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first_imgLos Angeles voters’ surprise approval of a measure lengthening term limits for City Council members sets the stage for another round of political musical chairs, depending on the results of Tuesday’s election. Four competitors are vying for the District 7 northeast San Fernando Valley seat, with Richard Alarcón – a former council member now serving in the Assembly – at the center of the battle. Alarcón won an Assembly seat in November during the same election in which voters approved term-lengthening Measure R. With that measure on the books, Alarcón quickly shifted gears and launched his campaign to serve six years on the City Council. The 53-year-old former state senator had already served nearly six years in the council district before leaving in the middle of his second term to run for the state Senate. He was succeeded on the council by Alex Padilla, who later left the council seat to take Alarcón’s spot in the Senate. “I think I am the best suited for this seat and think I bring a lot to the table in terms of dealing with the problems we face, whether it’s gangs or improving business,” she said. Also in the race is Oscar Mendoza, 33, of Sylmar, who first thought about politics during the San Fernando Valley secession movement when he ran for a seat on the would-be city’s slate. “That gave me the bug to run for office,” Mendoza said. “Ever since then, people kept telling me I should run for the L.A. City Council. So I decided to do it.” Mendoza acknowledges the difficulty in going up against Alarcón, who has been a fixture in Valley politics since 1989. “Richard Alarcón is the 600-pound gorilla with a big name and a bigger reputation,” said Mendoza, who operates a roofing company with his stepfather. He added, “I think a lot of people recognize that a lot of problems we have today are because of the way Richard Alarcón neglected the district.” Mendoza, who has a degree in political science from California State University, Northridge, also said he objected to Alarcón running for the City Council just months after his election to the state Assembly. “There is no reason for him to be doing this. He could serve six years in the Assembly and then come back here,” he said. The fourth candidate in the race is Marge Carranza, a self-styled community activist who says she will surprise observers. “I wanted to run in 1993, but my husband was opposed to the idea,” the 54-year-old Sylmar resident said. “My children were young, so I didn’t run, but I did stay active with the Chamber of Commerce in Pacoima and in local affairs.” Carranza said she decided to run because she was frustrated with the local political situation. “It took us eight years to get a stop sign installed where someone was killed,” Carranza said. “What was frustrating was everyone treated us as if we were the ones who caused the problem.” Now, with her family’s support, Carranza said she is ready to take on City Hall. “Everyone told me it would take $600,000 to run a campaign,” she said. “I’m going to show them you can do it with $3,000 and by meeting people.” [email protected] (213) 978-0390 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Alarcón said he was motivated to run for City Council because the issues that drove him to seek the seat in 1993 persist – gangs, housing issues and business development. “When I first ran, we had an increase in gang violence, like we have now,” Alarcón said. “I have some ideas on prevention that need to be looked at.” Monica Rodriguez is the best-funded of three other candidates in the race and has picked up some key endorsements, including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and United Firefighters of Los Angeles. An executive at the California Association of Realtors, Rodriguez worked at City Hall for Alarcón as well as for former Mayor Richard Riordan and former Councilman Mike Hernandez. “I decided a long time ago that I wanted to be on the City Council,” said Rodriguez, 33, who is married to Raul Fontanills and has two children. last_img read more

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