Ridley-Thomas has been a consistent voice advocating for homeless housing and services. His mixed record on criminalization and policing raised concerns, but he is moving in the right direction on these issues. His long tenure in office gives him expertise, but also suggests he may not move the city in new directions.
Yoo’s stances on tenant protections and housing policy lean in the correct direction, but her opposition to a local shelter and her lack of deep knowledge on housing and homelessness issues raises concern. Her campaign has also failed to meet the moment, lacking a real platform on policing.
Raman’s platform is detailed and specific and prioritizes issues of housing and homelessness. Decriminalizing homelessness and poverty is a core issue on her overall platform and she would bring many new ideas to the council. She also has experience founding a homelessness service organization.
Ryu has worked on housing and homelessness issues as a city councilor and his recent statements against criminalization are a positive development, but his platform and his record on housing in his district don’t reflect the urgency of the moment. Ryu’s past votes on criminalization and his comments about conservatorship gave us pause, as did the imbalance between luxury and affordable housing development in his district.
Mitchell has a solid grasp of the issues and has a record of reducing the criminalization of vulnerable populations. She has a consistent record on writing and passing relevant legislation. Mitchell has an experienced point of view, and has been willing to take the lead on issues that she feels strongly about.
Herb Wesson tends to vote the right way on housing and homelessness issues, but projects and policies originating from his office, like the LaFayette Park Bridge Home, have often been small-scale and slow to materialize. Recently, he has been an advocate for better criminal justice policy. Wesson understands government and the issues, but often takes a quiet and transactional approach to getting things done.
Gascón’s platforms show he’s serious about reform, and he provides the most detailed and specific plans of any DA candidate. His homelessness platform, showing his ability to connect the justice system to housing instability. He has shown a willingness to engage with activists and evolve on issues, but some of his past choices as a police officer and district attorney raised questions.
Lacey’s history on homelessness and criminal justice broadly suggest that she does not prioritize the needs of unhoused Angelenos. Her office has fought against efforts to reduce incarceration and criminalization, and she has faced criticism from activists and elected officials who once endorsed her.
Santiago has generally supported renter protections and bills to fund homeless services/housing, but has generally avoided rocking the boat in Sacramento. His mixed record on criminal justice and policing leaves us wondering where he stands on those issues.
Santos Plata would be the only renter in the state legislature, and his platform demonstrates a deep focus on the housing needs of low income communities. His deep ties to activists and community groups around the district were also appreciated by our members.
Gomez has consistently supported federal funding to protect renters and help local governments fund services and housing. However, he has been slow to respond to the constituents’ housing concerns, and has failed to offer bold policies despite taking a leadership role in local homelessness discussions.
Kim’s platform demonstrates that he’s listened to housing activists in and around his district, offering bold proposals to address housing issues. Kim has also demonstrated deep ties to his community, participating in protests and mutual aid projects around the district.
Ktown For All’s Policy Committee held a special meeting to review and rate local candidates included on the November 3, 2020 ballot that would 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. Additionally, we included California State Assembly and United States Congress races that would represent Ktown. Twelve 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, homelessness services, renter protections, criminalization, and knowledge of the issues. Housing Policy specifically reflected overall housing policies (not related to homelessness services). Areas that were explored were the candidates’ commitment to affordable housing development as well as public housing and community land trusts. Candidates were also evaluated on their proposed strategies for increasing affordable housing, their stance on issues such as Prop 15, Prop 13, a vacancy tax, and finally their endorsement of the homes guarantee platform, which has been formally endorsed by Ktown for all. Homelessness services reflected the candidates’ proposed or historical policies related to services for people experiencing homelessness, including things such as supportive housing, shelter, and street-level services. Grades considered that homelessness services proposals were in depth, included a range of options, and especially did not reflect the ideology of “service resistance.” For renter protections, candidates were graded on renter protection proposals such as tenant right to counsel, rent freeze, rent cancellation within the COVID-19 pandemic, endorsement of Proposition 21, and their ability to connect renter protections to homelessness prevention. For criminalization, candidates’ grades were based on their attitudes and history towards punitive policies that target and/or criminalize people experiencing homelessness, as well as the candidates’ relationship and approach to policing. Depth of Knowledge reflected the candidates’ overall understanding of the issue of homelessness in Los Angeles, their successful record on passing policy, as well as their fluency in speaking to housing and homelessness issues. 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. A KFA member presented research on candidates in one particular race, which were then discussed with the overall group. Grades were collected from all participating members after each race was presented. Therefore, candidate grades are best compared within each race, not across the full set of those candidates. Each member 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. Candidates’ overall grades and specific issue grades are presented in this report, along with a brief summary of how we arrived at each grade.