LaBonge’s Thirteen: Your Quick But Detailed Guide to the Very Many City Council Candidates From District 4

Someone’s going to run off with a seat at City Hall
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Tom LaBonge’s time as an L.A. City Councilmember is nearly up, and an ensemble cast of 13 candidates is running to replace him. (The primary, if it’s not on your calendar already, is March 3). Seem like too many faces to keep track of? That’s what they said about the Ocean’s movies, but we still managed to note the subtle differences between, say, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt.

With so many candidates in the running, staying informed as a voter takes commitment—or a cheat sheet on the contenders, which we’ve compiled for you here. Getting a feel for all 13 candidates really shouldn’t be this easy. Then again, ripping off three casinos in one night shouldn’t have looked so easy, either.


Sheila Irani

faison2Occupation: Businesswoman/Community Leader
Top priority: Balancing the budget
What sets her apart: Government, nonprofit, and private sector experience
Recent effort to improve L.A.: Getting tour vans out of Hollywood neighborhoods
How she feels about her chances: “Nipping at the heels of the top dogs”
Favorite spot in CD4: Alcove Café, because the smoked salmon breakfast stack is “wicked”
Out of context highlight from a recent interview: “We’ve gotten the Smokey Bear signs up because have a lot of illegal smoking going on.”


Fred Mariscal

faison2Occupation: Marketing Executive
Top priority: Balancing the budget
What sets him apart: 15 years volunteering in the community—and the fact that he’s both gay and an immigrant
Recent effort to improve L.A.: Serving as vice president of L.A. Neighborhood Council Coalition
How he feels about his chances: “It’s gonna be really tough. Being the only openly gay candidate, an immigrant, and a Latino Hispanic, I’m going to focus on those demographics.”
Favorite spot in CD4: The Grove, for a drink or some window shopping
Out of context highlight from a recent interview: “You know, the Mexican economy is doing really well, so I want to see if we can get more businesses to come to Los Angeles.”


David Ryu

faison2Occupation: Community Health Director
Top priority: Creating well-paying jobs
What sets him apart: Experience in mental health, foster care, senior services
Recent effort to improve L.A.: Serving with the largest homeless outreach contract in South L.A.
How he feels about his chances: “Because there’s 13 candidates, everybody’s taking a double take, which is all that I need.”
Favorite spot in CD4: “Don’t make me pick!”
Out of context highlight from a recent interview: “The mental health arena—always a stepchild of the health department, right?”


Tomas O’Grady

faison2Occupation: Nonprofit Director/Entrepreneur
Top priority: Keeping developers in check
What sets him apart: “I’ll give you one word: Irish. I’m the only fiscally responsible candidate in this race.”
Recent effort to improve L.A.: Building and maintaining over 70 school gardens with his nonprofit, Enrich LA
How he feels about his chances: “Really, really good. I was endorsed by the Los Angeles Times when I ran in 2011. I came in second place last time.”
Favorite spot in CD4: The tree-lined streets of Sherman Oaks
Out of context highlight from a recent interview: “We are introducing kids to what I believe is a civil right, which is bruschetta.”


Teddy Davis

faison2Occupation: Attorney/Educator
Top priority: Streets, sidewalks, and trees
What sets him apart: He rejects campaign money from developers
Recent effort to improve L.A.: Volunteering with College Path L.A.
How he feels about his chances: “I am confident that I will go into election day having spoken one on one with more voters than anyone else in this race. I think we’re right on track to win.”
Favorite spot in CD4: The view from the top of the Hollywood Sign
Out of context highlight from a recent interview: “In Los Feliz I knocked on the door of a woman who is writing a coffee table book about Angelenos in their 30s, and she called me and said, ‘Would you be in my book?’”


Steve Veres

faison2Occupation: Trustee, Los Angeles Community College
Top priority: Keeping developers in check
What sets him apart: He’s a proven reformer—he dealt with the college’s construction snafu and stood up to the entrenched interests groups
Recent effort to improve L.A.: Working to relocate job centers onto college campuses
How he feels about his chances: “I feel very positive.”
Favorite spot in CD4: Griffith Park, where he takes his daughter for train and pony rides
Out of context highlight from a recent interview: “We’ve had both President Obama and Vice President Biden come and visit the campus. They certainly wouldn’t go to a place in crisis.”


Joan Pelico

faison2Occupation: Councilmember Paul Koretz’s Chief of Staff
Top priority: Constituent services
What sets her apart: Has strong relationships with all city departments
Recent effort to improve L.A.: Working with street services to resurface over 200 miles of roadway
How she feels about her chances: “Good. I have a very strong base in Sherman Oaks because they know my work, and they know me.”
Favorite spot in CD4: “It’s like having children, you don’t pick your favorite child.”
Out of context highlight from a recent interview: “I raised my hand and became president.”


Carolyn Ramsay

faison2Occupation: Councilmember Tom LaBonge’s former Chief of Staff
Top priority: Keeping developers in check
What sets her apart: Experience serving this district as volunteer and staffer
Recent effort to improve L.A.: Acting as point person on a 138-acre acquisition for Griffith Park in 2010
How she feels about her chances: “I’ve got a great shot at this. I’ve been working in this district for 15 years.”
Favorite spot in CD4: Wattles community garden on a spring afternoon
Out of context highlight from a recent interview: “I’m going rapidfire.”


Wally Knox

faison2Occupation: Attorney
Top priority: Keeping developers in check
What sets him apart: Wants to limit councilmember authority over what does and doesn’t get built
Recent effort to improve L.A.: Before this race, he was starting a consulting practice to work on the implementation of ObamaCare.
How he feels about his chances: “Very good. The 4th Council District is one that I represented the vast majority of in the state legislature.”
Favorite spot in CD4: His own backyard
Out of context highlight from a recent interview: “They are urging voters to make them the baron in charge of the fiefdom.”


Rostom “Ross” Sarkissian

faison2Occupation: Small Business Owner
Top priority: Balancing the budget
What sets him apart: Brings an outside perspective
Recent effort to improve L.A.: Running a small consulting firm focused on grantwriting for nonprofit organizations
How he feels about his chances: “Absolutely great. Everybody is engaging the voters, and it has become a true battle of ideas.”
Favorite spot in CD4: House of Pies, for their oven broiled turkey sandwiches
Out of context highlight from a recent interview: “Whenever I look at the map of the district, I think of the Rorschach test.”


Tara Bannister

faison2Occupation: Association Director/Educator
Top priority: Streets, sidewalks, and trees
What sets her apart: Experience bringing competitors together to solve problems
Recent effort to improve L.A.: Bringing together United Way and the Chamber of Commerce to fight homelessness
How she feels about her chances: “Oh, phenomenal. I know at the moment we’re in the top few of the candidates.”
Favorite spot in CD4: Pan Pacific Park for walks, little league, ice cream, and watching the fireworks at the Grove
Out of context highlight from a recent interview: “That’s not dreaming the way Roy Disney dreamed.”


Mike Schaefer

faison2Occupation: Public Interest Advocate
Top priority: Fixing the bureaucracy
What sets him apart: He’s funding his campaign himself, remaining unbeholden to lobbyists
Recent effort to improve L.A.: Taking on the parking bureaucracy by reducing street sweeping hours
How he feels about his chances: “I think I’m right in the middle of the 13, and that’s not a good place to be.”
Favorite spot in CD4: Tom Bergin’s House of Irish Coffee. “Michael O’Dwyer is an old time bartender. He’s been there for decades.”
Out of context highlight from a recent interview: “This really is not a good risk, if you’re a gambling man like I am.”


Jay Beeber

faison2Occupation: Community Advocate/Businessman
Top priority:
Keeping developers in check
What sets him apart: “The fact that I am somebody who actually got stuff done outside the system at the city and state level.”
Recent effort to improve L.A.: Ridding the city of red light cameras, lengthening yellow light times statewide, leading parking reform
How he feels about his chances: “Very good. We have a lot of people who are very similar in the race, so I think they’re going to divide up the insider vote. That leaves the opportunity for somebody like me to rise above that.”
Favorite spot in CD4: Looking over the city from Mulholland, just after sunset
Out of context highlight from a recent interview: “If you want to hire me full time to do it, then I’m your guy.”

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