Mon, May

Time For Change in CD 14

THE EASTSIDER - After a recent interview with Ysabel Jurado, I came away with the realization that it would be a very good thing for us to have a tenant rights attorney representing CD 14. instead of a burned out corporate ‘Democrat’ like Kevin De Leon.  Here are the reasons. 

First, in a recent Daily News article, it turns out that in a recent analysis from LA City Controller’s office, it turns out that CD 14 had the highest number of homeless people who died in 2022 - 269. That’s awful. 

Second, the reality for renters in LA are legitimately under a lot of pressure.  As the Los Angeles Times recently noticed,” Renters across LA are under strain and many fear becoming homeless.” 

In talking to Ysabel, she pointed out that there are a couple of other CD 14 statistics that I was unaware of.  First, in the downtown LA area, some 93% of the residents are renters.  And if you look at Boyle Heights, 74% of the residents there are renters.  (Los Angeles City Planning, 2021) 

Ysabal’s Platform

Jurado believes that both the landlords and the tenants need to have some rational way to stop the massive evictions that are occurring (See Controller Kenneth Mejia’s website). 

While the establishment has tried to brand her as a big-time lefty, it turns out that she’s a Bernie democrat.  Heck, so am I and a lot of other people in CD 14.  What she really wants is to find a way for landlords and tenants to co-exist peacefully. And the key to this is for everyone to learn about the law that governs evictions. 

It’s important because the Eviction Protections during the Covid Pandemic just expired. 

I don’t think most people have really paid attention to all this (I haven’t), but we all should.  Like if there’s an eviction notice, there’s an expedited process where the tenant has 5 days after being served to answer, and failure to do so creates a default! 

I think knowledge about how the system works when it comes to housing, small businesses and tenants.  That’s why I think she would bring a fresh view to being an elected official and might be able to ameliorate some of the same oh same oh City Council. 

Kevin’s Platform (Kinda)

Let’s be honest about Kevin De Leon.  He’s a typical corporate Democrat who bounces from elected political gig to the next one.  When he blessed us as Council member for CD 14, he wasted no time campaigning for Mayor! 

I kid you not, he decided to run against Karen Bass for Mayor.  As I wrote at the time, 

As the LA Times Put It: 

“Rep. Karen Bass still has a small lead in the Loyola Marymount University Center for the Study of Los Angeles poll released Wednesday, but City Councilman Kevin de León is a close second.

With the June primary just over three months away, more than 40% of self-identified registered voters remain undecided in the survey.

About 16% of respondents said they would choose Bass if the election were held today and about 12% said they would choose De Len. None of the other candidates in the poll were above single digits.” 

While that’s nice for Kevin De Leon, what about the Angelenos who actually live in CD 14? How much attention is he paying to his constituents? Honestly, there is still a fair amount of discussion in Northeast LA as to whether or not he really actually lives in the Eagle Rock home he recently bought. Check it out here.  

And another interesting tid bit in the current runoff with Ysabel, what do you think he actually did about the homeless other than wringing his hands?

The Homeless

Since De Len himself has described “the homeless” as his number one priority, it’s important to see how that has played out in real time. For example, back in February of last year, here’s his solution: 

“MOTION - The city’s current homelessness crisis demands an “all hands on deck” approach. Currently, the city is spending tens of millions of dollars on emergency response and sanitation services to address the homelessness crisis. In order to solve this problem, the city must use all available land to house unhoused individuals. 

Council District 14 has the largest concentration of unhoused individuals of any City Council District. In fact, Council District 14 alone is home to more unhoused individuals than in the entire City of San Jose or the City of San Diego. Due to the large number of unhoused people within the district, all available properties must be used to house our unhoused constituents. In Northeast Los Angeles, two locations have been identified that can provide temporary housing to the homeless of Eagle Rock and Highland Park. 

I THEREFORE MOVE that the Bureau of Engineering, in coordination with the City Administrative Officer, Chief Legislative Analyst, and Department of Recreation and Parks be instructed to initiate the design process for temporary homeless housing on the parking lot located at 7541 N. Figueroa Street as well as the unused section of Arroyo Drive located adjacent to Assessor Parcel Number 5492021900. 

I FURTHER MOVE that the City Administrative Officer and the Department of Recreation and Parks be authorized to execute any agreements with SoCal Edison and the County of Los Angeles for the property located at 7541 N. Figueroa Street in order to effectuate the construction of temporary homeless housing. 

I FURTHER MOVE that the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners be requested to hear this matter within 30 days for consideration of approval of the usage of the parking lot at 7541 N. Figueroa Street for temporary interim housing for people experiencing homelessness. 

I FURTHER MOVE that upon completion of construction, priority for all units shall be given to unhoused individuals in Council District 14, starting with the neighborhoods that each site is located within; 

I FURTHER MOVE that the City Administrative Officer and the Housing & Community Investment Department be instructed to modify any necessary contracts with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to ensure that homeless individuals in Eagle Rock and Highland Park are given right of first refusal for the new units to be constructed at both sites. 

I FURTHER MOVE that the City Administrative Officer be instructed to identify the necessary funding to construct temporary homeless housing on the aforementioned sites.”  

By January of 2022, I think his actual idea was pretty clear: 

“It seems that there are two different runaway bureaucracies at play, and neither seems to have a coherent policy. First, of course, is the LA City Council, which seems to operate in a separate universe. I’ve put in a Public Records Act request to try and track all the pieces of how De Len went from a Tiny Houses motion to what we now have in front of us, and what it’s cost.

Like, by what sleight of hand does LA City magically find a few million bucks here and there to suddenly pop up a “Tiny Village” in Highland Park? You know, the one we are talking about? Evidently first you slide over to the “Homelessness and Poverty Committee”, which no one ever heard about or follows, and simply make a motion.

We don’t need the details of LA’s ‘screw the unhoused’, since the Municipal Code is already a part of this article.

We do still need to figure out who and how the Providers are chosen for projects, as well as where/how the County 1/2 cent sales tax is actually spent to provide supportive services to get the homeless reintegrated into our society. Both of these issues seem to belong to LAHSA (the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority), and you can find their website here. 

The Takeaway

There is a reason that De Leon, an incumbent with huge discretionary funds, came in second in the Primary, with less votes than Ysabel Jurado in a race with 8 candidates. 

He’s done nothing for the District.  I think that Jurado would be a fresh (not a full-time elected official, bouncing from gig to gig) breath of air.  After meeting with her I believe that she really wants to represent the district and its super majority of tenants. 

She might also be able to work with the City Council as a bridge between the same old same old politics and educate both the Council and the District to find common ground.

(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.)