This Tuesday, voters in Los Angeles City Council District 14 will go to the polls to, among other things, elect their new representative for the City Council. That new councilmember will have to deal with the epicenter of a worsening homelessness crisis, increased lack of affordability in the district, gentrification, a tricky transit expansion, and a growing Downtown population.
There is only one person in the race that has divulged a tangible and informed plan for the future of Downtown Los Angeles, combined with the experience and poise to enact said plan. That person is Kevin de León.
Throughout interviews, forums and debates, de León has shown himself to have the most detailed plan for immediate steps in addressing homelessness and transportation, and has demonstrated the best understanding of how to achieve those goals inside the city government. His calls for alternative housing solutions for Downtown’s homeless population are viable, and his outline to increase workforce housing is the most concrete of the candidates. He also has called for immediate actions to expand walkability and eco-friendly public transportation in the district, as well as prioritizing fixing broken or crumbling sidewalks.
Is his platform perfect? No. He has not yet outlined a full, long-term plan for the district, and the actual reality of legislating in Los Angeles is far different than campaigning.
There is also the very real criticism that he is simply a career politician seeking the next rung on the political ladder. De León has carefully not ruled out a run for mayor during public events, prompting some to believe that he has his eyes set on running for Mayor in two years. The council could probably benefit from avoiding another Antonio Villiagoisa, who jumped from his City Council seat in 2003 to pursue a successful run for mayor. But if that does come, the best candidate will win in that race and if it’s de León, CD14 will still have councilmember in the short term who can take concrete and actionable steps.
That’s not to say that the other candidates don’t have something to offer. Cyndi Otteson, Raquel Zamora and Mónica Garcia have all voiced their plan to cut into homelessness and to address affordable housing, and in any other race, it’s entirely possible that this page would be endorsing one of those more progressive candidates.
However, as previously mentioned, Downtown has a flood of issues and concerns just over the horizon that the new city councilman will be expected to handle, and handle immediately. Whoever takes the seat will need to have detailed, actionable plans ready and de León’s time, both in the State Assembly and State Senate, will provide much needed experience when it comes to navigating the twisting maze that can be City Hall.
During his time in the state Senate and Assembly, de León showed an ability to devise creative solutions. He has helped enact legislation for the creation of new parks, and helped get money for the completion of Downtown’s State Historic Park. He can bring that same energy back to Downtown.
This page recommends Kevin de León for Council District 14.