While most of our Buzz readers live in areas covered by City Council District 4, where current Council Member David Ryu is not up for re-election this year, there are two other nearby districts where seats are currently up for grabs, and which either cover a portion of our usual Buzz territory (CD5) or areas immediately adjacent to it (CD13). Today we look at the race in CD13, which covers Echo Park, Silver Lake, Atwater Village and Historic Filipinotown…as well as parts of south Hollywood that abut our Greater Wilshire area along Melrose Ave.
In CD13 this year, longtime incumbent Mitch O’Farrell is facing five challengers: Doug Haines, David De la Torre, Jessica Salans, Sylvie Shain and Bill Zide…and issues of housing, planning and development loom large in the overall conversation:
David De la Torre – De la Torre lists his profession as an “international business manager in the maritime industry,” and says in official profiles that his top three priorities are public safety, everyday quality of life issues and education. His larger platform includes additional statements on the environment, housing, business, development, and homelessness. He is endorsed by the Southern California Armenian Democrats.
Doug Haines – Haines is a longtime neighborhood and anti-development activist. He was profiled by the LA Times in November, and is most famously part of the La Mirada Avenue Neighborhood Association, which has filed a number of high-profile anti-development lawsuits, including the one that halted construction of the Target shopping center on Sunset Blvd. two years ago (the project remains in legal limbo). Haines was also a key player in helping other neighborhood groups overturn the city’s update of the Hollywood Community Plan, which would have created much more density near transit corridors. Haines is a strong supporter of Measure S, which calls for a two-year moratorium on development projects that require a zone change (while the city updates its General and Community Plans)…and he is endorsed by former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.
Mitch O’Farrell – O’Farrell is the incumbent in this race, and has the largest number of current endorsements. They include nods from Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council President Herb Wesson, LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, State Senator Ben Allen, Assembly Members Laura Friedman, Richard Bloom and Jimmy Gomez, and LAUSD Board Member Monica Garcia. He is also supported by the L.A. Times (“O’Farrell has proved himself to be a thoughtful, committed representative who has his eyes on the long-term needs of the city”), a number of Democratic Party and labor organizations, and several Chambers of Commerce. O’Farrell’s website (see link above) lists his priorities as protecting communities, creating jobs and economic opportunity, affordable housing, improving city services, supporting local agencies working to end homelessness, protecting the historic character and preservation of important community locations, the environment (especially Los Angeles River improvements), and expanding arts and cultural programs.
Jessica Salans – Salans describes herself as an “activist, organizer and storyteller, originally from the Bay Area,” and says she “felt a strong call-to-action after volunteering for Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign in 2016.” She has been involved with Food and Water Watch and Save Porter Ranch’s efforts to permanently shut down the natural gas storage facility at Alison Canyon, where last year’s gas blow out caused the largest release of methane in US history. Salans’ platform focuses on social, racial, economic and environmental justice, and her goals include eradicating homelessness, supporting mixed-income communities and affordable housing, supporting the Sanctuary City program, reforming police training, supporting small businesses and universal health care, instituting a $15/hr. minimum wage, creating clean energy jobs, keeping waste out of landfills, and supporting urban transportation projects and networks. She is endorsed by the Green Party.
Sylvie Shain – Shain is an active housing rights advocate and a founding member of the LA Tenants Union, who was “galvanized” after being evicted from the Via Carlotta, the historic Hollywood apartment building developers originally intended to turn into a hotel. Shain describes herself as “someone who will work hard to formulate policies that will stem displacement of people and existing businesses; someone who will responsibly allocate funding to house the homeless and protect our vulnerable immigrant communities; and someone who will support and accelerate the transition to renewable energy, improve our city’s investment in infrastructure and green spaces, and make sure our roads and sidewalks are well maintained and safe.”
Bill Zide – Zide is a former president of the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council and member of the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council. He lists his top three priorities for his potential city council service as reforming the city’s planning and development process, removing the “undue influence” of developer money in city government, protecting the city’s affordable (specifically rent-controlled) housing stock, and supporting “new construction of truly affordable units within CD13 and within the City of LA as a whole.” He would also like to create “AngelCare,” a single-payer two-tier health care system for the City of Los Angeles. In addition, as a film, TV and media writer, Zide supports keeping union entertainment production in the city…and keeping the city “affordable for the creative community.”
For more information on the CD13 candidates, the EastsiderLA has run a series of articles profiling their specific positions on development and homelessness…and the Los Feliz Ledger has printed their stances on affordable housing and small business support.
There will also be a more up close and personal CD13 candidate forum on Monday, February 27, sponsored by the Silver Lake, Atwater Village, Echo Park, and Rampart Village Neighborhood Councils, at 7 p.m. at the Mayberry Elementary School Auditorium, 2414 Mayberry Street, 90026.
And finally, worth noting – if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the March 7 election, the top vote-getters will advance to a run-off in the May 16 city election.