Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

CD4 Candidates Address Wide-Ranging Issues at Community Forum

Candidates for CD4 at last Sunday’s “20 Questions for 2020 Forum,” organized by several area neighborhood councils, including the GWNC. The discussion was moderated by KPCC radio polical correspondent Libby Denkmann (far left).

With the March 3 election less than three weeks away, four candidates vying to represent Council District 4 on the City Council faced off last Sunday, February 16, at a community forum organized by the area’s six neighborhood councils.  It was the first time all three of the city-qualified candidates – incumbent David Ryu and challengers Sarah Kate Levy and Nithya Raman – shared a stage, and they were joined by write-in candidate Susan Collins.  (Another write-in candidate, Eric Christie, submitted a statement that was read at the event, but did not participate in the on-stage discussions.)  Here is a bit more about each of the candidates, and how they addressed the issues raised at the forum.

Candidates (in alphabetical order)

Susan Collins

Susan Collins

Collins’ name does not appear on the official city ballot, but she is running a write-in campaign for the District 4 seat.   Collins lives in Sherman Oaks, and is a Realtor in the San Fernando Valley, Beverly Hills and other Westside areas of Los Angeles. According to her campaign website, she also has prior experience managing surgical practices, specializing in risk management.  Collins is active in the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council and the Sherman Oaks Homeowners’ Association, and she is one of the founders of the Sherman Oaks Community Bulletin Facebook page.  On the issues, Collins is particularly concerned about homelessness and associated mental health, addiction and crime issues, and especially their impacts on the communities of Los Angeles.  She supports the California Compassionate Intervention Act, reinstatement of laws that would help authorities encourage treatment and services for individuals who need them, partnering with non-profit agencies to “redefine the housing-first low barrier entry program,” expanding the Section 8 program for housing, expanding the current 211 program for homeless intake and services, and promoting life and job skills training programs, along with programs to keep at-risk youth from becoming homeless. Other issues of interest listed on her website include “integrity and community in government,” “reducing our environmental footprint,” animal rights and traffic.

Major endorsements:  None listed.

Sarah Kate Levy

Sarah Kate Levy

Levy moved to Los Angeles as a young adult, and – according to her website and stump speeches – credits the city’s once-affordable housing (her first apartment here was just $300 a month) with providing the opportunity she needed to launch a career, go to graduate school and eventually become a screenwriter.  She now serves as President of the LA Metro chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus, where she “helps recruit, train, and elect pro-choice, pro-ERA women to local, state, and federal seats,” and she is a dues-paying member of WGA-West.  According to her website, she also “volunteers with the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project, along with several local activist groups, and is a member of the Democrats for Neighborhood Action, Heart of Los Angeles Democrats, [and] Stonewall Democrats, among other clubs” and serves on the Los Angeles Library Foundation board. Levy’s stated campaign platform addresses homelessness, housing,  “traffic, safe streets, transit & mobility,” trees and parks, climate change, and supporting small businesses.  She lives in Hollywood with her husband and their four children.

Major endorsements:  Congresswoman Katie Porter, Congresswoman Katie Hill (ret.), Delaine Eastin, former California Superintendent of Schools, Thomas O’Shaughnessy, County Commissioner, Heart of LA Democratic Club, Democrats for Israel Los Angeles, SEIU 121RN Nurse Alliance, several local chapters of the National Women’s Political Caucus, Elephant Guardians of Los Angeles, Streets for All, CalBike California Bicycle Coalition, Bike the Vote LA, Scott Epstein, Chair, Mid City West Community Council (and several other individual MCWCC board members), and Fred Mariscal, CD 4 resident and former Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council board member.

Nithya Raman

Nithya Raman

Raman holds a Masters degree in urban planning from MIT, and an undergraduate degree from Harvard.  Before moving to Los Angeles, she started an organization in India that used data to help slum residents advocate for resources like running water and basic sanitation. In Los Angeles, she has worked for the City Administrative Officer, detailing how “the city was spending over $100 million on homelessness, the majority of which was spent on jailing our unhoused neighbors, rather than helping them into stable, permanent homes with access to services.”  In 2017, she and a group of neighbors started the SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition, which provides outreach programs and hot meals and showers to homeless individuals.  She also serves as Co-Chair of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s Homelessness Committee, and has served as executive director of Time’s Up Entertainment, the women’s rights movement furthering equity and safety for women in the entertainment industry.  She lives in Silver Lake with her husband and twin preschoolers.

Major Endorsements: CHIRLA Action Fund, Sunrise Movement Los Angeles, Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, National Women’s Political Caucus, Food & Water Action, Bike the Vote LA, East Valley Indivisibles, Los Angeles County Public Defender Union Local 148, Huelga LA Activist, Feel the Bern Democratic Club Los Angeles, Progressive Asian Network for Action, and Ground Game LA.

David Ryu

David Ryu

David Ryu is the current City Council Member for CD4, just completing his first 4-year term after running to replace termed-out Council Member Tom La Bonge in 2016.  Ryu was born in South Korea, and immigrated to the U.S. with his parents when he was six years old.  He grew up in East Hollywood, and graduated from LAUSD public schools and UCLA.  He also studied Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers University, while completing a graduate internship at the United Nations. According to Ryu’s campaign website, he is the first Korean American on the LA City Council and only the second Asian American on the Council in the City’s history.  Ryu’s big focus in his first campaign was transparency and election finance reform, and he famously refused campaign donations from developers.  During his first term, Ryu championed new campaign finance rules, and created a discretionary funds task force to help review community requests for funding.  Homelessness and housing issues have also been a big focus for Ryu. Before launching his own political career, he worked for the Kedren Community Health Center,  the second largest mental health provider in LA County, and served as a social services deputy for Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite-Burke, focusing  on issues like mental health, children and family services, transportation, and senior issues. Since taking office, he has also helped create a new program for Child Savings Accounts (to help increase graduation and college enrollment rates), new regulations for party houses, mitigating the effects of tourists and tour buses in the Hollywood Hills, and piloting programs for stree tree replacement and concrete street repairs.  He currently lives in the Cahuenga Pass with his wife, Regina. 

Major endorsements: Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles County Democratic Party, Sierra Club, Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters (LALCV), several major labor unions,  Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congressmembers Karen Bass, Judy Chu, Adam Schiff, Jimmy Gomez, Ted Lieu, Brad Sherman, and Mark Takano, LA County Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer, City Controller Ron Galperin, and 10 current City Council Members, including current City Council President Nury Martinez and immediate past president Herb Wesson.


The forum presented the candidates with 20 questions, and each candidate was given 45 seconds (with a hard cutoff) to answer each question.  16 of the questions were pre-selected by the forum organizers, two came from local students, and two were presented live by stakeholders.  These are the major issues that were addressed.

Homelessness, Homeless-Related Health and Safety Issues, and How to Help Homeless Individuals Who are Resistent to Services

Susan Collins said that to prevent “NIMBY push-back” on implementation of homeless programs (such as the locations of new bridge housing and other services), it’s important to make sure that proposed programs address not just homeless individuals, but also how to protect the surrounding communities.  She noted that there used to be several programs in place to address these health and safety issues, but they were defunded.  The solution, she said, is to restore funding to non-profits that can help with community health and safety issues,  and also pass the California Compassionate Intervention Act, which would allow the city to use existing laws to ensure that people get help and communities are protected.

Sarah Kate Levy contended that the city so far has has failed to act as if homelessness is actually a crisis.  She urged the expansion of safe parking and safe camping locations, which would also be equipped with “wraparound” services.  This would not only help people seeking shelter, she said, but would also keep community sidewalks clean and clear for both residents and businesses.  Levy also noted that other cities can immediately house those in need…but we can’t do that in Los Angeles because we don’t have enough shelters, and other services are over-stretched.  First and foremost, she said, we need safe places for people to go, and then we can continue to offer them more permanent housing until they’re ready to take it.

David Ryu noted that he has been working on issues related to homelessness for 16 years, and supports a 3-pronged approach to the problem: build more housing (to make sure there’s enough for everyone who needs it), preserve and produce more moderate income housing (to help prevent homelesness), and preserve and change mental health laws (to expand access and keep people from sliding into “slow suicide”).  Ryu also said the city should focus more on services than sweeps, though we curently don’t have enough resources for either of those endeavors.

Nithya Raman said there’s a “massive gap” between the city’s rhetoric of urgency and its actions on this issue.  For example, she said, there are 9,000 people sleeping in their cars…but sleeping in cars on city streets is illegal in most places in the city, and there are only 285 official safe parking spots.  She also noted that the “service resistent” problem comes mostly from the way we’ve been offering services, such as during encampment sweeps, which is absolutely the worst time to approach people. Instead, she said, we need to create relationships with individuals to gain their trust and acceptance of services.  And she recommended using neighborhood access centers like the SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition in that effort.

Housing:  SB50, Short-Term Rentals, Construction vs. Preservation & Aesthetics, Affordability for the Middle Class

Nithya Raman said we do have an incredible need for new housing, especially affordable housing, but SB50 (the state-level bill that would have promoted new housing construction by eliminating most local zoning rules statewide) was a “blunt tool.”  She noted the need to protect existing affordable housing, especially in the face of many soon-to-expire affordability covenants on older, existing buildings, and said she would also like to protect existing housing units from being lost to short-term rentals.  She said we do need to open up building rules in transit-adjacent neighborhoods, and increase density there, and that building more will eventually lead to construction of more moderate rate units.  At the same, time, however, Raman noted that “there’s a context of deep distrust” with City Hall, and we need to get developer money out of local political campaigns, and fund elections publicly, to regain the public’s trust.

Susan Collins said she actively opposed SB50, which was a “huge over-reach,” and that she believes individual communities must retain local control over their own zoning and development. On the subject of short-term rentals, Collins said the problems come mostly from “party houses,” and the city shouldn’t interfere with people making extra income from space in their own homes (although good oversight of the process is important). As for fast development vs. preservation and aesthetic concerns, Collins said we need to encourage community involvement in the development process, and improve community outreach for new projects.  And finally on middle class affordability, Collins said we need to expand Section 8 and voucher programs, so more people are eligible for assistance, and we need to tie housing to the proximity of people’s workplaces.

Sarah Kate Levy said she liked the most recent version of SB50 because it gave cities two years to come up with their own plans to address the “major, major” housing crisis before Sacramento would step in with new rules.  She said she also liked that it would also prevent mass evictions by landlords, and densification in fire zones, as well as allow the addition of 2-4 units on most residential parcels. On short-term rentals, Levy agreed that party houses are the main problem and that we should protect the short-term-rental income stream for people who depend on renting space in their homes.  She also supported better enforcement of local preservation rules, and said it is possible to also have new housing that maintains the existing character of neighborhoods.  Finally, she said that while we do need to “go now, go fast” on housing construction, we also need to do a better job of incentivizing construction of affordable units, pointing out that Santa Monica requires a minimum of 30% affordable units in its developments (while LA’s threshold is much lower).

David Ryu noted that he opoosed SB50 because it failed to protect existing housing and renters, and it was a “stick and stick” approach that punished cities instead of incentivizing construction of affordable housing.  And “what we really have is an affordability crisis,” he said .  Ryu said he would love to see an incentive-based approach to building more housing…but that we need to work together to create something that will work for our community, rather than a top-down solution.  On short-term rentals, Ryu also said that he supports “new technologies” such as AirBnB, but that the big problem does come with whole-home rentals, which reduce the housing stock for city residents and increases the number of party houses.  He also said he supports local preservation efforts, which help maintain the number existing affordable housing units.  Finally, he noted that he recently introduced a motion that would encourage construction of more moderate-income housing, specifically for people making $40,000 to $90,000 per year (a category that makes up only .05% of current construction).

Environment: Clean Energy, Plastics, and the “Culture of Waste”

On the city’s stated goal of getting Los Angeles to 100% clean energy by 2030, Nithya Raman noted that she’s the the only candidate endorsed by the Sunrise Movement.  She also noted that LA has a particular advantage in working toward this goal because it owns the DWP, so can set its own timeline and make big investments in solar power and distributed solar energy plans.  “We have every tool we need in our tool box…we just have to commit to doing it,” she said.  Moving on to the topic of a plastics ban  brought Raman back to her previous statements about publicly funded elections.  Raman noted that there was a ban on single use plastic bottles in the works at the state level not long ago, but it was stopped by corporate  lobbying.  She said we need to get that kind of money out of city hall, and that public financing of elections is “essential.”

Susan Collins said 2045 is probably a more realistic clean energy target than 2030, but that there are many things we can do to reduce our overall carbon footprint, such as adding just one person to everyone’s daily car pool. She said this would have advantages on par with public transit, but without the big financial or energy expenditures of building huge new transit projects.  Collins also said she support simple actions such as eliminating plastic utensils and styrofoam from our daily use, and that our current rules on re-usable plastic bags and elimating paper straws are helpful, too.

Sarah Kate Levy said that it is possible to reach the city’s clean energy goal by 2030, but we have to get “incredibly serious” to do it. This would include increasing protections for parks and trees, and adding solar power to all buildings (putting solar micro-grids on all tall buildings, she said, could power all of downtown).  Single-use water bottles are another issue we need to look at, Levy said, and we should invest in infrastructure changes that would make it easier for everyone to carry and refill their own reusable bottles.

David Ryu said he belives both 2045 and 2030 are too late.  He said we should start now to close coal plants, increase solar power and “think outside the box” for other solutions.  He also said we need to rebuild and invest in our urban forest.   He reminded the audience that he is endorsed by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups, and that he worked with former County Supervisor Yvonne Burke on the plastic bag ban, was on the City Council when it passed the plastic straw ban, and that the Council is now working on a new ban of single-use plastic bottles.

Traffic:  Safety, Walkability/Bikeability, Waze, and Getting More People onto Public Transit

Sarah Kate Levy said, “I think every day about people dying in our streets,” and that there are lots of high-injury locations in CD4.  To increase safety, she recommented narrowing streets to reduce traffic speeds and flow, and rebuilding other parts of our infrastructure to prioritize moving people safely.  Levy agreed with Collins (see below) that adding traffic signs could help with safety in the short term, but in the long term, she asked, “how do we create better choices for Angelenos to travel around the city via on protected bus lanes and protected bike lanes? In the short term, city shuttles that get you first mile, last mile to your trains…how do we make it so that those of us who want to travel differently will leave the road ways?”  Levy also loves buses, but says there are issues with convenience, accessibility, and reliability.  She proposed Dash service in every single neighborhood, running every ten minutes instead of every 45 minutes. Levy said she would also advocate for putting protected bus lanes on every street that used to have a street car. “LA used to have the best transit in the nation,” she said, “and we could have that again with protected bus lanes across this county.” She added that we could also so simple things like benches shade, lighting and signage that lets people know about route changes.

David Ryu said he fully supports the city’s current Vision Zero program, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities.  He said we needto use “all the tools in our aresnal” to make things safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and make sure our streets are walkable.  Waze and other apps that create new residential cut-through traffic, he said, has been “a thorn on my side issue.”  Ryu said the problem has dramatically increased since the introduction of GPS apps, and he has been “working closely with all the various neighborhoods” to discuss the issue.  He has also met with company executives repeatedly, but says the City’s authority with private companies operating on public streets is limited, though he has been pushing the City Attorney to file a lawsuit against Waze, because its technology promised to make streets safer and friendlier, not less so.  Finally, Ryu agreed with his challengers on making buses more convenient, but he said he has focused his efforts on solving the on the last-mile problem – how do you get people to transit? Ryu said he is championing a “multi-modal strategy and a whole ecosystem, which is why I have been a champion and leader new technologies like dockless bikes and scooters.” Even though scooters and bikes are controversial, Ryu said, he supports their use as part of the puzzle that gets people out of cars.

Nithya Raman wasn’t so supportive of current city efforts to calm traffic.  She said there have been numerous traffic safety plans put forth by city hall, but they tend to go unimplemented or not built out because too many residents speak out against taking space from cars.  But she said that needs to change. “We want to take back our streets.”  Raman also said she wants to focus on why the traffic is much worse these days, because there has not been enough investment in bus service and access to transit to get people out of their cars…as well as a lack of housing in the city that is causing people to have to move further out and commute in. She also agreed the City needs to do a better job of advocating for neighborhoods.  Raman said she loves buses and wants to take them more, but they don’t come often enough and they take too long to reach her destination. She said buses need to come every ten minutes and we need to make it faster to get to using dedicated bus lanes. “I think both of these things will really incentivize bus use throughout the city,” said Raman.

Susan Collins agreed that we should have a more walkable and bikeable city, and noted that we can’t reduce our carbon footprit while there’s so much traffic gridlock.  At the same time, however, she also said that kind of planning has to be done carefully, and that not all communities are suitable for reductions in road capacity.  Collins said she has researched the GPS app issues with programers, who suggest restricting turns as a means to reducing unwanted traffic on residential streets. Collins pledged to work with neighborhoods to develop a comprehensive plan for this.  Also, once again, Collins said “that by just adding one person to a carpool reduces our carbon footprint dramatically, better than the bus service and doesn’t cost millions of dollars.” Collins said rail is even more expensive and the “amount of toxicity that it puts into our community while it’s being built out will take decades to recover from.” Instead, Collins suggested we support local businesses so people can live and work in “on a smaller level,” and they don’t have to travel as far every day.

Sidewalk Repairs and Contractor Accountability

Susan Collins said sidewalk safety is a personal priority for her because her mother uses a wheelchair. She urged residents to hold city officials accountable when sidewalks are unsafe or blocked by homeless people. “Our city needs to aggressively pursue making certain that all of our sidewalks and public areas are available with ease and comfort to people with disabilities.”

Sara Kate Levy said it’s the job of the council office to track all repairs in the neighborhood and all service calls, and she’d fire any contractors who are not doing good work.

David Ryu said when he got elected, he started advocating for a city “office of construction coordination,” to oversee repairs, rather than rely on each council office to track repair projects. Ryu said he has advocated for more funds for infrastructure repairs, adding to the city budget $25 million for street repairs, including $7 million for concrete streets, some of which haven’t been touched in 90 years.  Ryu noted that he also championed a repair program for “failed streets,” which had been effectively abandoned by the city. Ryu said he’s been working closely with the Windsor Square neighborhood to develop a tree replacement policy for sidewalk repairs, and he’s going to use that as a blueprint for the rest of the city.

Nithya Raman said she sees  the issue as a matter of accountability, noting that voters make investments with their tax dollars but city agencies and contractors don’t deliver the results. She cited “Measure HHH, which was supposed to deliver 10,000 permanent supportive housing units in ten years, but has delivered less than 600…and it will take longer than 10 years to get to that building.”  Blaming the current city council for failing to hold contractors accountable, Raman said she’d be very committed to monitoring contracts and “making sure that every dollar that is spent is delivering exactly what it’s supposed be delivering for our residents.”

Improving Parks and Green Space

Sarah Kate Levy lead off, saying we should “claw back” some parking spaces and convert them into green space. Levy said there are currently 18 million parking spaces county-wide for 5.5 million cars. She also said she would take the fence down at the Rowena Reservoir and support Silver Lake Forward’s efforts.

David Ryu said he grew up without park space and is proud of his efforts as a councilmember to work with non-profits to refurbish playgrounds and purchase land to add to parks. He said he isparticularly proud of his work with LAUSD on joint use agreements, creating public park space at elementary schools.

Nithya Raman said she also supports opening the Rowena reservoir and better utilization of city parks and more parks accross the city, especially in neighborhoods that have none.

Susan Collins agreed with the others about opening up Rowena Reservoir. She said green space should be part of any new construction projects, and the city should make sure parks are clean and safe and usable for families.

Supporting Small Businesses

David Ryu said he knows first-hand how hard small business owners work from watching his immigrant family start and operate a toy store. Ryu said he ismeeting with various chambers of commerce for ideas on ways to help small businesses and attract investment.

Nithya Raman said she is open to having a conversation about a rent stabilization ordinance for commercial leases, to prevent the loss of small businesses and the “homogenization” of our retail community…which happens when small businesses can’t compete with larger national stores. “I think we want to preserve this city as a place of diversity and a place that’s fun to shop in,” said Raman.

Susan Collins blamed the internet and legislation like AB5 for hurting small businesses. She said local chambers of commerce should do more to support local businesses because “they are the lifeblood of our communities.”

Sara Kate Levy said the city needs to do a better job to support local businesses, which are “the backbone of our city.” She said small businesses struggle with permitting issues, ADA lawsuits and other situations in which they don’t have back up from the city. “And, let’s talk about the cannabis roll-out that could have put so much money into this budget — we’ve got to do better!” concluded Levy.


Sophia Olivares, a senior from John Marshal High School, asked the candidates what they could do to help the students of the school district. Despite the fact that LAUSD is a separate agency not under the jurisdiction of City Council, all the candidates supported improving education.

Susan Collins said she is concerned about wasteful spending and merit pay for teachers.

Sarah Kate Levy said she would make sure we have enough affordable housing near schools. She also said she supports the Schools First Initiative because it will provide more funds for schools.

David Ryu also supports the Schools First Initiative. He also said he is very proud of his program, launching this September, to establish college savings accounts for young children. According to Ryu, research has shown that a $50 savings account increases college acceptance rates four-fold, and college graduation rates by three-fold.  Just planting the seed that a student can go to college will help achieve that goal, said Ryu. “In LAUSD where 80 percent of our students are under the federal poverty guideline, and 17,000 students are homeless, this program is not just a college bound program, it is a homeless prevention program, it is a crime prevention program, it is a poverty prevention program.”

Nithya Raman said the city council could help LAUSD families threatened with eviction by providing lawyers who can help keep people in their homes 85 percent of the time. The city could also provide emergency rental assistance and even call for a rent freeze through the rent stabilization ordinance, Raman said.

Empowering Neighborhood Councils

As the event was sponsored by several neighborhood councils, suggestinggreat interest in this topic, the candidates were given an extra 15 seconds (for a total of 60) to answer this question.

Sarah Kate Levy expressed her deep appreciation for the volunteers who serve on neighborhood councils. She said she thought there should be some kind of per diem for their service, and that the city should provide much more support and outreach to help get more residents involved in their local neighborhood councils.

David Ryu said he was the only candidate to have served on a neighborhood council, and was proud of his efforts to work with neighborhood councils to address issues like roll-over funds.  He pledged to continue to work wtih NCs on every neighborhood issue. “Every developer in town knows, before they come to my office, they should go and talk to their neighborhood council,” said Ryu. “I will continue to work with you because you are what makes this city great.”

Nithya Raman said she has learned a great deal serving as a member and co-chair of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s homelessness committee. She explained she started the SELAH neighborhood homelessness coalition to collaborate on finding solutions. She said she’d also like to make some structural changes to the neighborhood councils, so they can become centers of volunteerism in the community.

Susan Collins said she’d like to see greater awareness of neighborhood councils, through more aggressive and effective outreach.

Wildife in Urban Neighborhoods

A bit taken a back by this one, Nithya Raman said she doesn’t feel like the local wildlife is aggressive, but she said given the development in places like the LA River, we should have a plan for addressing how to handle wildlife when we alter or disturb its native habitat.

Susan Collins, a self-described “avid animal advocate,” said sightings of coyotes in her neighborhood in Sherman Oaks are very frequent. Collins said she takes steps on her own to make sure her animals are safe. “We have encroached on their community, and we need to navigate that process in a way that is sensitive to wildlife and also ensures our safety,” she said. “We can ensure their safety and ensure our safety as well.”

Sarah Kate Levy said she can understand the fear, but the city should also take a “stronger hammer to people who feed the wildlife — people tend to let the trash pile up at their homes.”

David Ryu agreed that coyote attacks can be traumatic, and noted that he helped increase the city budget for animal care officers.

Closing Statements

The candidates were allowed 90-second closing statements, in this order:

Nithya Raman explained that she decided to run for City Council because the current council members are not using their “incredible powers with a weak mayor and a strong council system; we have 15 council members and each act as mini mayors.” Raman asked residents to join her in aggressively addressing issues, and asked them to look away from the “politics of complacency, of corruption, and cynicism, and work together to build a Los Angles that is just and sustainable.”

David Ryu said solutions are not easy, things take time and we can’t shift problems from one part of the city to another. Even though things look bleak, he said, he is optimistic because people are now talking about the homelessness crisis and seeking to solve the problem with compassion. If there were just one solution to solve the problem, he said, it would have been done by now. “We can work together and help our unhoused neighbors and actually get at the root of the problem. Homelessness is a poverty crisis, and together we can solve it.” said Ryu.

Sarah Kate Levy said she chose to run for office because as a mother of four children, she couldn’t sit back and watch our city “slow boat” on important issues that affect her family – things like affordable housing, safe streets, trees and park space. “I’m not running so I can go to city council and take 15-0 votes. I am not afraid to show up every day and fight for the community I love,” concluded Levy.

Susan Collins said she decided to run for City Council because of the homelessness crisis, saying she was frustrated that she never got answers from the city  when she would ask repeatedly about her own safety and that of her community. “You know, special interests have plenty of people talking about them and covering for them. The homeless now have a lot of advocates for them and that’s great, but what about the rest of us? What about the rest of us whose kids just want to go to the park?  What about the people who just want to walk their dogs without having things thrown at us or stepping in feces?” asked Collins. Collins said she wants to make certain her community has representation and that she reflects their views. And she said she would implement their views on the City Council. “My job is to the represent the communities that trust me and elect me,” said Collins.


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