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Monday, Jan 30, 2023

No Shortage of Candidates as City Council Races Take Shape

No Shortage of Candidates as City Council Races Take Shape


by Howard Fine

While attention remains focused on secession and other local measures on November’s ballot, the April primary is just seven months away and campaigning for seven L.A. city council races has already begun.

At this stage, incumbents Wendy Greuel and Tom LaBonge are expected to win re-election in the second and fourth districts respectively. Barring a secession victory, State Assemblyman Tony Cardenas has little serious opposition to sweep into the new Valley seat (the sixth district). And former L.A. Police Chief Bernard Parks is regarded as a shoo-in to replace the term-limited Mark Ridley-Thomas in the eighth district.

The races get more interesting for the other three seats. The 10th district race to replace Nate Holden is the most wide-open, with six candidates, four of whom are considered serious contenders. They are state Assemblyman Rod Wright, who was a front-runner in the neighboring eighth district until Parks entered that race; Madison Shockley, who forced Holden into a runoff four years ago; Holden’s senior field deputy and his pick as a successor, Deron Williams; and Martin Ludlow, deputy district director for Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson.

In the 12th District race to replace Hal Bernson, there are three serious contenders: Bernson chief deputy Greig Smith, the most well-financed candidate with more than $100,000 in the bank on June 30; former Assemblywoman Paula Boland and housing developer Robert Vinson.

Finally, in the 14th council district, incumbent Nick Pacheco could face a serious challenge, despite raising $237,000 as of June 30 far more than any other council candidate. That’s because another candidate, Alvin Parra, has raised $100,000 of his own.

Hedging Her Bets?

When it comes to local city council races, Paula Boland is a two-timer. Not only is she one of the leading contenders to replace Hal Bernson for the L.A. City Council 12th District, she’s one of 11 candidates running for the third council district in the proposed San Fernando Valley city.

“My focus is entirely on the detachment of the Valley from Los Angeles,” she said. “But by the same token, people approached me and said that if secession doesn’t happen, ‘My God, we need you down there at (L.A.) City Hall to speak up for the Valley.'”

Workers’ Comp Protest

The Independent Business Coalition that was founded 10 years ago by L.A.-area businessmen Tom Hagerman and Irwin Trester to fight soaring workers’ compensation costs plans another protest this Saturday (Sept. 21) at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Pasadena.

Inside the hotel, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Applicants Attorneys Association (whose members represent employees filing workers’ compensation claims) plans to name Frederick Bray as Workers’ Compensation Judge of the Year.

“When we got wind of this dinner, we were outraged,” Hagerman said. “It’s got conflict of interest written all over it.”

Samuel Salazar, president-elect of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Applicants Attorneys Association denied that the award represented a conflict. He noted that the other event co-host was the workers’ compensation subcommittee of the Mexican-American Bar Association “which has both applicant’s attorneys and defense attorneys on its roster.

Bray said he had no comment.


In last week’s column, I erred in identifying the candidate who ran for City Council against Hollywood activist Ferris Wehbe. It was Tom LaBonge, not Eric Garcetti.

Staff reporter Howard Fine can be reached by phone at (323) 549-5225, ext. 227, or by e-mail at



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