Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has tackled many challenges during his 27 years in public service, which sets the stage for what he hopes will be his next job as mayor of Los Angeles.
Feuer said his tenure representing the Los Angeles City Council’s 5th District, serving in the California State Assembly and leading one of the largest city attorney’s offices in the United States has placed him in a unique position to guide the city into the future. Feuer said his aspirations to serve as mayor come from a desire to help people and improve society, and he is running because “the status quo isn’t working.”
“At this moment in the history of the city when we confront so many crises, this is the time when we define who we are,” Feuer said. “I am choosing to run now because I think I can contribute meaningfully to moving the city forward at a time when we need it the most.”
The primary for the next municipal election will be held June 7, 2022, but Feuer said there is an urgency now to get things accomplished, particularly as the city moves into recovery from the pandemic. His years working in government, as well as in the private sector as executive director of Bet Tzedek providing legal services for low income individuals, will help him build partnerships and quickly get things done, he said.
“It’s that very experience on which I’m going to draw as mayor in a time of crisis. When we are in a moment like this, that’s when experience counts the most,” Feuer said. “The key to leadership is both having vision and being able to inspire people, and then moving to roll up your sleeves and actually get it done. I’m not a fan of slogans or tweets or the press conference that checks off the box. My view is that if you’re going to lead in government, you’re in office to make big, consequential changes, and that’s what we need in the next mayor.”
Feuer said the pandemic has caused myriad problems during the past year and it will take strong leadership for the city to rebound. Reducing crime, building affordable housing and compassionately helping unhoused individuals are important goals in shaping the future of Los Angeles, he added.
“My first day in office, I am going to declare a state of emergency on homelessness,” Feuer said. “I am going to reach out and convene stakeholders from the city’s largest companies, banks, philanthropic organizations and others to dramatically expand investment in homeless and affordable housing, using that private sector horsepower to complement the public resources that are being brought to bear on the issue.”
Feuer said he plans to create a temporary and affordable housing strike team at City Hall to help expedite housing projects, and will require general managers in all city departments to contribute to the effort to build more housing. He supports converting more hotels and motels into housing because it can be accomplished “cheaper and faster” than building new housing.
“Those will be two watch words for me – cheaper and faster – when it comes to how we grapple with the issue of homelessness,” Feuer said. “We have to have goals. We don’t have any goals right now in the city. My objective is going to be to have street homelessness eliminated in the city within five years, and we are going to have annual targets that are going to be public and transparent, to diminish street homelessness every year.”
Feuer said that includes a multi-pronged approach that includes providing housing, offering case management, ensuring homeless individuals receive resources and helping to prevent vulnerable people from becoming homeless in the first place. Feuer said once housing and resources are made available, he supports removing encampments that many believe have diminished quality of life in Los Angeles. Finding solutions to housing and homelessness and making sure residents can enjoy a good quality of life in their neighborhoods are things that can be achieved concurrently, he said.
“It doesn’t have to be one or the other. It’s not mutually exclusive,” Feuer said. “Our homeless problem is getting worse even as more and more money is being poured into it. I believe prevention is essential. We need to be intervening with families on the precipice of homelessness with emergency relief that prevents them from becoming homeless, which becomes much more expensive for the community, and we need to be ensuring tenants’ rights are protected.”
Addressing crime is a high priority, Feuer said, and he backs law enforcement. He also supports having specialized services that can respond to situations involving people suffering from mental health crises, allowing police officers to address crime rather than those incidents.
“When I hear the slogan ‘defund the police,’ I reject that slogan and I reject the concept behind it. This is a moment when we need a well-trained police force that earns the respect and trust of the community it serves,” Feuer said. “The LAPD should not be the tip of the spear in grappling with mental illness on our streets. Crisis and intervention teams of well-trained professionals should be. I am all for examining the role of the police department to ensure it is focused on its core functions, and I am all for investing in communities that have been underserved for years. Those investments pay dividends when it comes to safety.”
Feuer cited support for businesses and the private sector as being crucial for post-pandemic recovery and said he will continue to work with entities large and small to ensure the city’s economy rebounds rapidly. He also said it is important to work with constituents at the neighborhood level to ensure their concerns are being heard and addressed.
“People are on edge, I get that. Leadership requires rolling up our sleeves and getting together to do it,” Feuer said. “I think the city is incredibly impatient for effective leadership right now. Every time I talk to a constituent about this race, I hear dissatisfaction of the city and I hear an eagerness not only for change, but concrete action. That’s what I am going to deliver.”
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