Grappling with a historic budget deficit

Just a year ago, the City's financial health was the strongest it had been in more than a decade. But then the COVID pandemic hit, causing not only devastating loss of lives and livelihoods, but also the worst budget catastrophe Los Angeles has ever seen. Continue reading

Giving Thanks

From my family to you and yours, Happy Thanksgiving!  Thanksgiving 2020, like so many other special events this year, will be a very different kind of celebration.  Most of us will be scaling down and enjoying a considerably smaller gathering, in order to keep our friends and community safer during one of the most dangerous periods of the pandemic.  Although this celebration may seem different, Thanksgiving still offers us the opportunity to consider all that we have to be grateful for, even in difficult times. Continue reading

Honoring our Veterans in 2020

Several years ago I created the City Council's annual "Veterans of the Year" ceremony to commemorate Veterans Day. Every year, we have honored and highlighted one veteran from each council district who has served our country and our community with honor and distinction. The proud families and friends of our Veterans of the Year fill the Council Chambers as Councilmembers describe their honorees extraordinary service. The ceremony is always one of the high points of the year at City Hall. Continue reading

Fighting Back Against Corruption at City Hall

The recent indictment and arrest of Councilmember Jose Huizar by the Department of Justice was an important step in addressing a horrendous and disgusting breach of the public's trust. Two months ago, I was among the first city officials to demand Mr. Huizar's resignation from office. But as the legal process proceeds, and regardless of what happens to Mr. Huizar, City Hall needs to take much bolder steps to get to the root of corruption and hold accountable anyone who attempts to profit from it. Continue reading

Reflections On Our City

In the past week, America yet again has been forced to confront the pernicious racial injustice that is our nation's ugly original sin.  Like all Americans, I was outraged by the horrific image of a so-called law enforcement officer in Minnesota callously and cruelly murdering George Floyd.  That officer's knee pressing down on the neck of an African-American man, face down on the street, handcuffed and unarmed, helpless and begging for his life, was the very symbol of the kind of abuse of power and injustice and oppression that too many have suffered for far too long.   Continue reading

Remembering Heroes

For too many Americans, Memorial Day has become a day for barbecuing and beach trips - a day to shop for mattresses and appliances.  This year, our commitment to staying safer at home gives us an opportunity to focus on the real purpose of Memorial Day:  to remember and to honor the men and women who gave their lives in service to our country so that all of us, and others throughout the world, might live in freedom. Continue reading

Here's to the Class of 2020!

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives in countless ways. Too many in our community have lost loved ones. Too many have lost jobs or businesses. And too many have lost the opportunity to appropriately mark life's rites of passage and special moments. Continue reading

A Budget for These Times

I've served as chair of the City Council's Budget and Finance Committee since 2012.  At that time the City was still reeling from the Great Recession, and our budget faced deficits of hundreds of millions of dollars.  Former mayor Richard Riordan even opined in the Wall Street Journal that Los Angeles would need to file bankruptcy by 2014. Continue reading

Feeding Isolated Seniors

One of the distressing offshoots of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the rapid rise in food insecurity, particularly among isolated seniors. Throughout the city, there are thousands of seniors who are living alone, with no one to assist them with meals, who cannot leave home because they are at highest risk from the virus. That situation is even more heartbreaking when those seniors have limited financial resources, and thus often don't know where their next meal is coming from, or if it's coming at all.  In response, countless nonprofit organizations and their volunteers have redoubled their work to feed those in need, and their efforts have made an enormous difference and inspired us all.  Continue reading

A Boost for Small Business

The devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic has visited upon small businesses across the country is measured in mandatory closures, massive unemployment, and long lines at food pantries. For now, these drivers of the American economy are facing a situation as dire as any in the recent history of our country. Continue reading

The Budget and COVID-19

The catastrophic loss of life from COVID-19 throughout our country and the world has been an immense tragedy that none of us will ever forget. Throughout the crisis, our Mayor and our Governor have shown tremendous leadership, which has been sorely lacking elsewhere in our national response.  Our "Safer at Home" policies unquestionably have saved countless lives here in Los Angeles. Continue reading

Holidays Unlike Any Other

This week, Angelenos are celebrating Easter and Passover under the most extraordinary circumstances as we all continue to respect the Safer at Home edicts. Cherished family traditions, worship services and festive gatherings have been set aside, by necessity, in the interests of public health. For all of us, it will be a season unlike any we have experienced, or likely will ever experience again.  Continue reading

Saving Small Business

We are in the midst of an economic cataclysm the likes of which this country has not experienced for decades, perhaps ever. The effect on small businesses - the drivers of the American economy - has been devastating. Continue reading

Transforming NoHo Rec Center

Late last week, City employees worked tirelessly setting up emergency shelters to house people living on the streets during the COVID-19 crisis. By Friday evening, the shelter at the North Hollywood Recreation Center was ready to receive occupants. Continue reading

COVID-19 Response

In times of crisis, it is the role of government to provide critical information, hope, leadership, and reassurance. The public should expect nothing less. Continue reading