Kevin James Campaign Reacts to Latest Campaign Finance Filing
Los Angeles, July 27th – Over the course of this campaign former federal prosecutor, Kevin James, has garnered more than $220,000 in mostly matchable contributions from largely small donors all across Los Angeles. The Kevin James campaign prides itself on being the outsider in this race while consistently remaining the only candidate willing to provide solutions to L.A.s problems and not merely empty rhetoric.
"It is going to require outside of the box thinking and a fresh bold approach to dig Angelenos out of the fiscal sinkhole my opponents have trapped us in. I am prepared to make the tough decisions and provide the innovative solutions to get the job done," stated Kevin James.
Kevin James' chief strategist John Thomas remarked, "If money were all that mattered Carmen Trutanich would be District Attorney, Christine Essel would be a councilwoman, and Meg Whitman would be Governor. The fact of the matter is Kevin James' candidacy has ignited voter interest and enthusiasm from all corners of the City. We have the best candidate and message, and will have enough financial resources to communicate with voters city-wide. The Mayor's race really is a perfect storm for our campaign."
"My campaign remains unfazed by other candidates who are being massively bankrolled by special interests, in fact, it strengthens my resolve that Angelenos deserve a choice other than the failed status quo leadership," James continued.
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Kevin James Responds to the San Bernardino Bankruptcy Announcement
Los Angeles, July 13th –
"We are in a fiscal crisis in Los Angeles. City leaders recently, and quietly, declared a "fiscal emergency" in Los Angeles. Our current elected officials are largely responsible for allowing L.A.'s fiscal condition to teeter on the brink of bankruptcy. How many more California cities must file for bankruptcy before our elected officials wake up and make the responsible decisions to dig us out of this hole? I'm running for Mayor because I am willing to make the decisions necessary to solve L.A.'s financial problems. Los Angeles needs a leader who is willing to deal honestly with our City's fiscal challenges. As Mayor, I will refuse to let our core city services suffer because of the bad decisions made by my City Hall opponents -- all of whom share responsibility for the mismanagement of our City. Over the course of this campaign I will continue to provide solutions to make our City more efficient, financially solvent, and most importantly livable for all once again."
# # #
City Controller Dodges Records Request From Investigative Reporter Who Exposed Tax Assessor Scandal
By Kevin James, Huffington Post
What is the City of L.A.'s chief accountant hiding?
Randy Economy, an investigative reporter at the Los Cerritos Community News ("LACCN"), is making quite a name for himself for exposing the mega multi-million-dollar County Tax Assessor scandal that has already landed one appraiser in jail facing 60 felony counts with numerous other officials likely to follow. As a result of Economy's work, County Tax Assessor John Noguez was forced by public pressure to take a leave of absence while the criminal investigation of his office continues.
L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley told Economy that the tax assessor scandal "is the biggest in his 40 years as a prosecutor."
After breaking the story months ago, Economy has been hot on the trail of numerous emails linking public officials to the growing scandal that the L.A. Times says has increased to multiple targets and will result in grand jury indictments in the near future. Economy has become an expert at using the State's Public Records Act (Government Code Section 6250) to request and obtain the records that are at the center of this rapidly-expanding investigation. The investigation has already revealed hundreds of millions of dollars in unlawfully lowered property values from potentially hundreds of properties located in and around the City of Los Angeles.
In order to continue his probe, on June 11, 2012 (four weeks ago), Economy sent a Public Records Act request to Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel seeking the calendars and agendas of the Controller. According to Economy, his records request has been completely ignored by the Controller -- even though state law requires the Controller to respond. Economy said, "Controller Greuel's office has ignored my records request and my attempts to follow up in search of a response." Economy added, "I am interested in seeing if the City Controller, who is the City's chief auditor and accountant, met with any of the key players in this investigation and I also want to know if Controller Greuel participated in any meetings relating to any of the key properties that are now at the center of this scandal." Economy reiterated that "County officials also ignored my requests at the beginning of my search, but good government requires a response by the Controller and production of the documents."
The public is entitled to a timely response by Controller Greuel. The fact that a full month has passed and LACCN's records request has not even been acknowledged by the Controller is inexcusable. The Controller's website states that one of her missions is to be "the taxpayer's watchdog" and she regularly touts "transparency" and "accountability."
How can Controller Greuel claim to be the taxpayer's watchdog and carry on about transparency and accountability when she is unwilling to follow state law that requires her to respond to investigative reporter Economy's records request and to turn over the responsive documents?
Economy has already proven that he will not back down. If Controller Greuel has any doubt about Economy's commitment to exposing this corruption by public officials she can ask her friend, former Tax Assessor John Noguez, to whom she provided a "key endorsement" in 2010 and from whom she has received campaign contributions dating back to 2007 and 2008.
Kevin James Reacts to Mayoral Candidates' Refusal to Accept Support from Walmart
Los Angeles, July 3rd – Today Kevin James, Mayoral candidate and former federal prosecutor, responded to a recent pledge from fellow Mayoral Candidates Wendy Greuel, Eric Garcetti, and Jan Perry to refuse support from Walmart. James argues that this is yet another example of Los Angeles City Hall giving private business the cold shoulder, and preventing job growth. James also noted that his opponents' recent pledges come as a direct response to union pressure, and not from what the community is asking for.
James stated, "My City Hall insider opponents are willing to put politics before people. We need to focus on job creation, not job killing policies."
James added that Walmart, and other developments, should be based on specific community input and demands on a case by case basis, as opposed to shutting out such development altogether.
Chief strategist John S. Thomas stated, "James' opponents are apparently too busy killing jobs to discuss the issues facing Angelenos and to share their solutions."
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Misplaced Priorities, Corrupt System Contribute to the Homelessness Crisis in Los Angeles
By Kevin James
POLITICS - (Ed Note: This is the second article in Mayoral Candidate Kevin James' Plan to Make LA Great Again.) A recent study estimated that 84,000 people in Los Angeles County are homeless on any given night, with a significant portion concentrated in the City of Los Angeles.
LA has not been more effective in combating homelessness because of a lack of priorities on the part of city leadership, including a willingness by the city's elected officials to ignore the homeless in favor of the elite with close connections to City Hall. A stark example of this is the recent move by Councilwoman Jan Perry to funnel $ 1 million of taxpayer money originally slated for programs in Skid Row to the Gensler Architecture Firm so they could decorate their offices in downtown Los Angeles.
To begin the process of solving the city's homelessness problem, we must first clean up the departments assigned to oversee the crisis. All too often, the culture of corruption in City Hall gets in the way of the implementation of important and well-intentioned programs -- and taxpayer money is wasted.
For example, last year a City Housing Authority Commissioner resigned after questions arose as to whether her sons living in affordable housing in Los Angeles were allowed to bypass a years-long wait list of hundreds of families.
There have also been federal indictments related to the theft of millions of taxpayer dollars designated for affordable housing in the city.
As the only former prosecutor in the race, I am best equipped to end the culture of corruption in City Hall by exposing it from the inside.
In recent years, City Councilmembers Garcetti and Perry, former Councilmember Greuel, Supervisor Yaroslavsky and other elected officials were reportedly working with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority ("LAHSA") in convening an effort called "Bring LA Home".
According to the Bring LA Home website, it was "convened by elected officials from across Los Angeles County, Bring LA Home is a panel of more than 50 leaders of government, faith-based, social service, advocacy, entertainment, law enforcement, and business organizations, and people who have experienced homelessness." Their goal was to end homelessness in LA County by 2013.
LAHSA coordinates and manages over $70 million dollars annually in Federal, State, County and City funds for programs providing shelter, housing and services to homeless persons in the City and County of Los Angeles.
Unfortunately this admirable effort will not be successful -- 2013 is only six months away.
Homelessness has not been eliminated in LA -- it is getting worse.
While Bring LA Home is an important organization, undoubtedly does great work, and is desperately needed to continue its work, Bring LA Home will never realize the joy in reaching its goal of ending homelessness in LA when the one hand doing the good work (the private industry/philanthropic hand) is being constantly undercut by the other hand (the city government hand) that is corrupt and willing to use the crisis of homelessness to squander taxpayer funds for improper or illegal purposes.
As Co-Chair of AIDS Project Los Angeles (where I served from 1994 through 2000), one of APLA's most critical and successful programs was our housing assistance program. Homelessness among AIDS patients often complicated the already challenging circumstances APLA faced in serving the sophisticated needs of its clients.
APLA is successful in combating homelessness among its clients by assisting clients in locating, acquiring, financing and maintaining affordable and appropriate housing.
APLA assists in the formulation of housing plans, guiding clients through the housing assistance application process, moving clients into housing, and educating them about tenant rights and responsibilities, and acting as an ongoing liaison between clients, property owners and case managers.
While homelessness will always exist to some degree in Los Angeles, we must do everything we can to minimize its existence and reduce the number of people, particularly children, affected by it.
The best thing city government can do is create an environment welcoming to private business -- a job goes a very long way in improving a person's confidence, self-respect, dignity, and economic stability.
Jobs are critical to reducing homelessness. Therefore, my jobs plan is the first step in dealing with homelessness in LA.
I believe our primary goal should be to acclimate our homeless population back into society. In addition to ending the corruption that feeds off of funding targeted toward solving this crisis, I will take the following additional immediate actions as Mayor to deal with the problem.
● We will utilize unused city-owned buildings that are the most fit for conversion into transitional housing and/or shelters. The conversion of available city buildings must include accommodations for couples, families, and people with pets. Many homeless people will stay in the streets if an available shelter does not provide a safe environment for children or does not allow pets.
● I will direct the implementation of financial and performance audits of LAHSA (something the current Controller has failed to do). The results of those audits will detail necessary additional reform measures that I will put in place.
● To enable existing programs to work more efficiently, LAHSA will be reformed to take better advantage of existing volunteer efforts and diverse talent among city residents available through Neighborhood Councils and other community organizations. This will save taxpayer money.
● We must address this crisis as it relates to our Veterans. Studies have found that there are 20,000 homeless Veterans in Los Angeles County -- with most living in the City of L.A. I will use my 10+ years of experience as a member of the media to call out the Federal government, including the Veterans Administration, for their failures, inaction, and abuse of Veterans' rights.
In other words, I am not afraid to use the power of the podium that comes with the Mayor's office to embarrass the Feds into doing what is right for our local Veterans and to get the most out of local Veterans’ services facilities.
My plans, proposals, ideas and solutions are a work-in-progress -- and it is a process that, unlike my opponents, I am willing to have with you in the public eye and with media scrutiny. I am willing to put everything on the table, and not hide it in the back room.
I welcome your input. Putting LA back on track is a team effort. And you and I know that we need new team members. To join us and to submit your ideas contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin James References 10-Year Old Audit that Exposes Opponents' Negligence on Fire Response Times
In an op-ed published in the Huffington Post James details Controller Greuel’s inaction and her willingness to respond only when approaching an election cycle.
Los Angeles, June 27th – Today Kevin James, Mayoral candidate and former federal prosecutor, released an op-ed drawing attention to a 10 year old fire department audit that has been largely ignored by Controller Wendy Greuel and Councilmembers Garcetti and Perry. The past audit exposed areas needing improvement, including fire department response times, yet Greuel did not act on it until an election neared.
You may read the entire piece by clicking here.
Kevin James declared, “Common sense says that closing fire stations and moving engines away from neighborhoods will hurt residents, not help them. Our elected officials’ logic is completely backwards.”
John S. Thomas, Kevin James’ chief strategist said, “Our elected officials must be concerned with more than their political careers. Putting politics before policy is a recipe for disaster.”
# # #
A Detailed Plan to Make Los Angeles Great Again
By Kevin James, CityWatch
LA POLITICS - There have been countless complaints from the public that our elected officials lack direction. Community leaders, editorial writers, and even a prominent former candidate have made numerous requests that the candidates for Mayor offer detailed solutions to our City's many problems. In fact, Angelenos should be demanding honesty in pinpointing the problems, realistic and detailed solutions, and a plan to implement those solutions. In the coming weeks, I will be publishing my detailed plan to make LA great again.
Many details of my plan will be published here and through other outlets. The Downtown News
acknowledged this about my campaign: "he regularly puts out statements and has released more detailed plans and position papers than his established competitors, City Council members Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel."
In addition to a fiscal solvency plan for the City, topics I will address include homelessness, education, medical marijuana, the environment, transportation, the entertainment industry, public/private partnerships, development issues, animal services, and the NFL stadium.
I am opening my series now with an introduction to my jobs plan.
It was admitted in the Mayor's most recent State of the City address that the City's unemployment rate is now over 13%, a number which does not include those that have stopped looking for work or the underemployed.
To grow employment in Los Angeles, I will take a "business improvement package" directly to the voters if necessary. In order to obtain business tax reform I will be presenting a business improvement package to the City Council immediately upon taking office. It will contain two primary parts: (1) business tax reform; and (2) streamlining the permitting process.
The business improvement package will include the elimination of the burdensome "gross receipts"
method of calculating the City's business tax and a complete revision of the way the business tax is
formulated. The City's most recent Business Tax Advisory Committee has done a good job of
demonstrating how burdensome the City's business tax has become. But while the Council "ponders"
ways to implement BTAC's recommendations, businesses continue to leave our City. The time for real reform, not simply window-dressing, is long overdue.
My plan will contain a fair and equitable across-the-board reduction in our business tax burden and
simplification of our business tax structure. The Los Angeles business tax will finally be brought in line
with the most business-friendly cities in the region in order to make LA competitive again.
Unlike other big cities in America that have suffered a mass exodus of jobs, Los Angeles is unique in its ability to bring lost jobs back. Because of our geographic location, our climate, our port, and our pool of talent, our potential for growth in a number of sectors remains strong -- in trade, technology,
transportation, entertainment, manufacturing, and small business.
I will create an environment for private business that provides relief from the City's current obstructionist stream of permitting red-tape which can force businesses through an unnecessary and impossible maze of up to 15 City departments. This will be done by creating a Permit Center which will accelerate previous progress made through the City's Case Management Series office, and will bring in representatives from the key City departments needed to implement effective improvements in permitting. A model to consider is the City of Dallas’ Permit Center. Dallas was recently determined by 85 percent of the City's businesses to be a "good" or "excellent" place to do business.
While I will vastly improve the permitting process, I recognize its importance and the direct relationship it has to public safety. The community must and will have an important say in development decisions and the opportunity to be heard and respected when new projects are proposed. The current practice in City Hall has been to ignore the community in favor of well-connected insiders. I will also expand the City's current program of contracting with businesses that are located within City limits.
The City Council's previous attempts at business tax reform have failed. While the City is flirting with it
again, the Council is showing signs of backing off because of potential opposition from a majority of the Council. If the Council fails to approve the business improvement package I present, I will take these reforms directly to the voters by obtaining the signatures to put them on the ballot, and will use my ten years of media experience to get them passed.
A fair and equitable across-the-board reduction in our business tax and simplification of its structure will make operating any business easier and encourage new businesses to come. The increase in volume will cause an increase in business tax revenue, sales tax revenue, utility users’ tax revenue, parking users’ tax revenue, and even revenue from licenses, permits, fees and fines. In other words, we will see an increase from numerous sources of general fund revenue.
My opponents' new-found warmth for the private sector is hollow. They each have built careers in chasing the private sector away. Even the LA Times noted this in a recent front-page story. For example, the Hollywood district recently lost its largest single employer when LegalZoom moved to Glendale.
Furthermore, my opponents have also proven that even when the federal government gave them over $100 million of taxpayer funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act earmarked for job creation, their policies still drove jobs away.
My plans, proposals, ideas and solutions are a work-in-progress -- and it is a process that, unlike my
opponents, I am willing to have with you in the public eye and with media scrutiny. I am willing to put
everything on the table, and not hide it in the back room. I welcome your input. Putting LA back on track is a team effort. And you know and I know that we need new team members. To join us and to submit your ideas contact me at email@example.com.
Kevin James Announces Detailed Policy Plan Rollout
James remains the only mayoral candidate providing bold solutions to LA’s problems
Los Angeles, June 20th – Today Kevin James announced that he will begin unveiling a series of bold policy plans addressing the challenges Los Angeles faces from budgets to pot holes. James has already shared some of his ideas on transportation issues, infrastructure improvements as well as how to reduce corruption. Many of James’ policy papers will be published online and through other outlets. All of the plans will be available via his campaign website: kevinjamesformayor.com.
In addition to a fiscal solvency plan for the City, topics James will address include homelessness, education, medical marijuana, the environment, public safety, the entertainment industry, public/private partnerships, development issues, animal services, and the NFL stadium.
Kevin James said, “I’m not running for Mayor for the next photo-op or the title. I’m running because I believe we need new City leadership with innovative solutions to real everyday problems facing Angelenos. Over the coming weeks I look forward to sharing my ideas to make Los Angeles great again.”
James’ chief strategist, John Thomas stated, “Kevin James is the only candidate for Mayor who is unafraid to take bold policy positions. While the other candidates are hiding behind their special interest laced campaign accounts, James continues to provide solutions.”
“Kevin does not make policy decisions based on the latest poll or political weather vane to decide what is best for the people of LA. His understanding is based on common sense tempered with a close connection to neighborhood councils, community groups and concerned residents.” continued Thomas.
Below are several links to prior pieces Kevin James has authored:
Part Time City Council
NFL Stadium – Unanswered Questions
Is LA Stealing City Hall?
Football Stadium EIR
Plan to Make LA Great Again
Live Within Its Means
Rape Kit Backlog
# # #
Kevin James Calls for Assessor Noguez
Aside During Investigation
Given the current investigation by the District Attorney's office, and the arrest of a former County Property Appraiser, James calls on Noguez to do the right thing and step aside without pay until a determination
is made on whether Noguez is charged.
Los Angeles, May 25th – Today Kevin James, Mayoral candidate and former federal prosecutor, called for LA County Assessor John Noguez to take a leave of absence without pay until the District Attorney’s office completes its investigation. James argues that the mere appearance of impropriety jeopardizes the public’s ability to trust any action the Assessor’s offices takes if Noguez remains in office during the investigation, and allegations by the District Attorney's office of interference by representatives of the Assessor's office warrants this suspension of Noguez while the investigation proceeds. The appointment of an Acting Assessor to replace Noguez is warranted until the investigation is completed.
Kevin James declared, “The public must be able to trust their elected officials. John Noguez’s integrity remains in question until the DA’s office concludes its investigation.”
“Mr. Noguez needs to do the right thing,” James concluded.
In addition to being a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Kevin James, has called attention to and exposed public corruption for nearly a decade over the airwaves on his radio broadcast. One of his top priorities if elected Mayor would be to expose and remove corruption from City government.
# # #
Kevin James Calls for Reform of Parking Fine
Structure in LA
James opposes parking ticket increases and the hiring of additional parking enforcement officers
Los Angeles, May 21st – Today Mayoral candidate Kevin James announced his opposition to the current Mayor's proposed increase in parking fines, and his misguided budget "solution" of hiring more parking enforcement officers to increase revenues. James believes that parking fines in Los Angeles are already too high. James’ opponents in the Mayoral race have joined with Mayor Villaraigosa in approving parking ticket fine increases six of the last seven years.
Kevin James declared, “Parking fine increases will end if I’m Mayor.”
“Parking fines must be lowered. It’s bad for business, our City and its residents. Most of us do not have a Gold Card Desk,” continued James.
James recognizes that residents, visitors and tourists are shocked at the price of parking in Los Angeles. When high parking fines are added many recipients choose not to pay the fines, stuff the tickets in a drawer hoping they will simply go away. This trend of ignoring the tickets results in less revenue for the City.
“Businesses are suffering because customers are being soured by “rip-off” rates that people believe are being used to fund an inept, inefficient and corrupt City government. The higher the parking fines go, the higher the City’s uncollected revenues will go.”
Kevin James believes the high rate of uncollected revenues in the City proves that parking fines should be lowered. A person receiving a $20 parking ticket is much more likely to pay $20 than a person who receives a $78 parking ticket. People that receive $78 parking tickets pay nothing and then stay away from the area that resulted in the issuance of the ticket.
Many of the parking tickets issued in our neighborhoods are issued on street-sweeping day. However, residents argue that the street-sweepers are rarely seen, but parking enforcement officers are waiting to pounce. If the street is not being swept tickets should not be issued. This provides another opportunity for city departments to coordinate with one another in order to benefit city residents.
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Kevin James Reacts to Austin Beutner's
Resignation from Mayors Race
"I commend Austin Beutner for his work in being part of the solution at City Hall while others are merely contributing to the problems. Austin's focus on job creation has been important to the City. We shared a mutual disgust for business as usual in City Hall and I will work as hard as I can to carry on our similar sentiments to make Los Angeles great again. I also want to wish Austin the best in his future endeavors and a speedy recovery to his father," stated Kevin James.
Kevin James has been a radio broadcaster for over eight years where he has been an advocate for hard working residents, neighborhood councils, and common sense solutions to the challenges that face our city. Prior to being a broadcaster, James was an Assistant U.S. Attorney where he received the Director’s Award for his distinguished skills and dedication to cracking down on illegal conduct. James served on the Board of AIDS Project Los Angeles for six years. Currently, James is an entertainment attorney. He plans to continue his neighborhood council tour and focus on local issues throughout the campaign.
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The L.A. Riots 20 Years Ago: Where Were You?
That was one of the first questions I was asked by Dr. Fernando Guerra, the Director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University, during the Center's Urban Lecture Series that took place recently. On April 29, 1992, I was sitting in the United States Attorney's office in Los Angeles reviewing details of a number of existing cases when a call came in about the potential for violence in our City's streets. Employees in the U.S. Attorney's office, housed in the Federal Courthouse downtown, were released early that day. There were a few prosecutors that remained in the office into the evening, only to find the building under attack by rioters that night.
Like so many of you, I watched the images on television in disbelief while responding to concerned calls from friends and family around the country. The riots claimed more than 50 lives, 2,000 suffered injuries,1,100 buildings were damaged, over 3,000 fires were set, stores' shelves were looted completely bare, and property damage estimates exceeded $1 billion.
While we all remember where we were during the 1992 L.A. riots, on this day 20 years later I believe it is important to look at where we have come as a City.
While a recent poll published by the Center for the Study of Los Angeles found that many L.A. residents believe the City is safer and believe the City has better race relations than in 1992, sadly the City's economic situation is surprisingly similar to what we faced in 1992. According to a recent L.A. Weekly report, the California Economic Development Department ("CEDD") painted a bleak picture of L.A.'s 1992 "labor market as 'experiencing one of the most severe recessions of the postwar era.'" The Weekly reported that the CEDD found that between April 1991 and April 1992, 108,000 local jobs vanished and that "Black and Latino communities were hard hit, with a combined 29.7 percent in poverty and more than 13 percent unemployed."
The same news report states that "in the Los Angeles area, unemployment for Latinos and Blacks is worse than in 1992. In 2010, 13.4 percent of Latinos and 19.5 percent of African-Americans were without work." The City's 2012 reported overall unemployment rate sits at 13.3 percent. The Los Angeles Business Journal recently reported that the Los Angeles area has lost 400,000 jobs since December 2007.
While the survey from the Center for the Study of Los Angeles provides reasons for optimism, Los Angeles is undoubtedly experiencing a decade of decline. Urban Development professor Joel Kotkin writing in the Wall Street Journal correctly placed significant blame squarely in the laps of current City leadership.
The entire nation knows that L.A. has been mismanaged. I am running against the City's managers. We face a jobs crisis, budget crisis, infrastructure crisis, public education crisis, and transportation crisis. Public safety challenges will emerge due to the State's prison realignment legislation; add the culture of corruption and the desperate need for City Hall reform could not be more pronounced.
Los Angeles can get back on track -- citywide. The entertainment industry is still headquartered here. We have prestigious universities, the best health care facilities, and the Port of L.A. We remain the most diverse City in the country, with a world class workforce and unmatched talent in technology. We need new leadership in City Hall.
Join me in making L.A. great again!
Kevin James Demands Fiscal Responsibility in the Face
of DWP-Requested Rate Hikes
Los Angeles, April 19th – Today Kevin James, candidate for Mayor, unveiled the first point in a series of simple reforms and common sense solutions to increase efficiency and help reduce needless DWP rate hikes. James believes there are relatively easy changes to be made to the DWP that will increase the City’s ability to provide high quality services at a fair cost to its residents. Confirmed by a recent LMU poll, Kevin James is considered the only viable outsider in this race. He continues to be the only candidate providing solutions to the City’s problems.
Kevin James’ first point:
- DWP salaries for new hires should be comparable to L.A City salaries for the same jobs in other City departments (Bloomberg News reported that DWP salaries are as much as 40% higher than other departments for the same job).
Kevin James stated, "Giving DWP employees significantly higher wages than other City workers for doing the same job makes about much sense as tearing down the Convention Center and forever limiting its square-footage potential in exchange for a football stadium when the NFL has not even agreed to move a team to LA."
# # #
LMU Poll Shows Mayoral Candidate Kevin James
as the Only Viable Outsider
Los Angeles, April 9th – Today Loyola Marymount University (LMU) released a poll testing voters’ mood and attitude towards the major candidates in the race for Mayor of Los Angeles. A year away from the election, the poll had several key takeaways - with the most important being that Kevin James stomps Austin Beutner in comparison. It also proves that the race is largely undecided at this point, with 66% of respondents undecided.
LA Times journalist, Jim Newton, ignoring many of the categories where James outperforms did, however, acknowledge that James performed “significantly better than Beutner” in the poll.
Several key facts from the poll pertaining to the Mayor’s race are:
66% of respondents don't know/undecided about the race.
No candidate secures double digits in the overall summary number, with no one garnering a number as high as 8%.
By Grade for Mayor Villaraigosa - For those that believe the current Mayor has failed (giving him an "F") – James secures 16.64%, earning more votes than Eric Garcetti, Jan Perry and Austin Beutner. Beutner is at a mere 2% clearly demonstrating that voters understand he was the right hand of Villaraigosa and is no outsider.
By age – James outperforms with 18-29 year olds with 10.83% of the vote while Zev Yaroslosky garners 9% and Austin Beutner earns 0% of the vote.
By union households – James earns 10.86% while Beutner remains at 0%.
James’ political strategist John S .Thomas stated, “It is clear from LMU’s poll that Kevin James is the only real outsider in the race for Mayor. We couldn’t be more pleased with his position and strength as a candidate at this point in the race.”
“The race for Mayor is likely to come down to City Hall insiders vs. an outsider. With nothing but more anticipated bad news coming from City Hall regularly, we are well positioned to win broad support from Angelenos who are unhappy with the direction of LA,” Thomas continued.
# # #
A New Plan for the Convention Center
by Kevin James
What's missing from politics are good ideas. As a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, basing my campaign on good, realistic ideas, and on accountability.
Last September, I presented my plan for Los Angeles to transition to a part-time city council. By doing so we could eliminate waste and corruption, and would be following in the footsteps of New York, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio and Dallas.
Today, I outline my plan to expand the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) to over one million square feet. A bigger more competitive convention center is something our city desperately needs. Over the coming weeks and months ahead, my campaign will outline a vision for our convention and tourism industry that will propel Los Angeles into the 21st century and stand as an alternative to my opponents' universal support for AEG's Farmers Field.
First, let me make clear that I am a fan of the NFL returning to the Southland -- but we need a plan that focuses on expanding the LACC in a way that is attractive to conventions and trade shows. Unfortunately, Farmers Field is not. Plus the NFL has made it very clear that AEG's proposal will not work for a team or the league.
After reviewing plans released by AEG for the Pico Hall expansion, I believe AEG's project could cause permanent damage to the LACC. Despite reports to the contrary, AEG's proposal will make the LACC smaller and less competitive. This plan also contradicts the city's own consultants who are on record stating that football stadiums do not adequately meet the needs of the convention industry. I believe, and others contend, that we must collaborate on an alternative proposal.
My proposal builds on a previous 1996 agreement between the City of Los Angeles and AEG (at the time L.A. Arena Company) to expand the LACC to one million square feet. This agreement -- established with the development of the STAPLES Center -- calls for an expansion of 250,000 square feet over Chick Hearn Way. This would connect the current West Hall to the convention hotel, which is an ideal design for trade shows and conventions.
My proposal would be paid for without local tax dollars and would eliminate AEG's call for at least $300 million in public money. In fact, my plan would immediately result in a savings of tens of millions of dollars since we would no longer have to demolish the LACC West Hall. My proposal would also maintain existing parking structures that are sufficient as is. Based on AEG's own analysis and their plans for development the city would be forced to pay between $80-100 million to demolish and build new parking structures.
I believe we can pay for the Chick Hearn expansion by generating new revenues from our hotel industry. Estimates provide that each one percent increase in our city's hotel occupancy tax would generate approximately $11.5 million (based on the LA 2010-11 budget). A convention center of one million square feet or more could generate annual revenues to the city of over $15 million. Simple math would show that my plan to construct new convention space above Chick Hearn Way would cost significantly less than Farmers Field and the revenue from a one percent rate increase would be more than enough to pay the annual debt service. Most importantly, a one million square foot convention center that is connected to the convention hotel will be attractive to all convention planners.
In addition, a Chick Hearn expansion would alleviate conflicts with the convention industry over Farmers Field and its 36-month construction schedule. This schedule has already resulted in the cancellation of the Society of Critical Care Medicine convention and reports indicate that others like E3 and the L.A. Auto Show are threatening to leave town. More telling, there have been no new conventions booked for 2013-14. Future bookings would be impossible to schedule or predict because the NFL season, which starts in August and continues through January, would prevent conventions from being held on Sundays.
The drop in current and future LACC bookings will take its toll on our hotel industry, local restaurants and other businesses that are dependent on tourism.
Under my plan there will be no interruption to current business during construction because the existing convention space will remain. This will be a huge relief to hotels and restaurants that are predicting lost business with Farmers Field.
Los Angeles would also reserve the ability to expand the LACC further in the future. The Pico Hall that is currently being discussed can be added (if needed) to maximize the LACC to over 1.2 million square feet. This will make us even more competitive.
Finally, this expansion plan would create thousands of new jobs. And we could create these jobs now rather than holding out hope for the NFL.
I am calling on our city's hotels, local businesses and concerned citizens to consider my plan and to work with me on creating the most competitive convention center for Los Angeles.
Kevin James Releases Ad Focusing on Failed Infrastructure and Offers a Plan to Fix the Problem
Los Angeles, February 29th – Today the Kevin James for Mayor campaign released a web ad highlighting the massive problems with Los Angeles’ infrastructure. James also released a four point plan to fix the situation. The plan is below. This coming Friday the 2nd, Kevin James will be participating in a discussion about Los Angeles’ architecture and planning issues with the American Institute of Architects.
To view the advertisement, please visit:
Kevin James stated, “We have a serious problem in Los Angeles where the power lines are holding up the power poles. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”
Kevin James’ Initial Plan on LA’s Infrastructure:
1. Conduct a Comprehensive DWP Audit. I will order a top to bottom, across the board, comprehensive, independent and complete audit of the DWP. This audit will be conducted by an outside, independent, and well-respected auditing firm that has not received campaign contributions or other related funding from the DWP or any union servicing the DWP. Ratepayers should not be forced to pay significant rate increases without knowing with certainty where their hard-earned money is going. The DWP has not approached the public in a credible and honest way in recent years. For example, they misrepresented the true costs of their "Measure B" solar plan [http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/19/local/me-solar19 ] and they played games with the ratepayers regarding the Energy Cost Adjustment Factor surcharge [http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=7328427 ]. This mismanagement will end with my election. There are numerous other DWP matters of mismanagement that warrant such a comprehensive audit. And, by the way, I would make sure that copies of the audit are provided to the U.S. Attorney's Office, District Attorney's Office and City Attorney's office.
2. Readjust DWP Surplus Funds Transfer. We must begin the process of weaning the City's General Fund budget off of the DWP Power Revenue Fund "surpluses." This money, paid by DWP ratepayers, should be used to pay for numerous DWP-related infrastructure projects in need (e.g., replacing tens of thousands of power poles and lines, transformers, and 90,000 broken or leaky cast-iron pipes). If there is $300 million every year in "surplus" money, then why has our infrastructure been neglected for so many years? The DWP and existing City Hall leadership want to raise your rates significantly, yet they continue to hand hundreds of millions of dollars in your ratepayer funds over to the City Council to spend through the City's General Fund budget. This process must come to an end - and soon. As we saw in 2009 and 2010, this process enables DWP brass to wield excessive control over decision-making in City Hall. In order to cover for the absence in the General Fund of the DWP surplus funds, we must prioritize a plan for long-term fiscal solvency for the City, including further pension reform.
3. Prioritize street and sidewalk repairs. Our City streets are the second worst in the nation. Shockingly, 63% of all of the City's streets are rated as "poor" by Federal Highway Administration data. The same data shows that the average urban motorist in Los Angeles spends $746 annually in automobile maintenance due to LA's poor roads. The poor condition of our roads also diminishes road safety for drivers, bikers and pedestrians.
The state of the City's sidewalks is not any better. The reported wait for sidewalk repairs varies anywhere from 15 years to 75 years. The City wants to burden homeowners with the cost of sidewalk repairs and to shoulder homeowners with liabilities resulting from damaged sidewalks. I will make sure that homeowners are not burdened with the added responsibility of repairing the City’s sidewalks outside of their homes.
I will make street and sidewalk repairs a top priority. To do so, we must prioritize a plan for long-term fiscal solvency for the City, including collection of a significant portion of the City's more than $500 million in non-tax receivables, hundreds of millions more in tax collections, and other available funding sources that have been ignored by the mismanagement of current City leadership. Furthermore, new technologies enable us to do more in this area with less money. Two technologies that are particularly promising are "full depth reclamation" and "pervious concrete." Full depth reclamation is simply the recycling of roads in place – it is a proven cost saving method of road repair. The City of Santa Ana was recently able to rehabilitate 80 miles of asphalt streets over 3 years at about half the cost by using full depth reclamation compared to the traditional methods of removal and replacement. Pervious concrete is simply concrete that allows water and air to pass through it. Pervious concrete reduces storm water runoff and recharges the underground water supply. One of the most timely benefits of the use of pervious concrete in Los Angeles is the prevention of tree trunk "heaving." Pervious concrete allows the tree trunks to get the water and air they need so the tree trunks will not "heave" through the sidewalks.
4. Water - Desalination (the process of turning seawater into fresh drinking water). We must find new ways to provide safe water to Los Angeles and the region. We should consider desalination. More and more cities around California are building desalination plants. While I recognize that there are cost concerns related to desalination, and environmental concerns surrounding desalination plants, including energy consumption and potential harm to certain fish and other organisms that could come in contact with the facility, finding new sources of water is now an absolute necessity.
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Mayoral Candidates Avoid First Forum – Force Second
Kevin James Challenged Candidates to Submit Ideas
and Appear at Forums
Los Angeles, February 23rd – The "Talking About Los Angeles" Series of Mayoral Candidate Conversations [ www.talkingaboutla.com] were recently postponed a second time due to the other candidates’ unwillingness to appear on the stage together in a highly anticipated forum series hosted by Cerrell Associates, the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, Time Warner Cable and Microsoft. The first forum was originally scheduled for February 2, but was postponed to this Thursday, February 23rd. In addition to abandoning their agreement to participate in the forum series, all of the candidates except for Kevin James failed to submit their answers to the PATCH.com questionnaire submitted in preparation for the first discussion.
Mayoral candidate Kevin James is calling on all of the candidates invited to this Series to appear side by side for this public forum. Kevin will appear anywhere and anytime to have a discussion about the important issues that face Los Angeles. The residents of Los Angeles, as well as the entire Southern California region, deserve to hear directly from those seeking to be the next Mayor of Los Angeles.
“Their arrogance and unwillingness to participate in the election process and share their ideas is beyond upsetting, it is appalling. City Hall insiders in this race continue to operate behind closed doors while they rake in cash from special interests,” said James’ strategist John S. Thomas.
Thomas continued, “Kevin James has been the only candidate willing to share his ideas with the people of Los Angeles. Elections should be a competition based on ideas with an open comparison of those ideas, not a hollow showing of who can merely raise the most money from interests with close ties to City business. These City Hall insiders' lack of respect for the voters in Los Angeles, as well as for the excellent sponsors of this Series, is surprising to say the least.”
James publicly released his initial plan to fight corruption several weeks ago. Just last week he was the only candidate to submit his answers to PATCH on their transportation questions. You may find his responses here:
# # #
Patch Position Papers: Kevin James - Transportation
Patch Position Papers are an opportunity for Los Angeles mayoral candidates to weigh
in on subjects important to city residents. They have been prepared as background
for the "Talking About Los Angeles" series of conversations.
Patch: How would you use walking, bike share, car share, shuttle buses and trains to increase mobility in Los Angeles?
Kevin James: In order to increase mobility in Los Angeles through walking, our sidewalks must be repaired. Recent reports state that well over 4,600 miles of the City’s sidewalks are in serious disrepair and thus qualify as dangerous. Unlike current City leadership, I would make sidewalk repair a priority. It is a quality of life issue. I provide a more detailed answer on sidewalk repair in my answer to that specific question below.
In order to increase mobility through bike share, the first thing we must do is accelerate the implementation of the City’s bike plan. The City has never even come close to meeting the bikeway miles set forth in any of its three (3) bike plans. In 1977, the City only built 230 of the goal of 600 miles. The 1996 plan had a goal of 673 miles but only achieved 104 miles. The 2010 plan has a goal of expanding from the existing 334 miles to 1,684 miles over a 35 year period – 35 years! I provide a more detailed answer on the benefits of acceleration of the bike plan in my answer to a following question below.
In order to increase mobility through car share, people willing to share a car must know ofthe availability of such car sharing services – services that are provided either through a rental company/share company (e.g., Zipcar) or online services bringing people together that are interested in car sharing arrangements.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation already has a pilot program in place identifying specially designated parking locations in highly populated areas around the City in order to help jump-start the car sharing industry in Los Angeles. There are currently no less than 14 car share companies now operating around the country. This is an attractive growth industry that benefits our community in many ways including the creation of private-sector jobs, eliminating the cost of owning, registering, insuring and parking a car, easing traffic congestion, and of course the conservation of energy.
I would continue to promote and support LADOT’s pilot program in favor of car sharing. A more efficient and effective transit system overall will increase mobility in Los Angeles for walkers, cyclists and those willing to share a car if they are able to utilize an improved transit system (buses and trains) for part of their commute. The lack of a good public transit system prevents people that would otherwise walk or bike for part of their commute from walking or biking. I provide a more detailed vision for how we improve our transit system in my answers to the following questions below.
Patch: How would you raise federal, state and local general funds to pave streets and sidewalks so they’re safe for bikes and pedestrians?
Kevin James: Our City streets are the second worst in the nation. Shockingly, 63% of all of the City's streets are rated as "poor" by Federal Highway Administration data. The same data shows that the average urban motorist in Los Angeles spends $746 annually in automobile maintenance due to LA's poor roads. The poor condition of our roads also diminishes road safety for drivers, bikers and pedestrians.
The state of the City's sidewalks is not any better. The reported wait for sidewalk repairs varies anywhere from 15 years to 75 years, depending on who you talk to – which is unbelievable to say the least. Additionally, the City wants to burden homeowners with the cost of sidewalk repairs and to shoulder homeowners with liabilities resulting from damaged sidewalks. I disagree with the City’s position here. Homeowners should not be burdened with the added responsibility of repairing the City’s sidewalks outside of their homes. I will make street and sidewalk repairs a top priority.
I am well aware that the most significant hurdle in solving this problem is funding. With federal and state funds becoming harder to obtain, we are forced to rely more on local funding. The funds that we are able to apply towards street and sidewalk repairs must go a very long way. We must, therefore, be smarter in the choices we make regarding street and sidewalk repairs.
I recently met with representatives from the cement industry to learn about incredible new technologies available for long-term and cost-effective road and sidewalk repairs. In Los Angeles, we need to implement a pavement preservation program that postpones the need for significant rehabilitation by performing initial maintenance on road surfaces while they are still in stable condition.
Two technologies that are particularly promising are “full depth reclamation” and “pervious concrete.” Full depth reclamation is simply the recycling of roads in place – it is a proven cost saving method of road repair. The City of Santa Ana was recently able to rehabilitate 80 miles of asphalt streets over 3 years at about half the cost by using full depth reclamation compared to the traditional methods of removal and replacement. The benefits of full depth reclamation are numerous.
Pervious concrete is simply concrete that allows water and air to pass through it. Pervious concrete reduces stormwater runoff and recharges the underground water supply. One of the most timely benefits of the use of pervious concrete in Los Angeles is the prevention of tree trunk “heaving.” Pervious concrete allows the tree trunks to get the water and air they need so the tree trunks will not “heave” through the sidewalks.
Finally, in order to prioritize street and sidewalk repairs we must prioritize a plan for long-term fiscal solvency for the City, including further pension reform. It has been reported that over the last six years, City payroll and related benefits have increased by $720 million, a 24% increase, as average salaries have increased to $82,000 a year, excluding benefits. Contributions to the City’s pension plans have increased by $540 million as pension liabilities have grown to almost $10 billion, a reported 40% increase.
Bloomberg News just reported that DWP employees earn on average 40 percent more than other municipal workers, even those with identical job titles. California’s Little Hoover Commission has estimated that L.A.’s retiree costs could swell to 37% of the City’s budget by 2015. Quite simply, we cannot continue on this track of financial recklessness and expect to have funds to repair our streets and sidewalks (or a whole host of other items in desperate need of repair).
Patch: How important to you is the quick development of transit to connect the east and west sides?
Kevin James: Smart and efficient transit is very important, whether it is to connect the east and west sides, to connect the city’s center to the beach, or to connect LAX to Downtown and the Valley. Yet smart and efficient transit is something we have not been able to achieve in Los Angeles. Why doesn’t the “subway to the sea” go to the sea? Plans have had it stopping at the V.A. facility in West LA. Shouldn’t we just call it the “subway to the V.A.”? The Green Line doesn’t go all the way to LAX. The Crenshaw/LAX Metro light rail will stop a full mile short of LAX. How does that make sense for the nation’s second largest city? Also, complaints about the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor argue that it doesn’t go nearly far enough down the 405.
Furthermore, if you add our inability to avoid constant cost overruns, construction delays over-billing scandals and other forms of corruption to the equation (and there are numerous examples), the reality of “the quick development of transit to connect the east and west sides” sought in this question becomes a bit “cloudy” at best – at least with current City leadership. That said, I am the only candidate in this race willing to expose such failures in planning, take those that force the cost overruns and construction delays to task, and ensure that those responsible for the over-billing scandals and other corrupt practices are required to pay the price for such improper conduct.
In other words, it is very important to me to develop smart and efficient transit throughout the City. But it is equally important to me that the taxpayer not be taken to the bank by boondoggle public works projects that end up being used as cash-cows by elected officials and their campaign contributors.
Patch: Are there other major transportation infrastructure projects you would make a priority? The 710 extension and the widening of the 405 come to mind.
Kevin James: While there are a number of major transportation infrastructure projects that should be made a priority (and the widening of the 405 is certainly one of the more high-profile ones), I would also make it a priority to move traffic more efficiently and effectively on our City's surface streets. This can be done in various ways. For example, by better clearing the right-hand lanes
during peak traffic times and keeping the right-hand lanes moving.
This can be done in a number of different ways including; (a) the installation of right hand turn signals which would require pedestrians to wait a brief period of time (e.g., 30 seconds) before entering the crosswalk, which will allow right-hand turners to clear the right-hand lane for traffic prior to having to yield to pedestrians crossing the street; (b) the installation of bus shoulders at bus stops to enable buses to move out of traffic when stopping to load and unload passengers (this will also increase the safety of bus riders) which would also clear the right-hand lane for traffic while buses are loading and unloading passengers; and (c) continued traffic signal synchronization throughout the City and the continued installation of left-hand turn signals at appropriate intersections.
Another priority would be to accelerate the implementation of the City's bike plan. The more people that ride bikes in LA, the fewer cars that motorists that are not able ride bikes have to deal with. That means traffic moves more rapidly through the City, and there are more parking places available for the motorists that are driving their cars. The benefits of becoming a bike- friendly city are numerous. For local businesses, economic benefits come from cyclists parking near their shops. For neighborhoods and businesses, roads are safer as there will be fewer car-to- car accidents, and we will see safer communities because people on bikes are not separated by the walls of their car, car windows, and car radios enabling them to notice burglars, thieves, vandals and other local criminals that plague a community – cyclists serve as a form of community patrol whether they intend to or not.
Other major transportation infrastructure projects I would make a priority include the widening of I-5, one of the most congested freeways in the LA basin, and State Route 2 improvements at the end of the freeway near Glendale Boulevard and Alvarado Street.
Patch: Many students are discouraged by transportation options in Los Angeles. What will you do to keep talented students in the city by expanding transit to job centers through shuttles, buses, mobility hubs, etc?
Kevin James: The first thing I will do to keep talented students in the city is to create a much more business friendly environment in the City so these students can actually find jobs. There’s nothing like a good job to keep talented people in a community.
That said, such discouragement at LA’s transportation options is understandable. Yet even with such universal disgust among Angelenos all over the City, our City leaders have consistently failed to deliver efficient and effective transit. In order to turn the corner, we must turn to new leadership. The days of poor planning, shady bidding, irresponsible outreach, failed implementation, cost overruns, construction delays, and the lack of a common sense approach to smart transit must end – and must end in this election.
We have the foundation in place to develop a sensible and workable expansion of transit to (and within) our City’s job centers through shuttles, buses, and mobility hubs. We have the support of the public for such a sensible and workable expansion. Indeed, while the voting public said “no” to school bonds in recent elections, they said “yes” to Measure R – so public support is there.
But, when the public continues to hear that numerous high profile transportation projects are embroiled in mismanagement and turmoil their confidence is shaken, and appropriately so. We have the talent available to develop a sensible expansion of transit to (and within) our City’s job centers through shuttles, buses, and mobility hubs. The first step in making it a reality is restoring public confidence that their money is being properly spent.
I continue to maintain that I am the only candidate in this race willing to expose such failures in planning, put an end to shady bidding practices, use my own media experience to ensure successful outreach, use my own prosecutorial background to take those that force the cost overruns and construction delays to task, and guarantee that those responsible for the over- billing scandals and other corrupt practices are required to pay the price for such improper conduct.
Patch: What is your view of the current Mayor’s 30/10 transit plan?
Kevin James: While acceleration of the major projects contemplated in the 30/10 plan would be beneficial to the region on many obvious levels, including the jobs that come along with it, funding for this plan has once again become the stumbling block. Once Mayor Villaraigosa experienced serious opposition to funding the 30/10 plan coming from the federal government, the suggestion was made that voters be asked to once again tax themselves with a 10 year extension of the Measure R sales tax to pay for the 30/10 acceleration project. Such additional taxation is a mistake for several reasons.
First, I believe LA voters are taxed enough. Second, when the voters were convinced to support Measure R through representations made about what Measure R funds would bring to the community they relied on those representations. If the Mayor then goes back to the voters to ask for another tax increase the message is once again being sent that the original tax was either insufficient or squandered, the City leaders are once again unable to provide proper projections for what is needed, and the taxpayer is once again the victim. Public trust and confidence once again takes another punch to the gut.
I am also concerned with the Mayor’s consideration of seeking such funding from the Chinese government.
I am concerned that the potential for an unfavorable deal (that could hurt us fiscally farther down the line) outweighs the benefits of obtaining the funding from the Chinese government. That said, however, I recognize that the current difficulty in obtaining federal funding sources for such infrastructure improvements warrants new funding ideas and concepts that may take such a search for funds into new funding arenas.
Regardless of where the funding might come from, I remain concerned about what happens if Measure R revenues do not add up to the projections made at the time such a deal is entered into. Who carries the risk of covering such potential Measure R revenue shortfalls?
Finally, given our inability to avoid constant cost overruns, construction delays, over- billing scandals and other forms of corruption (and there are numerous examples), proper oversight of Measure R funds must be maintained in order to avoid a comparable budget disaster like the one now being faced by Californians over the High-Speed Rail (aka Bullet Train).
Patch: What are your ideas for ending parking pressures that lead to things like the apron-parking in Westside and Silver Lake neighborhoods?
Kevin James: While I recognize that an effective and efficient public transit system will result in fewer residents using automobiles as their primary mode of transportation, until we have that public transportation system in place, Angelenos will continue to rely primarily on their cars. Thus, more parking facilities are needed to accommodate parking in neighborhoods all over the City.
A workable solution for ending parking pressures that lead to apron-parking is to build more parking facilities. The City of Beverly Hills solved many of its parking pressures by building underground parking structures in between little Santa Monica Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. Their model is one that should be used to provide more parking facilities around Los Angeles. There are lots around the city (e.g., empty lots and foreclosed properties) that could be converted to parking garages below the ground with open space utilized as parks at the street- level.
An added benefit to underground parking structures with public open space at street level is fewer cars needing to use parking meters which frees up the right-lane for the movement of traffic. Building neighborhood parks at the street level will have obvious benefits to quality of life around our city.
Patch: Last year, several incidents showed weakness in security at L.A. Metro stations. We know the County Sheriff polices the trains, but what are your ideas for improving public safety on them?
Kevin James: There are a number of effective ways to improve safety at Metro stations and on trains –improvements that are not cost prohibitive. Examples include the installation of additional security cameras that are easy for riders to see, increasing the presence of uniformed officers passing through the stations on patrol, and adding even a single undercover/plain clothes officer during each shift of the day.
The existence of the security cameras and the addition of undercover officers should be promoted throughout Metro stations and on the trains through signage and intercom announcements. If would-be culprits better understand that an undercover officer might be present in the station or riding with them on the train, the deterrent effect will be significantly increased.
Patch: One of the ways the Mayor influences transit is through his appointments to boards of agencies like the MTA and DOT. What criteria would you use to make those appointments, and what would be your priorities?
Kevin James: I would seek individuals with extensive and diverse experience in transportation issues at varying levels, that bring a passion for both the industry and the agency as well as a sincere desire to serve their community. I would end the current culture of handing out such important appointments to friends, family members, and campaign contributors.
The criteria that I would use include confirmation that the prospective appointees have sufficient time to devote to the board's work, confirmation that the appointees believe in the work and vision of the agency/department. I would confirm that the prospective appointees fully comprehend and understand the legal rules and regulations covering the issues they will face on behalf of the agency/department.
I would confirm that the prospective appointees possess the necessary specialized skills needed by the agency/department, including financial skills, planning skills, and marketing skills, etc. I would ensure that the prospective appointees fully understand the industry within which they will be working, including comprehensive familiarity with state and federal regulatory agencies (including funding sources) that frequently work with the MTA and DOT.
While the City is extremely honored to receive the service of qualified individuals, service on these boards and commissions is a privilege and should be treated as an active job, and not a passive absentee experience for someone seeking only to build their resume.
"Unspeakable Crimes, an Outraged Community, too many
Unanswered Questions, and more Betrayal of the Public's Trust"
Los Angeles Mayoral Candidate Kevin James responds to the horrific abuse
charges brought against former LAUSD teacher Mark Berndt.
Our entire nation has been shaken by the unspeakable crimes charged against former LAUSD teacher Mark Berndt. The unanswered questions are numerous, and the scandal is growing. How could this abuse have gone on for as long as it did, affecting as many children as it did, in a classroom lined with windows, surrounded by potential witnesses, and in an environment open to conversation about each day's occurrences? How many more cases will surface now that the Berndt case has surfaced? Our entire community deserves answers.
Mark Berndt will never see a day of freedom again. While locking up Berndt for the rest of his life will protect our children from Berndt, how will we as a community protect our children from a system that has failed them?
Many recognize that this is more than an LAUSD issue. The community's trust of government has been betrayed at all levels. But no such betrayal is as painful as local betrayal.
How can we make such basic improvements to our public school district when the public can no longer trust those responsible for implementing the improvements?
While so many questions remain unanswered in the Berndt case, we all know the answer to the larger problem. We must go through the long and challenging task of finding new leaders, with a new vision, willing to take us in a new direction.
Kevin James Releases First Ad of Mayoral Cycle
and Unveils a Plan to End Corruption in LA
Los Angeles, January 10th – Today the Kevin James for Mayor campaign released a web ad highlighting James’ ability as a former Assistant U.S. Attorney to clean up corruption in Los Angeles. James also unveiled his initial three point plan to end corruption in Los Angeles. The plan is below.
To view the advertisement, please visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMQrMdqzdYI
With small contributions from hundreds of Angelenos fed up with the culture of corruption in City Hall, Kevin James has raised over $150,000 qualifying for matching funds and debates.
Kevin James stated, “Corruption is a serious problem is Los Angeles. We can’t fix LA until we remove the culture of corruption and build a core of confidence.”
James continued, “Our campaign is gaining traction and is being embraced by Angelenos from all over the city. As the only outsider candidate and former prosecutor running for Mayor I promise to lift up the rug in City Hall, find the corruption, expose it, and clean it up.”
Kevin James’ Initial Plan to End Corruption in LA:
- Create a Corruption Information Officer (CIO): Using funds saved from a staff reduction in the Mayor’s office, the CIO will be hired by a committee of Neighborhood Council Members, the committee will be chosen by elected by NC Board Officers. The CIO candidates will be required to have some form of law enforcement/investigatory agency experience.
The CIO will have an office outside of City Hall, including an office in the Valley. The CIO will be responsible for taking complaints of corruption/possible corruption from residents on any city department (except the police department that already has a process for such complaints).
The CIO will have a liaison with the City Attorney's Office, and the complaints departments in the DA's office and U.S. Attorney's Office.
The CIO will have a direct line to reporters at the LA Times, Daily News, Downtown News, local papers and leading bloggers.
The CIO will have an easily accessible website and social media platform for the public to interact with.
- Increase Transparency and Accessibility: Bi-monthly town halls will take place in various locations constantly throughout the year around the City where City Department heads (one department head per town hall) will sit in an auditorium and explain what each department does and to hear complaints/suggestions in the public forum about their department. Complaints/suggestions will be recorded in a public record to ensure timely follow-up.
- Create an Independent Discretionary Funds Oversight Officer (DFOO): Using funds saved from a staff reduction in the Mayor’s office, the DFOO’s responsibility is to oversee the "discretionary" spending of any paid elected official in the City (that would include City Councilmembers, Mayor, Controller and City Attorney). It would not include Neighborhood Council Board Members (their discretionary spending is overseen by the City already). The DFOO's jurisdiction would include "officeholder" account spending as well as discretionary fund spending (also known as "street furniture accounts", etc.).
The all volunteer Ethics Commission should be relieved of any duties in this area and have responsibility handed over to a full-time professional oversight officer. If the Ethics Commission does not want to relinquish its control, the DFOO should still be created to conduct additional oversight. A volunteer commission simply does not have the time to oversee such spending. The DFOO position differs from the CIO because the CIO is responsible for corruption from all city departments (excluding LAPD), the DFOO is for something entirely different - all elected official discretionary spending of taxpayer funds including officeholder accounts. Even though officeholder accounts consist of donated funds, such funds exist due to the public office being held.
The DFOO would be responsible for maintaining a separate website revealing and reporting on all such discretionary spending.
The DFOO would also collect and publish on its website information on all trips taken outside of LA County by elected officials that are paid for in whole or in part by any private company/industry/interest.
The DFOO will have a direct line to prosecutors in the City Attorney's Office, District Attorney's office and US Attorney's office, as well as close contacts with the media (including print, television, radio and blog).
# # #
L.A. Mayoral Candidate Kevin James at
The Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa welcomes
Los Angeles mayoral candidate Kevin James.
By Paul Chavez
Another candidate in the 2013 election to become mayor of Los Angeles shared his platform Tuesday night with the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa.
Kevin James, 48, a former federal prosecutor and conservative radio talk show host, positioned himself as the only outsider in the race to replace Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who will be forced out of office next year due to term limits.
James said the election currently has four viable candidates, aside from himself, who have qualified for matching funds: City Councilmembers Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, City Controller Wendy Greuel and First Deptuty Mayor Austin Beutner.
"They all work inside of City Hall," James said. "I've spent my years outside of City Hall, but covering City Hall."
Though the race is nonpartisan, James said it is no secret that he's the only registered Republican running for mayor.
James, who came to Los Angeles in 1987, was in private practice with the powerhouse law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and later became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles. He later started a career as a conservative radio host with shows on KABC and KRLA.
Wearing a black suit with a U.S. flag on his left lapel, a white shirt and a pink and grey tie, James addressed the council's board and audience Tuesday night as if he were trying to sway a jury.
He cited six top priorities:
- Making Los Angeles more business friendly. Like his challengers, James said that he does favor removing the gross receipts tax for businesses and would take it directly to voters, if necessary. He said that he also does not favor the business tax holiday for new businesses because it punishes companies that already have set up shop in the city. He does not favor eliminating the business tax altogether.
- Balancing the budget. James was a board member of AIDS Project Los Angeles from 1995 through 2000 and the nonprofit group maintained an annual budget of $20 million. He said the group's largest expense was payroll and he would use that experience to keep the city out of bankruptcy.
- Infrastructure spending. "I will guarantee you that I will spend infrastructure money on infrastructure projects," James said. He cited potholes, sinkholes and power poles as infrastructure projects that need to be addressed. He also promised a comprehensive audit of the city's Department of Water and Power.
- Public education. James said he would use the mayor's office and its power of the bully pulpit to improve schools. "How can we convince new companies to move to the city of Los Angeles, when we don't have a school district that the employees are comfortable putting their kids in? It is a liability now in the city of Los Angeles and we cannot allow that to continue," James said.
- Corruption. James said there's a current federal grand jury investigation of City Hall that includes five city departments. The city's building and safety, housing and transportation departments are being investigated and he said his sources lead him to believe the planning department and another department with recent top personnel changes also are under investigation. "When you look at the systemic level of corruption in the city of Los Angeles, being the only prosecutor in the field, we'll clean it up," James said.
- City Council reform. James said he would advocate for a part-time City Council and he noted that 87 out of 88 cities in Los Angeles County have part-time city councils. Los Angeles City Council members also make more money than an incoming U.S. Senator, James said. He said New York, Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Phoenix all have part-time city councils, while Detroit is the only other major city with a full-time city council.
James also said that if he becomes mayor he would devote three hours each week to a radio show to listen to the concerns of residents. He also pledged that he would get Neighborhood Councils more involved in city commissions.
Beutner in October spoke before the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa and Perry is scheduled to speak next month.
Correction: Updated on Jan. 4 to correct James' stance on the gross receipts tax.
The price of admission to watch me debate
City Hall insiders
on Time Warner Cable
Wouldn't you gladly pay the price of admission to see me debate the City Hall insiders that have steered LA into its decade of decline?
Since the debates are free to attend, whatever you would be willing to pay to see me debate my opponents ($5, $50, $100) could be donated to the campaign. I won't be invited to these debates aired by Time Warner Cable unless we raise enough money to meet the City's matching funds threshold - and we are almost there!
In fact, we are only a few thousand dollars shy of that milestone.
Time is of the essence. Our need for campaign contributions is URGENT.
The first debate is February 2nd.
The debate organizers will soon start printing promotional materials and my name should be in those promotional materials.
Help me qualify for these debates - send your online contribution today!
Any amount gets us closer.
Here is a link to a story demonstrating the importance of this upcoming debate series that mentions that we are right on the verge of inclusion.
Help put us over the top!
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Thank you for your continued support of our campaign to fix Los Angeles.
Mayoral Candidate Kevin James Announces the
"The Kevin James Show" on KRLA
Los Angeles, October 24th – Today mayoral candidate Kevin James announces he is leaving the evening airwaves of KRLA where he has spent more than four years broadcasting five nights a week.
James’ departure from KRLA will allow him to spend more time on the campaign trail and to talk to radio audiences on other stations and in different time slots, calling attention to and providing solutions for Los Angeles’ corrupt and inept political system.
“I am proud of my years on KRLA and am thankful for the opportunity I had to build a relationship with the residents of the City I care so deeply about. KRLA has decided that the conclusion of “The Kevin James Show” is now – prior to the acceleration of the Mayor’s race. I respect KRLA’s decision and now look forward to talking to radio audiences on other stations and other KRLA shows as a candidate rather than just as a host,” stated Kevin James.
James continued, “Voters are starved for a choice – a choice outside the status quo career politician that has caused record levels of corruption, taxation and malaise all over Los Angeles. I am proud to carry the outsider torch and will work tirelessly to fix our city.”
Kevin James’ outsider campaign is being embraced from Angelenos all over the City. He has been on the airwaves in Los Angeles for nearly a decade where James has interacted with tens of thousands of residents in Los Angeles on a nightly basis.
# # #
Kevin James Raises $100,000 in Smaller Donations
for Campaign to Become Mayor of LA
James' campaign fundraising enjoys grassroots support demonstrating early momentum.
Los Angeles, July 27th –Today the Kevin James for Mayor Campaign announces that it has raised $100,000 from well over 400 donors. This early show of strength from a true reform candidate demonstrates James’ broad support from across the community. James’ clear strengths as a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Co-Chair of AIDS Project Los Angeles, and ability to call attention to problems in City Hall and offer real solutions from the radio airwaves continue to serve as significant assets for his candidacy.
Kevin James stated, “I am honored to receive such strong early support from so many members of the community made up of every-day hard-working Angelenos and small business owners to former prosecutors and local community leaders. The next Mayor of Los Angeles must be unafraid to challenge the status quo head-on, remove the culture of corruption in City Hall and oversee a city government that provides core services to all Angelenos in an effective and efficient manner.”
“James’ early fundraising numbers from numerous smaller donations position him as the outsider candidate whose candidacy is being embraced by the residents of LA. He is well situated to mount a competitive campaign going forward,” said James’ campaign strategist John S. Thomas.
James opened a campaign committee in late March.
# # #
Kevin James Predicts More Pay-to-Play Gold Card Scandals - Calls Attention to Rampant Corruption in City Hall
Mayoral Candidate and Frm. Asst. U.S. Atty. Kevin James Claims Gold Card Desk is the
Tip of the Corruption Iceberg
Los Angeles, July 12th – Mayoral candidate Kevin James is fed up with corruption and pay-to-play misconduct in City Hall. Today James is calling for an investigation of every city department receiving payments from citizens, through contracts with outside agencies or otherwise, to determine if Gold Card-type programs exist in those departments. James also demands that the Controller immediately tell the public which city departments have such special favor “procedures.”
On July 1st the LA Times wrote about the growing list of special favor parking ticket dismissals in City Council offices and reprinted a sentence from a memo to “all city departments” from Controller Wendy Greuel “requesting that agencies receiving payments from citizens ‘identify and evaluate their current procedures regarding the process for affecting a reduction or cancellation of any amount due.’”
James said “Controller Greuel’s own memo demonstrates the likelihood that numerous other city departments have Gold Card desks, or similar special favor ‘procedures,’ for ‘affecting a reduction or cancellation of any amount due.’”
James went on to say that “Controller Greuel’s memo, as quoted in The Times, further demonstrates her own knowledge of the existence of such special favor ‘procedures’ in other departments.”
“It is an absolute embarrassment that it has taken the FBI and a federal grand jury to come in and begin cleaning up the culture of corruption in City Hall. The amount of corruption yet to be revealed shocks the senses and is beyond toleration,” said James. James continued, “To add insult to injury, city officials now appear to be trying to cover things up as The Times states that the city’s transportation department ‘redacted names and other information from a large share of the documents requested by The Times.’”
James concluded, “LA deserves better. Enough is enough. It’s time to clean up our city government once and for all. As a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, I know what it takes and if elected, I’ll clean it up.”
For more information, please visit Kevin James’ campaign website at www.kevinjamesformayor.com.
# # #
CALPEEK: Mayor's Roundup
California Political Week
May 16, 2011
By Dick Resengarten
…One of the lesser known mayoral candidates is former Asst.
U.S. Atty. Kevin James, who officially announced his candidacy on the steps of L.A. City Hall on March 16th. James also
hosts a late night radio show on KRLA. Calpeek’s Dick
Rosengarten couldn’t sleep last Friday or this Monday and
ended up listening to part of his show. He doesn’t waste any
words: he thinks L.A. City Hall is full of corruption and
…Calpeek isn’t sure James mentioned Mayor Antonio’s
$42,000 L.A. City ethics fine for accepting sports tickets instead
of paying for them himself. Villaraigosa went to the Oscars
and Lakers games without paying. The mayor plans to set
up a legal defense fund to help pay the fines. That’s totally
legal, but as some have noted, that doesn’t make it right…
…James specifically mentioned the current investigation of
two building inspectors, suspected of corruption. These two
have been placed on leave and a federal grand jury has hit the
L.A. Dept. of Building & Safety with subpoenas – 11 subpoenas
for current and former workers. L.A. isn’t supposed to be
Chicago or NY…
…The office of L.A. City Atty. Carmen Trutanich and the L.A.
office of the FBI are investigating. The feds have some conversations
on tape. Calpeek was surprised how much inside
information James had and revealed on his May 6th show. But
being a former Asst. U.S. Attorney, he probably has some good
contacts. The stuff about the building inspectors was in Saturday’s
L.A. Times (5/7).
…That’s not all that James talked about. He also threw spitballs
when he mentioned the L.A. City Ethics Commission
fines leveled against Council President Eric Garcetti and three
other L.A. Councilmembers for accepting gifts of more than
$100 from contributors who do business with the ciy. All admitted
…The bottomline is that James won’t go quietly into the night.
He’ll make lots of noise and possibly cause red faces among
the candidates who have connections to L.A. City Hall. He’s
hired campaign consultant John Thomas and his website is
www.kevinjamesformayor.com. James says he hopes to raise
$3 million dollars. Stay tuned…
The Rape-Kit Backlog: The More Important Question Is Not How The Backlog Was Eliminated But Why It Existed.
May 13, 2011
By Kevin James, Candidate for Mayor
How does Los Angeles allow thousands of rape kits to sit on a shelf collecting dust while rapists walk free? A lack of leadership, that’s how.
The sad truth about the rape-kit backlog is that city leadership allowed there to be a rape-kit backlog. On April 27, 2011, city officials took a victory lap around City Hall in celebration of the elimination of the backlog of rape-evidence kits that had grown in recent years to more than 7,000 untested kits. Every city official that self-servingly posed for the cameras on April 27 was in office – and in a senior leadership role of one form or another – during the years the rape-kit backlog grew and grew and grew. The one city official that deserved credit for the elimination of the backlog – former Controller Laura Chick – was not there.
The big question they all came to answer – and take credit for – was how the rape-kit backlog was eliminated. The question they should have all been answering was why they allowed more than 7,000 DNA samples from rape victims to sit on shelves for years collecting dust while statutes of limitations ran. If that had been the question being asked, however, the elected officials would have politely “passed” on the press conference.
Politely “passing” on press conferences calling attention to this crisis is exactly what they were doing back in 2007 and 2008 when victim-advocacy groups were standing on the steps of City Hall demanding action. When the question was why the rape-kit backlog existed and was growing by hundreds per month, these elected officials were too busy for the cameras and, unfortunately, too busy for rape victims.
The rape-kit backlog was eliminated because victim-advocacy groups representing rape victims refused to be ignored. When victim-advocacy groups could not get results from elected officials in City Hall, they went to the media. They went to the Los Angeles Daily News, the Los Angeles Times, talk radio, and every other media outlet that would listen.
Frustrated with continuing inaction from City Hall, representatives from these victim-advocacy groups contacted me directly as they knew I would expose this injustice on my show and call out publicly those that were to blame. In response to media calls for immediate action, city officials used one of the oldest excuses in the book – lack of funding. However, on August 18, 2008, the Daily News set the record straight writing that “there’s money available if police officials really need it. In fact, the LAPD hasn’t even spent $1.3 million in federal grant funds intended for that very purpose. And the department’s failure to use that grant money prompted the feds to significantly reduce the grant money this year.” The Daily News continued – “The money excuse is just a facile brushoff. What’s missing isn’t cash; it’s accountability and a lack of political will.” Daily News 8/18/08. To add insult to injury, city officials have known for years that the backlog was growing. “City Hall has been saying for years there’s a backlog, but has never done much about it.” Daily News 8/18/08.
Then, the one city official that deserves credit for helping to solve the crisis, then-Controller Laura Chick, stepped up with an audit of the backlog and a press conference on the steps of City Hall. Chick’s audit blasted city officials “for leaving thousands of victims without justice.” Daily News 10/25/08. Chick’s audit results were picked up by news outlets around the country. This public embarrassment of city officials, brought on by dedicated victim-advocacy groups who were tired of being ignored and tired of the lack of “political will” in City Hall, finally set the wheels in motion to eliminate the backlog.
Indeed, the Los Angeles Times confirmed in its April 27, 2011 story that it was “pressure from victim-advocacy groups,” not pressure from elected officials in City Hall, that forced then-Chief William Bratton “to acknowledge and vow to address the thousands of pieces of DNA evidence that had sat untouched for years.” LA Times 4/27/11. To his credit, Mayor Villaraigosa admitted during the April 27 press conference that city officials had “let justice wait” and that “every sexual assault evidence kit [represents] an individual – a mother, a daughter, a friend – who rightfully deserves justice.” LA Times 4/27/11.
The fact that many of the city officials that sat idly by as the backlog grew while refusing to take real action until chided by the national media were the same city officials preening for the cameras and claiming credit for the elimination of the horrible backlog at an April 27 press conference is a just another illustration of what is wrong with current city leadership.
By Kevin James, Candidate for Mayor, former Asst. U.S. Attorney, Radio Broadcaster (AM 870 KRLA)
In L.A.'s mayoral race, it takes a coalition
Los Angeles Times
May 2, 2011
By Jim Newton
Los Angeles is a demanding city for those who would be mayor. In a city as diverse as this one, winning the office is not possible without coalition politics, and each recent mayor has built his coalition differently. Tom Bradley brought together African Americans and white liberals, especially Jews; Richard Riordan combined Valley conservatives and moderates with support from Latinos; James Hahn beat Antonio Villaraigosa in 2001 by lumping together moderates, conservatives and blacks; and Villaraigosa ousted him four years later by jolting turnout among Latinos and exciting white and black liberals.
Candidates in the race to succeed Villaraigosa are just starting to set up committees and build support, but they are already grappling with how to build their coalitions.
For some, it's fairly simple: County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has represented parts of the Westside and the Valley as a councilman or supervisor for decades; he starts from his district, then expands with liberals and Jews. City Council President Eric Garcetti is going after those same liberals and Democrats, and also will be reaching out to Latinos — Garcetti's father, former Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti, is of Italian and Mexican heritage. City Councilwoman Jan Perry expects support from African Americans — she's the only black candidate so far in this race — along with pro-business moderates. Investment banker Austin Beutner has yet to declare officially, but already he has claimed the first major endorsement in the race (from Riordan), and he hopes to put together the same moderate and business base that put Riordan into office.
For others, the path is a bit more complicated, and for none more so than Kevin James, the radio talk show host who's trying to drum up interest in his candidacy. In a city with 980,000 registered Democrats and 279,000 registered Republicans, James is the only declared Republican so far in the hunt. Moreover, he's openly gay and a champion of same-sex marriage, which could either help him broaden his base or alienate some of those conservatives who might otherwise be his natural supporters.
James has clear strengths: He's charismatic and articulate, and comfortable with the issues of city government without having been tainted by that government's difficulties. His radio show gives him at least some sense of the electorate, though it's hard to imagine that KRLA listeners who tune in from midnight to 3 a.m. to listen to James are typical of those who will elect the next mayor. He's also done yeoman's volunteer work, notably on behalf of AIDS Project Los Angeles.
We met last week in part because he and his political consultant were frosted by a column I wrote recently laying out the major candidates in the race without mentioning James. That was no accident; James falls well below the threshold to be taken as seriously as his better-known rivals. Even those who have never held elected office — Beutner and developer Rick Caruso — have significant experience working with the city, Beutner as an aide to Mayor Villaraigosa, Caruso as a police commissioner and a member of the Coliseum Commission, among other things.
James, like other lesser-known candidates who will be drawn to this campaign, will first have to make a case to voters for why he should be taken seriously. "Why the hell am I qualified to be mayor?" he asked rhetorically at our lunch. Career politicians have mucked up City Hall, he went on to explain. His background as a lawyer — he's a former federal prosecutor and now an entertainment lawyer — would be helpful in navigating some of the city's thornier issues; and though he hasn't worked at City Hall, he's been analyzing its defects on his radio show for years.
But can he or any of the other dark-horse contenders win? That will depend on their ability to do what Los Angeles demands of its mayoral candidates — to build a base and then expand it.
"Here's my map," he explained. If he can run the table with Republicans (a big if with Beutner or Caruso in the race), tap into conservatives angry at the city's elected leadership and pick up some stray moderates, James figures he might land a spot in the runoff "if my voters are motivated in a low-turnout race."
As James knows, in a similarly crowded field in 2005, James Hahn got to the second round with just 89,000 votes. Two things about that, though: Hahn was an incumbent mayor with universal name recognition. And he got thumped in the runoff. Hahn's coalition was just good enough to lose.
That doesn't mean James can't win. But it's a long way from late-night radio to the mayor's mansion.
Reaction to the Mayor's Budget Summary
April 27, 2011
By Kevin James, Candidate for Mayor
The good news is that the Mayor appears to understand the need for long-term solutions to address the escalating payroll, pension and benefit obligations. This apparent understanding is demonstrated by the elimination of full-time positions and the tentative agreement with the Coalition of LA City Unions. Unfortunately, however, the Mayor’s proposal is short on long-term solutions and long on short-term solutions.
Did anyone notice that the Mayor’s 2011-12 Budget Proposal actually projects a very slight increase in general fund revenues? General fund revenues are projected to go up roughly $4 million next year (from $4.375b to $4.379b). Taken in context, projected revenues (emphasis on the word “projected”) are basically stable. The $458 million deficit we face in the upcoming year (roughly 10% of the city’s expected general fund revenue), therefore, reflects a spending problem.
Dealing with the Spending Problem.
With projected deficits in subsequent years growing even larger than what we are facing today, and a significant portion of the general fund being spent on mandatory items such as pension, benefit and debt payments, long-term structural reforms are critical. While Mayor Villaraigosa’s proposal acknowledges the growing crisis (which is good), he remains content on leaving the heavy lifting to his successor.
Let’s start with some of the better points in the Mayor’s proposal.
First, the proposed/tentative agreement with the Coalition of LA City Unions that would increase employee contributions to retiree healthcare is an important step in providing long-term solutions. While ratification of the deal will require members to contribute 4% of their pay for the cost of retiree healthcare coverage (without ratification we will face serious furloughs resulting in further reductions in the quality of services), much more work must be done in negotiating with our city unions. Even if the agreement is ratified (and there is some doubt it will be as many Coalition members are exempted from furloughs), opponents of the agreement point out that it provides Coalition members with new guarantees and even more leverage in upcoming negotiations.
Second, the proposed “data-driven” Fire Deployment Plan which replaces the former so-called “Modified Coverage Plan” (a/k/a the poorly-planned and dangerous rolling brown-outs) certainly sounds good as described in the Mayor’s proposal. The Times says it is a “smarter approach to fire stations that replaces underused and expensive ladder trucks with more badly needed paramedic teams.” It will certainly be a “smarter approach” if it works and public safety is not compromised.
Third, the Mayor describes the “Police Sworn Salary and Overtime Reductions” valued at $100 million as “long term.” I hope he is right. While eliminating 105 vacant civilian positions is long-term, even Councilmember Parks acknowledges that the Mayor’s “assumption” that overtime savings through the management of compensated time off and deployment of sworn resources will total $80 million is “uncertain.” Furthermore, an added $20 million in “targeted savings” through LAPD “operational efficiencies” (whatever those are) could be long-term savings if they can be implemented and public safety is not compromised. Obviously, these “assumptions” and “targets” are risky.
Fourth, consolidation of duplicative city offices and departments is a long-term structural solution, as is the elimination of 680 full-time positions (although if they were already vacant, we are not paying employees in those positions now anyway). I appreciate that the Mayor has found some departmental duplication to eliminate in the last two budget proposals. However, more work can be done here. Even if it is proving difficult for the Mayor to find departments that duplicate the work of other departments, there are many divisions of city departments that are duplicative.
A few elements of the Mayor’s proposal that are particularly troublesome.
The Mayor offers many one-time solutions that do nothing to improve the city’s long-term fiscal solvency. While these “one-timers” may kick the can down the road to the next budget year, all they really do is paper-over the lack of leadership in City Hall.
The fact that we are going to borrow $43 million to cover a mortgage payment on the convention center ($22 million) and to cover costs related to the city’s Early Retirement Incentive Program ($21 million (that was supposed to have been cost neutral in the first place)) means we are borrowing money to pay more money we already owe. In other words, we are using the Visa Card to pay the Discover Card bill. Not only are we extending the life of the debt, we are going to pay much more for it.
It is also unfortunate to see the “continued reduction of general fund support for capital improvement projects”– this means $48 million less for infrastructure maintenance and improvements previously funded at 1% of the general fund.
While I certainly support real budget cuts in both the Mayor’s office and City Council offices, I am very skeptical when I hear about reductions to this Mayor’s budget and City Council budget. This year the proposal is an 11% reduction for the Mayor and a 10% reduction for the City Council. What we are not being told is how much the budgets of the Mayor and City Council have grown over the last few years. A 10% or 11% budget reduction does not impress me if that budget has seen constant growth in recent years. Indeed, one could argue that it is really no budget reduction at all. The Daily News reported on August 10, 2010 that the Mayor’s staff has grown to 206 “dwarfing that of former Mayor James Hahn, who had 121 employees, and former Mayor Richard Riordan, with 114.”
An example of a cut in the Mayor’s proposed budget I would not have made is the 10% reduction to the annual appropriations to Neighborhood Councils (“NC”). The city’s NC system results in hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours given to the city every year by NC board members. There are well over one thousand NC board members. Further cuts to their funds (money used to pay for meeting space, rentals, copies, refreshments, and community activities, etc.) only makes it harder for them to do their jobs – as volunteers – and discourages more extended involvement in the NC system.
An example of “new revenue” proposed by the Mayor that I would not seek is the increase in net revenue that spending money to hire additional traffic officers would allegedly bring. Putting more traffic officers on our streets to hound city residents and customers of our city’s private businesses with annoying and outrageous traffic/parking fines levied as a result of ridiculously confusing and ambiguous parking signs/rules is not a way to increase revenue. It is a way to drive customers out of our city and away from our businesses and into communities that are not so obsessed with abusive traffic/parking fines for nice patrons who are one minute over on the 7 pm deadline on the third Saturday of the fifth month of an odd-numbered year as depicted on the parking sign three blocks away with four different signs (some of which are spray-painted over). I recognize that parking fines are projected to bring in $141 million next year, but I also believe that a city can go overboard and drive business away thereby resulting in a net loss in revenues.
In the spirit of shared sacrifice, I was hoping to see a proposed transfer to the city’s Reserve Fund of some of the discretionary funds of the Mayor and City Council. You know, the slush funds or “street-furniture” funds as they are called that elected officials use (as the Times put it regarding the Board of Supervisors) to “burnish their public images, pay for chauffeurs, hold parties for friends and lobbyists and support pet projects.” That is an example of a funds transfer I would propose that was not in the Mayor’s budget proposal.
I was also hoping to see a category reflecting real improvements in the city’s revenue collections and revenue enhancements. The city is in need of significant improvements in the areas of revenue collections, tax compliance, accounts receivable collections, new revenues, centralized billing, and implementation of prior audits. The Commission on Revenue Efficiency offered 65 specific recommendations for reform – the need for many of which have been known for years. Nevertheless, the Mayor’s proposal offers nothing in the way of a solution to this continuing problem.
General Fund Revenues.
It is important to note here that the revenue numbers in the Mayor’s proposal for 2011-12 are merely projections – an estimate. The Times pointed out that the Mayor’s estimate is $130 million higher than the Controller’s latest revenue projection for the year. Councilmember Parks pointed out that revenues from 2010-11 were “$60-plus million under the projection.” It is worth noting that last year’s budget contained projected revenues of approximately $53 million from the long-term lease of parking garages from a make-believe deal that never existed. So there is cause for concern surrounding the current projected revenue figures.
Finally, I refuse to accept the current level of general fund revenues as the best Los Angeles can do. Current city leadership has offered very little, if anything, in the way of ideas to grow general fund revenues. At this point, tax and fee increases (which current leadership loves and has tried) and tax incentive “gimmicks” (which current leadership has tried) do much more harm than good.
Los Angeles can do better. We can increase our general fund revenues without raising taxes and fees. A fair and equitable across-the-board reduction in our business tax burden and simplification of our business tax structure would make operating a business easier for our existing businesses (small, medium and large) and encourage new businesses to come. The increase in volume (i.e., the number of entities doing business in the city) will cause an increase in business tax revenue, sales tax revenue, utility users’ tax revenue, parking users’ tax revenue, and even revenue from licenses, permits, fees and fines. In other words, we would see an increase in revenues from five out of eleven sources of general fund revenue. (There is much more on this coming from me in the coming months).
How Kevin James will affect the campaign issues for L.A. Mayor in 2013
April 5, 2011
By John Stammreich
For those of us living within the largest county in America, there are actually two layers of “Los Angeles Politics” one can be engaged. It is important to understand the difference between the two layers because they do not operate the same; those in the outer layer often try to comprehend and advise conservative activists within the internal layer without knowing how the internal layer operates. A significant majority of conservative political activists here in Los Angeles County have never dove into the deeper, darker layer, where KRLA Radio Host and 2013 mayoral candidate Kevin James has made it his mission to cast the biggest spotlight on political corruption in order to save the City of Angels from its own destruction.
To understand what Kevin James and other Angeleno conservatives face regularly, one must understand the two political layers of Los Angeles County. First, there is the layer which encompasses most of the county, where cities within it focus on truly local issues in a somewhat collaborative fashion. Its councils and commissions are made up of a combination of conservatives and liberals with majorities of each based on its population content: those with a higher percentage of home-owners tend to be more conservative and for limited government. Those with more union membership and ethnic concentrations tend to elect more liberal representation. A common characteristic in most is a commitment to building their small business base and, with some exceptions, looking to its residents on a continual basis for feedback and approval. Local activist groups, non-partisan in nature, attend most council meetings regularly to hold its members accountable.
Then there’s the internal layer, namely the City of Los Angeles itself. For conservatives who reside within the City of Los Angeles, the political environment is much different: conservative activists are not only a small minority; we have literally struggled to qualify as one of the main political groups in city politics. The two key political groups within L.A. are the downtown insiders (and their loyalists), from which most of the city council, staffers and lobbyists are made; and the neighborhood activists and support groups, including CityWatch LA & Clean Sweep LA, as well as the many elected board members of over 90 neighborhood councils throughout the city’s 15 council districts. Despite some conservative leanings within the latter, both of these groups are predominantly led by Democratic and liberal-leaning leaders. A few notable exceptions have attempted to unite the neighborhood activists in years past, including former mayoral candidate Walter Moore and, more recently, city council candidate Stephen Box; both played a part in the 2009 grassroots activities, along with city activists Ron Kaye and Jack Humphreville and others, that united most of the neighborhoods in defeating the Mayor’s $3M solar energy proposition, Measure B. But such victories and holding its city legislators accountable has been difficult at best.
In recent years, KRLA radio talk show host Kevin James has dedicated most of his on-air time, and a significant amount of off-air personal time, to exposing many of the scandals and corrupt practices here in the City of Angels, and has worked hard to promote candidates within its borders who he believes would bring more accountability and transparency to city government. Kevin has worked with credible downtown insiders, many local neighborhood council activists, attended joint committees between them, and has expanded his outreach to various tea party organizations throughout the county. With the rest of the nation wising up in 2010 to the need for limited government, fiscal responsibility and political accountability, Kevin watched as the County of Los Angeles, and specifically the City of Los Angeles, stuck a dagger in any hope of state GOP gains in the November 2010 election. After much consultation with local activists, civic organizations and watchdog groups yearning for a uniting opportunity, Kevin has decided that the only way to enable such an opportunity is to be its spokesperson and leader in the next city elections in 2013, and has begun his campaign to replace Mayor Villaraigosa and be the next mayor of Los Angeles.
This announcement has drawn both praise and criticism within both the inside and outside layer of Los Angeles. Those who understand little about the neighborhood council system and even less about how Los Angeles City Hall operates try to equate his run to that of an elected official in state office. There are those who use the inability to raise money as an issue (most of these are really criticizing Kevin’s lack of personal wealth), though they should take note that Kevin has raised over $500,000 in the 30-day period since he announced his campaign. Others cite his lack of political experience, though Kevin knows more about most city government issues than the council members or their chiefs of staff pretend to know.
What Kevin James brings most to the 2013 campaigns here in the city of Los Angeles is his huge spotlight on the relevant issues Angelenos want addressed. Why is there no money for police, fire, neighborhood council budgets or infrastructure improvements, despite the city receiving 97% of the same revenues in 2010 that it received in 2009? Why are the Department of Water and Power (DWP) city ratepayers threatened with a significant rate hike, despite the DWP transferring millions of dollars from its general fund to the city of Los Angeles general fund? Why has the size of city government expanded, including discretionary spending and non-essential social programs, while essential services are given hiring freezes and threats of lay-offs?
To raise conservative platform to the level of both exposure and concern by voters, it has to have both content and a credible, powerful delivery source. It’s like having a powerful missile in one’s hands without the delivery system to launch the weapon where it will actually make an impact. Mayoral candidate Kevin James brings both the messages of conservative responsibility that he and others have tried to convey for many years, and the resources, networks and capability to send those messages throughout every city council district and neighborhood council area in Los Angeles. By starting now and using the early portion of his two-year campaign to plant the seeds of local accountability, Kevin will force other candidates in the race, regardless of their political party or constituency base, and regardless of what other city office they are running for, to address these issues in their campaigns.
That alone will make conservatives throughout Los Angeles a bit more comfortable, as they watch liberal candidates, likely fresh off of a defeat of their “hope and change” former president, forced to address these concerns. This is the political prescription most needed in Los Angeles, and there is no one better prepared in the City of Los Angeles to give it than my friend, and hopefully my next mayor, Kevin James.
Kevin James Announces Half a Million Dollars Pledged for Campaign to be LA's Next Mayor
David Berger on Los Angeles
April 5, 2011
By David Berger
Barely a day after a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece deliberately omitted to mention Mayoral candidate Kevin James in what appeared to be a biased review of Mayoral hopefuls, Kevin James responded with the only news that really matters; he has already received campaign contribution commitments which “Exceed $500,000″.
Kevin James announced his candidacy for Mayor of Los Angeles on March 16, 2011 at City Hall. In less
than two and a half weeks, James has raised over half a million dollars
In a statement released on his campaign website, KevinJamesForMayor.com, James stated:
“I am honored and humbled to have earned such strong early support from all across the community. I am encouraged and motivated by their commitment to this campaign and promise to do my best to put Los Angeles back on track to prosperity. We can do better. We must do better.”
James’ political consultant, John S. Thomas, noted: “This early show of support clearly demonstrates Kevin James’ strength as a candidate. Our campaign fully intends to garner the resources necessary to run a winning campaign. This is precisely the kind of momentum an outsider requires to topple the status quo and break through the barrage of special interest money that will be flooding our opponent’s bank accounts.”
What is interesting is how James has been able to raise so much money, so soon. Some clue as to James’ remarkable success might be found in something else that Thomas said; “a select list of early contributors will be available by request. These donors have committed to serve as Co-Chairmen ($25k) and Finance Committee ($10k).”
It ‘s a very smart approach to fundraising, the kind of financial smarts this City will need in its next Mayor who will take over the eight years of fiscal irresponsibility that will be Mayor Villaraigosa’s legacy.
Thus far, James has set himself ahead of the pack of Mayoral hopefuls which is said to include L.A. City Council members Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti, City Controller Wendy Greuel, First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and real estate developer Rick Caruso.
On June 30, 2011 all campaigns have to file reports of their fundraising, so it will be interesting to see which of the others will be in second place to James.
Does it Really Matter Who is the Next LA Mayor?
Ron Kaye L.A.
April 5, 2011
By Ron Kaye
Radio talk show host Kevin James -- the lone outsider and dark horse in the mayor's race -- announced today he has $500,000 in pledges for this campaign.
On Monday, LA Times columnist Jim Newton offered his thumbnail appraisal of the seven insider candidates, ranking County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, a former Councilman, as the "front-runner" if "he jumps in -- really and truly in," a leap of faith he has shied away from repeatedly over the last couple of decades.
The LA Weekly is polling political observers for how they rate the candidates.
It's kind of funny when you think about it.
We just had an election in which the populace exercised its voice in support of the crooks and failures who have served themselves and the special interests far better than they served the public and the mayoral primary is 23 months down the road.
The question to ask is this: Does it make much of a difference who is mayor if the system itself is rotten to its core?
Consider a bit of history of the office over the decades: In 1973, Tom Bradley ended the tyranny of the narrow-minded bigots who ran the city for their own benefit for decades, bringing new energy and excitement to the town. But by his fourth term, the Bradley Administration had grown stale and he nearly lost the 1989 election to a fifth term to the affable but irrelevant Nate Holden over revelations he was on the take from firms doing business with the city.
By 1993, the city was ready for change. The malaise of City Hall corruption, LAPD abuses brought to public notice by the Rodney King beating and the riots, the recession of the early 1990s all combined to help elect Richard Riordan as mayor on the promise to "turn L.A. around."
Riordan did turn L.A. around. He just couldn't getting moving in new directions.
His efforts to privatize non-core city functions, even sell the DWP's power system, were thwarted by the union-controlled City Council. So Riordan tried Charter reform, only to see it taken hostage by the Council and various special interests that produced an incomprehensible system for dysfunction, granting some increase in authority to the what was and is a weak mayor system and creating powerless Neighborhood Councils while preserving most of its ability to sell favors to developers, contractors and others grown used to feeding at the public trough.
Enter Jim Hahn, in insider who had little dissonance with the way things were and whose passivity allowed various pay-to-play and play-then-pay schemes to flourish.
An endless stream and damaging investigations made him easy pickings after only one term for the charismatic Councilman and former Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa.
In retrospect, Hahn, Riordan, the later years of Bradley, even Nate Holden are looking better all the time.
It's not just business as usual at City Hall. It's a City Hall that is for sale to just about anyone who has the cash to stuff into campaign war chests, office holder accounts, political issue funds or provide tickets to luxury sports and entertainment events or buy a high-priced meal with a fine bottle of wine or two.
There are no safeguards for the public interest as evidenced by the feeble investigations of Antonio's flagrant and deliberate disregard of laws requiring that gifts be reported to the city and state ethics enforcement agencies.
He ignored those rules taking dozens of freebies worth tens of thousands of dollars but the official verdict was his violations were "unintentional" because of his lame assertion that everything he does as mayor is ceremonial, a royal prerogative that even the Queen of England.cannot get away with.
The upshot is he has to pay $42,000 in fines that will be covered by the very same people who have funded his various activities and gotten rewards in public benefits 100 or even 1,000 times what it cost them.
You would think the candidates for mayor in 2013 would all run on the promise to clean up City Hall.
That won't be so easy for downtown Councilwoman Jan Perry and Hollywood Councilman Eric Garcetti who have delivered some handsome favors of public cash and public benefits to developers in their own districts and looked the other way about the systemic corruption at City Hall.
Controller Wendy Greuel and FIrst Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner has similar problems, if not of the same magnitude. They are inside City Hall. They have stood buy without a word of protest about the budget crisis or uncontrolled development. In fact, for the most part they have embraced the same destructive policies that have so badly damaged the Villaraigosa Administration..
Billionaire Rick Caruso is at once an insider, having served on several major city commissions, and a developer of massive shopping centers -- a background that hardly suggests a knight in shining armor.
State Sen. Alex Padilla, the former Council President, has never shown in either capacity any proclivity to stand up to the power structure. Rather, he always seem to stand with the power structure.
Yaroslavsky is everybody's front-runner. He's tougher than most and more fiscally responsibility but there serious doubts about whether he has any fire left in his belly after all these years of accommodating many of the same interests as everyone else.
That leaves the outsider Kevin James, a gay Republican who is getting no respect from any of the pundits. He has none of the baggage as the others and will certainly run as a crusader against City Hall's corruption. He could even make it into the runoff in the large field that seems to be likely but it's safe to say the big money special interests to do everything it can to bury him in the end.
But let's say for the moment, he did win the election. He could veto every dirty deal, fire incompetent general managers and submit austerity budgets but they always vote unanimously and so would override his action every time. He could fire incompetent general managers and submit austerity budgets. He could even get tough in union negotiations but so what when everyone else is owned lock, stock and barrel by them.
So if who is mayor doesn't matter that much, is there any hope or should we all just pack up and exercise our right to exit the city like so many others have done in the last 30 years?
I hope not. Despite the inability of the good citizens of the city to get enough traction in the recent election, I haven't lost my faith that our day will come. They have no answers, no political will to fix what is broken. It is all smoke and mirrors and slogans without meaning.
Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. Things are going to get worse, you can count on that.
Mayoral Candidate Kevin James Exceeds $500,000
in Fundraising Commitments
James' campaign gains significant momentum and financial backing from a broad coalition
of supporters across Los Angeles.
Los Angeles, April 5 –In less than the first three weeks of his candidacy for Mayor, Kevin James has secured well over $500,000 in fundraising commitments from more than 100 donors. While James maintains clear outsider status as a reformer, he is committed to raising the financial resources to mount an aggressive campaign and spread his message to voters across the City. As a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Co-Chair of AIDS Project Los Angeles and current broadcaster fighting for neighborhood councils and Angelenos who have been ignored by city government, James’ candidacy is being strongly embraced throughout the City. There will be more prominent endorsements and announcements in the coming days.
Kevin James stated, “I am honored and humbled to have earned such strong early support from all across the community. I am encouraged and motivated by their commitment to this campaign and promise to do my best to put Los Angeles back on track to prosperity. We can do better. We must do better.”
“This early show of support clearly demonstrates Kevin James’ strength as a candidate. Our campaign fully intends to garner the resources necessary to run a winning campaign. This is precisely the kind of momentum an outsider requires to topple the status quo and break through the barrage of special interest money that will be flooding our opponent’s bank accounts,” noted James’ political consultant, John S. Thomas.
A select list of early contributors will be available by request. These donors have committed to serve as Co-Chairmen ($25k) and Finance Committee ($10k).
Some financial highlights include:
- Kevin James secured over $500,000 in commitments from donors. His fundraising base is expected to grow substantially in the coming months.
- Well over 100 donors contributed to James’s early fundraising effort.
- Most money raised out of any candidate currently running for Mayor.
James opened a campaign committee in late March. The first financial reporting period will end on June 30th.
# # #
Another Day, Another Mayoral Contender
Los Angeles Downtown News
March 16, 2011
By Jon Regardie
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Seven members of the Los Angeles political and business establishment have already either said they will run for mayor or are considering it. Now, an outsider is jumping in.
This morning, radio host Kevin James declared himself a candidate for the 2013 race to succeed the termed-out Antonio Villaraigosa. He also laid out the twin bases of his campaign platform: 1) The mainstream candidates won’t take on the tough issues, and 2) business taxes need to be reduced.
“I’m running for mayor to bring the city back from the brink of financial disaster,” James, the host of a midnight-3 a.m. show on station KRLA (870 AM), said this morning on the steps of City Hall. Later he added, “I’ve proven night after night that I’m not afraid to challenge the status quo.”
The race is expected to be filled with experienced and connected candidates. Already, City Controller Wendy Greuel has filed paperwork to run. Others who have said they are pondering running are City Council President Eric Garcetti, Councilwoman Jan Perry, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and state Sen. Alex Padilla. Two business-oriented candidates, mall developer Rick Caruso and former venture capitalist and current First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, are also considering running.
James, a former assistant U.S. attorney with eight years of broadcasting experience, said he expects to raise more than $3 million. His campaign manager John Thomas said that during a fundraiser this week James received more than $250,000 in financial “commitments,” though that has not yet turned into checks.
Radio Broadcaster and Former Asst. U.S. Atty Kevin James Announces Candidacy for Mayor
Los Angeles, Mar. 16 – Radio broadcaster and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin James officially announced his candidacy today for Mayor of Los Angeles. Launching his candidacy on the steps of City Hall with a broad coalition of current elected officials and many other community leaders, Kevin James hopes to bring a fresh start and much needed new leadership to City government. For years Kevin James has been advocating for common sense solutions to the challenges that face Los Angeles via the airwaves.
“With Los Angeles facing a mountain of challenges, I can be more effective in office than from behind a microphone,” stated James.
James continued, “LA must become more business friendly across the board. Bringing jobs back is one of my top priorities.”
Kevin James stated, “Given the wide range of industries based in the Los Angeles region, coupled with the diverse and far reaching pool of talent in our city, there is no city in the country better situated for a major recovery than ours.”
Kevin James brings a wide range of experience from serving as co-chair of AIDS Project Los Angeles, to traveling to numerous neighborhood council meetings all across the city, to providing hard working residents and civic leaders a voice for years. James is ready to lead.
Kevin James intends to mount a vigorous and dynamic campaign to share his message and common sense solutions with all of Los Angeles.
“I look forward to campaigning all across Los Angeles and continuing to provide a voice to those who have felt left out. It’s about time our leaders listened to the little guy, not just the special interests with fat wallets,” claimed James.
Kevin James said, “Our City’s infrastructure is literally crumbling. Many power poles are so old and worn that the power lines are holding up the poles. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”
Having opened a campaign committee for one full day, James has already secured over a quarter million dollars in commitments. A partial list of names will be released soon.
# # #
Talk Radio Host Kevin James to Announce Run for Mayor
Los Angeles Times
March 15, 2011
Another contender for the 2013 Los Angeles mayoral race is throwing his hat into the ring.
Radio personality Kevin James, who broadcasts on KRLA-AM (870) weekdays from midnight to 3 a.m., plans to announce his candidacy on Wednesday on the steps of City Hall.
Campaign spokesman John Thomas said James, 47, wants to make Los Angeles more business-friendly and believes that "we desperately need new leadership in L.A." James already has working relationships with union leaders, business officials and nonprofit groups, Thomas said.
"One of the secrets to his candidacy is he brings a broad-based coalition to the table," Thomas said.
A radio broadcaster since 2003, James lives in Laurel Canyon and has practiced law for such firms as Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher. He was a prosecutor for the U.S. attorney's office and spent six years on the board of directors of AIDS Project L.A.
James was a major supporter of Carmen Trutanich in his victorious 2009 campaign for city attorney. Last year, he emceed the election night party for Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley's unsuccessful campaign for attorney general.
Other potential mayoral contenders include L.A. City Council members Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti, City Controller Wendy Greuel, First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and real estate developer Rick Caruso.
Lawyer/Radio Host Kevin James Slated to Announce Candidacy for Mayor
March 15, 2011
By Rick Orlov
Attorney and conservative radio talk-show host Kevin James is scheduled Wednesday to announce his candidacy for Los Angeles mayor in 2013 in what is expected to be a crowded field.
James, 46, has been a fixture on talk radio in the region since 2005, when he began working at KABC-AM. He now works at KRLA-AM hosting a show that airs from midnight to 3 a.m.
James, who lives in the Laurel Canyon area, has long been a critic of Los Angeles officials, turning up at City Hall to comment on a range of issues - from water and power rates to employee pensions.
He has been promising his listeners a major announcement this week.
"I'm running because I think I can bring a common-sense approach to city problems," said James, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Oklahoma who practiced law for a number of major Los Angeles firms.
"I have been talking about these issues for years and I think we can bring Democrats and Republicans together to deal with the issues."
Chief among his efforts will reforming business-tax rates in order to polish the city's image within the business community.
And he plans to continue his radio program for as long as he can.
"There are FCC rules we have to comply with," James said. "I probably will have to give it up about 120 days before the election."
In notifying the Ethics Commission of his plans, James will be able to begin raising money for his campaign. James said he hopes to raise $2 million to $3 million.
Controller Wendy Greuel also has filed her papers to begin fundraising as has Y.J. Draiman of Northridge, who describes himself as an expert in energy efficiency.
Others said to be interested include Council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, state Sen. Alex Padilla, developer Rick Caruso and First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner.