Four challenge Heather Hutt in 10th District 

By Ray Richardson

Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES — The five candidates running for the District 10 seat on the Los Angeles City Council March 5 pretty much have the same talking points on their radar — public safety, homelessness, affordable housing and more community resources.

The deciding factor for voters may come down to which candidate they believe can bring stability to a district weary of controversy and transition over the past three years.

“CD10 is at a huge crossroads,” said Robert Sausedo, president and CEO of Community Build. “This is one of the most important elections for the district in decades for a number of reasons.”

Incumbent Heather Hutt has had about 17 months to prove she’s worthy of remaining in the District 10 seat. The City Council formally appointed her to take over the district after former Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas was indicted on federal fraud charges.

Hutt now has to win an election, which forced her to build a campaign staff, develop promotional material and make more appearances. Hutt is trying to become the first African-American woman to be voted to the 10th District seat.

Despite Hutt leading the district through some difficult periods, four candidates feel there is room for improvement and a need for change.

“A lot of people want to vote for their own person. … They want to put somebody in there they voted for,” said Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer, one of Hutt’s four challengers. “I’m not running against Hutt. I’m running for the people of the district.”

The other three candidates on the ballot are attorney Grace Yoo, who ran against Ridley-Thomas for the seat in 2020; Aura Vasquez, an environmental activist; and Pastor Eddie Anderson of McCarty Memorial Christian Church in the West Adams district.

Jones-Sawyer is viewed as Hutt’s No. 1 challenger. He has the distinction of being the only candidate who has been elected to public office. Jones-Sawyer has served in the state Assembly since 2012. Prior to that, he had more than 25 years of service with the city of Los Angeles, including a stretch where he was a deputy mayor to former Mayor Richard Riordan.

The political resumes of Yoo, Vasquez and Anderson do not stack up to Hutt or Jones-Sawyer, but their presence on the ballot could have an impact on the outcome.

Whoever wins the primary must earn more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff in November with the second-place finisher. Hutt and Jones-Sawyer, considered the front-runners in the race, will need a strong showing on March 5 to avoid a runoff.

“A lot of people are expecting a runoff, most likely between Hutt and Jones-Sawyer,” Sausedo said.

Voter apathy in the district is a concern for all five candidates. Only 33% of Black residents in the district are registered voters. The number for Latino voters is equally low. Only 32% of Latino residents in the district are registered voters. Eighteen percent of Asian residents are registered; 16% of white residents.

A projected low turnout indicates a potential run-off in November, but Hutt has significant advantages over the other four candidates.

Hutt has major endorsements to boost her campaigning over the next four weeks, including from Mayor Karen Bass and the entire City Council.

Hutt also has endorsements from several labor unions and key organizations such as Streets For All, Hollywood Chamber PAC and Vice President Kamala Harris, who Hutt worked for when Harris was a U.S. Senator.

Though Hutt was not elected to her current post, she has built enough support to make it a tough task for the other four candidates to unseat her.

In a speech to residents at her campaign headquarters on Feb. 3, Hutt told the group she has found housing for more than 900 homeless people in the district and confirmed that at least 2,000 affordable housing units have been built.

The fact that Hutt has been able to vote on key issues and legislation over the past 17 months has been a major step toward stability for the district.

“We all still have to run our race regardless,” Jones-Sawyer said. “You have to do what you can to get voters out and try your best to get into the top two. The voters need to elect someone who doesn’t need on-the-job training, somebody who can hit the ground running and get things done.”

Yoo also expressed a willingness to push on in spite of what seems to be overwhelming support for Hutt. Yoo managed to get more than 26,000 votes in her loss to Ridley-Thomas 2020, a number that encouraged her to try again.

“I’m still determined to do good for our district,” Yoo said. “Regular people want to be heard, and I’m a regular person who follows the rules and laws.”

Ray Richardson is a contributing writer for The Wave. He can be reached at