Political heavyweights, outsiders eye council district emblematic of LA's systemic problems

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Kevin de Leon (pictured) walks door to door in Ramona Gardens asking for voters’ support in the upcoming California primary election, where he is running for LA City Council. Photo by Benjamin Gottlieb.

California's primary election falls on Super Tuesday this year, and while the Democrats running for president are grabbing all the headlines, several local races with big footprints are up for grabs.

That includes LA City Council District 14, which includes the communities of downtown LA, Boyle Heights and several others in Northeast LA.


Cyndi Otteson is one of the political outsiders running for LA City Council in District 14. Photo by Benjamin Gottlieb.

In many ways, CD14 is ground zero for many of the systemic issues that afflict the city: gentrification, homelessness, housing and pollution. 

There are five candidates vying to replace Councilmember Jose Huizar who is termed out: Former state senator Kevin de Leon, LA School Board member Monica Garcia, nonprofit president Cyndi Otteson, small business owner Raquel Zamora, and community activist John Jimenez.


A group of volunteers making calls to prospective voters at Monica Garcia’s El Sereno campaign office. Photo by Benjamin Gottlieb.

The top two candidates will find themselves in a runoff election in November, unless someone receives more than 50% of the vote.


Raquel Zamora (second from right) and John Jimenez (far right) are among the five candidates that will appear on the primary ballot for voters in LA City Council District 14. Photo by Benjamin Gottlieb.

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