Los Angeles City Council District 6 candidates Nury Martinez, second from… (Ricardo DeAratanha, Los…)
Voters go to the polls Tuesday to decide which of two candidates running for an open eastern San Fernando Valley council seat will become the only woman to hold elective office at Los Angeles City Hall.
Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday in the special election between Nury Martinez, 40, a former Los Angeles school board member, and Cindy Montañez, 39, a Department of Water and Power executive and former state legislator, in Council District 6.
Turnout could be low because the unusual, stand-alone city contest comes just two months after city voters chose a new mayor, city attorney, controller and six new council members, and eight months after voters reelected the president.
Sunny Cho, a city election division spokeswoman, urged district voters to go to the polls, saying the election "could really determine the quality of their life because it has day-to-day impact. I really think it's more important to them than the presidential election."
The winner will replace former Councilman Tony Cardenas, who last fall won a seat in Congress. Five women held seats on the 15-member City Council in 1997. Since then their numbers have dwindled. Former Councilwoman Jan Perry and former City Controller Wendy Greuel were the last remaining female officeholders at City Hall before leaving their positions July 1.
There are 89,118 registered voters in the district, which includes Van Nuys, Arleta, Pacoima and Sun Valley. Martinez and Montañez have both promised to clean up and revitalize a district they say too often falls prey to graffiti, vandalism and crime.
Martinez has promised to redevelop polluted properties and cut down on prostitution and drug sales near San Fernando Road.
Montañez says she has a record of getting things done and will focus on reenergizing the Van Nuys Boulevard business corridor and sprucing up neglected neighborhoods.
Polls will be open until 8 p.m. Voters who have filled out mail-in ballots but not mailed them can drop them off at any polling place until 8 p.m., Cho said. Voters casting regular ballots Tuesday must go to their assigned polling place, listed on the back of the sample ballots mailed out in recent weeks.
Those unsure of their polling place can check the city's election website at or call the Election Division at (213) 978-0444 or toll free at (888) 873-1000.