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Candidates already raising money to take on L.A. City Council incumbent in March

June 28, 2010 |  5:58 pm

It might be hard to think past the knock-down, drag-out contest in November between gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman and Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown. But in Los Angeles, candidates are starting to stake their claim to the March municipal election.

City Councilman Jose Huizar, who is running for a second full term, finds himself likely to face two challengers in a district that stretches from Boyle Heights to Eagle Rock.

One of those potential opponents is Arnulfo Yanez, a resident of Boyle Heights who has promised to focus on jobs and the local economy. “Our community has been neglected,” said Yanez, who works for a nonprofit group in Orange County.

A second challenger is Rudy Martinez, owner of the restaurant Mia Sushi on Eagle Rock Boulevard and a lounge bar on York Boulevard known as Marty’s. Martinez, 42, has purchased, remodeled and resold residential properties, appearing for a time on A&E’s “Flip This House.” Both Yanez and Martinez have filed the paperwork to raise money for a campaign.

Asked why he is running, Martinez said he sees no accountability for the politicians at City Hall. “It’s frustrating when you invest millions of dollars in this community and the basic needs and services we look forward to every day aren’t met,” he said.

Huizar, first elected in 2005, said he was not worried about the two challengers. “I feel good about my record. I feel very comfortable that we’ve delivered on commitments. We’re moving projects forward that haven’t been moved in decades.”

The March election will feature six other council seats, all but one with incumbents seeking reelection. The one open seat is in the San Fernando Valley, where Councilman Greig Smith has already announced plans to step down.

Among the first to report on Martinez’s candidacy was the Los Angeles Garment & Citizen.

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

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