Many activists are working to replace termed out Councilman Eric Garcetti with an Asian-American candidate to represent Council District 13, which includes portions of Atwater, Echo Park, Hollywood and Silver Lake. Those activists, however, may have been too successful in getting Asian Americans on the ballot. On Monday, L.A. Now reported that John Choi, a member of the Board of Public Works, became the fourth Asian American (three Korean Americans and a Filipino American) to run in 13th Council District election, which will be held in March 2013. In the wake of Choi’s announcement, a City News story published by the Daily News said:
The executive director of the Korean American Coalition, who has led much of the fight against the redistricting process, said that while she is happy that voters will be able to choose an Asian American candidate, “there is a little sadness that there are four,” which could split the vote. “I am concerned that the chances of electing an Asian American candidate would be higher without four highly qualified individuals,” Grace Yoo said.
If proposed changes to City Council boundaries are finalized, a little more than 20% of the voters in Council District 13 would be Asian, according to KPCC.
In addition to Choi, who was appointed by Mayor Villaraigosa, the other Asian American candidates include BongHwan Kim, a Korean American and general manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment; Emile Mack, a Korean American firefighter; and Alexander Cruz De Ocampo, a Filipino American. The race, which has so far attracted a dozen candidates, also includes Latinos, Whites and Armenian-American office-seekers.
It has been more than 20 years since Mike Woo – the last Asian American to sit on the City Council – served as representative of the 13th Council District.