Varied field for District 10 race

Including political veteran, newcomer

OW Staff Writer | 2/27/2020, midnight

The race for the Los Angeles City Council 10th District seat has attracted a variety of candidates. The front-runner is outgoing Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who is vying to make a return to the council having once represented the Eighth District.

The 10th District encompasses the areas of Arlington Heights, Koreatown, Mid-City, Olympic Park, Palms, South Robertson, West Adams, West Pico and Wilshire Center.

Among those competing for the seat are Channing Martinez, a community and labor organizer; Melvin Snell, a businessman; Aura Vasquez, an environmental justice organizer and a former commissioner with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; and Grace Yoo, an attorney. Althea Shaw, a caregiver and business owner, and G. Juan Johnson are certified write-in candidates for the council district race.

Ridley-Thomas has focused for the past years on finding solutions for the growing homeless crises in Los Angeles County, specifically putting an end to the trend of criminalizing homelessness/mental illness which he said: “is both immoral and ineffective.”

If elected, Martinez said he would introduce ordinances to trim the Los Angeles Police Department budget by 50 percent, implement free public transportation beginning with a 50-percent reduction on the current fare, and would enforce Proposition HHH by requiring that 50 percent of all new housing units be reserved for low-income families.

Snell says he is committed to a “progressive stance” and will fight for the disenfranchised residents not only in District 10 but throughout the city.

Vasquez is a former member of the Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council and has been at the forefront of preventing the demolition of affordable housing units for new condominiums, a process she says displaces low-income residents.

Yoo has been endorsed by the United Teachers Los Angeles, the East Area Progressive Democrats, and the Southern California Americans for Democratic Action.