Though he won a third term Tuesday, City Councilman Nate Holden said that being forced into a runoff with Stan Sanders was a sign that he needs to improve his relationship with residents of the 10th District.
Holden said that during his door-to-door campaign visits, many residents told him they voted against him in the April primary and would vote against him again in the runoff because he didn’t attend their block club meetings.
“I’m doing what they want me to do, but they get so upset and angry because I do not go to their meetings,” said Holden, whose district includes parts of the Crenshaw District, West Adams and Koreatown.
Holden defeated Sanders, a lawyer, by taking 54% of the vote, compared to Sanders’ 46%. It was a comparatively tough race for the incumbent. He got nearly two-thirds of the vote in his 1987 runoff with former Bradley aide Homer Broome Jr. and received 72% of the vote in 1991.
The campaign leading up to last week’s race was devoid of the mudslinging that characterized the primary, however. Candidates focused largely on their personal attributes.
Sanders could not be reached for comment. But Holden had plenty to say, pledging that he and members of his staff will go to more block club meetings. He said there are more than 100 block clubs in his district, however. Holden said he would also send more newsletters to keep constituents informed.
Holden did not mention other things he might do differently in his third term, which he says will be his last. But he said 10th District residents must also try to better understand a councilman’s role.
“They don’t understand government. I can’t do everything, though I always try my best,” he said.
But Natalie Neith, a West Adams resident who voted for Sanders, said she is doubtful that Holden can be more responsive. She also disagreed with Holden’s assertion that voters blamed the councilman for problems beyond his control. “He’s not giving his community credit,” she said. “We’re more savvy than he thinks.”