When many think of “Latino Los Angeles” or the heart of the Latino community within LA, they think of Council District 14, which includes historical Boyle Heights, downtown, Highland Park, El Sereno, and Eagle Rock to name a few of the neighborhoods. This is the district that current Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa represented on the city council before making the leap to the Getty House, and this district also happens to be one where the current incumbent, Jose Huizar, is facing a serious and well funded opponent.
Because this race will be closely watched, I thought that it would be worth profiling candidate Rudy Martinez of A&E‘s “Flip this House” fame. Martinez’s story is compelling because he’s a self made businessman, who has experience in real estate and in owning his own restaurants. He approaches this race as the outsider, which will likely work to his advantage in the current anti-incumbent climate, whereas his opponent Jose Huizar has a biography that reads more like a career politician.
I was able to speak with Rudy Martinez this week to ask him why he’s challenging Jose Huizar, and he offered this, “When I decided to jump into this race about 5 months ago, I said that I was doing this to bring more accessibility and accountability to the people in the district. I have heard community people say over and over again that the current council member is inaccessible…but since I have been in this race, my opponent has been everywhere, going to community events that he should have been attending all along.” Access is one of the four key points that Martinez is running on. When I asked him if he would eventually become like his opponent who appears to many to be too busy for the community, Martinez replied, “Look at my record. I’m a business owner. If I’m not there for my customers, they will not come.”
Another issue that Martinez is passionate about is transparency. This issue has become particularly timely given the City of Bell scandal and the proposed reforms of city agencies such as the Department of Water and Power. Martinez said, “When I take office, I will disclose where every dollar goes, and I will display it on a web page so the public can easily view it. For example, Jose has been holding off on disclosing his CLARTS fund. He won’t tell us where he spends the money.”
Martinez opened his campaign office this weekend in Eagle Rock with over 80 volunteers and activists, and he’s already making waves with his fund raising efforts. If you want to learn more, you can check out his campaign website and view this youtube from his campaign office opening here:
Webmaster’s note: I did attempt to contact Councilman Huizar for his own feedback in this blog piece. While his staff did initially respond, there was no commitment made to talk or comment about the upcoming election. I wanted him to have a chance to chime in about his opponent, but he didn’t.