With a scant three weeks left before the March 3 election, the four candidates seeking to fill the Eighth District City Council seat being vacated by a termed-out Bernard Parks, met at a forum Tuesday night hosted by the Empowerment Congress Southeast Area and the one thing that all the prospects agreed on was that the area has been woefully ignored and underresourced.

What distinguishes each person in this wide-open race is how the situation can be turned around.

Marqueece Harris-Dawson, a 20-year veteran of community activism and CEO of the Community Coalition said “it’s time to call a spade a spade or as I like to say apartheid … racism.”

Dawson referred to the lack of resources given to the 8th District, which he said has helped keep the area number one in unemployment; the stripping of some of the key economic drivers during the redistricting process and more.

Bobbie Jean Anderson, a current state commissioner and former L.A. City commissioner believes that it will take incentives such as tax credits to bring economic development, businesses and jobs into the district.

Anderson, who has lived in the district for more than three decades says he has the experience at three levels of government—local, state and federal—coupled with the fresh voice needed to move the needle.

Robert Cole, who touted his life-long roots in the 8th District said he has been a volunteer since age 11 and has worked for a variety of elected officials including civil rights champion Rep. John Lewis. He believes that a clean and safe community is the key to bringing in economic development. That means cleaning up streets and alleys, eliminating graffiti and working simultaneously with law enforcement and other elements within the community to make it attractive and safe.

Foresee Hogan-Rowles intends to focus on forging public-private partnerships to bring in development, and there are some areas where there is an opportunity to fast track projects.

Among the other options the three-time 8th District candidate is looking at is using the lending experiences she has developed as head of Rise Financial Pathways is to create a microloan fund for the entire district.

The two areas Hogan-Rowles wants to see move forward are Broadway and Manchester and at Manchester and Vermont.