LA City Council District 5: Meet the candidates

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152750 full

On March 7, Los Angeles voters head to the polls to decide the fate of eight City Council seats. One of the most competitive contests is the race in council District 5, which covers communities like Bel Air, Westwood, Hollywood, Palms and Encino.

City Council member Paul Koretz is running for his third term and facing two challengers, attorney Jesse Creed and Mark Herd, a community leader who’s been active on the Westwood Neighborhood Council and the Westwood Homeowners Association.

If no candidate gets a majority of votes needed to win the seat outright in Tuesday's primary, the top two candidates will advance to the general election on May 16.

To help District 5 voters make their choice, KPCC conducted a candidate survey.

We asked each candidate to give us their one-sentence pitch to voters, a brief bio and answers to two questions. The seat is nonpartisan, but as a point of reference Creed and Koretz are both Democrats. Herd did not indicate a political affiliation to KPCC. Below you’ll find the candidates' answers in their own words. Submissions have been lightly edited for style and clarity.

Mark Matthew Herd

Mark M. Herd, one of the three candidates from District 5 running for City Council.
Mark M. Herd, one of the three candidates from District 5 running for City Council. Courtesy of Mark M. Herd

ONE-SENTENCE PITCH:

Voters deserve more than a one sentence pitch and a puppet on the take to represent them and should go to www.VoteHerd2017.com to find out why.

BIO

Full bio @ www.VoteHerd2017.com

WHAT IS THE TOP PROBLEM IN DISTRICT 5 AND HOW WOULD YOU FIX IT?

There are MANY top problems like "Money in politics", reckless over development, traffic, and public safety BUT voters should go to www.VoteHerd2017.com to see all of our solutions to our top 10 problems.

IF ELECTED, HOW WOULD YOU APPROACH CONSTITUENT CONCERNS?

Openly, transparently and with the goal of representing residents and homeowners needs and not greedy developers who continue to grease the city council so they can get their spot zoning and massive "gridlock causing" projects installed.

Jesse Max Creed

ONE-SENTENCE PITCH: 

I'm the only major candidate to refuse money from developers and lobbyists; the only people I'll be accountable are the people of my district.

BIO

Attorney Jesse Creed, one of the three candidates from District 5 running for City Council.
Attorney Jesse Creed, one of the three candidates from District 5 running for City Council. John D. Russell Photography

Jesse Creed is a veteran’s advocate and community activist running to bring power back to the people of our city and create a world-class Los Angeles. Creed was instrumental in implementing a plan to get over one thousand homeless veterans off the streets and is Co-Chair of the Community Veterans Oversight and Engagement Board created by President Obama. Creed will be an independent voice for our neighborhoods on the City Council.

WHAT IS THE TOP PROBLEM IN DISTRICT 5 AND HOW WOULD YOU FIX IT?

The top problem in my district and in the City is money in politics, because it is the root of every other problem. Special interests controlling City Hall impact every aspect of our lives, from traffic to public safety to development. I will propose a public financing system for LA City Council elections in the first 100 days, as well as fight to implement a ban on developer donations and restrict lobbyist fundraising activities.

IF ELECTED, HOW WOULD YOU APPROACH CONSTITUENT CONCERNS?

I will be incredibly accessible and available to members of the public. As somebody without the support of lobbyists and special interests, I will be uniquely positioned to provide the best quality of responsive constituent service, because my focus will only be of the people of our council district. I will hold regular town halls in every neighborhood and ensure I reach out to every resident, from the homeowner association and neighborhood council activists to regular citizens.

Paul Koretz

City Council member Paul Koretz is running for his third term as the representative of District 5, and is facing two challengers.
City Council member Paul Koretz is running for his third term as the representative of District 5, and is facing two challengers. Courtesy of Paul Koretz

ONE-SENTENCE PITCH:

I have the experience, close connections to the district, proven leadership on policy and constituent issues, and support from the community.

BIO

I worked as a staffer to former Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky; helped found the City of West Hollywood in 1984; served on the West Hollywood City Council from 1988-2000; served in the State Assembly from 2000-2006, and since 2009 served as a member of the LA City Council. I previously served as Southern California Director of the California League of League of Conservation Voters and Executive Director of the Jewish Labor Committee, Western Region.

WHAT IS THE TOP PROBLEM IN DISTRICT 5 AND HOW WOULD YOU FIX IT?

Homelessness-I have worked many years on this issue and helped found 2 transitional housing programs, including the PATH program. I fought to pass Measure HHH to fund building 10,000 homeless and affordable housing units, and will work to find locations to build these units. I'm fighting to pass Measure H to fund services for the homeless countywide, including LA. I'll continue to fight for funding homeless services, a critical component to housing we will build. I helped push for the record $138 million in this current year’s budget for homeless services. I am working with LAPD and PATH on outreach, especially the LAPD unit focusing on the mentally ill homeless and am encouraging family reunification (getting homeless individuals to live with a family member) as the most humane and least expensive way to help homeless individuals. Although a lot of counseling is involved, groups have had great success with this approach. We are limited by court cases in our ability to break up encampments, but we are working with the City Attorney on all possible legal remedies.

IF ELECTED, HOW WOULD YOU APPROACH CONSTITUENT CONCERNS?

As an elected official, constituent issues, concerns, and services, have been a high priority for me. As the LA Times noted, I care deeply about my district and my constituents and make myself available to them. I have a high standard of engagement with constituents, and am responsive to their concerns. I am very accessible and hold office hours in both my Valley and Westside offices, which are open to all constituents, and my home phone is public. Each year, I attend hundreds of community meetings, including meetings of neighborhood councils, homeowner associations, and nonprofit groups. I listen carefully, take my time, weigh all aspects of an issue and talk to my constituents before making up my mind. My approach is one of collaboration. I will continue to adhere to these standards.

This story has been updated. 

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