Why Should I Be Elected? – L.A. Council District 5
By Jimmy Biblarz

Why I’m Running

I am running to make Los Angeles a place where everyone can afford to thrive. Hundreds of thousands of renters live on the brink of eviction, homeowners are struggling with mortgage payments, and more people become unhoused every day. This is unsustainable for a functioning, inclusive economy. If we don’t act decisively, and quickly, to ensure that wages keep pace with increases in housing costs and that housing is located near job centers, L.A. will become a place that only the 1% can afford to live in, rather than the engine of social mobility it has long been promised to be.

I am laser-focused on how we can make L.A. a more affordable city. The City Council is the best positioned government body to accomplish this goal. City Council’s powers over land use and zoning, wages, transportation, and homeless services have the capacity to dramatically improve economic conditions for all Angelenos. We need bold, immediate action from new political voices.

Personal Background

I grew up in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. My political origin story began in adolescence: when I was 12, my family was evicted from our small duplex apartment, and the scars of it are very much still with our family. We were chased around the city by housing affordability and both of my parents struggled deeply with substance use in the aftermath. Luckily, they are both in long-term recovery now. The experience of childhood eviction, in addition to coming of age as a young queer person in the mid-2000s, under the dark cloud of Proposition 8, showed me just how much politics matters.

I got my start in political activism during the Great Recession, when I helped organize non-unionized classified staff in LAUSD. I graduated as the valedictorian from Hamilton High School, and was at Harvard for college, graduate school, and law school. I worked for President Obama’s 2012 Convention and at CNN as a research associate. I then began my JD/PhD, during which I was part of an inaugural cohort of graduate students and professors in sociology, economics, and political science studying the dramatic rise in American income and wealth inequality. I have also worked at the L.A. Public Defender’s Office, fought the Trump administration’s cruel immigration policies and racist voter disenfranchisement efforts at Protect Democracy, and was on President Biden’s voter protection team.

I now teach at UCLA Law School. I am a proud member of the UC-AFT Labor union. I live on Sweetzer in Beverly Grove with my partner Harry; we are renters.

Key Plans

Our campaign is research-focused and data-driven. As an academic, I believe policy should be guided by research and evaluation. My north star is what we know works. Our vision for a better, more affordable Los Angeles is possible.

Tackling Homelessness at Its Roots & Making Housing Affordable

I think about the housing and homelessness crisis as an iceberg. The street encampments we see are the very tip of that iceberg; beneath the surface of the water are millions of Angeleno families on the financial brink. If we aren’t tackling street homelessness and affordable housing simultaneously, we will never solve this crisis.

  1. Bring permanent supportive units online with the urgency this crisis demands – that requires investing in modular construction, permitting master leasing between nonprofits and builders to get units online fast, rezoning to allow shared housing for the chronically unhoused, and streamlining the process for adaptive reuse. It also requires that we demand competitive bidding processes for homeless housing development projects.
  2. Invest in targeted, sustained, and individualized outreach with trained mental health street engagement teams who are fairly compensated for their work. Every city that has seen real reductions in the street homelessness has used this strategy.
  3. Recognize the diversity of the unhoused population and tailor policy accordingly. Many experiencing homelessness have only recently become unhoused; cash subsidies could work quickly and effectively at getting them back into housing. Others are LGBTQ+ folks escaping abusive families. Thoughtful policy must recognize the various trajectories into homelessness.
  4. Work to decrease housing costs via increases in supply and experimentation with new lower cost materials and construction techniques. My plan focuses on building diverse, low-cost housing along under-utilized commercial transit corridors in high-opportunity areas in CD-5 (like Robertson, Westwood, Melrose, and L.A. Cienega).
  5. Hold developers’ feet to the fire on affordability requirements in market-rate units.
  6. Develop a permanent funding stream for affordable housing, and lobby for state and federal legislation that funds 100% affordable housing.
  7. Ensure wages rise in tandem with L.A.’s cost of living via indexed minimum wage increases that exceed increases in cost of living and investments in high-quality, unionized, green jobs.

Keeping Our Communities Safe

  1. Invest in mental health care workers as first responders to homelessness crisis calls, allowing police to focus on the crime prevention and investigation work they have been trained to do.
  2. Create a civilian Office of Neighborhood Safety that promotes sustained engagement between community leaders, the police, perpetrators of violence, and violence victims.
  3. Proactively invest in crime prevention, most importantly getting guns off our streets. We need to double-down on local efforts⁠ to curtail illicit gun sales and trafficking through Los Angeles, particularly un-serialized ghost guns.
  4. Promote urban designs that have been shown to reduce violence. We know that nothing makes people feel safer than more “eyes on the street.” Proactive infrastructure investments in pedestrian plazas, mixed-used development, street lighting, and walkability are structural public safety interventions.

The District 5 seat does not come open very often; this is a once in a generation opportunity to see real change in an important part of town. We need people in government who understand the interconnections of our most pressing problems: climate, housing, transit, and wages. We need people ready to get to the heart of the issues and pursue lasting change. This is my approach, and I am ready to take on our biggest challenges from day one.

west los angeles news
west los angeles news
Stay informed. Sign up for The Westside Voice Newsletter

By clicking submit, you agree to share your email address with Westside Voice. We do not sell or share your information with anyone.