Seventeen years ago, Katie Yaroslavsky graduated from law school, looking to work on issues related to student loans and urban planning. So she took a job at Latham & Watkins, a law firm that is also the political powerhouse of City Hall.
Yaroslavsky spent five years there, working as a junior lawyer but also as a registered lobbyist, representing about a dozen clients with business in front of the city, according to city ethics records.
Now, Yaroslavsky is running to represent a district where some homeowners groups are looking at Latham – with its portfolio of more than 30 City Hall clients, many of whom are real estate developers – similar to Death Star.
One of his opponents, Sam Yebri, thinks work history is a problem and calls on Yaroslavski to promise that if he wins, Latham will refrain from dealing with clients.
“If pre-paid lobbyists are about to be elected to the city council, there will be an inherent conflict of interest,” he said.
Former County Supervisor Jeb Yaroslavsky’s daughter-in-law Yebri and Yaroslavsky are in a four-way race to replace councilor Paul Coretz in districts taking over affluent areas such as Bell-Air, Cheviot Hills, Hancock Park, Rancho. Park and Westwood.
The competition, like many others, deals with homelessness and public safety this year. But the lobbying issue, and the special interests attached to it, are very specific to the Yebri-Yaroslavsky duel.
Yaroslavsky, a resident of South Carthage, said he had not received any income from Latham in 12 years and would meet any ethical requirements that apply to his work history. He spent his biggest supporter – California Apartment Assn. Focuses on Yebury, who has falsely produced ads that portray her as a “career lobbyist.”
The union, which represents landowners and developers, has spent more than $ 700,000 on an independent campaign to promote and attack Yebri. That expense, Yaroslavsky said, is an attempt to gain more power in the council, whose members have repeatedly extended rental protections implemented in response to COVID-19.
“They want to vote their way into any big vote around the right to rent, and if they buy this election for him, they will at least get sympathetic ears,” she said. “It’s not mom and pop landlords. It’s corporate [real estate investment trusts] It owns thousands of units. “
Yaroslavsky, who left Latham in 2010, has been campaigning for six years to handle public health, environmental issues and the arts as an assistant to County Supervisor Sheila Kuel. She played a key role in creating Measure W, a voter-approved tax increase to pay for stormwater cleanup. She says she joined Latham because she had विद्यार्थी 100,000 in student loans.
“When I got there, I knew I didn’t want to pursue a career as a private sector lawyer,” she said.
Yebri, in turn, has no control over the activities of the Apartment Association, or any other outside group that is required by law to operate separately from his campaign. Westwood residents say he has repeatedly called for a “right to advice” – the city has paid for the legal representation of every low-income residential tenant facing eviction. He said he has a history of fighting for hire as a board member with the hiring support group Bet Jadek.
An executive with California Apartment Assn. Defending the group’s involvement in the race, the party said in a statement that “it is important for voters to have the facts.”
Yaroslavsky, Yebury and two others – UCLA lecturer Jimmy Biblarj and UCLA data analyst Scott Epstein – have been vying for the Koratz seat since 2009. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote on Tuesday, the top two will be the ones who get the votes. Go to the November 8 runoff.
Of the four contenders, Biblarz and Epstein signed a “no new police” pact and condemned the city’s anti-camping law, which allows council members to close certain schools, parks and libraries. Limited to homeless camps.
Epstein, who works as a COVID-19 contact tracer, said he wanted the city to have a “lean, smart” LAPD, with unarmed staff handling traffic enforcement and responding to residents’ mental health crises.
“We need to redistribute resources to professionals who are away from the police service, whose salaries are really cheap and who are willing to work,” he said in February.
Yebury and Yaroslavsky have proposed slightly more middle-of-the-road stances, supporting more mental health workers but also saying that the LAPD needs more money and more executives. Both have spoken out in favor of anti-compliance legislation, although Yebury has been vocal about its use.
All four candidates want to address homelessness by building more temporary and permanent housing options, including “bridge home” shelters – as Mayor Eric Garcetti has opened in downtown, Venice and elsewhere.
“We should have bridge housing as an honor of respect for all our neighbors,” said Beeblers, 29, of Beverly Grove.
Yebri, 41, is from a family of Iranian refugees who arrived in the United States in 1983. Emphasizing public safety, he wants to reinstate 10,000 LAPD employees into 10,000 officers, which is an increase of more than 600, unlike his rivals. Unions representing police and firefighters have backed him.
Volunteering with Bet Tzedek, Yebri assisted in legal clinics and handled tenant issues. “Others talk of fighting for the mercenaries. I actually did it, “he said.
Epstein, 42, is talking about his seven years as chairman of the Mid-City West Neighborhood Council, where he insisted on opening the only bridge shelter in the district. In that position, he also fought for new bicycle lanes and pedestrian improvements on La Bray and Rosewood Avenues.
Epstein is supported by Streets For All, a transportation advocacy group, and the Sunrise Movement Los Angeles. Residents of Carthage Square have been outspoken critics of the city’s anti-camp law, saying millions of dollars have been wasted installing signs around the no-camp area.
“The ordinance is not only inhumane, it is also incredibly pointless and ineffective,” he said.
Yaroslavsky talked about her work in the environment, as well as her support from the Sierra Club, the LA League of Conservation Voters and the County Federation of Labor. He described himself as an experienced coalition builder who could muster the eight votes needed to pass a law.
“I know how to work because I’m already working,” she said.
Biblarj, who is gay, has garnered support from many gay and lesbian organizations, as well as the local Public Defenders Union. He supports single-family neighborhood upholstery, saying such a move would increase housing supplies and make it cheaper. Although Yebury and Yaroslavsky shot at each other in mailers and emails, he says he is sending a positive message to voters.
“We’re totally focused on the idea,” Biblarj said. “We haven’t said bad things about any of our rivals.”
For Yebri and Yaroslavsky, the debate over Latham has been particularly controversial. At one point, Yebury accused Yaroslavsky of lying about his lobbying history. Yaroslavsky, in turn, accused Yebri of being dishonest in his portrayal.
Yebury first raised the issue of Yaroslavsky’s lobbying during the Candidate Forum in April, pressuring him to resign from the Latham business. She responded by saying that, in her time as a lawyer, she had only been a registered lobbyist for a year, representing a single client.
Yaroslavsky later admitted that the information was far from complete, improving the record at another candidate forum the next day. By then, Yebury’s campaign had taken a leap, making public the fact that Yaroslavsky had failed to name nine other clients, including JMB Realty, which was seeking to build a 36-storey tower in Century City within the district.
Yebry’s campaign accuses Yaroslavki of lying about his background. Yaroslavsky called it a “cheap shot” because she had received the information incorrectly because too much time had elapsed – and because, as a junior member of the firm, she had little interaction with city officials.
“I forgot because it was a long time ago, and I was wrong,” she said.
Yabri said Yaroslavsky’s misrepresentation would leave voters to assess whether it was “intentional.” He said JMB, one of his old clients, could still ask the city for help as it builds its office tower, making it a serious legal matter.
“I think her career as a registration lobbyist is a relevant issue for developers,” he said.