://locator.lavote.gov/