As they move closer to the March 5 election, candidates in the 9th Council District campaign continue to pound out their message to constituents. They did so before a crowd of some 400 people at a recent candidate’s forum.

At the same time, residents have let those running for this office know that they have some concerns and demands they want addressed.

According to the South Los Angeles Power Coalition, they are calling their next councilperson to develop restorative justice and leadership development programs that keep youth out of the prisons system; equity funding for city services that keep the district and the community safe; an increased investment in utility bill payment assistance for low-income residents; provide neighborhood councils and community-based organizations with annual funding and decision-making power for community economic development projects; insure that all construction projects within the region have a local hire provision that calls for recruiting workers from communities with high unemployment.

The organization also wants: implementation of a transportation system that prioritizes poor and working-class people; a requirement that all community plans be developed with the full participation and input of residents; and a moratorium on opening more public schools that discriminate against community students with the most needs.

Below find information on the candidates running for this office.

Curren D. Price, one of two African American state senators (the other is Roderick Wright), is well aware that people are calling him a carpetbagger because he is campaigning for the 9th District of the Los Angeles City Council even though for many years he has been associated with Inglewood politics.

But Price says the carpetbagger label is not accurate at all. The veteran politician also notes that he was born in the 9th District, attended Normandie Elementary School and for the last 20 years has been working on issues that impact both Inglewood and South Los Angeles. He also served as a deputy for two members of the Los Angeles City Council.

Price says he is seeking the 9th District seat because of the neglect he sees there. This includes debris on the streets, frequent dumping, as well as housing stock that needs more upgrading. Specific-ally, he says more low-income, work force and special needs housing must be brought into the district.

Additionally, Price sees a need for business and job development and more focus on addressing the challenges that plague the entire 9th District rather than just downtown.

He is particularly excited about the opportunity for transit-oriented, mixed-use development, particularly along Alameda Street. Price said he also intends to harness some of the potential economic engines–the airport, the harbor and transit to make sure the district gets its fair share.

The candidate is also looking at other creative ways to introduce economic development into the district, including the idea of developing an international zone that can help small and middle-sized companies use their cultural contacts to do business in Latin American and other regions.

The politician envisions his role as a champion for these efforts who will draw awareness to the concepts.

Manuel “Manny” Aldana is a Los Angeles-born son of immigrants who grew up in the 9th District.

Despite initially dropping out of high school because of the gangs in his community and working low-end construction jobs, the L.A. native returned to high school inspired by the concept of “ganas” from famed educator Jaime Escalante.

After earning an associate of science degree in electrical construction and maintenance and working in the field a few years, the candidate began to see the need for political involvement. His began with the political campaign in support of Proposition 22 (marriage between one woman and one man only).

He next ran for the Assembly against Fabian Nunez in 2002 and 2004 and against John Perez in 2008.

Three years later Aldana threw his hat into the ring for a spot on the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees, and then in 2012 decided to run for the Los Angeles City Council.

Aldana has honed his in-the-trenches governing experience by serving on three neighborhood councils, including the South Central Neighborhood Council. Now he wants to take his skills, passion and advocacy to the next level–the L.A. City Council.

Billing himself as the “hometown candidate,” Aldana wants to bring increased leadership, representation and services to the district. He identifies the major concerns facing the 9th District as lack of jobs and public services; a need for honest government and reforming public education.

Terry Hara says he understands the dynamics, hardships and potential of the 9th District.

As a member of the Los Angeles Police Department who has patrolled and served in leadership roles for more than three decades in the Newton, 77th, Southeast and Southwest police divisions, Hara has also had the opportunity to see the district from a slightly more unique position that most of the candidates.

He views public safety as a top priority in the district, and notes that the best crime fighter is a good job and is dedicated to implementing innovative community programs to begin solving the job shortage.

Additionally, Hara, who currently works as an LAPD deputy chief sees business development as another key need as well as providing a strong education system for the community’s youth.

This, says Hara, means a student-centered education that goes beyond standardized test to measure pupil’s capabilities.

Hara’s approach to business development will include advocating tax cuts and subsidies for companies that employ local workers.

Hara prides himself on the part he has played in making the LAPD more responsive to the communities it serves. This includes being responsible for instituting community-based policing, instituting LAPD’s first gun buyback program and developing the department’s first use-of-force handbook.

The Association of Black Law Enforcement Executives recognized Hara’s contribution to the department and community by giving him its Outstanding Achievement Award in Law Enforcement.

Editor’s note: this is the first of two articles profiling candidate seeking to fill the seat being vacated by termed-out Councilwoman Jan Perry.