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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Los Angeles County, CA March 3, 2015 Election
Smart Voter

Tomás O'Grady
Answers Questions

Candidate for
Council Member; City of Los Angeles; District 4


The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

Questions & Answers

1. What do you think is the single most important issue facing the City of Los Angeles today? As Council Member, what would you do to deal with it?

I believe the most important issue facing the City of Los Angeles is sustainability. On our current track I do not believe that our future is sustainable, either environmentally or economically. New York City continues to innovate whilst LA, despite its creative capital, appears to stagnate. Our City Hall seems to stand in the way of innovation rather than encouraging it. Los Angeles could and should be the most dynamic city of the 21st Century, but we need fresh leadership to make that happen.

2. The City Administrative Officer has estimated a $300 million budget shortfall for 2015-2016. What steps do you propose to deal with this problem and how much do you estimate each step would reduce the shortfall?

A recent report released by Ron Galperin (one of my heroes in City Hall today) demonstrated that the Bureau of Street Services wastes money and does not utilize its resources properly. As with our nonprofit EnrichLA, my focus would be on delivering more product for less cost. I am adamant that we do not need to increase revenue, but that we need to reduce costs. I note my experience in public education - 5 years of academic increase at King Middle School coincided exactly with 5 years of reduced funding. As my Grandfather used to say, "you can throw money at something all day long but it is not going to fix the problem." With that said, an area that remains untapped is tourism dollars. We can do a much better job of not only attracting more visitors to this city, but also parting those visitors with their cash. My family and I visited London 2 years ago and I think we left $3,500 behind us. When you arrive at Heathrow airport it is very clear to visitors where they should visit and how they should get there. In Los Angeles, that is not the case. We need a comprehensive regional plan to direct tourism to various places across Los Angeles and encourage them to do so using public transportation. The other way to increase revenue is to increase tax collection. The way to increase the amount collected is to have more businesses generating revenue. We can make it easier for businesses whether they are restaurants, boutiques, startups, café's, etc., to open their doors. An example is a supporter of mine in Los Feliz, who owns 6 different hospitality businesses, ranging from a wine bar, to an oyster bar, and a boutique Bed and Breakfast. He told me that one year in, the Bed and Breakfast is languishing in permit hell. We can and should streamline this process to get more businesses opened and to begin collecting those tax dollars.

3. What is the single most important issue facing your Council District today, and how would you deal with it?

The reason I moved to this area was for its quality of life, and I believe that is currently under attack. From botched development projects, deferred infrastructure maintenance, confusing medical marijuana laws, to illegal billboards, we are not behaving in a sustainable, streamlined, or consistent manner. We are borrowing against our future both environmentally and financially. We need to streamline our processes, remove inconsistencies, address confusions, and prepare for our future.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' answers are presented as submitted.

Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: January 9, 2015 18:02
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