In Los Angeles’s 5th Council District (CD 5), which makes up the parts of West L.A. that surround Beverly Hills and includes the Fairfax District, Cheviot Hills, and Westwood, voters have a choice between two excellent candidates vying to represent them in city hall. Both Katy Young Yaroslavsky and Sam Yebri are very bright attorneys with impressive track records of public and community service. Both claim deep roots in CD 5, and both support many of the same measures, even ones as specific as developing a stronger tree canopy for the district. It makes it difficult for our publication to choose a candidate to endorse for the November 8 election. However, there is a choice to be made, and we endorse Katy Young Yaroslavsky for the seat.
Mr. Yebri is full of energy and personable. We enjoyed interviewing him and genuinely mean it when we say we just plain want to hang out with the guy. We think he would likely outwork most of his council colleagues, and sees details in the details. But ultimately, Mr. Yebri has allowed just a little too much fear to color the tone of his campaign. Make no mistake – Westside Voice recognizes Los Angeles has a crime problem and that hate speech, hate crimes, and antisemitism are on the rise. They must be confronted. But mixed in with Yebri’s messages of hope and hard work are all too many social media posts about Los Angeles seemingly being a rampant Hellscape. We know there are problems and dangers on the Westside, but we don’t find promoting so many crime scenes to be productive and aren’t really sure what the point is of scaring everyone further.
Also, lost in the dominant talk this campaign season of housing, homelessness, and public safety has been the climate crisis. Yebri has the chops for it, but on the environment, there’s really no candidate that compares to Yaroslavsky. Her experience as a land use attorney gives her an immediate leg up in helping Los Angeles confront the climate crisis. Her knowledge of transit is perfectly timed for Metro arriving underneath CD 5. And Yaroslavsky is uniquely qualified to prepare Los Angeles for its water future. We also appreciate the fact that in our interview with her, Ms. Yaroslavsky brought up the LADWP and her strong ideas for the agency and the steps it needs to take. It doesn’t hurt that she helped develop one of the largest community choice energy programs in the nation. The climate crisis was here long before the issues of the moment and is only going to get worse. We need someone like Yaroslavsky at the head table.
We also feel Yaroslavsky is more tuned in to delivering more humanitarian solutions to the homelessness crisis. While Westside Voice opposes L.A.’s Ordinance 41.18, which has resulted in merely shuffling homeless persons from one neighborhood to another, we think she has a healthier view of it than Yebri, who seems to embrace it wholeheartedly. Yaroslavsky thinks it can “be a tool in the toolkit,” but then rightly suggests that simply moving people 500 feet away into another councilmembers district isn’t a real solution. Ultimately, she knows the only thing that can combat homelessness is housing and services, saying to us about Ordinance 41.18, “It gives us a little time to get them into something more permanent, but it’s not the big solution that my opponent thinks it is.”
Yaroslavsky recognizes the district needs much more housing construction and thinks it’s important that more of it be built near major district job centers like Cedars Sanai, Century City, and Westwood/UCLA. This is the smart approach – putting housing where the jobs are, and making sure those that work in those job centers can hopefully afford to live nearby, cutting down commutes and GHG emissions.
We also like the way Yaroslavsky thinks about public safety and the LAPD. When I asked her how big the department should be, she was purposeful in her answer. Yaroslavsky wants to focus first on making sure police are doing actual police work, and that social service professionals should be the ones handling homelessness response, addiction, and mental health calls. It is then, she said to us, “After we have the right people responding to the right calls, then we can see what that [LAPD] budget should look like. I think that’s a great time to do an audit and get a better sense of the right number of police officers given we’ve shifted that work away from them.” We appreciate that methodical approach.
Ultimately, it is Yaroslavsky we feel has the right kind of experience and expertise where it’s needed right now, and is running a campaign with the right temperament and tone. It is also a major plus that she provides an opportunity for a woman to lead this district for the first time since 1965! We proudly endorse her effort, and encourage voters to choose Katy Young Yaroslavsky for CD 5.
Katy Young Yaroslavsky Campaign Website — https://katyforla.com/