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LA City Council District 13 Debate Has Only One Candidate Committing to Protect Rent Controlled Affordable Housing

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Hollywood Sign

L to R: Matt Szabo, Josh Post, Mitch O'Farrell, Emile Mack, Alex De Ocampo, John Choi and Moderator Jackie Goldberg

The six candidates participating were John Choi, a former staff member of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Alex De Ocampo, Senior Director of Saban Family Foundation, Emile Mack, LAFD Assistant Fire Chief, Mitch O'Farrell, Former District Field Director to Councilman Eric Garcetti, Josh Post, State Deputy Attorney General, and Matt Szabo, Former Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Villaraigosa.

Many candidates appeared to be pandering to the pro-business crowd with commitments to ensure public safety, fund the fire and police departments, provide tax credits to the movie industry, provide tax breaks to small businesses, doing away with the city's gross receipt tax and curbing the "aggressiveness" of Superman, Darth Vader, Wonder Woman and the other costumed characters on Hollywood Bl. with many of the candidates stating that their behavior threatens tourism.

The candidates were non-distinguishable for most of the discussion. But, then the question was raised if they supported the Hollywood Community Plan recently approved by the City Council.

The Hollywood Community Plan is controversial for providing the green light for more, and denser, development. Developers and the business community fully support it. Many residents are livid over proposed zoning changes that could make it easier to erect skyscrapers. Mayor Villaraigosa has called it "elegant density."

Each of the candidates uniformity expressed support for the Hollywood Plan, but one candidate added something that we were hoping to hear.

Matt Szabo stated, "I support density around transit. I think that's the way of the future. I think we have enough cars on the road. However I am not going to do it at the expense of low income communities, immigrants and seniors that have housing here today. I'm going to be very careful not to lose rent controlled units, affordable units. In fact, I want to use the Community Plan to the greatest extent possible, to preserve and extend affordable housing to the immigrants and seniors and low income communities we have here in Hollywood."

The only other candidate to mention housing was John Choi, but he only spoke about the need to produce more diverse housing that included workforce housing. He, disappointingly, did not mention the need to produce new and preserve existing affordable housing.


The Debate Crowd

L to R: Matt Szabo, Josh Post, Mitch O'Farrell, Emile Mack, Alex De Ocampo, John Choi and Moderator Jackie Goldberg

The six candidates participating were John Choi, a former staff member of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Alex De Ocampo, Senior Director of Saban Family Foundation, Emile Mack, LAFD Assistant Fire Chief, Mitch O'Farrell, Former District Field Director to Councilman Eric Garcetti, Josh Post, State Deputy Attorney General, and Matt Szabo, Former Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Villaraigosa.

Many candidates appeared to be pandering to the pro-business crowd with commitments to ensure public safety, fund the fire and police departments, provide tax credits to the movie industry, provide tax breaks to small businesses, doing away with the city's gross receipt tax and curbing the "aggressiveness" of Superman, Darth Vader, Wonder Woman and the other costumed characters on Hollywood Bl. with many of the candidates stating that their behavior threatens tourism.

Hollywood-trans-small-jpg
Copyrighted Image? DMCA
The candidates were non-distinguishable for most of the discussion. But, then the question was raised if they supported the Hollywood Community Plan recently approved by the City Council.

The Hollywood Community Plan is controversial for providing the green light for more, and denser, development. Developers and the business community fully support it. Many residents are livid over proposed zoning changes that could make it easier to erect skyscrapers. Mayor Villaraigosa has called it "elegant density."

Each of the candidates uniformity expressed support for the Hollywood Plan, but one candidate added something that we were hoping to hear.

Matt Szabo stated, "I support density around transit. I think that's the way of the future. I think we have enough cars on the road. However I am not going to do it at the expense of low income communities, immigrants and seniors that have housing here today. I'm going to be very careful not to lose rent controlled units, affordable units. In fact, I want to use the Community Plan to the greatest extent possible, to preserve and extend affordable housing to the immigrants and seniors and low income communities we have here in Hollywood."

The only other candidate to mention housing was John Choi, but he only spoke about the need to produce more diverse housing that included workforce housing. He, disappointingly, did not mention the need to produce new and preserve existing affordable housing.

Tenant Voter
Copyrighted Image? DMCA
There were some differences between candidates regarding support of the proposed city sales tax increase, also on the March 5 ballot. CES is strongly opposed to this measure as it is a regressive tax that unfairly and disproportionately impacts low income and working people. The sales tax proposal came about after heavy lobbying from the real estate industry which resulted in the city abandoning an original proposal that would have increased the tax on real estate sales and substituted it with the half-cent sales tax hike plan.

All the candidates stated their opposition to the sales tax increase, with Szabo and Mitch O'Farrell calling it a regressive tax that hits the lowest income residents the hardest, with the exception of John Choi. Choi said he supported the sales tax increase as a way to save jobs.

CES encourages voters to urge these candidates to address tenants' rights and affordable housing issues. After all, the City of Los Angeles is a city of renters -- more than 60% of its residents are tenants. One

Debate Panel
Copyrighted Image? DMCA

L to R: Matt Szabo, Josh Post, Mitch O'Farrell, Emile Mack, Alex De Ocampo, John Choi and Moderator Jackie Goldberg

L to R: Matt Szabo, Josh Post, Mitch O'Farrell, Emile Mack, Alex De Ocampo, John Choi and Moderator Jackie Goldberg

The six candidates participating were John Choi, a former staff member of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Alex De Ocampo, Senior Director of Saban Family Foundation, Emile Mack, LAFD Assistant Fire Chief, Mitch O'Farrell, Former District Field Director to Councilman Eric Garcetti, Josh Post, State Deputy Attorney General, and Matt Szabo, Former Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Villaraigosa.

Many candidates appeared to be pandering to the pro-business crowd with commitments to ensure public safety, fund the fire and police departments, provide tax credits to the movie industry, provide tax breaks to small businesses, doing away with the city's gross receipt tax and curbing the "aggressiveness" of Superman, Darth Vader, Wonder Woman and the other costumed characters on Hollywood Bl. with many of the candidates stating that their behavior threatens tourism.

Hollywood-trans-small-jpg
Copyrighted Image? DMCA

Hooray for Hollywood
The candidates were non-distinguishable for most of the discussion. But, then the question was raised if they supported the Hollywood Community Plan recently approved by the City Council.

The Hollywood Community Plan is controversial for providing the green light for more, and denser, development. Developers and the business community fully support it. Many residents are livid over proposed zoning changes that could make it easier to erect skyscrapers. Mayor Villaraigosa has called it "elegant density."

Each of the candidates uniformity expressed support for the Hollywood Plan, but one candidate added something that we were hoping to hear.

Matt Szabo stated, "I support density around transit. I think that's the way of the future. I think we have enough cars on the road. However I am not going to do it at the expense of low income communities, immigrants and seniors that have housing here today. I'm going to be very careful not to lose rent controlled units, affordable units. In fact, I want to use the Community Plan to the greatest extent possible, to preserve and extend affordable housing to the immigrants and seniors and low income communities we have here in Hollywood."

The only other candidate to mention housing was John Choi, but he only spoke about the need to produce more diverse housing that included workforce housing. He, disappointingly, did not mention the need to produce new and preserve existing affordable housing.

Tenant Voter
Copyrighted Image? DMCA

I'm a tenant & I vote!
There were some differences between candidates regarding support of the proposed city sales tax increase, also on the March 5 ballot. CES is strongly opposed to this measure as it is a regressive tax that unfairly and disproportionately impacts low income and working people. The sales tax proposal came about after heavy lobbying from the real estate industry which resulted in the city abandoning an original proposal that would have increased the tax on real estate sales and substituted it with the half-cent sales tax hike plan.

All the candidates stated their opposition to the sales tax increase, with Szabo and Mitch O'Farrell calling it a regressive tax that hits the lowest income residents the hardest, with the exception of John Choi. Choi said he supported the sales tax increase as a way to save jobs.

CES encourages voters to urge these candidates to address tenants' rights and affordable housing issues. After all, the City of Los Angeles is a city of renters -- more than 60% of its residents are tenants. One would hope that these candidates will tell voters where they stand on issues which directly affect the majority of Angelinos.

For voters of the 13th Council District this chance is coming up next week. Next Tuesday, January 29th, at 6:30 PM, LA Voice PICO, a CES ally, is hosting a City Council District 13 Candidate Forum at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, 6657 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028. Affordable housing is a primary issue they will address.

 

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Larry Gross is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival (CES). He has been with CES for 42 years, since its inception in 1973. CES is a grassroots, multi-racial, multi-ethnic tenants' rights organization serving low and (more...)
 

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