LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The male-dominated Los Angeles City Council could soon see a bit of a female shakeup with newcomer Eunisses Hernandez appearing to have unseated incumbent Gil Cedillo in their tight race.
The progressive community activist has her sights set on reshaping several key city institutions.
Nearly drowned out by a circling LAPD helicopter last week in Chinatown, 32-year-old Hernandez told Eyewitness News how she would re-assess the department's budget if the election results hold in council District 1 and Hernandez replaces longtime L.A. politician Cedillo, who has served on the city council for nine years.
Hernandez currently leads Cedillo by 2,400 votes.
"I've never worked in a political office, for a political person. It's always been on the community end," said Hernandez.
A progressive activist, Hernandez still lives in this same Highland Park home she grew up in with her mom and brother. Hernandez ran a grassroots campaign that knocked on 64,000 doors and was outspent by her opponent and attacked by special interest groups like the union representing LAPD officers.
"Yes, I am an abolitionist and what does it mean? We don't leave people behind. We don't build things we'll have to destroy in the future and we don't give more money and power to the systems that have been harming us... I've been pigeonholed into this box of, oh you're a police abolitionist. But it's bigger than that."
"Some of the top three charges that got women into the L.A. County jail system are driving with a suspended license, no license or no insurance. When you talk about traffic enforcement, that's a big driver of criminalizing folks, burdening people with fines and fees. That's one of the things I'm going to work towards," said Hernandez.
If elected, Hernandez says she doesn't have the power to abolish the LAPD, but would invest in housing and jobs which she believes would prevent crime before it happens, rather than reacting to it afterwards.
"When you're saying defund the police and people are getting upset, that is an opportunity to have a conversation, to let them know yes, we've given them a ton of money and still we have harm and violence. So, let's talk about what prevents harm and violence," said Hernandez.
Hernandez has already declared victory in this race, with a small number of votes outstanding. We reached out to Cedillo's office for comment, but have not heard back.
"There's many people in our district who are not going to last another four years under the same leadership. For the last nine years, we've lost 10% of the Latino community in Highland Park and this district is one of the only two districts that's lost double digits in community from displacement in the last census numbers."
"Seeing my elders having to dig through the recycling bin every week, the blue trash cans, trying to make ends meet. We've seen over-investment and development in luxury housing, but the average median income in this district is $32,000 a year. We're not building for our community. We're building for higher income and that's displacing people," said Hernandez.