Endorsement: Katy Young Yaroslavsky for Los Angeles City Council
We strongly endorse Katy Young Yaroslavsky to fill the open seat vacated by Councilman Paul Koretz, who is termed out. Smart and experienced at navigating her way through local government, she will bring to the position not just an expertise on policy but an understanding of the complexity of homelessness and other problems the city faces.
Yaroslavsky, a land-use and environmental attorney and the daughter-in-law of former L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, spent nearly five years in corporate practice before becoming general counsel and director of government affairs at the Climate Action Reserve, an L.A.-based nonprofit. In 2015, she became senior policy advisor on the environment and the arts for then-newly elected L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
Those who have worked with her found Yaroslavsky tireless and adept at handling complex issues and dealing with local governments, businesses and the community. She also has a record of accomplishment that indicates she will be an effective council member.
She spearheaded the creation of L.A. County’s first Office of Sustainability, which helped pass a landmark ban on single-use plastic food ware. And she spent three years working on Measure W, the Safe, Clean Water Program, building a coalition of labor and environmental leaders, property owners and developers to get their input. The result was a parcel tax, approved by voters in 2018, that generates $300 million a year to capture and clean stormwater before it reaches the ocean. Her ability to listen to a range of constituencies, parse the issues wisely, and get the buy-in of different groups will hold her in good stead on the council as it faces numerous challenges.
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Homelessness and lack of affordable housing are among the issues she will have to take on in a district that stretches from Bel-Air south to Palms and east to Melrose Avenue and some Mid-City neighborhoods.
Her opponent, Sam Yebri, an attorney and a board member of various community nonprofit groups, doesn’t have the experience that Yaroslavsky does — nor the same outlook on strategies to address homelessness.
Both Yaroslavsky and Yebri believe, rightly, that it’s crucial for the city to provide housing and services, including mental health treatment for homeless individuals. But Yebri has overemphasized utilizing a controversial city ban on encampments. Pushing people from one sidewalk to another does not reduce homelessness. Yaroslavsky knows that the anti-camping ordinance should not be wielded against homeless people. That tactic should only be used if paired with housing and services that effectively meet people’s needs.
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