When Los Angeles City Councilmember Felipe Fuentes announced in January 2016 that he would step down after one term to become a lobbyist, a number of people in the northeast San Fernando Valley district rushed into the race to replace him. Voters in District 7 have 20 candidates from which to choose.

The residents of the communities of Sylmar, Pacoima, Lake View Terrace and Sunland-Tujunga have been without full-time representation on the council since September, and they deserve better.

The Daily News editorial board is making endorsements in local, competitive races in the March 7 election. After considering the experience and proposals of leading candidates, we endorse Monica Ratliff for the City Council in District 7.

Ratliff began her career as an attorney with Neighborhood Legal Services in Pacoima, where she helped individuals and families facing economic strain. Believing education is the best path out of poverty, she became a teacher and taught elementary school for 12 years downtown. In 2013, she won a seat on the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Her experience on the board of the nation’s second-largest school district makes her the candidate best prepared for the City Council.

Ratliff demonstrates a depth of knowledge about the problem of homelessness and a sensible approach to the issues of development and transit. As L.A. gears up to spend billions of new tax dollars on local transit projects and housing for the homeless, her inquisitive nature and independence will serve District 7, and the city, well.

Several candidates impressed us with their commitment to helping the district. Venessa Martinez is a state deputy attorney general with experience in law enforcement issues. Dale Gibson is a rancher with deep knowledge of the issues important to the district’s equestrian community. Fred Flores and Olga Ayala have worked with elected officials on constituent services and know the district well. Nicole Chase and Krystee Clark speak for frustrated voters who have been poorly represented.

The two frontrunners in fundraising and endorsements, Monica Rodriguez and Karo Torossian, are well-connected insiders who are likely to offer the district more of the same. We think it’s time for a change.

We recommend a vote for Monica Ratliff.

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