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Thursday, Sep 21, 2023


When northeast Valley voters go to the polls on June 8, they will have to choose between a very young candidate with strong political ties and a seasoned community activist. The runoff for the District Seven City Council race pits Alex Padilla, 26, a legislative aide to Assemblyman Tony Cardenas (D-Sylmar), and Corinne Sanchez, 52, a longtime community activist. Padilla received 48 percent of the primary votes in the April 13 election and Sanchez captured 25 percent of the vote. District Seven is heavily Latino and mostly working class. It covers the communities of Pacoima, Van Nuys, and Lakeview Terrace. The seat was vacated by Richard Alarcon in mid-1998 when he won a bitterly contested election against former Assemblyman Richard Katz for the state Senate. Though the candidates are endorsed by unions, they both talk about making the community more business friendly. Padilla wants to make sure businesses have better access to government funds that go into enterprise zones, empowerment zones and other incentive districts. He has also said he wants to introduce more after-school programs with a focus on job training. “The city of Los Angeles is not known for being business friendly and that needs to change,” Padilla said. “The Seventh District has the highest unemployment and is one of the areas most in need of an economic boost.” Sanchez said she wants to expand tax incentives for businesses to locate in the area and streamline the approval process for construction projects. She also wants to improve city services in the district. “I’m very pro-business and development because I feel it will bring jobs,” Sanchez said. “The only concern I have with enterprise and empowerment zones is, businesses came in, but they brought their own employees.” Sanchez said she would like to see efforts to bring in businesses that employ area residents. Both candidates concentrate on the need to find a balance to the influx of new residents, and the services and schools to meet their needs. Sanchez has called for a moratorium on new apartment construction in the area to slow down in-migration, but Padilla said he believes that is too extreme. Sanchez and Padilla ran nearly neck-and-neck during the primary campaign when it came to fund raising and endorsements. Since that vote, Padilla has raised about $100,000 in the runoff race, compared to Sanchez’s $50,000. Padilla has won endorsements from Mayor Richard Riordan and local unions. Sanchez has been endorsed by Alarcon and the United Farm Workers. The race has not been without mudslinging. Sanchez has made an issue of Padilla’s age, saying he has too little experience and will have trouble making decisions as a council member. Padilla has argued that he has strong roots in the district and that Sanchez is a carpetbagger, having just moved to the district last fall to run for the seat. Sanchez has lived in the northeast Valley for two decades, but only moved into District Seven after Alarcon’s departure from the City Council.

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