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Everything you need as you prep for the June 7 Primary Election — study our interactive voter guides, ask questions, print your ballot and more.

LA's Next Mayor: How Mike Feuer Would Tackle The Big Issues Facing The City

  • LAist sent all candidates actively campaigning for L.A. Mayor the following questionnaire. Their responses have been published in full, adjusted only to fit the formatting and style of the page.

  • We also highlighted 12 questions that we think give you a sense of where the candidates align with your own views on issues that are important to Angelenos. And we wrapped it all up in our interactive "matchmaking" quiz, Meet Your Mayor. Curious? Take the quiz!

Headshot of Mike Feuer. He's smiling and wearing a blue collared shirt and dark sweater or jacket. He has gray wavy hair and a mustache and a light complexion.
(Courtesy of Mike Feuer for Mayor campaign)

About The Candidate

Mike Feuer is the current L.A. City Attorney. He served in the Assembly from 2006-2012 and on the L.A. City Council from 1994-2001. He previously directed Bet Tzedek Legal Services and has worked in private practice.

He dropped out of the running for mayor on May 17 and endorsed Karen Bass. Because he left the race after the ballots were printed and mailed out, his name will still appear.

Climate Change

Q: California is in a chronic drought. Which of the following strategies most closely reflects what you think should be done at the city level to improve individual water conservation?

A: I strongly support conservation, and though L.A. residents have made great strides in reducing per-capita water use, we must do more. I would start with additional voluntary conservation measures, focused on landscaping. If those proved insufficient, I would move to mandatory water restrictions.

But conservation alone is insufficient. We need to be focused on locally sourcing our water. My administration will put us on track to source 75% of L.A.’s water locally by 2035 – ahead of current goals. That requires ramping up water recycling, stormwater capture and cleaning up polluted aquifers.

Q: What should the next mayor prioritize to lower the costs of converting to more sustainable electric options for homeowners and businesses? (i.e. solar power, electric vehicles, etc.)

Our next mayor is up to you, L.A. Who should you choose? Take our quiz to find your candidate matches.

A: We must fire on multiple cylinders at once to tackle the climate crisis. Converting to more sustainable options for homeowners and businesses requires broad adoption of clean energy infrastructure, compelling transit alternatives and a city that embraces more green space for recreation and wellness.

Clean Energy

I will push to have LADWP meet benchmarks during my Administration toward generating 100% of its power from clean energy sources by 2035—by investing in clean energy across L.A.’s communities. As Mayor, I will also work to identify opportunities for community solar projects, particularly for disadvantaged neighborhoods, providing a clean, cheap, and reliable source of power. I’ll expedite the local power grid modernization efforts already underway, with the aim of building the country’s most advanced “smart grid.” I’ll also work to increase the percentage of energy that LADWP gets from locally distributed energy, by creating or expanding financial incentives to develop locally generated renewable energy, like rooftop solar and battery storage. Together, these initiatives will reduce power outages, allow us to use energy more efficiently, and reduce our carbon dioxide emissions—all while saving Angelenos money on their electricity bills in the long run.

Transit

I will modernize and expand our public transit infrastructure, create more protected bike and scooter lanes, and invest in improved charging infrastructure for electric vehicles across L.A. to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, I will prioritize improvements in our bus system, which is relied upon by so many transit-dependent riders. I will speed up the electrification of the MTA fleet so it will be fully electric by 2030. In addition, buses need to be more user-friendly. I will work to create more rapid busways and buses along the most-used lines. Bus shelters must have digital displays indicating when the next bus will arrive. Ticketing should be easier—allowing riders to pay by credit card, for example.

Greening the City:

Our land-use decisions need to reflect our commitment to sustainability. As Mayor, I will promote development that brings housing closer to public transit. And, I’ll prioritize investing in green public spaces, including along the L.A. River. I will also extend and expand the City’s tree-planting program, which provides carbon-absorbing, shade-providing trees so that all of our residents – particularly lower-income communities – have access to green spaces. I will also work to continue building infrastructure to increase local stormwater capture and institute programs to reduce per-capita water use. Convening a Green Jobs Summit, with a focus on job readiness, training and production in underserved communities.

Q: As mayor, Eric Garcetti promised to get to 100% clean electricity for city operations by 2035 by electrifying city buildings, vehicles, and public transit. Will you continue working toward this goal? Why or why not?

A: Yes. The climate crisis is the challenge of our lives. Because I will not be Mayor in 2035, I will set rigorous benchmarks to ensure we are making necessary progress to achieve or exceed these objectives.

Q: Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Los Angeles. Where do you see the biggest opportunity to lower those emissions?

A: The best way for the city to reduce transportation related greenhouse gas emission is by reducing the cars on our road by overhauling the transit options within the city. We’re building out our fixed rail transit system, thanks in significant measure to Measure R, the legislation for which I authored as a member of the California Assembly. By expediting our subway and light rail systems, and ensuring they are clean and safe, we have the potential to attract hundreds of thousands of drivers to public transit instead. Buses provide a quick, cost effective and flexible solution to transit needs, and as mentioned, I will focus on upgrading our bus system. I will speed up the electrification of the MTA fleet so it will be fully electric by 2030. In addition, buses need to be more user-friendly. I will work to create more rapid busways and buses along the most-used lines. Bus shelters must have digital displays indicating when the next bus will arrive. Ticketing should be easier—allowing riders to pay by credit card, for example.

I will also speed investments in electric charging stations for electric vehicles throughout Los Angeles, and create more protected bike and scooter lanes.

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Q: What's the most important action the next mayor can take to help the city's most vulnerable residents deal with extreme heat?

A: The effects of the climate crisis are disproportionately felt by underserved communities. For instance, L.A.’s unhoused population and low-income families often suffer the most during rapidly increasing heat waves because they live in areas that have fewer trees, fewer shade structures, and less access to air conditioning, making it harder for them to stay cool on hot days. Not surprisingly, some of L.A.’s poorest neighborhoods have the highest risk of heat-related illnesses, and the most emergency room visits during heat waves. That’s why I’m calling for a committed, city-wide response to plant more trees in underserved communities, to work with LAUSD to green school campuses covered with asphalt, and to use alternatives to asphalt and cement surfaces when repairing our infrastructure that reduce the impacts of high temperatures. The use of heat-reflecting “cool roofs” and “cool pavement” materials on city streets has shown great promise. We will need more cooling stations in underserved communities as well.

Q: What should the next mayor’s top priority be for addressing the city’s poor air quality, especially for those communities most impacted by pollution?

A: Cars and trucks account for a third of greenhouse gas emissions in the region. As Mayor, I will modernize and expand our public transit infrastructure, speed its electrification, create more protected bike and scooter lanes, and invest in improved charging infrastructure for electric vehicles across L.A. I will encourage more telecommuting by City employees, taking their cars off the road up to two days a week. We must push towards “greening” of city-owned property, ensuring that all new construction projects support a greener L.A. by decreasing sprawl and long car commutes. As Mayor, I will promote development that brings housing closer to public transit. I will also aggressively promote the construction of LEED Gold Standard buildings and accelerate the transition from the use of natural gas. I will also work to identify opportunities for community solar projects, particularly for disadvantaged neighborhoods, providing a clean, cheap, and reliable source of power. I’ll expedite the local power grid modernization efforts already underway, with the aim of building the country’s most advanced “smart grid.” I’ll also work to increase the percentage of energy that LADWP gets from locally distributed energy, by creating or expanding financial incentives to develop locally-generated renewable energy, like rooftop solar and battery storage. Together, these initiatives will reduce power outages, allow us to use energy more efficiently, and reduce our carbon dioxide emissions.

Some of the City’s most impacted communities are close to City-owned and operated sites. I will continue to pursue measures to make operations at the Port and LAX more sustainable and climate friendly, from additional onsite solar generation to expanding transportation alternatives based on renewable fuel.

Q: Climate is also affecting fires in the city and its surroundings. How would you tackle this problem?

A: We should preclude new construction in high-fire areas, enforce rules that require eliminating brush close to existing structures in those areas (to create defensible space), provide more resources to the LAFD to pre-position fire suppression equipment in high-fire-risk areas and ensure escape plans for residents in these locations (and regular drills so that residents know the protocols).


Homelessness

Q: Los Angeles Municipal Code 41.18, better known as the “anti-camping law,” bans people who are unhoused from camping on public property close to locations such as schools, parks, libraries, and underpasses. Should 41.18 be kept as is, repealed, or amended?

A: I support a uniform approach to determining which locations should be off-limits to encampments, in contrast to the Council-district-specific approach of 41.18. I do not believe encampments should be allowed next to new homeless facilities (we should encourage neighborhoods to say yes to such facilities and discourage people experiencing homelessness from returning to the streets), schools (kids should not have to navigate encampments on their way to school) or parks, which close at night.

Q: Should the city be clearing encampments where people experiencing homelessness have taken up temporary residence? Why or why not?

A: The streets are dangerous and no place for our unhoused neighbors to live. and our outreach strategy needs to reflect that. We must focus on urgently moving Angelenos off the streets and into housing that is safe and equipped with the services they need. Following repeated offers of such housing, a person experiencing homelessness should have a clear “choice date,” after which they are no longer permitted to remain where they have been encamped. As Mayor, I will ensure a unified outreach strategy across our city that achieves the most important measurable outcome—diminishing the number of people on our streets relegated to homelessness, and getting them the housing and services they need.

Q: I believe the primary cause of most homelessness in Los Angeles is…

A: Our homelessness emergency is the result of an acute lack of affordable housing, joblessness and underemployment, a failed mental health system, substance abuse fueled by the opioid and methamphetamine epidemic (with fentanyl now part of this toxic mix), a legacy of systemic racism, domestic abuse, and many other factors. It touches every neighborhood and is emblematic of a broad societal failure.

Q: The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) estimates that 25% of people who are unhoused have a severe mental illness. What is your opinion on the current state of mental health support for unhoused people?

A: It’s deficient. We must improve the quality and effectiveness of the services we offer to people experiencing homelessness. As Mayor, I will promote programs that treat physical and mental health and help unhoused Angelenos become productive members of their communities. An example is the "Trieste model" that has been proposed for Hollywood, which would not only focus on traditional physical and mental health treatment, but also help individuals establish meaningful community connections, process experiences of trauma and inequity, and pursue employment. I will also work to dramatically expand the deployment of teams of mental health experts, nurses, and housing navigators to homeless encampments to speed up the transition of people into shelters and help them get back on their feet. I support the concept of ‘care courts” for mentally ill people experiencing homelessness who are not able to care for themselves proposed by Governor Newsom, but those courts must be accompanied by a dramatic expansion in mental health beds and related resources.

And I will lead a much deeper collaboration between the County, which operates mental health and substance abuse services, and the City, which sites and pays to construct housing. I will travel with County leaders to Washington to obtain more federal resources and change rules to improve patient outcomes.

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Q: Do you agree with Angelenos who say that the large number of people living outside makes the streets less safe? Why or why not?

A: Yes. There are at least 41,000 people experiencing homelessness in our city, nearly 30,000 of whom have no shelter on a given night. Two thousand people died on the street last year. The despair on our streets is dangerous for people experiencing homelessness, and dangerous for our housed population because many people experiencing homelessness have mental health and addiction issues that sometimes fuel criminal activity.

Q: Should the next mayor commit to ensuring that people who are experiencing homelessness are at the table when decisions are made on the city’s homelessness policies?

A: Yes. I’m a strong advocate for having representation for all Angelenos in the City Government. I created Neighborhood Councils in my own city district before they were introduced city-wide to encourage more democratic participation from all constituents and I have campaigned by visiting every neighborhood in LA to listen and learn from the issues facing Angelenos. As Mayor, I plan to expand on these efforts by returning to neighborhoods with my administration. Homelessness cannot be solved without a deep understanding of those experiencing it and they would be valued contributors to any policy or approach my administration takes.

Q: Proposition HHH is a $1.2 billion bond measure approved by voters in 2016 which supports the development of 8,000-10,000 permanent supportive housing units within the city of Los Angeles over 10 years. Has its implementation been effective?

A: No. The units are too expensive and are taking too long to come online. For many years I have pushed to convert existing motels, an often-underutilized source of potential housing, into housing for people experiencing homelessness. Such conversions can be done cheaper and faster than building ground-up. I also will work to integrate private equity into permanent supportive housing funding, a model which can cut costs by two-thirds.

Q: Who should build housing for the unhoused community: the city or private developers? Why?

A: Both. An all-hands on deck approach is required to address the crisis of housing the homeless in Los Angeles.

As Mayor, I will complement the ongoing public investment through Measure HHH by convening community stakeholders—L.A.’s largest companies, philanthropies, banks, and others—to expand private investments in homeless and affordable housing, building on successful projects that have relied on pools of revolving private capital to quickly create cost-effective units. I will empower a City Hall Homeless and Affordable Housing Strike Team that will expedite the construction of temporary shelters and permanent supportive housing, and I will make general managers’ tenures contingent on success. I will work to incentivize and streamline the construction of modular, prefabricated or 3-D printed housing. These units can be built much more quickly and inexpensively than traditional housing, making it easier for us to meet affordability goals. I will strive to have these units manufactured right here in Los Angeles, creating well-paying jobs for local workers as well as the affordable housing needed to keep Angelenos off the streets.


Education

Q: LAUSD is the largest school district in the country in which residents directly elect their school board and the mayor doesn’t have direct control over that board. This means the mayor has little to no influence over education in the city of Los Angeles. Should anything about this arrangement change?

A: As Mayor I will be effective in collaborating with the school district on a wide array of issues, as I have been throughout my career.

I won the ACLU’s Education Advocacy Award for my leadership on the most important education equity case in California in a generation, Williams v. California, which challenged the fact that low-income kids of color didn’t have equal access to experienced teachers, books and other materials, and quality school facilities. The case was resolved for roughly $1 billion in new resources for these kids. As a member of the City Council, I created READ LA, a literacy partnership focused on K-2 students in underserved communities, bringing teachers in training from Cal State and community colleges into classrooms to effectively reduce the student-teacher ratio to 5-1 for reading. I funded library cards for every elementary school student, created the Shoulder-to-Shoulder program to improve race relations among youth and led the effort to create joint use agreements between the LAUSD and the City, opening up school playgrounds in park-poor communities. In the wake of the Parkland school shooting, I convened the Blue-Ribbon Panel of School Safety, an expert panel which reported 33 recommendations to improve school safety to the LAUSD.

As Mayor, I will work with the LAUSD to enhance neighborhood school safety by expanding safe passages to school programs, create more park space in underserved communities by opening school playgrounds after school and on weekends, co-locate affordable housing on school sites, promote innovation in school curriculum by appointing an Education Innovation Officer in my office, work with LAUSD, community colleges, public universities and leading business sectors to create curricula tied to the jobs of the future, add more mental health counselors to school campuses to address student trauma, and create 10,000 new paid internships to exposed students to career opportunities.

Q: What role does the city play in addressing a lack of affordable child care, which is particularly acute in low-income areas?

A: As a member of the City Council I created the City’s first-ever after-hours child care for parents who work non-traditional hours. As Mayor I will offer child care through City recreation and parks facilities, expand after-school programming through LA’s BEST and other projects, and work to make affordable child care broadly available in underserved communities.


Equitable Economics and Housing

Q: I believe the biggest barrier to building more affordable housing is…

A: We need more urgency in City Hall, both to implement existing affordable housing strategies and to create additional innovative ones. Delays in approvals and inspections, high fees, and other bureaucratic hurdles combine with the outmoded financing mechanisms, and the high costs of land, construction and materials to create hurdles to affordable housing construction.

Q: Due to the city's emergency decree, rent increases are currently not allowed for tenants living in most apartments built before 1978. But before the pandemic, Los Angeles generally capped annual rent increases at 3% for apartments covered by local rent control. Should the city keep its existing rent control ordinance, eliminate it, or modify it?

A: The City’s rent stabilization program has played an important role in keeping some rents affordable. But because state law precludes meaningful updates to our law, there is little of great impact the City can do to improve it. I would support state law changes to allow the City to eliminate vacancy decontrol (under which rent can rise to market rates when a tenant leaves a rent-stabilized unit) and to allow the City to extend rent stabilization to newer buildings.

Q: Landlords also say they’ve been struggling amid rising costs, inflation over 7%, and pandemic-era restrictions such as temporary bans on rent increases and evictions. What, if anything, should the city do to help landlords?

A: The City could create a program to assist small mom and pop landlords who did not receive rents from their tenants during the pandemic (perhaps because of poor administration of rent relief programs) by creating one-time grants. The County of San Diego created such a program, for example.

Q: What statement best reflects your position on the minimum wage of $16.04 that goes into effect on July 1, 2022?

A: It’s too low.

Q: Mayor Garcetti piloted a universal basic income program. Do you support the idea of a universal basic income in Los Angeles? Why or why not?

A: The City’s $24 million Basic Guaranteed Income program, which provides $1,000 a month to 2,000 Los Angeles families for a year, is an important experiment. We need to assess whether it improves income inequality and reduces poverty and improves physical and mental health. If it is proven effective, as studies in Stockton and elsewhere have shown it may be, I will be open to expanding it.

Q: Street safety advocates say at the current pace of improvement, it will take 200 years to fulfill Vision Zero, which was supposed to be accomplished by 2035. What’s the first step to getting Vision Zero back on track?

A: The first step is providing a real transportation alternative to driving. By getting cars off the road we can reduce traffic deaths and severe injuries. As Mayor, I will start by modernizing and expanding our public transit infrastructure. I will prioritize the expansion of our fixed rail lines and our improvements to our bus system, which is relied upon by so many transit-dependent riders. I will also create more protected bike and scooter lanes and promote more “slow streets” in residential neighborhoods.


Policing

Q: Should the Los Angeles Police Department remain at its current size of 9,500 sworn officers, should it be downsized, or should it increase? Why?

A: I support a police force of 10,000. Our police force once approached 10,000 but has declined since. While even at 10,000, the number of LAPD officers, per capita, would still lag far behind other cities like New York or Chicago, an increased police presence can play an important role in deterring crime, improving response times, and giving the Department added flexibility to address crime hot spots. This is a financially feasible expansion of the force that would help make our city safer.

Q: The current LAPD budget of $1.76 billion represents almost 16% of the overall city budget. Should LAPD funding stay the same, increase or decrease? Why?

A: It should increase to cover the cost of a 10,000-officer force, for the reasons I have stated.

Q: Is it possible to reduce crime in the city without increasing the LAPD budget? If so, how?

A: Reducing crime requires increasing the LAPD budget to accommodate 10,000 officers and a range of reforms and community-based solutions. As stated elsewhere in my responses, I support reforms in how we police to ensure a well-trained, diverse police force whose officers de-escalate confrontations whenever possible and earn the trust and respect of the neighborhoods they serve; increasing the use of closed-circuit cameras in high-crime locations; a criminal justice system that protects the public by holding suspects in custody who present a danger to others; results-focused prosecution that holds offenders accountable, reduces repeat offenses and turns offenders’ lives around; a neighborhood-based problem-solving strategy; and an array of community investments that have shown success in preventing violence and crime and improving neighborhood quality of life.

Q: A rising number of Angelenos say that Los Angeles no longer feels safe. As mayor, how would you address their fears?

A: From my neighborhood tour visiting all 101 neighborhoods in LA, I’ve heard this firsthand. From Sylmar to San Pedro residents have expressed their concerns about public safety. We have to address these legitimate concerns with a multi-pronged effort that both invests in community safety programs and funds a robust, diverse and well-trained police force.

As noted, I support expanding the LAPD to 10,000 officers, coupled with wide-ranging reforms to de-escalate use of force and deepen community-based policing. In short, a sustainable public safety agenda requires reforms in how we police to ensure a well-trained, diverse police force whose officers de-escalate confrontations whenever possible and earn the trust and respect of the neighborhoods they serve.

Beyond LAPD, I support investing in community-based violence prevention and intervention programs, implementing one million more hours each year of neighborhood beautification and cleanup (an approach that has been shown to improve safety as well as quality of life), increasing the use of closed-circuit cameras in high-crime locations; a criminal justice system that protects the public by holding suspects in custody who present a danger to others; results-focused prosecution that holds offenders accountable, reduces repeat offenses and turns offenders’ lives around; and a neighborhood-based problem-solving strategy in which city departments work across jurisdictional lines to tackle problem locations like dangerous parks.

The path forward compels action on all these fronts at once. I’ve made community safety a top priority from my days as Vice-Chair of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee to my current role as City Attorney and I will continue to do so as Mayor.

Q: Media investigations have found that LAPD officers have disproportionately stopped Black drivers, and were much more likely to search Black and Latino drivers. Do you believe racial profiling is a problem, and if so, what should be done to address it?

A: I think it continues to be an issue. When I was on the City Council I took the lead—over the objection of the then-police chief—to include in a federal consent decree the requirement that LAPD collect racial profiling data. I also took the lead in expanding community-based policing in my district. I’ve been a strong supporter or true community-based policing for decades, and believe we need to continue to deepen those ties, even as we take steps to improve police training, including on implicit racial bias. As City Attorney, my office created the Police Community Unification Project, which enables residents who complain about their interactions with LAPD to meet with the officer involved and a trained mediator from my office to directly express their concerns.

As Mayor I will expand LAPD’s implicit bias training, connecting the work of LAPD to the City’s Department of Civil and Human Rights, and have zero-tolerance for racial profiling.

Q: Would you be willing to meet with groups that have been sharply critical of the police, such as Black Lives Matter and Reform LA Jails?

A: Yes. One of the key tenets of my career as a public servant has been to listen to all voices. It’s why I took on the monumental challenge of visiting all 101 of Los Angeles’ neighborhoods to speak to residents and understand the issues that are relevant to their daily lived experience.

Q: District Attorney George Gascón came to office on a progressive agenda that includes fewer prosecutions for low-level crimes. What statement best reflects your opinion of his agenda?

A: My office prosecutes misdemeanors in Los Angeles. I believe people who commit misdemeanors, including low-level non-violent ones, should be held accountable. That doesn’t always mean jail time. It may mean performing a community obligation like eradicating graffiti. It may also mean connecting to needed services, including housing, substance abuse or mental health. One of my office’s most successful programs in reducing repeat offenses involves elements like this. Thousands of offenders have gone through my program, and 95% do not reoffend.

My bottom line is that we can make communities safer and turn around the lives of offenders who commit these crimes.

Q: Who should be sent when a call is made about a mental health crisis?

A: We should send experts who are trained to handle mental health crises. More than 90% of calls to LAPD involve non-violent incidents, and in many cases do not require an armed response. As Mayor, I will expand Crisis Response Teams composed of trained social workers and mental health professionals to be first responders to non-violent incidents, such as contact with mentally ill people experiencing homelessness.

Additionally, I will invest in training to de-escalate violence and use of force. As Mayor, I will devote resources to additional training of LAPD officers to de-escalate conflict and reduce instances where the use of force is necessary.

Q: How would you want the police chief to address the frayed relationships between the LAPD and many of the communities it serves?

A: We repair these relationships through genuine community-based policing, reducing use of force, having zero tolerance for racial profiling and investing in underserved communities to create the conditions in which crime is less prevalent. As Mayor I will ensure officers earn the trust and respect of the neighborhoods they serve by expanding the Community Safety Partnership program that embeds officers in communities for five-year stints. I will mandate additional training to de-escalate violent confrontations. I will make crisis intervention teams led by trained mental health professionals, rather than armed officers, the first responders to nonviolent mental health crises on the street. I will institute a civilian ambassador program at LAPD stations to make the public's experience at police stations more user friendly, invest in community-based violence intervention and interruption programs and create a Neighborhood Solutions Program that will work across departmental lines to address key community priorities.

At the same time, we need to invest in education, health care, jobs, recreation, green space, access to fresh food and other ingredients that all too often are lacking in underserved communities. I will identify key general fund investments in many of these areas, galvanize a major investment by the private sector and collaborate deeply with County, State and Federal partners to infuse needed resources into these communities.


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