LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- Community relations manager Imelda Padilla took the early lead over City Council aide Marisa Alcaraz in the special election to fill the Sixth District City Council seat vacated by Nury Martinez's resignation, according to results released Tuesday night by the Los Angeles Country Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.
Padilla led 56.87-43.13%, 6,346-4,812 in the count of vote-by-mail ballots plus early ballots cast at vote centers.
The second and subsequent results will include ballots cast at vote centers on Election Day once ballots are securely transported to the Tally Operation Center for processing and tabulation.
"As someone who has been a community organizer and coalition builder in the Valley for 20 years, I am ready to be the community's champion in L.A. City Council to ensure that we get our fair share of resources to thrive,'' Padilla told City News Service in an email.
Alcaraz had just turned in her ballot with her daughter late Tuesday morning when she told City News Service that she was "proud of the campaign we've run, the endorsements that we have, and the team that we've built.''
She touted several endorsements from labor unions and coalitions, including grocery workers, hotel workers, electricians and city workers.
Padilla has pledged to prioritize "an immediate solution to the unhoused crisis because what is currently occurring is not working.''
"I will propose an emergency remediation of encampments, connecting the unhoused population to essential services that will support them in finding housing, employment, and health services,'' Padilla said on her campaign's website.
"I will work cohesively with all stakeholders, residents, non-profits organizations, religious leaders, business owners and health organizations to develop and implement sensible hyper-local solutions that make our communities safer, sanitary, and sustainable.''
Padilla was born in Van Nuys and raised in Sun Valley, graduating from Roscoe Elementary School, Byrd Middle School and Polytechnic High School.
She received a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's degree from Cal State Northridge.
Alcaraz has said she "will prioritize helping people without homes off our streets and into housing, where they can get the care they need to get back on their feet.''
"We need to continue to invest in outreach teams, especially the multi-disciplinary teams that include a nurse and mental health professional,'' she said.
Alcaraz has also called for using existing government property, including Metro parcels, to immediately build temporary shelter facilities; master lease existing buildings, including apartments and motels, to swiftly move people off of the streets; acquire vacant properties for long-term housing development; and create a Homeless Navigation Center where individuals can access services including case management, health care, job training, restrooms and showers, laundry facilities and storage.
The 38-year-old Alcaraz is deputy chief of staff and environmental policy director to Ninth District Councilman Curren Price. She was raised in Lake Balboa and graduated from Birmingham High School. She received a bachelor's degree from UC Irvine and a master's degree from USC.
Padilla led the seven-candidate field in the first round of voting April 4 with 25.65% of the vote but fell short of a majority, necessitating a runoff against Alcaraz, who was second with 21.13%.
District 6 consists of Van Nuys, Arleta, Lake Balboa, Panorama City, Sun Valley and the eastern portions of North Hills and North Hollywood.
Martinez represented the district until October, when she resigned first her Council presidency and then, two days later, her seat altogether after she was caught making racist comments in a meeting that was secretly taped and leaked to the news media.
The winner will finish Martinez's term, which ends in December 2024.
Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.