Traci Park elected in Westside district, putting a record 6 women on L.A. City Council
Traci Parks, left, speaks during debate of the City Council members, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, at City Hall in the San Fernando Valley on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2015 in Sherman Oaks.
Traci Parks was elected by a nearly two-to-one margin in a crowded field of nine candidates Tuesday, filling a key vacancy on the Westside’s second-largest council district with a mandate to move the city forward, from homelessness to affordable housing.
Los Angeles residents, most of them white, mostly suburban residents, voted overwhelmingly for Parks’ opponent at every polling place in her heavily Hispanic district, and nearly half the voters in her election district backed her.
Just over a year after serving as an assistant city attorney — a position that helped lead to the L.A. Times investigation into how the police department targeted minority communities — Parks became the first council member and first Latina to serve on a City Council.
“It was a huge weight off my shoulders. It’s a huge feeling of accomplishment, really, to have a city council representative elected from my district. I feel like a lot of people of color feel like they’ve been overlooked.”
—Traci Parks, when asked how she felt when her name was called Tuesday morning
Parks’ win means that she’ll serve alongside the four women who were elected in the same election as her in October, as well as the four men who were elected.
The Westside area, which encompassed all of the city’s second-largest council district, includes the neighborhoods of Bellflower, Chino Hills, Chatsworth, Sun Valley, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, North Hills, North Hollywood and the West Hills.
At a press conference in the small, family-owned restaurant Pico Del Sol in the heart of Chatsworth, just outside of