LA’s acting mayor-to-be is affordable housing advocate and “pro-development”

Nury Martinez would replace Eric Garcetti, who oversaw big changes to Downtown

Nury Martinez (Getty)
Nury Martinez (Getty)

Before she became Los Angeles City Council president in January 2020, Council member Nury Martinez was dubbed “pro-development” by the Valley Industry and Commerce Association. She often viewed development as a way to revive working-class communities across her San Fernando Valley district, and she supported Icon Panorama, the massive residential and retail project in Panorama City that faced stiff opposition from labor unions.

But Martinez — now poised to take over as acting L.A. mayor following Eric Garcetti’s nomination to become Ambassador to India — has also pushed for more affordable housing during her time as Council president. She has also proposed measures to strengthen anti-corruption legislation, after former Council member Jose Huizar was charged with masterminding a play-to-play scheme involving developers.

If Garcetti’s nomination is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Martinez would be acting mayor until the Council sets a special election or appoints an interim to the post. A primary is already set for June 2022, according to CBS Los Angeles, which first reported the news. Martinez’s office was not immediately available for comment. But on Friday, Martinez said in a statement she would remain “laser focused” on rebuilding the city and was “grateful” for her partnership with Garcetti over the years.

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Rising housing costs and the growing number of homeless in the city have been among the biggest issues for Martinez and the city. Early this year, the Council set a goal of acquiring 10,000 affordable housing units by 2030.

And in May 2020 — just a few months after becoming Council president — Martinez detailed the Council’s $100 million rent relief program to help tenants and landlords slammed by the pandemic. That September, the Council authorized $30 million of a separate $100 million federal expenditure to house the homeless. But citing how the city’s Homeless Services Authority had “underperformed” in the past, Martinez said the entire amount would not be immediately distributed.

As Council president, Martinez also introduced three motions to crack down on corruption following the indictment of former Council colleague Jose Huizar, who allegedly masterminded a massive pay-to-play scheme involving developers in his district. The measures, she said, would “close loopholes that corrupt individuals might use to their advantage.”