The homelessness crisis and its solutions are directly tied to the decisions that are made by Los Angeles Local governing bodies. On March 3rd, Los Angeles will be holding elections that will determine the future of City Council, the County Board of Supervisors, the District Attorney, and more. The City of Los Angeles is home to over 4 million of the County’s residents, yet there are only 15 City Councilors and one Mayor deciding City policy. With a budget of $10.71 billion, City Councilors have the power to: implement bridge housing, designate safe parking locations, prevent evictions, build affordable housing, tell the LAPD how to spend their money, and decide whether it should be illegal to sleep in your car, on the street, or in a park. Los Angeles County is home to over 10 million people, with 60,000 that are unhoused and hundreds of thousands of others that are on the brink of losing their housing – yet there are only five elected officials (County Supervisors) who decide County policy. With a budget of $36.1 billion, the County Supervisors have the power to: decide how the $355 million Measure H dollars are spent, what the systems look like including justice and child welfare, and more. The LA County District Attorney supervises nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys. They make decisions about who to prosecute and what charges to bring.
Ktown For All’s Policy and Education Committee (KFAPEC) held a special meeting to review and rate local candidates included on the March 3, 2020, primary ballot that would potentially have jurisdiction over the community of Ktown: City Council District 4, City Council District 10, LA County Supervisor District 2, and LA County District Attorney. Committee members gathered research from candidate websites, public coverage, candidate press or public statements, voting records (when applicable), and candidate public forums.
The committee reviewed each candidate on five categories related to homelessness and housing in Los Angeles. Candidate platforms on other issues were not taken into account. The five categories identified were: Housing Policy, which specifically reflected overall housing policies (not related to homelessness services), such as affordable housing development and zoning policies; Homelessness Services, related to candidates proposed or historical policies related to services for persons experiencing homelessness including things such as supportive housing, shelter, and street-level services; Renter Protections, which reflects policies or approaches to supporting tenants; Criminalization, which reflects candidates’ attitudes and history towards punitive policies that target and/or criminalize persons experiencing homelessness; and Depth of Knowledge, which reflected the candidates’ overall understanding of the issue of homelessness in Los Angeles as well as the context of the system it exists within. District Attorney grades reflected slightly different categories, including: Overall Criminal Justice Policy; Criminalization of Homelessness; and Focus on Homelessness.
The research was presented to the group and each candidate was discussed individually. Each KFAPEC member present assigned a unique grade (range A – F) for each category. If a member works or worked for a specific candidate, they were excluded from grading candidates in that race. Then an average grade was calculated for each category. Finally, an average grade was calculated based on the average across all five categories, resulting in a final overall grade. Candidate’s overall grades and specific issue grades are presented in this report, along with a brief summary of how we arrived at each grade.