Another councilman's chief-of-staff is expected next week to begin her campaign to replace termed-out Councilman Tom LaBonge in the 2015 election.
Joan Pelico, who has worked for the past eight years for Councilman Paul Koretz and his predecessor, Jack Weiss, said she intends to take a vacation day to file her paperwork with the Ethics Commission next week.
Three other potential candidates have already filed papers to begin fundraising -- Teddy Davis, a former press secretary for then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Tara Bannister, a vice president of the National Apartment Association; and Carolyn Ramsay, LaBonge's chief of staff.
Pelico, 58, is a Sherman Oaks resident who traces her professional beginnings to the fitness industry. She began opening health clubs in the late 1970s just as aerobics was gaining popularity.
She fell into politics when she became involved in the parents' group at her child's Sherman Oaks elementary school. While attending a meeting, "I raised my hand and the next thing I knew I was president of the parents' association," Pelico said.
Through interactions with City Council representatives that included requesting discretionary funds to pay for library books, she said she was recruited to work as a field deputy in the Fifth Council District, then represented by Weiss.
Pelico became chief of staff for Koretz three months ago, when Rich Llewellyn went to lead Mayor Eric Garcetti's transition.
"I've been on the ground for a very long time and I've been listening to people for 41 years," which includes her time in the fitness industry, Pelico said, "so I believe my experience with people and everything I do is with a sense of urgency. I don't let anything sit on my desk. It's kind of hard to keep up with me."
During that time she said she has found that most issues important to residents boil down to "quality of life."
"Everybody wants to feel safe," their children to have a safe route to school and traffic congestion issues to be resolved, including improving their public transportation options, she said.
The Fourth Council District, which Pelico characterized as "eclectic" because it includes a little of everything, runs from Hancock Park to Hollywood and includes Toluca Lake, Los Feliz, Sherman Oaks and Windsor Square.
LaBonge has represented the district for the last 14 years since winning a special election to succeed the late Councilman John Ferraro, who died in office. LaBonge was a field deputy for Ferraro.
--City News Service