Nury Martinez was sworn in as the only woman on the 15-member Los Angeles City Council Friday. In fact, she’s the only elected woman official in the nation’s second largest city. The mayor, city attorney and controller are all men.
“The fact that I’m the only woman in 18 elected offices in the city of Los Angeles…its embarrassing,” Martinez said in her first remarks at a city council meeting in Van Nuys, an area she represents.
“We can do better,” she said.
The former Los Angeles Unified School District board member encouraged her male colleagues to mentor young women and to encourage them to run for office: “Gentlemen, all of you have women in your districts that are doing great community work.”
Martinez's family, including her husband and young daughter, joined her in council chambers. She thanked her parents, who also attended.
"I would not be here if it were not for their support, their encouragement and just the wonderful family values that they instilled in me," she said.
Martinez, 40, defeated Cindy Montañez in a July 23 special election to fill the 6th district City Council seat vacated by Tony Cardenas, who's been serving in Congress in January. The district stretches from Sun Valley, where Martinez lives, to west Van Nuys. It includes some of the poorest areas of the San Fernando Valley.
Martinez promised to focus on core services, including filling potholes and tree trimming, and to work on redeveloping properties such as the old Montgomery Ward and Panorama Towers in Panorama City.
“These are redevelopment opportunities for the district,” she said. “We need to do something about revitalizing Panorama City.”
Martinez said she’d work on pollution issues in North Hollywood too. “We need to stop being the dumping ground for the city of Los Angeles.”
Martinez is only the second Latina ever to serve on the city council. L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina served from 1987 until 1991.