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In Special Election, Mobilizing for Housing Justice

Seven candidates are vying to represent City Council District 6; only three have committed to upholding housing justice policies.

A vista view of the San Fernando Valley; the sky is blue, spotted with clouds. Roofs of homes are visible nestled among trees. Mountains are visible on the horizon.
The San Fernando Valley comprises much of City Council District 6, where residents will be voting for new representation. (Wikimedia Commons)

In an election that ends April 4, Angelenos in City Council District 6 are voting for a new representative to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of disgraced former council president Nury Martinez. In doing so, they have the opportunity to replace a staunch foe of working class renters and their unhoused neighbors with a strong ally for housing justice.

To help make this possible, Ground Game LA is canvassing the district, engaging voters to remind them of the importance of this election, and educating them about a strong platform of housing justice policies that we, along with a coalition of community allies, have asked all the candidates to commit to. We’re letting voters know that three candidates — Isaac Kim, Marco Santana, and Antoinette Scully — have agreed to take the Housing Justice Candidates Pledge.

Housing justice isn’t just incidental to this special election, it’s at the very core of the scandal that led to it. Martinez resigned as a result of the fallout from the release of the Fed Tapes, the shockingly bigoted audio recordings leaked in October 2022 that Knock LA helped release to the public and reported on.

While much of the public’s attention has rightfully focused on the blatant anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism of the remarks made by Martinez, Councilmember Kevin de León, former Councilmember Gil Cedillo, and former LA Federation of Labor president Ron Herrera, it’s important to remember that the original purpose of the recorded meeting was to rig the redistricting process to uphold the entrenched landlord class’s political power. Speaking of Councilmember Nithya Raman’s district in the recording, de León suggested they “put it in a blender”; Martinez concurred, noting that a “renters’ district … is not a good thing for any of us.”

In short, they saw renters, despite making up the overwhelming majority of Angelenos, as a class whose power needed to be crushed rather than whose needs demanded to be served.

While the most recent election has strengthened the hand of tenant and unhoused advocates on council, Knock LA’s reporting has vividly demonstrated that there is still a lot of work to do, especially as temporary COVID emergency protections continue to be rolled back.

That’s why Ground Game LA and our allies have asked all the candidates in this race to sign onto the following housing justice policies:

  • Strong enforcement of the tenant protections recently passed into law by City Council
  • Community-led implementation of Measure ULA, the citywide ballot measure overwhelmingly approved by voters in November that will fund renter protections and enforcement, affordable housing, and homeless services to the tune of $900 million per year
  • Repeal of city ordinance 41.18, which enables cruel police-led sweeps of unhoused people
  • Support for the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, which will put tenants first in line to buy their building if a landlord puts it up for sale 
  • Rejection of all real estate developer campaign contributions.

This platform is closely aligned with community demands. Ground Game LA has spoken with hundreds of likely voters in CD 6, and they overwhelmingly support our housing justice platform.

By publicly committing themselves to this platform, candidates Kim, Santana, and Scully are aligning themselves with these voters and with the needs and rights of tenants and unhoused people across all of Los Angeles, and against members of the landlords-first political class like Nury Martinez.

As our city’s housing crisis continues to grow, a new ally for housing justice could make a pivotal difference on City Council. We can’t afford to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Disclaimer: Ground Game LA is Knock LA’s parent organization. It is a grassroots organization helping to build a progressive LA alongside organizers from the city’s most marginalized communities. This article was not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.