Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who is often seen sporting a Panama-style hat, has announced his candidacy for a third and final term representing the 13th District, which includes portions of Hollywood as well as Silver Lake, Echo Park, Atwater Village and Glassell Park.
O’Farrell was first elected in 2013 and previously served as an aide to his predecessor, now-Mayor Eric Garcetti. O’Farrell is a member of the Wyandotte Nation and the first Native American to serve on the Los Angeles City Council.
“My involvement in public service began as a community activist in the 13th District, years before I ran for a seat on the City Council,” O’Farrell said. “Los Angeles faces immense challenges, and my constituents deserve a proven leader with a track record of delivering results unafraid of challenging the status quo.”
O’Farrell, who is a Democrat, cited many accomplishments during his first two terms in office, including establishing the first Indigenous People Day in L.A., which replaced Columbus Day in 2018 and celebrates contributions of the Indigenous people of the city. He also cited efforts to address homelessness including building housing, creating a safe parking lot for people living in vehicles and working to house more than 200 people who had been staying at Echo Park Lake – a controversial decision when it occurred this spring – so they could receive services and improvements could be made at the park. More than 43 tons of trash was removed and now the park is place for the general public to enjoy. At Echo Park Lake, the councilman has also established a Tiny Homes Village with 38 cabins to house up to 74 individuals.
O’Farrell added that he is focused on quality of life issues and constituent services, which is something he plans to continue if elected to a third term.
“A councilman has to be a steward of his or her district,” O’Farrell said. “Now, more than ever, experience matters.”
O’Farrell said the city will face many hardships during recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and he remains hyper-focused on addressing them. The issues include Los Angeles’ economic resurgence, and he vowed to work with businesses, property owners and individual residents to ensure they have opportunities to thrive. The councilman cited his creation of funds providing relief to renters, small business owners and small theaters during the pandemic. He also supported “hero pay” for grocery workers and plans to continue looking into ways to help working class families and immigrants. O’Farrell cited improvements around schools as a major focus for an upcoming term.
“I am a strong believer in families and children,” O’Farrell said. “From day one, I have focused on safety around schools.”
The councilman said he is also proud of authoring motions that led to a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco in the city of Los Angeles. He added that climate change and protecting the environment will be a major focus moving forward, and he hopes to further establish areas around the Los Angeles River as places for community recreation and involvement.
In Hollywood, O’Farrell said he plans to continue with improvements on the Walk of Fame. The city is currently working on the early phases of the Heart of Hollywood plan, which will create more pedestrian amenities and walkable spaces along the boulevard. He said many street improvements have already been made, including the installation of new crosswalks, along Hollywood Boulevard west of Western Avenue.
“That goes beyond the 13th District. Hollywood Boulevard is the main boulevard of the city of Los Angeles,” O’Farrell said. “It’s the one everybody knows and comes to. I want to make sure Hollywood Boulevard is worthy of the world-class city Los Angeles has become.”
O’Farrell, who is gay, said he is proud of his work supporting the LGBTQ community. He has created new employment training opportunities for members of the transgender community, and following the All Black Lives Matter march in Hollywood last June, in which members of the LGBTQ community joined others in solidarity seeking social justice, he led an effort to have “All Black Lives Matter” permanently installed in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard west of Highland Avenue to mark the historic march.
O’Farrell added that he he hopes to continue meeting with constituents during the coming months leading up to the primary election on June 7, 2022.
“The 13th District is the heart of the city and the heart of my life, and I am grateful for all the relationships I’ve built during my time in office,” O’Farrell said. “I look forward to continuing our progress, growing our diverse coalition and furthering my service to the wonderful people of the 13th District.”