City Attorney’s Race: The Candidates and Why Residents Should Be Concerned

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As residents continue to ponder who will be the best mayor or councilmember, there is another office that should draw equal scrutiny: City Attorney’s Office.

The City Attorney serves as the lawyer to the Mayor, City Council and all City Boards. The City Attorney’s office examines contracts and ordinances to see if they are legal. It litigates all civil actions on behalf of the City and represents the City, its boards and officers in all civil trials and legal proceedings in state and federal court.

The City Attorney’s office is “one big law firm” that also works with local law enforcement agencies to prosecute crimes.

For example, when CTN asked the City Controller’s office for documentation on the money that the City Attorney spent on litigating the DWP overbilling issue, we were directed back to the City Attorney – and still waiting to hear.

This is an elected position and seven people are running: Sherri Onica Valle Cole; Faisal Gill; Kevin James; Teddy Kapur; Richard Kim: Hydee Feldstein Soto and; Marina Torres.

 

 

Sherri Onica Valle Cole

Background:

  • Attended Yale and UC San Diego medical school
  • Loyola Law School
  • Former public-school teacher
  • Criminal prosecutor, Los Angeles

Key Platform Issues:

  • Public Safety: priorities are criminal justice reform and police accountability
  • Public Health: focus on mental health
  • Business:  Empower small businesses
  • Climate: Prosecute consumer and environmental crimes

Funding:

Endorsements: unknown and Website: www.onica4lacityattorney.com

 

Hydee Feldstein Soto

Background:

  • Lawyer
  • Swarthmore College
  • Columbia University Law School

Key Platform Issues:

  • Homelessness: Stop no-bid contracts for building and for services, revise funding structure of HHH monies, streamline building approval times, reclaim public spaces and sidewalks
  • Public Safety: More community based policing, zero hate crime tolerance,  harsher penalties on ghost guns, no incentives driving labor trafficking
  • Accountability and Corruption:  Protect whistleblowers, enforce City Charter ethics code, shut down political favoritism

Funding:

  • Contributions $ 406,597.04
  • Matching Funds: $ 204,791.64
  • Expenditures: $ $312,538.36

Endorsements:

  • Biz Fed PAC
  • ILWU (Longshoremen)
  • National Women’s Political Caucus (California)
  • SFIA (steel framing industry)
  • A number of Democratic clubs)

Website:  www.hydeeforcityattorney.com

 

Faisal M. Gill

Background:

  • American University Law School
  • Navy JAG lawyer
  • Represented American Muslim Council
  • Family man

Key Platform Issues:

  • Police Reform:   Has signed the No Cop Money Pledge, make LAPD internal affairs an independent inspector general, all LAPD body cam footage available to public, establish a review process for any arrests by officers with histories of misconduct, establish civilian oversight
  • Criminal Justice Reform: reduce number of misdemeanor charges, expand diversion programs, end cash bail, reform fines and fees
  • Homelessness: end criminalization,  homelessness cannot be dealt with through the criminal justice system, will enforce HSO against short term rentals.
  • Environment:  plans to sue fossil fuel companies,  will also sue companies responsible for dumping toxic chemicals, will pursue making companies more compliant.
  • Rights: will  reign in ICE arrests, no prosecution of protestors, advocate for single payer health care, increase outreach to minority and marginalized groups
  • Consumer Protection:  will serve as watchdog for works and will hold corporations accountable

Funding:

Endorsements:

  • National Union of Healthcare Workers
  • End Police Brutality PAC
  • Karen Bass
  • Holly Mitchell
  • Ilhan Omar
  • Complete list on campaign website

Website:  www.gillforla.com

 

Teddy Kapur

Background:

  • Rice University
  • NYU
  • Harvard Law
  • London School of Economics
  • Chairs Imagine LA
  • Board of Anti-Defamation League
  • Treasurer of the California Democratic Party

Key Platform Issues:

  • Rights:  will build coalitions to break down systemic racism
  • Economy: wants to represent entrepreneurs and working people so they can be hear
  • Address housing shortage, better paying jobs

Funding:

Endorsements:

  • No organizational endorsements;  all individuals

For list, please see website.

Website: www.teddykapur.com

 

Richard Kim

Background:

  • LA Deputy City Attorney
  • Board of Directors, Koreatown Youth and Community Center
  • Board Member, Koreatown/Wilshire Neighborhood Council

Key Platform Issues:

  • Supports Gascon Recall
  • Corruption:  establish an Office of Public Integrity as a watchdog entity
  • Public Safety:  amend or scrap state laws handcuffing LAPD and City Attorney’s Office, supports refunding LAPD
  • Homelessness:  will form a dedicated task force to speed up legal advice, revise City anti-camping laws to include more sites,  suspend any current agreements the City has with developers of supportive housing
  • Prop 47: will work toward amending it and all other ‘reform’ laws

Funding:

Endorsements:

  • The Korea Daily

Website: www.richardkimforcityattorney.com

 

Kevin James

Background:

  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Houston Law Center
  • Chief of Legislative Affairs, Mayor’s Office
  • President, City of LA Board of Public Works
  • Board of Directors AIDS Project LA

Key Platform Issues:

  • Homelessness & Affordable Housing:  will change the City’s legal strategy and settle fewer cases out of court, make neighboring cities more accountable in these suits, make decisions effective throughout the region
  • Covid Response: ensure the City is receiving all the related funding to which it is entitled
  • Public Safety:  help LAPD build better community relationships, more unarmed mental health experts on the streets, lesser misdemeanor charges
  • Tenant Rights: enforce all tenant protections currently in place
  • Climate: convert bureau of street services into more of environmental agency using more new technology like pavement made of recyclables
  • Corruption:  will create an Anti-Corruption Task Force
  • Legal Settlements: will stop the financial drain on the City from settlements

Funding:

Endorsements:

  • Eric Garcetti
  • Teamsters Joint Council
  • LAPPL
  • See website for an extensive list

Website:  www.kevinjamesforcityattorney.com

 

Marina Torres

Background:

  • Stanford Law School
  • Former appointee of President Obama
  • Federal Prosecutor
  • Americorps Fellow

Key Platform Issues:

  • Public Safety: strong partnership with LAPD to lower crime
  • Homelessness: prioritize emergency shelters and take back the public’s access to sidewalks
  • Corruption:  root it out and work more with federal officials to improve transparency

Funding:

Endorsements:

  • Mexican American Bar Association
  • Fund Her
  • ILWU SoCal Council (Longshoremen)
  • LA Port Police Association
  • LA Sentinel Newspaper
  • Community and Personal Endorsements – see list on website

Website:  www.marinatorres.com

 

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