CD 13 voters to decide between Mitch O’Farrell and Hugo Soto-Martinez

| September 29, 2022 | 0 Comments

This November, incumbent City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell hopes to win enough votes to continue serving and improving the 13th Council District. He is being challenged by Hugo Soto-Martinez, a hotel workers’ union labor organizer, who says he is striving to make a difference for those he feels have been neglected by the city.

Larchmont Village, Ridgewood-Wilton, St. Andrews Square, We-Wil and Windsor Square — formerly part of Council District Four — now comprise the southernmost extension of the traditional “Hollywood” city council district. Local voters now in CD 13 are residents north of Wilshire Boulevard between Arden Boulevard (both sides) and Western Avenue.

Both candidates in the CD 13 contest agree that top issues of concern for people in our area are homelessness and public safety.


Soto-Martinez, who believes a citywide approach to solving the problem of homelessness is necessary, says he would push for using underutilized space we already have in Los Angeles to make housing available quickly for people who need it. The candidate also told us he would dedicate four people on his staff to exclusively deal with homelessness so that the unhoused in CD 13 could be linked to housing.

The Los Angeles City Council recently, in August, amended Sec. 41.18 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) to expand enforcement of the prohibition of sidewalk encampments within 500 feet of schools or day care centers.

Soto-Martinez is against the enforcement of Sec. 41.18 because he believes it “just moves people around on a shuffleboard and doesn’t really solve anything.”


O’Farrell notes that, as a general rule for his tenure as a council aide and then as a councilmember, he has believed in a “neighborhood, block-by-block approach.” He says he is “all about community, not politics — not ideology.” However, O’Farrell believes the August amendment to Sec. 41.18 protects schoolchildren, families and faculty and is a reasonable approach. The candidate affirms that people who camp on public sidewalks can still set up a tent outside of the 500-foot buffer zone and people in these vicinities are “getting outreach to, very specifically, get the help they need… they are getting more attention because they need it and deserve it. But, children and families deserve that, too.”

In regard to police, O’Farrell says he is leading the charge on providing unarmed response, stating that “over 500 calls in Hollywood alone, between January and April, [were] diverted from a uniformed, armed response to practitioners of specialized homeless services.”

O’Farrell says that means police officers can focus on actual crime while trained outreach workers can handle other calls and get people access to services they need. He says this approach in his council district — the CIRCLE Program, which is like Denver’s STAR Program — was pioneered here in January 2022 and is working.

Soto-Martinez believes the CIRCLE Program is too limited in scope and too expensive for what it actually does. The candidate believes the Denver-based STAR Program is what Los Angeles needs to mirror.

Although Soto-Martinez previously stated his support for defunding the police, and stated he opposes the police, he said in his interview with the Larchmont Chronicle that he would advocate for keeping the police numbers at what they currently are this year (9,284 sworn officers as of September). He said that the money that’s not being used to hire new officers could be redirected elsewhere, such as after-school programs, speed bumps and tree trimming.

Environmentally, both candidates believe they can do a lot in the city because of the council’s jurisdiction over planning and land use.

Soto-Martinez says that, as someone who bikes and skateboards around Los Angeles, he thinks more can be done to create alternatives to traveling around the city by car. He would push the city council to create more bike lanes and encourage the Metro board to put more money into bus infrastructure.

O’Farrell says the environment is a top issue on his mind. He is currently chair of the Climate Change, Environmental Justice, Energy and LA River Committee on the city council. Because of this, all of the city’s environmental legislation goes through his office — much of it introduced or co-introduced by him. “We are leading the charge to a carbon-free future by 2035,” says O’Farrell. “We’ve set very ambitious goals that are reachable.”

O’Farrell says, “The next four years are going to be pivotal. It’s going to take experience. It’s going to take a public servant and not an ideologue to be in this position.”

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