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New CD13 Candidate Could Be First Asian American on Council in 20 Years

BongHwan Kim, who heads the city agency that oversees neighborhood councils, entered a crowded field on Friday.

A Korean-American could become the first Asian-American on the Los Angeles City Council in 20 years.

BongHwan Kim, the general manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE), filed papers Friday to run for the Thirteenth District seat that will open next year when Eric Garcetti terms out.

DONE oversees the city's neighborhood councils, including budgeting and elections.

Read Kim's bio here.

"Government needs to do a better job of making sure that neighborhoods are more empowered," Kim said. "Working with neighborhoods is going to be one of the few ways that government is going to be able to survive these tough economic times, and I'm uniquely qualified to do that."

A number of candidates have already entered the race, including Silver Lake resident, Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council president , local activist and realtor Ruben Martinez and film editor Thomas Marshall Penick.

Two other candidates, Deputy U.S. Attorney and former CD 13 staffer , are regular bloggers on this site.

Kim told KPCC that the demographics of the district "are a great fit for my background."

According to KPCC, the newly redrawn Thirteenth District wil be 19 percent Asian-American, with 22 percent of eligible voters Asian.

The district itself includes Thai Town, Historic Filipinotown and parts of . Many had unsucessfully lobbied to have the community incorporated in a single city council district in the recent redistricting.

Kim currently lives outside the district, in Glassell Park, which was eliminated from CD 13 in the recent redistricting.

KPCC says John Choi, a member of the city's Board of Public Works, and several other Asian-Americans may also run in District 13, where Mike Woo was the last Asian to hold a seat until 1993.

According to one report Emile Mack, a top executive in the Los Angeles Fire Department, has also filed the paperwork he needs to run.

Susan R May 12, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Anthea, thanks for letting me know. There is no competition in that case. Kim never did anything to help neighborhood councils run better. Just look at the problems that neighborhood councils have. Mitch is the clear winner. Mitch has worked his rear end off. And, like his politics or not, he is very down to earth and very respectful to everyone no matter who you are. Mitch wins hands down.
Susan R May 12, 2012 at 05:18 PM
The patch needs to stop encouraging people to vote on race. People should vote on issues and record ONLY!
Anthea Raymond (Editor) May 13, 2012 at 02:39 AM
@susan -- Patch does not intend to encourage anyone to vote for anyone. We're just trying to become a resource on this race and a forum for discussion. I'm hoping all candidates will come and blog here as Mitch and Josh Post have done. It's what Patch is made for and what we do well. Thanks for adding YOUR voice.
Brad J. Bagasao May 14, 2012 at 12:25 AM
If it is the wish of API constituents of CD13 to have an Asian American candidate, then hopefully a better option than BongHwan Kim will enter the race; and, in the meantime - Mr. Kim should move into the district soon.
Susan R May 14, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Anthea, I thank you for the way you commented. It was to the point and gracious. Thanks for being nice! It is much appreciated.
Carol N. May 14, 2012 at 04:10 AM
I agree with Susan R. As an Asian American woman, I would not vote for a candidate based on race OR gender. Mitch O Farrell is clearly the best candidate for council member. He would represent every constituent in Council District 13 regardless of his or their politics.
Alice M. May 14, 2012 at 09:45 PM
GOOOOOOOO, Mitch!
cindylu May 14, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Hey BongHwan, what happened with Al Abrams??????
Anthea Raymond (Editor) May 14, 2012 at 11:27 PM
@Hey guys--It's a crowded field. Who else do YOU expect to enter?
Susan R May 15, 2012 at 02:34 PM
The person that will be elected is the ONLY person the public knows, the one that has been hands on, the only one that has worked hard for the district and that is Mitch.
Anthea Raymond (Editor) May 21, 2012 at 02:23 PM
@Swetbaqk- Could you post a link to Mack's campaign website here?
Susan R May 21, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I bet he does deal with diversity. But that does not mean he has knows about issues the city is facing. And, does he live in the neighborhood? Most firefighters and police officers don't.
Susan R May 23, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Then don't vote for Kim.
Susan R May 23, 2012 at 02:08 PM
I respect Emile Mack for the job he does but he does not have experience in running the city.
QuincyK May 24, 2012 at 03:29 AM
I'm voting for O Farrell. He sounds like the most competent person.

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