(Editor’s note this story ran January 29 on Westside Current and is reprinted with permission.)
By JAMIE PAIGE
A recent poll conducted by Thrive LA has brought to light the deep-seated issues plaguing Los Angeles, including a significant decline in the City Council’s popularity amidst an escalating homelessness crisis and rising costs.
Sam Yebri, President of Thrive LA, provided insights into the survey results from 771 likely voters, highlighting the need for a different approach, especially concerning Los Angeles’ severe homelessness problem.
“The situation is alarming,” said Yebri. “A staggering 95% of respondents view homelessness as a major concern, which equates to 19 out of every 20 residents. This is particularly troubling considering the city’s annual allocation of $1.3 billion to address the issue, yet the problem continues to worsen.”
The survey revealed a significant sentiment among LA voters that their city is heading in the wrong direction, with a two-to-one margin believing so.
“Overall, the poll confirmed the disconnect that we believe exists between what average Angelenos want and expect and the actual policies coming out of LA City Hall – especially as it pertains to homelessness,” said Yebri.
As an example, Yebri cited that 86% of voters support enforcing LA Municipal Code 41.18 to clear homeless encampments from sensitive areas. He criticized councilmember Nithya Raman, Chair of the City Council Homelessness Committee, for not enforcing this ordinance.
“When the leader of the LA City Council’s Homelessness Committee appears indifferent to the real-world implications of her ideology, it’s understandable why few Angelenos trust the council to make the right decisions,” he stated.
Compounding the city’s challenges, over half of the respondents have “seriously considered” leaving Los Angeles in the near past. The driving factors behind this consideration are predominantly the growing concerns about crime and public safety and the escalating cost of living, particularly housing expenses.
“The poll confirms that Angelenos of all backgrounds throughout our city feel the strain and burden of housing costs, which are getting worse every day,” added Yebri.
Despite widespread discontent with city leadership, Angelenos seem to exempt Mayor Karen Bass from their criticism. The survey revealed a 59% approval rating for the mayor, markedly divergent from the 54% disapproval faced by District Attorney George Gascón and the mere 29% approval for the City Council.
Yebri pointed out this disparity, emphasizing that public dissatisfaction primarily targets the City Council’s handling of issues like homelessness, rather than Mayor Bass’s governance.
Regarding Gascón’s unpopularity, Yebri commented, “George Gascon has been an absolute failure and that’s obvious to anyone who has been paying attention. He may have the endorsement of the LA Times and the Democratic Socialists of America, but he has lost the faith of voters in every single part of this city.”
The poll also indicates that the LA County District Attorney race is wide open, with Gascón being a weak incumbent as only 14% of voters support him, and two-thirds are undecided.
Highlighting the public’s view on local services, the poll showed that firefighters have a 10-1 favorability rating, a majority holds a positive view of LAPD officers, and the public is split on the LA County Democratic Party.
In addition to the city council elections in 2024, Yebri said people should pay attention to Measure HLA on the March ballot. “The CAO estimates that it will cost the City of Los Angeles an additional $250 million per year over the next 10-years for new dedicated bus lanes and protected bike paths. With our city facing an enormous deficit right now, more Angelenos should be talking about this ballot measure and make an informed choice.”
Yebri emphasized the need for change, stating, “Thrive intends to be a vehicle for real, positive change and a voice for the silent majority.”
For more information on the poll and Thrive LA’s initiatives, visit https://www.thrivelosangeles.org/