Decision '93 / A Look at the Elections in Los Angeles County : Los Angeles City Council / 5th DISTRICT : Q AND A

April 11, 1993


Laura Lake, 46, of Westwood Village is a former UCLA faculty member who taught environmental science and engineering. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin and a doctorate in political science from Tufts University in Massachusetts. She also ran against Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky in 1989.

Michael Loren Rosenberg, 37, of North Hollywood is a building inspector for the city of Los Angeles. He earned an associate of arts degree in social sciences from San Jose Community College and a bachelor of science degree in anthropology and sociology from the University of Santa Clara. He also attended Ohr Somayach Institute of Judaic Studies in Jerusalem. He has never before run for public office.

Zev Yaroslavsky, 44, of the Beverly-Fairfax area was elected councilman of the 5th District in 1975. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from UCLA. Before he went into public office, he was a teacher and executive director of the Southern California Council for Soviet Jews.

Significant Problem

Q. What do you believe is the most significant problem facing the district?

Lake: If I had to rank the greatest problem, it would be the sense of abandonment and betrayal by the City Council in failing to provide the basics: personal security, good schools, combat graffiti, etc. I would begin to solve the crime problem by ordering preparation of a riot plan to protect communities and increasing the police force to 10,000 by terminating the Community Redevelopment Agency. I would develop youth programs to channel energy, fund more schoolyard programs and latchkey programs, extend library hours and provide more volunteer programs to tutor children. I would also support programs at schools to address violence prevention, comparable with sex education and drug prevention programs. To combat graffiti, I would make it a felony and a citable offense like a speeding ticket so that a burdensome court proceeding would not be necessary. I would also publish the names of the parents of graffiti felons in the newspaper.

Rosenberg: Redistricting has created a "district" of tremendous diversity, containing no homogeneous communities. This, by design, makes "representative" government extremely difficult. Crime, crime prevention, an improved education system, including trade schools and job training, encouraging business growth are essential. Redistricting should be removed from council control in order to achieve truly representative government.

Yaroslavsky: Crime and jobs. We need to increase the size of our police force and implement policies that create jobs and bolster our economy. As chair of the council's Budget Committee, my first priority has been and is to increase the number of sworn officers. I have succeeded in finding the funds to add 1,100 new officers to the force. I am fighting to maintain and expand our job-producing industrial base here in Los Angeles.

City Services

Q. Do you believe the San Fernando Valley gets its fair share of city services?

Lake: I do not believe it has received comparable funding in grants, appointments to commissions, etc. There are several reasons. First, the representatives of the Valley have not been effective in competing for resources. Second, gerrymandering has split communities so that they lack political clout within districts.

Rosenberg: I don't believe that the Valley has had adequate representation with several Valley districts being smaller parts of "city" districts.

Yaroslavsky: The Valley does not get its fair share of city resources. Valley elected officials must fight to improve community safety, parks, libraries, transit service and parking facilities and to make city services in general more accessible and responsive to Valley communities. That's why I am working to get more police officers in the San Fernando Valley, to expand and improve the Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Park and the Studio City Library, to construct public parking facilities along Ventura Boulevard and to make taxi coupons available to Valley senior citizens.

Government Efficiency

Q. Do you believe there is any city department that is doing an inadequate job of delivering services?

Lake: Yes. The entire development process is inefficient. We need to reconcile the zoning and building codes to expedite development and eliminate the Department of Transportation, which takes forever to evaluate traffic studies. The Community Redevelopment Agency has failed to provide significant amounts of affordable housing and should be terminated.

Rosenberg: I believe that many departments are forced to work under conditions of mandated inefficiency, imposed on them by the City Council. Depoliticizing these departments and redefining the functions of city, county, state government agencies is necessary in order to cut waste and duplication.

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