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L.A. Mayoral Candidate Kevin James at Westchester/Playa Neighborhood Meeting

The Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa welcomes Los Angeles mayoral candidate Kevin James.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Venice Republician January 17, 2012 at 08:00 AM
He has got my support 100%
Venice Rick January 19, 2012 at 11:28 AM
This is the right guy for Venice
Eddie Zero February 01, 2012 at 10:36 AM
City council reform yes yes yes. Stop the coruption
YJ Draiman for Mayor of LA April 09, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Los Angeles Economic Development – YJ Draiman It is time to remake Los Angeles in the image of our boldest vision – a city of healthy communities with good schools and quality education, innovative companies in new and emerging sectors, quality open space, improved public transportation, a range of mobility and housing options; and above all, a prosperous and productive middle class equipped with the skills and education to create a better future. It is time to get serious about designing a real economic development program linked to investments in healthy communities. I recently proposed to make Los Angeles the World Capital of Renewable Energy, Energy and Water Efficiency. We have the climate, the manpower, the resources and technology. We must promote energy and water efficiency in all sectors of LA’s economy. This by itself can save the city billions and bring many jobs and economic growth into Los Angeles. We should promote real estate gentrification, affordable housing, urban infill building, economic development and clean tech sorted through the parts of redevelopment worth retaining and retooling combined with some newer elements of economic development necessary to realize this vision of healthy communities. YJ Draiman for Mayor of LA
YJ Draiman for Mayor of LA April 09, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Los Angeles Economic Development – YJ Draiman Continued In the past five years many businesses in LA have closed down or moved out. There are many vacant properties (commercial and residential). Many people have moved out of LA. They can not afford the cost of living, the high taxation, the stifling bureaucracy and varied rules and regulations that choke business development. We have a dysfunctional leadership in Los Angeles, an inefficient workforce, a demand for entitlement, and crippling budget deficits that are creating an environment of uncertainty for many companies who want to hire people, but are afraid to do so. Capital is stagnant and unattainable, frozen by an over swing of regulation and bureaucracy. We want to get Los Angeles working again, yet many of our wounds are self inflicted, as LA bureaucrats go to work every day piling more regulations and taxes onto the very businesses we ask to grow and create more jobs. This situation must change, or we are doomed. It is imperative that we reverse this trend. YJ Draiman http://www.yjdraimanformayor.com

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