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L.A. Now Live: Elections will dramatically alter City Council

January 28, 2013 |  8:29 am

Voters across Los Angeles are poised to engineer the biggest shake-up on the City Council in a dozen years, sending seven newcomers into office in a series of contests that will unfold between March and July.

Times staff writer David Zahniser will join L.A. Now Live at 9 a.m. to discuss the race.

Although the mayoral campaign has grabbed most of the attention this election year, with millions raised by the five leading candidates, the stakes are just as high for the city's powerful 15-member legislative body.

"You're talking about the most powerful City Council in the United States," said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State L.A. "You could argue in some ways that individual council members are more important than state legislators. They have a great deal of power over the nature of the neighborhood you live in and the services it receives."

Term limits and other factors — illness and the election of a sitting councilman to higher office — have created the largest number of incumbent-free council races in more than a decade. Six current council members depart June 30 and a seventh — Tony Cardenas -- already has moved to Congress.

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