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Differences Between Council Candidates

March 21, 1993

Jeff Rabin's March 7 story neglected fundamental public policy issues that distinguish my candidacy from Zev Yaroslavsky's. This is not a personality clash, but a difference on public policy that matters greatly to the voters. As a woman, I see this election is about change, grass-roots change, from the bottom up, giving our children some hope for a decent future. The question is not whether Yaroslavsky and I like each other, but what we want to do for the voters.

The contrast could not be clearer: 18-year career politician or public policy expert/environmental advocate; politics as usual (which has gotten us into the mess we're in), or new leadership committed to protecting small businesses; not pandering to billionaires like Rupert Murdoch (owner of 20th Century Fox); reducing gridlock, and protecting the quality of life so that we do not lose the middle class.

Here are but a few examples of policy differences:

* Senior citizen bus fare: I oppose raising the bus fares for seniors; he supports raising bus fares for seniors.

* Balancing the budget: He overspent $150 million and now wants to tax you to pay for his mistakes. I oppose this cover-up to fiscal mismanagement because it drives business out of our city.

* Wilshire subway: I strongly support it because of the ridership potential; he opposes it.

* Graffiti: I want to make it a felony and a citable offense, and publish the names of the parents whose children commit this act. He has done little and has the most unused graffiti paint of any council district.

* Term limits: I support them, he opposes them.

* Protecting the Santa Monica Mountains: I oppose massive grading and building walls on the public right of way (e.g., Beverly Park Estates) that block views and wildlife corridors. He routinely approves such projects.

* Accessibility: I propose to have walk-in office hours, evening hearings in the community for working people to have a voice in community life, town meetings, a district ombudsman to get quick answers from City Hall, and locally elected community planning boards, with environmental mediators to facilitate negotiated settlements so that sensible compromises can be worked out, rather than pitting neighbors against developers. It is time to end divide-and-conquer politics. With Yaroslavsky, you either have to be a major contributor or present him with hundreds of petition signatures to get a meeting. He wants to appoint people to boards and keep them advisory, not let the community choose.

* Spending the $25-million Parking Meter Fund to provide free short-term parking for local merchants: I have been pushing for this since 1984; he failed to spend this money and lost millions during the last budget crisis. In the interim many merchants went bankrupt because they could not compete with free parking at the malls built by his supporters.

* Breakup of the Los Angeles Unified School District into at least four districts: As an educator, I support this as a means of saving public education by increasing accountability and efficiency; he does not.

* The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA): I think it has outlived its mission and that its $350-million budget needs to be spent on police, fire, schools. He continues to vote money for the CRA.

Life in L.A. during Yaroslavsky's 18-year tenure is no longer safe or affordable, and the schools are in shambles. He shares the responsibility for our urban crisis. Where has he been? You don't go to a doctor who botched the first operation for corrective surgery; you switch. Change is long overdue.

LAURA LAKE

Westwood

Lake is a candidate for City Council in the 5th District of Los Angeles.

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