Why some progressive groups are staying out of this LA City Council race

Progressive groups have been spreading across the western San Fernando Valley to knock on doors and sway voters in the latest competitive Los Angeles City Council race in this pocket of LA

Their candidate, a climate change activist, ultimately lost. Still, the 2019 race showed that groups like Ground Game Los Angeles and Sunrise Movement LA could be a powerful force in the Valley election.

But in this year’s race for city council, an election to fill the valley seat left vacant by the resignation of council speaker Nury Martinez, some major progressive groups have stayed away.

Ground Game did not approve the April 4 primary. Neither does Sunrise Movement, a youth-focused climate justice organization. The Los Angeles chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America is also not supporting a candidate.

Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles does not endorse the election, but some of its members are urging the support of a written candidate.

The lack of unified support for any of the seven candidates is not due to a lack of progressive views. All but one of the candidates are Democrats. There is also a police abolitionist running around.

Many candidates are also speaking out about environmental injustices in this predominantly Latino municipal district, where residents want more parks and trees and fewer private jet flights from Van Nuys airport.

Still, some of the city’s best-known progressive bands remain for now.

Some far-left activists admit they don’t have a deep network in District 6, which stretches from Lake Balboa to Sun Valley. Others say they don’t have the resources to back a candidate in the special election, prompted by an audio leak that revealed Martinez was making racist comments.

“A lack of approval doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of interest in the race,” said Bill Przylucki, executive director of Ground Game LA, which works to elect progressive candidates.

Neither Ground Game nor Democratic Socialists of America endorses all races. A lack of Ground Game endorsement can mean that “no candidate has stood out so far above the others and met all the criteria” to win the group’s support, Przylucki said. However, the group will engage voters around homelessness and housing ahead of the primary, he said.

Ground Game has had a string of victories in recent mayoral elections. The group endorsed the campaigns of Nithya Raman, Hugo Soto-Martinez, Eunisses Hernandez and Kenneth Mejia, all of whom won their races against incumbents or longtime mayoral politicians. All of these politicians want big changes in the city’s handling of policing and homelessness.

Loraine Lundquist, who ran for the San Fernando Valley City Council seat ultimately won by John Lee, was supported in her run by the Food and Water Action Fund Cal PAC. This group helped recruit volunteers from the Sunrise Movement, the Democratic Socialists of America, and Ground Game. The race focused on local anger over the 2015 Aliso Canyon methane leak.

But she does not see the same mobilization of progressives in the District 6 race.

“The progressive movement is fractured to some degree,” Lundquist said. “They don’t have a historical base of people working in the Valley who know the candidates.”

Ground Game’s Przylucki agreed that the progressive movement “isn’t as cohesive as it could be”, but said it was “better” than in 2019.

The People’s City Council does not endorse any particular candidate, said co-founder Ricci Sergienko. The far-left collective, which focuses on anti-racism and police abolition, has used its popular Twitter feed to attack and support candidates in previous elections.

As for support in the District 6 race, the popular city council’s dozen members do not live in the district and the candidates are not well known to the group, Sergienko said.

Antoinette Scully, Isaac Kim, Rose Grigoryan, Douglas Sierra, Marco Santana, Imelda Padilla, Marisa Alcaraz.

District 6 candidates from left to right: Antoinette Scully, Isaac Kim, Rose Grigoryan, Douglas Sierra, Marco Santana, Imelda Padilla, Marisa Alcaraz.

(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

Progressive groups that have weighed in include LA Forward Action, a nonprofit focused on housing, environmental justice and government reform. The group has backed candidate Marco Santana, but at this time will not spend the money, said David Levitus, executive director of LA Forward Action. Lundquist is also a board member.

Another candidate, Isaac Kim, is backed by Sunrise Movement at Occidental, which is affiliated with Occidental College students. Kim also has campaign workers helping him, who also worked on Mejia’s City Controller campaign, he said.

Antoinette Scully, the police abolitionist in the race, is supported by Feel the Bern San Fernando and East Valley Indivisibles. Scully, who is black, said anti-blackness and patriarchy are influences when it comes to campaign endorsements.

“It’s actually really frustrating,” Scully said, of large progressive groups staying out of the race. “I have the receipts, I did the work.”

Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles co-founder Melina Abdullah said many members individually support pastor James Thomas, a self-proclaimed activist, in writing.

Sunrise Movement, meanwhile, wants a climate champion to lead the district, said the group’s hub coordinator Nico Gardner-Serna, who pointed to Van Nuys airport and a Superfund site in the northern valley. -East. A years-long methane gas leak at a Sun Valley power plant has also outraged residents.

“We urge everyone who cares about the climate to get involved in this election,” Gardner-Serna said.

Still, the Sunrise Movement does not endorse the primary because it is focused on developing broader advocacy campaigns, Gardner-Serna said, adding that he hopes to make an endorsement in the general election.

Leave a Comment