LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CA — The Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters (LALCV) — which has supported pro-environment local candidates throughout Los Angeles County for more than four decades — today announced its endorsement of Kevin James for Los Angeles City Attorney in the upcoming June 7th Primary election.
Today, with the City of Los Angeles needing all an all-hands-on-deck approach throughout City Hall to address critical air pollution, clean water, traffic, housing and land use issues, Kevin James would use the position of City Attorney to ensure the enforceability of City Council’s environmental policies and plans.
“Kevin James has been a strong environmental advocate in the City of Los Angeles while President of the Board of Public Works,” said LALCV Board Member Jim Kennedy, who was part of the organization’s Endorsement Team for this race. “When elected, Kevin will leverage this experience to ensure the environment is a top priority in the City Attorney’s office.”
About the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters
Founded in 1976, the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters (LALCV) is dedicated to electing leadership throughout Los Angeles County to preserve, protect and enhance the environment. LALCV has helped elect more than 100 pro-environment officials throughout the county. LALCV endorsements are determined by its all-volunteer Board, which is composed of Los Angeles County residents committed to advancing environmental priorities.
For more information on LALCV, please visit www.LALCV.org – and sign up for occasional email updates. And to get the latest LALCV news, please “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Kevin James Would Make History as LA’s First Openly Gay City Attorney, LGBTQ+ Organization Backs Out Councilmembers’ Re-Election Bids
LOS ANGELES — Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, announced endorsements of two openly gay candidates for citywide office in Los Angeles on Monday and officially backed the city’s two openly gay councilmembers in their 2022 re-election bids. If elected this fall, Kevin James would make history as Los Angeles’s first openly gay city attorney, and Rob Wilcox would continue to provide out LGBTQ+ representation in the controller’s office. “For all the progress that LGBTQ+ people have made in the last two decades — especially here in Los Angeles — we cannot ignore the reality that our community remains underrepresented in elected office,” said Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang. “Our city faces big challenges — an ongoing pandemic, a homelessness and housing affordability crisis, a rise in hate crimes and an economy that only works for some of us. We are confident that these four openly LGBTQ+ champions will provide critical leadership and representation as Angelenos work together to overcome these challenges.” City Attorney candidate Kevin James has a long history of public service benefitting the LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV and AIDS. James served as board co-chair and vice chair of AIDS Project Los Angeles throughout much of the 1990s, during some of the most critical years of the AIDS epidemic, and later as president of the City of Los Angeles’s Board of Public Works. As president, he led the effort to add LGBTQ+ owned businesses to the certification list of minority-owned businesses in order to better compete for city contracts, making the city the largest municipality to formally include LGBTQ-owned businesses in the city’s billions of dollars in contract procurement. James has made humanely addressing the city’s homelessness crisis — which disproportionately impacts the LGBTQ+ community, especially LGBTQ+ youth in Los Angeles — a top priority of his campaign. He has also pledged to create a Hate Crimes Response Team within the office to combat the rise in anti-LGBTQ+, racist and anti-semitic hate crimes in the city. “I am honored and humbled to be endorsed by Equality California, the state’s only LGBTQ+ civil rights organization working directly at the local level,” said James. “The City Attorney’s job is not only to represent the City government in court. The City Attorney can also protect Angelenos — especially our most vulnerable communities. I look forward to working side-by-side with Equality California in solving the significant challenges facing our City today.” City Controller candidate Rob Wilcox has spent nearly two decades at the forefront of fighting for government accountability and transparency. He previously served as Los Angeles Deputy Controller and as California’s Chief Deputy Inspector General for the Obama-era Recovery Act spending. Wilcox has spent the last eight years as a member of City Attorney Mike Feuer’s executive team, where he currently serves as Director of Community Engagement and Outreach. Wilcox was also a member of the first Board of Directors of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s LGBT Employees Association. “I am honored to have earned the support of Equality California in my campaign for Los Angeles City Controller,” said Wilcox. “Equality California does truly amazing work and I will embody those same values as the City’s inspector general, truth-teller and taxpayers’ watchdog, ensuring that the City works equally for everyone and will tackle the tough problems we face.” Councilmember Mike Bonin (District 11) represents the city’s Westside as one of two openly LGBTQ+ members of the Los Angeles City Council. Bonin has focused much of his time in office on helping people experiencing homelessness, understanding that LGBTQ+ youth in particular are overrepresented among the homeless population and advocating since 2015 for quick, nimble solutions to homelessness, such as shared housing and master leasing — which the City is now finally beginning to explore.Bonin has worked to ensure culturally competent care is offered to the city’s unhoused population to help get people into homes and back on their feet. Bonin previously served as the co-founder and program director of Camp Courage, an acclaimed training program for community organizers fighting for the freedom to marry for the LGBTQ+ community. “Equality California has been a steadfast and formidable leader in the fight for marriage equality and many others,” said Bonin. “As a gay man, a progressive and an elected official who has done my best to stand up for the civil rights of marginalized people everywhere, I am truly honored to receive their endorsement.” Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell (District 13) represents the heart of the city’s LGBTQ+ community in Hollywood and Silver Lake and is one of two openly LGBTQ+ members of the Council. For years, O’Farrell has led on issues affecting LGBTQ+ people, including restoring funding for an AIDS coordinator position in the city’s department of disabilities; empowering the city’s Transgender Advisory Council and advocating for the creation of California’s Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund. During the pandemic, he spearheaded a renters’ subsidy program to help prevent those struggling financially from becoming unhoused. “I am honored for the support of my friends at Equality California in my campaign for re-election,” said O’Farrell. “As one of the City Council’s two openly LGBTQ+ members, I proudly represent not only my district, but the thousands of LGBTQ+ people residing in Los Angeles who deserve a voice in our City’s leadership. I am grateful to have Equality California by my side as we continue our critical work to protect and advance the rights of LGBTQ+ people and reduce disparities that still exist for too many in our community.”
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ+ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org
Los Angeles City Attorney candidate Kevin James today filed his first fundraising disclosure statement reporting over $300,000 raised from individual donors, labor unions and business leaders.
Kevin said “I am honored to have the early support of so many individuals, labor unions who represent working families throughout Los Angeles, and business leaders who represent numerous job-creating industries in our region — all of whom care greatly about Los Angeles. Our supporters include champions for our environment, community leaders, advocates for our creative communities, leaders fighting homelessness, and businesses that help drive our local economy.”
Kevin added that “I am very excited for the fast start and momentum this builds for the campaign. My plan to insure that every city in the region must be involved in the solution to homelessness now has the solid foundation it needs to continue to grow throughout the election.”
To read more about Kevin’s policy priorities and ideas for the office, please visit www.kevinjamesforcityattorney.com.
We need a legal standard covering a city’s ability to manage homeless encampments. Such a standard would keep cities from pushing their unhoused across city lines and force them to work together.
By Kevin James, Special to CalMatters
Kevin James is an attorney, the former president of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works and a candidate for city attorney, [email protected].
If we are going to solve homelessness in California, every city must be part of the solution.
Homelessness happens everywhere, and unhoused people should be able to remain in their communities. We need every city involved in building housing, shelters, mental health services, addiction services and job placement services. Not just the larger cities.
That’s why Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) introduced Assembly Bill 816, which would require “every [city] to pull their own weight.” As introduced, each city was to submit proposals by 2023 on how to reduce homelessness by 90% by 2030. Objections arose, however, over pursuing legal action against local governments “should they fail to follow through on their commitments,” adding months or years to the timeline.
Thus, the bill was amended, but not to eliminate the nine-year timeline to act, which is what should have happened. Instead, the language requiring every city to pull its own weight is gone — and with it a golden opportunity for the Legislature to bring every city to the table to solve homelessness.
Local homeless policies will continue to be driven by the number of encampments residents see in their neighborhoods, and by legal settlements resulting in uneven and inconsistent enforcement of quality-of-life ordinances in the public right of way.
The more realistic road to homelessness solutions will be through the courts. And as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit demonstrated in Martin vs. City of Boise, it might take only one more court case to do it.
The Boise case ruled that a city cannot prohibit an unhoused person from sleeping on the sidewalk without offering reasonable shelter to that person.
But Boise only dealt with one element of the crisis — sleeping on the sidewalk. Boise expressly avoided encampments blocking the public right of way.
What Boise did on the issue of unhoused people sleeping on the sidewalk, Los Angeles should do on the issue of encampments obstructing public space. We need a Boise-like decision by a federal or state court that creates a legal standard covering a city’s ability to manage its public right of way.
Legal settlements are keeping us from getting that legal standard and a path to finding solutions for homelessness.
Every time Los Angeles or San Diego settles a homelessness/public right of way case, it avoids a court ruling on encampments that could force every city in Los Angeles County, or perhaps every city in the nine Western states, into the process of solving homelessness.
A new legal standard on encampments from a Boise-like court decision would establish uniformity and consistency on this issue so a city will not have a reason to push an unhoused person to a neighboring city.
When an unhoused person is moved from one city to another, so is the incentive to help them. Moving unhoused people from city to city, unfortunately, is the solution many cities use to deal with unsightly encampments on their own sidewalks.
With a new legal standard, the neighboring city would have the authority to manage its public right of way the same way the unhoused person’s city of origin does. Furthermore, an unhoused person will no longer have an incentive to move to a neighboring city, because the rules on encampments in both cities will be the same.
If one city is caught pushing its unhoused population to another city, that misconduct could expose the offending city to legal liabilities. And those legal liabilities are what will force California cities to the table to solve homelessness.
So when it comes to homelessness and public right of way lawsuits, residents of cities across California should tell their leaders: Stop the legal settlements. Seek a decision from the courts and set California cities on the road to solving homelessness — together.
The findings of the Special Master regarding the City Attorney’s Office’s handling of the class action lawsuit on DWP billing overcharges are very troubling. The City Attorney’s Office, and individual attorneys named in the Report, have disputed the findings of the Special Master. And the State Bar has confirmed that it will conduct its own review of the Report. So the investigation has not yet concluded. DWP ratepayers and our city’s residents are entitled to the facts. At the same time, the attorneys named in the Report are entitled to due process and to equal treatment under the law. As City Attorney, I will insure that internal systems are in place that prohibit the ability, and eliminate any incentive, of our lawyers, including outside counsel, to create, promote, or participate in any legal strategy or settlement procedure that could violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or any law.
VENICE- According to the last official homeless count, the City of Los Angeles has over 60 percent of Los Angeles County’s unhoused population, but less than 40 percent of the County’s overall population. Local coverage focuses on stories about neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles including Echo Park Lake, the Venice Boardwalk, encampment fires throughout the City of Los Angeles, a proposed project in Chatsworth, tiny homes in North Hollywood, and Skid Row.
Where are the stories about growing encampments in other cities like Beverly Hills, Burbank, Culver City, Manhattan Beach, Santa Clarita, Santa Monica, or West Hollywood? Where are the homeless housing facilities in those cities?
The answers demonstrate the results of uneven enforcement of quality of life ordinances throughout LA County. Such uneven enforcement interferes with solutions to homelessness, and accelerates the pain, sorrow, misery, and mayhem on Los Angeles streets.
The other 87 cities in LA County can enforce their quality of life ordinances that protect their public right of way. But because of legal settlements, the City of Los Angeles does not. The results are evident all over Los Angeles.
In a recent court case, Martin v. City of Boise, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a city cannot prohibit an unhoused person from sleeping on the sidewalk without first providing a reasonable offer of shelter to that person. Because Boise was decided by the Ninth Circuit, it applies to all cities in LA County, precluding uneven enforcement of its rule.
However, Boise does not stop a city from “barring the obstruction of public rights of way or the erection of certain structures.” So LA’s neighbors can prohibit a person from sleeping on the sidewalk with their possessions that obstruct the public right of way. The City of LA does not.
These different standards expose some ugly truths.
One is that cities need to be in crisis before they will build homeless housing, or provide mental health, addiction, and job placement services in their communities. Another is that the most powerful incentive for a city to act is the unsightly reality of encampments obstructing public space in their own communities.
The cities that have encampments have a reason to build homeless housing and services. The cities that don’t, don’t.
This does two things that hamper solutions we need. First, it pushes the unhoused into Los Angeles, where they can keep their possessions with them. Second, it pushes the incentive to solve the crisis away from our neighbors and into Los Angeles. When an unhoused person is pushed from one city to another, so is the incentive to help them.
Los Angeles cannot solve this crisis alone. All of LA County is needed.
President Biden’s infrastructure plan and Governor Newsom’s homelessness proposal will help Southern California achieve a regional solution. Those resources should be spent to help the other cities in LA County build homeless housing and services.
Otherwise, Los Angeles will have to rely on court decisions to bring LA County together — meaning LA should litigate its homelessness/public right of way cases through to a resolution that is binding on every city in LA County. That is what happened in Boise. The City of Boise did not settle the case. The case went all the way to the Ninth Circuit, and the Court’s decision applies to every city in the western United States. Uneven enforcement of the Boise rule is prohibited.
U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter and the parties in the LA Alliance for Human Rights v. City and County of Los Angeles case have an opportunity to provide our region with a court ruling that binds every city in LA County — thereby leveling the playing field, just like the Ninth Circuit did in Boise.
That would finally open the door for a regional solution to homelessness.
Supports James’ Proactive Vision for Addressing the City’s Urgent Challenges
LOS ANGELES (June 2, 2021) — Today, the Central City Association Political Action Committee (CCA PAC) announced its endorsement of Kevin James for Los Angeles City Attorney. The CCA PAC believes that James has the necessary vision and experience to proactively address Los Angeles’ ongoing crises including homelessness, housing and economic recovery from the pandemic.
“The City Attorney’s role impacts nearly every aspect of Angelenos’ lives, from rising homelessness to regulations on businesses, housing affordability and government operations,” said Jessica Lall, President & CEO of Central City Association. “Kevin James is a champion for Downtown with deep expertise in city government and strong relationships across the civic, nonprofit, labor and business communities.”
“The next City Attorney will be crucial to ensuring that Downtown and our city fully recover from the pandemic into a stronger Los Angeles,” said Stephanie Graves, CEO of Lee Andrews Group and CCA Board Chair. “James has proven that he can successfully deliver initiatives and will be ready to serve Angelenos on his first day as City Attorney.”
“Kevin James’ proactive leadership would be an asset for Los Angeles,” said Edgar Khalatian, Partner at Mayer Brown LLP and Co-Chair of CCA PAC. “James will take a fresh approach to leading the City Attorney’s Office by increasing transparency and accountability to the public and ensuring our City has legal advice that puts Angelenos’ best interests first.”
“Kevin James will be a City Attorney that takes responsibility and provides a clear, consistent and pragmatic legal framework to support solutions to homelessness,” said Senator (ret) Kevin Murray, President & CEO of Weingart Association and CCA Boardmember. “We look forward to partnering with James to help address the City’s most pressing challenges.”
The Central City Association (CCA) PAC supports candidates and ballot initiatives that align with its mission of enhancing Downtown LA’s vibrancy and increasing opportunity in the region through advocacy, influence and engagement. Since its founding in 1924, CCA has produced meaningful results for its members, Downtown and the greater Los Angeles area. It represents the interests of over 300 large employers, small businesses, nonprofit service providers and trade associations. For more information, please visit www.ccala.org.
Ad paid for by the Central City Association of Los Angeles PAC. 626 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 850, Los Angeles, CA 90017. Additional information is available at ethics.lacity.org.
Southern California is home to our nation’s largest Armenian diaspora community.
Armenian Americans participate in every aspect of the rich diversity of Los Angeles.
I applaud President Biden’s official public recognition of the 1915 massacre of more than 1 million Armenians as genocide. The President of the United States has joined the official recognition by the United States Congress of the Armenian genocide.
This historic declaration by the President of the United States, supported throughout Los Angeles, comes after generations of advocacy and activism by the Armenian American community led right here in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office can fight the wrongs of injustice. As City Attorney, I will always join the Armenian American community and community leaders throughout the region in our collective fight for justice, fairness, respect, and dignity.
VENICE – It’s been said there needs to be a paradigm shift in the City’s thinking to change the growing homeless crisis. That shift could come with Kevin James, a candidate in the race to be the top lawyer in Los Angeles. For starters, James says he won’t settle homeless-related lawsuits and plans to hold neighboring communities like Santa Monica and Culver City accountable for sharing the burden of the [homeless] crises.
James is looking to succeed termed-out City Attorney Mike Feuer. He is one of four candidates vying for the job. During his visit to Venice on Thursday, James talked about the growing homeless crisis, rising crime and what felt like solution-based ideas.
As Venice residents know, the community is currently fighting two crises: a global pandemic and a local homeless crisis. James said he knew this, but “seeing it was different.”
Accompanied by residents and business owners, James spent more than three hours walking through different parts of Venice. The group started at Windward Circle, walked down the Boardwalk to Rose Avenue, toured 3rd Avenue and visited the Bridge Home SEC Zone before making their way back up Main Street.
During his stroll on the boardwalk, James took note of handball courts now used as homeless storage, countless tents –and the evident deteriorating conditions of a once vibrant California destination. James also noted ADA violations, fire code safety and sanitation issues, and at one point, stopped to show the group that the edges of sidewalks were smoothed out so that wheelchairs could easily navigate them. He noted that he worked on that project with the L.A. Department of Public Works.”Why did we do all this [ADA violation remediation] work if wheelchairs can’t use them [the sidewalks]?”
James also commented on the stark contrast between the Venice and Santa Monica boardwalks. Although James did not directly criticize Feuer, he repeatedly pointed out what he would do differently, including not settling homeless-related lawsuits and holding neighboring communities accountable for sharing the burden of the crises.
James said: “At a time when every neighborhood is affected by the affordable housing and homelessness crises, when the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic have severely hurt the health and livelihood of countless Angelenos, when the City budget is burdened by the pandemic and by multi-million dollar settlements and when City Hall must restore the public’s trust, we need our City Attorney to be a problem-solver who will take strong action on behalf of the people of Los Angeles.”
James says that if he’s voted in, the two things he will consider when homeless-related suits are brought against the City are to make sure that neighboring cities are brought to the table and that they agree to be bound by any actions taken by the City of Los Angeles.
He says that by fighting instead of settling these cases, neighboring cities are held accountable, which must happen if Los Angeles is going to work its way out of its homelessness crisis.
James says that his approach to homeless-related lawsuits will give neighboring cities the same incentive Los Angeles has to build more affordable housing and shelters with services. “It will also prevent the shuffling of the unhoused population into L.A. from their communities.”
James also talked about public safety, police reform and criminal justice reform on Thursday. He has stated on his campaign website that he wants to work to bring LAPD officers closer to the communities they serve and promote public safety partnerships. He also said that he values giving families more opportunities to interact with LAPD officers in a non-enforcement environment, calling for “building relationships and trust that enhance police-community relations.”
James also talked about the City and County’s Therapeutic Transportation pilot program, which enables unarmed mental health experts in vans to respond to certain mental health emergency calls.
James the Candidate
James has more than 20 years of legal experience as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and litigator. He has also served for seven years as President of the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works. In that role, he has marshaled five city departments to respond to homelessness, build electric-vehicle infrastructure, protect water quality, implement the historic raise in L.A.’s minimum wage and provide critical city services without interruption throughout the pandemic.
Since last summer, James has also served as Chief of Legislative Affairs, charged with working on police reform, COVID response funding, labor issues and homelessness during the pandemic.
During his seven-year tenure on the Board of Public Works, he was involved in the deployment of new technologies at each of the departments under its purview to improve the delivery of essential city services, including street repairs, street lighting, enforcing the City’s minimum wage laws, conducting the City’s first tree inventory, awarding Green Business Certifications and modernizing the City’s Public Way Reservation System.
The City Attorneys primary elections are June 2022. Whoever the candidate, a lot is on the line for Venice and the entire Council District.
One year into the pandemic, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community continues to be targeted in violent hate crimes coming from racist sentiments related to COVID-19. And recent crime reports confirm the alarming news that these hate crimes against the AAPI community are on the rise.
While leaders throughout Southern California are speaking out against this hate targeting the AAPI community and taking action within their own districts and legislative bodies, the only way to fully stop these crimes is for everyone to step up and call out racism and xenophobia whenever we see it occur. Although every act of hate in the form of verbal abuse or threats may not itself be a direct act of violence, such acts create the foundation upon which acts of violence are based. Therefore, all forms of hate based on racism should be reported.
As City Attorney, I would ensure that all branches and units within the Criminal Division of the office immediately prioritize all complaints of such conduct for investigation and potential prosecution. As I shared on Day 1 of my campaign for City Attorney, our office will create a Civil and Human Rights and Equity Unit within the City Attorney’s Office to work in line with the City’s Civil and Human Rights and Equity Department — this will ensure the continued prioritization of ending hate crimes and attacks against AAPIs and all vulnerable communities in the City.
Paid for by Kevin James for City Attorney 2022 – FPPC ID 1435508
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