Quality of Life Index Sheds Light on L.A.’s Housing Burden

News media across Southern California covered the 2024 UCLA Quality of Life Index, an annual survey that this year found deep dissatisfaction with many aspects of life in Los Angeles County. “It’s getting harder and harder to make ends meet in L.A.,” survey director Zev Yaroslavsky told ABC7’s Josh Haskell. “This is the lowest rating we’ve ever had in the nine years we’ve been doing this survey.” A Los Angeles Times article focused on the nearly 4 in 10 renters in the county who have worried about losing their homes and becoming homeless in the last few years. Yaroslavsky also spoke to Spectrum News 1 about flagging confidence in government efforts to address the region’s homelessness crisis. “We discovered very little optimism about whether the current programs and efforts to eradicate homelessness will work,” he said. Other news outlets covering the Quality of Life Index include KCAL, KTLA, FOX 11 News, Good Day LA, KNX, La Opinión and City News Service.


L.A. Mayor Focuses on the Need for Housing Solutions During UCLA Luskin Summit Karen Bass visits campus to join discussions on the value of research about issues like homelessness, climate resilience, governance and equity in transportation

By Les Dunseith

On April 17, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass was the featured speaker as scholars, civic leaders and the philanthropic community came together to discuss policy issues during the sixth annual UCLA Luskin Summit.

What was on her mind? Housing.

Bass, who declared homelessness a state of emergency immediately upon taking office as mayor in December 2022, told the more than 300 people in attendance at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center that her office is now turning more attention to longer-term solutions after initially emphasizing urgency in getting unhoused people off the streets.

“It is not reasonable for somebody [needing shelter] to be able to stay around while we get housing built,” she said of the challenge to provide shelter for people in need amid an ongoing affordable housing crisis.

The mayor’s remarks were delivered during a discussion with Jacqueline Waggoner MA UP ’96, the current chair of the Luskin School’s Board of Advisors. Waggoner, who is the president of the Solutions Division for Enterprise Community Partners, said she was heartened by the mayor’s intense focus on homelessness, given the magnitude of the problem in Los Angeles.

Bass, a former congresswoman who now chairs the Homelessness Task Force for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said that meeting with mayors around the country presents an opportunity to learn from others, and for other cities in the United States to benefit from what is being done in Southern California. She had announced a new housing initiative based on a program in Atlanta two days before speaking at the Luskin Summit.

“I feel good in terms of what we can do and how we should move forward,” said Bass, who then emphasized, “the biggest question is scale.”

two men in ties sit on stage as one speaks

During an on-stage interview by ABC7’s Josh Haskell, left, the results of the ninth Quality of Life Index were unveiled by UCLA’s Zev Yaroslavsky. Photo by Stan Paul

Concerns over housing affordability was also a key takeaway from the ninth annual Quality of Life Index, which was publicly unveiled in the opening session of the 2024 Luskin Summit. The project at UCLA Luskin is directed by former Los Angeles public official Zev Yaroslavsky, now an adjunct faculty member at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

Concerns over the high cost of living pushed the satisfaction of Los Angeles County residents back to its lowest-ever level, according to the annual survey, which received coverage as breaking news by media outlets that included the Los Angeles Times, area radio stations and the local affiliates of all four major U.S. broadcast TV networks.

More than half of respondents, or 59%, cited housing as the most important factor in their rating. During a Q&A moderated by reporter Josh Haskell of ABC7 in Los Angeles, Yaroslavsky pointed out that renters are feeling especially pessimistic about their futures.

“In our survey, we found that 75% of renters do not think they will ever be able to afford to buy a home in a place they’d like to live in Los Angeles County. Think about that — more and more people in our region see the American dream of homeownership slipping away,” Yaroslavsky said.

Yaroslavsky’s remarks were followed by six breakout sessions that examined timely policy issues from the perspective of scholarly research originating at the Luskin School and its affiliated research centers.

Summit attendees heard about studies and policy proposals in climate resilience, governance and equity in transportation. Panels made up of UCLA Luskin scholars and experts from the public, private and nonprofit sectors took on pressing issues affecting Los Angeles and beyond:

  • What strategies can governments adopt now to help communities withstand rising temperatures?
  • How is the Southland voter pool changing in this election year, and how can Los Angeles better provide representation for its 3.8 million people
  • How are government agencies and nonprofits meeting the transportation needs of the region’s most disadvantaged people?

Much of the conversation was guided by research conducted by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, the Institute of Transportation Studies, the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies and the Latino Policy and Politics Institute.

The session with the mayor was the final session of this year’s Luskin Summit. For about an hour, Bass answered questions and engaged in conversation with Waggoner, a native Angeleno with a longtime connection to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).

Since Bass took office, Waggoner said she has noticed visible change in the homeless population. In the past, she would see people leave the streets, only to return soon after.

“I haven’t seen those same people in a year, and what I would say to you is that you are on the path to permanent solutions,” Waggoner said to Bass.

“But I’m never satisfied,” replied Bass, a former social worker. She understands that people experiencing homelessness need not just roofs over their heads, but social services.

“I come at it with a bias because my background is in health care, and I just think we need to do much, much more,” Bass said.

She noted that mental health is something that people often talk about in connection to the unhoused population, but treatment for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer are also important and deserve attention.

“I feel that health needs to be at the center,” Bass said.

Waggoner said that with homelessness spreading “in every neighborhood, people want to do something about it.”

Noting UCLA Luskin’s public-private partnerships with organizations like Hilton Foundation, a Summit sponsor, Waggoner asked Bass about the role of businesses and other groups in helping to get people into permanent housing.

“We are a state of unbelievable wealth. We have many, many, many billionaires that live in the city, tons of multi-millionaires who do phenomenal charitable work,” Bass responded. “I feel good that we’ve been able to align the public sector. But now we need the private sector, we need private money … to expedite the building” of more affordable housing.

Relying on public money can be a slow process because of regulations, construction approvals and the need to juggle multiple funding streams.

“A private developer comes in and can get the development going,” Bass explained. “So, we are hoping that we can do a capital campaign. Everybody knows capital campaigns — buildings get built.”

During her discussion with Waggoner and the 25-minute audience Q&A that followed, Bass also talked about the city’s LA4LA plan to partner with private donors and business to purchase existing properties, including major hotels, to develop its system of long-term interim and permanent housing.

Noting the scale of the problem and an audience consisting of scholars, philanthropic leaders and community organizations, Waggoner pointed out that many people will need to play a part for Bass to realize her vision of a housing solution in Los Angeles.

“Everyone needs to have skin in this game,” Bass said.

The annual event is organized by the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs under the guidance of its Board of Advisors, and naming benefactors Meyer and Renee Luskin were among those in attendance. The event was supported by gifts from 12 local charitable organizations and businesses, many of which have been sponsors since the first Luskin Summit in 2019. This year’s theme was “Transformative Action.”

Mary Braswell and Stan Paul also contributed to this story. 

See additional photos on Flickr:

UCLA Luskin Summit 2024

Watch a recording of the mayor’s discussion with Waggoner and the audience Q&A on our Vimeo channel:



L.A. County Residents’ Satisfaction With Quality of Life Matches Lowest in Year 9 of Survey High cost of housing is the most important factor impacting the annual Quality of Life Index, particularly among renters

By Les Dunseith

Concerns over the high cost of living pushed the satisfaction of Los Angeles County residents back to its lowest-ever level, with renters feeling especially pessimistic about their futures, according to an annual UCLA survey.

The Quality of Life Index, or QLI, is a project of the Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs  that measures county residents’ satisfaction in nine categories. The overall rating fell two points from last year to 53 on a scale from 10 to 100, marking the second time in three years it came in below the survey’s 55 midpoint since the index launched in 2016. That means a majority of respondents are dissatisfied with the overall quality of their lives.

fever chart shows rating change over time

The cost-of-living rating dropped from 41 to 38, the lowest satisfaction score ever observed for any category in the survey. Although all major demographic subgroups rated the cost of living negatively, the lowest scores came from women, 36 (33 from those 50–64 years old) and Latinas, 36 — as well as renters, 35.

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the study at UCLA, said renters, who make up nearly half of survey respondents, are being disproportionately affected by the economic and inflationary pressures facing the region. More than half, or 59%, cited housing as the most important factor in their rating.

“Housing costs have gone up,” Yaroslavsky said. “And incomes have not gone up anywhere near commensurate with what’s happened to housing.”

While 61% of homeowners feel optimistic about their economic future in Los Angeles County, 51% of renters report being pessimistic. Only 23% of renters think they will be able to buy a home where they would want to live at some point in the future.

pie chart shows only one in four renters expect to buy a home eventually


This year’s survey also produced striking results on the issue of homelessness.

“We discovered very little optimism about whether the current programs and efforts to eradicate homelessness will work,” Yaroslavsky said.

More than half, or 60%, of respondents said homelessness in their area has gotten worse over the past year, with only 10% saying it has gotten better. Just 20% are more hopeful than they were last year that the homelessness situation in Los Angeles County will improve.

Respondents were also asked whether they worried about becoming homeless themselves, with the highest levels of anxiety expressed by people living in households earning less than $60,000 annually at 44%, renters 37% and African Americans 33%.

“Despite the best efforts of state and local officials, the public is more negative and less hopeful about solving homelessness,” Yaroslavsky said.

In an election year, do such findings signal possible voter upheaval?

“It feeds an overall sense that things aren’t working well,” said Yaroslavsky, a former elected official. He framed this year’s results in the context of nearly a decade’s worth of research showing positive results for neighborhood quality and racial/ethnic relations, but low marks in categories commonly associated with decisions by public officials.

“A main theme over the last nine years is that Angelenos love the neighborhoods where they live. We appreciate diversity and get along with others better than some people think. And the quality of life for most of us is pretty good,” he said. “But at some fundamental level, people think our governmental institutions are letting them down.”

The QLI showed minor changes from the previous year in most categories, although satisfaction with education fell three points to 48, the second-lowest score behind cost of living. While transportation/traffic jumped eight points in importance from 2023, it remained among the three lowest categories in quality-of-life importance.

Among Angelenos who are employed, 55% are working full time at a workplace away from their home. Of those, 59% of Latinos, 64% of African Americans, 63% of men over age 50 and 63% of Latino men always work away from home.

The last year has seen a modest decline in most ratings for elected officials.

  • Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna is viewed favorably by 34% and unfavorably by 26%. Last year was 37% favorable and 21% unfavorable.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass is viewed favorably by 42% and unfavorably by 32%, a drop from 46% favorable and 23% unfavorable in last year’s QLI.
  • Respondents had a slightly favorable view of the city councils in their cities: 37% favorable and 32% unfavorable. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is viewed more negatively: 27% favorable and 35% unfavorable.

Regarding the environment, 25% of respondents said climate change had a major impact on their quality of life in the last year; 38% saw a minor impact. The 2024 QLI also asked about the availability of air conditioning: 75% of Angelenos have it in their homes but with substantial variation by region, income and race/ethnicity.

  • Some of the differences likely relate to climate patterns: 48% of residents in the ocean-cooled South Bay communities have air conditioning compared to 92% in the hotter San Fernando Valley.
  • Residents most lacking in air conditioning, 40%, are at the lowest end of the income scale (under $30,000 per year), compared to just 11% for those making over $150,000 per year. And 30% of renters do not have air conditioning.

This year’s QLI is based on interviews conducted in English and Spanish with 1,686 county residents from Feb. 22 to March 14. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 3%.

Funding for the Quality of Life Index is provided by Meyer and Renee Luskin through the Los Angeles Initiative. The full report is being published April 17 as part of UCLA’s Luskin Summit.

View the report and other information about this year’s study, plus previous Quality of Life Indexes, on the website of the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies.

text with report name and a map of Los Angeles County


In Support New members join Board of Advisors; EDI and Yaroslavsky funds benefit students

Nine new members have joined the Luskin School Board of Advisors. Each of them brings a wealth of experience, a commitment to our mission and a passion for making
a difference in our community.

Alec Nedelman is a leading real estate lawyer and marketing and business development advisor.

Alex Johnson is the vice president of public affairs at Bryson Gillette.

Cecilia Estolano is the CEO and founder of Estolano Advisors.

Juan Aquino is the senior manager of community development banking at Capital One Bank.

Maria Mehranian is a managing partner and chief financial officer at Cordoba Corp.

Nicole Mutchnik is the founder of California Democracy Fund. She currently sits on the executive committee of the Women’s
Political Committee, the board of Civicas LA, the DNC National Finance Committee.

Ronald W. Wong is the founder and CEO of Imprenta Communications Group.

Todd Sargent is the global organization development executive at The Walt Disney Company.

Jill Black Zalben is involved in operations and management at Black Equities Group.

Farewell to departing board members Tracy Colunga, Ann Sinclair and Richard Katz, we extend our deep appreciation for their contributions.


The concepts of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) have reshaped the landscape of higher education across the globe. For UCLA Luskin graduate students, these principles influence their experiences, opportunities and overall academic journey, thanks to several initiatives that demonstrate the School’s commitment to EDI.

Close-up photo of person with black hair and hoop earrings

Cecilia Nunez

One such initiative is the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Fund for Public Affairs summer award, which supports students so that they can take on unpaid summer internships.

Last summer, the award enabled MPP/MSW student Cecilia Nunez to intern at La Defensa, which advocates against mass incarceration and economic injustice in Los Angeles County. Nunez is also the recipient of the 2022-23 Graduate Opportunity Fellowship. She graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s in history and literature with a focus on Afro-Latin American studies, and previously worked as a pre-employment and transition facilitator at the Boston Center for Independent Living. Nunez’s goal is to build innovative policy and programming to empower and support Black and Brown communities and other marginalized groups.

Another UCLA Luskin Equity, Diversity and Inclusion summer award enabled MURP student Cass Wood to intern at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, a leading provider of services and support to queer and trans people.

Portrait image of person in patterned white shirt

Cass Wood

The UC Santa Cruz graduate in environmental studies joined the Luskin Urban Planning program to pursue research in hostile architecture and how socio-spatial injustice in the built environment perpetuates homogenous enclaves via spatial accessibility. Aside from urban planning, their research interests are gastro-imperialism and colonization.

The Luskin School’s EDI initiatives provide opportunities for students to share their perspectives in a diverse and inclusive environment and enrich their academic pursuits by challenging conventional wisdom and encouraging creative thinking. By empowering students and representing a wide array of voices, these initiatives have the potential to not only transform individual experiences but also contribute to the evolution of academia itself. As institutions continue to champion these values, they take a significant step toward a more just, diverse and vibrant educational landscape.

group photo of several people taken during tour of Venice Family Clinic.

MSW student Savanna Hogan, third from left, leads a tour of her internship site.


MSW student Savanna Hogan hosted a tour and lunch at the Venice Family Clinic, site of her summer internship made possible by UCLA Luskin’s Barbara Edelston Yaroslavsky Memorial Fund.

The clinic provides health services, ranging from dentistry to domestic violence intervention, to 45,000 low-income people annually. Hogan created materials to expand the advocacy infrastructure of the clinic, participated in various advocacy and policy committees, and engaged in visits with elected officials at National Health Center Week events.

“It has truly been such an incredible experience to be able to spend the summer working for a community health organization that has such deep roots and a rich history in caring for some of the most vulnerable populations living on west side of Los Angeles,” Hogan said.

Luskin School donors and guests from the nonprofit attended the site visit at the clinic’s Simms/Mann Health Center in Santa Monica. They included UCLA Luskin faculty member Zev Yaroslavsky BA ’71, MA ’72, who founded the Barbara Edelston Yaroslavsky Memorial Fund in honor of his late wife. Yaroslavsky told of his work on health care access during his tenure as an elected official in the city and county of Los Angeles, then led an engaging discussion about the history of funding local health care centers — including the Venice Family Clinic.

Hogan graduated from Cal State San Marcos with a bachelor’s in sociology and an emphasis in health, welfare and education. While she is pursuing her MSW at UCLA, she is also serving on the board of the Luskin Black Caucus and as a member of the Social Welfare Anti-Racist Committee.

Hogan aspires to help bridge the gaps of health inequities that marginalized people face through advocacy and practice. The site visit highlighted the importance of donations that fund student engagement with nonprofits, a critical component of the Luskin School, and build a bridge between academia and the real world.

“Community health centers will always have such a special place in my heart because they strive to be able to provide health equity and access for all, regardless of their socioeconomic status, immigration status or even their current housing status,” she said.

UCLA School of Public Affairs Among Charles E. Young’s Lasting Legacies Former colleagues recall the late chancellor and his role in the 1994 consolidation of degree programs

By Stan Paul

Charles E. Young, the former UCLA chancellor who passed away Sunday at his home in Sonoma, California, at age 91, was instrumental in the creation of what later became the Luskin School of Public Affairs.

During a time of budgetary constraints, the long-established schools of Social Welfare and Urban Planning were combined in 1994 with a new graduate department — Public Policy — in one new school. In recognizing Young’s legacy and significance at UCLA Luskin, Interim Dean Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris said it was his vision that made today’s Luskin School possible.

And, as she wrote to the UCLA Luskin community, “placing his faculty appointment in our Public Policy department, he immediately elevated the visibility of our School in its very early days.” Loukaitou-Sideris noted that Young always kept a great interest in “his school” long after his official retirement. “As late as June 25, 2023, he emailed me to express his pleasure and congratulations for Urban Planning having been ranked as No. 1 in the nation.”

Several others who knew Young and his relationship with UCLA Luskin offered their remembrances.

Daniel J.B. Mitchell, professor emeritus of management and public policy, was on the faculty at UCLA at the time of the transition. He said Young supported the final result, but the original idea was different.

“Originally, the idea was to create an interdisciplinary research center — not a school — for faculty with a general interest in public policy,” recalled Mitchell, who served as chair of public policy from 1996 to 1997.

In the aftermath of the 1992 civil unrest in Los Angeles following the Rodney King verdict, and in response to budgetary pressures coming from the state that would require rethinking some programs at UCLA, Young appointed a committee to take on the task. It was headed by Archie Kleingartner, professor emeritus of management and public policy, who would become the School’s founding dean.

“Young expanded the task to include creation of a full school of public affairs. He felt that public policy, particularly aimed at state and local concerns, should have a distinct presence at UCLA, both for research and for the production of professionals in the field,” Mitchell said.

Kleingartner said Young had reached the conclusion in the early 1990s that UCLA could and should do much more in the field of public policy. As a premier university, UCLA had an obligation to provide research and teaching at a high level in public policy, said Kleingartner, noting that although Young’s master’s and doctoral degrees from UCLA were in political science, his personal academic research interest was in public policy.

Young with current Chancellor Gene Block and former Chancellor Al Carnesale.

After the decision on a new public affairs school was reached, top-level attention turned to how to go about creating a public policy entity and what it should look like, Kleingartner said. “The chancellor was interested in something big and impactful.”

A second strategic decision was based on the fact “that very little by way of new funding would be available, that the main resources would have to be found from within the university,” he said. “So, a really big issue was to reorganize in a way that generated savings.”

Kleingartner said the late Andrea Rich headed up the administrative and financial aspects of the restructuring, and he led the academic and faculty aspects.

“But many faculty and administrators got involved because it was quite a complex undertaking,” he said.

At that time, a number of schools and institutes were reorganized as part of the Professional School Restructuring Initiative, or PSRI, and it was done amid a great deal of internal opposition from existing schools, institutes and their faculties. But “the chancellor remained firm despite the extensive opposition.”

The School — with a different name but in essentially its current form — was officially launched on July 1, 1994. That wouldn’t have happened without Charles E. Young, and “I think at this point, most people are quite satisfied with what was created,” Kleingartner said.

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at the Luskin School, has known Young since Yaroslavsky’s days as an undergraduate in the late 1960s. That association continued during his career as a Los Angeles City Council member and Los Angeles County supervisor representing districts including the Westwood campus.

At a time of declining state support for higher education, Yaroslavsky pointed out that Young “saw what was coming” and took steps to help UCLA remain competitive as a top public university, according to a story posted by UCLA Newsroom.

“Chuck was a bold and visionary leader who catapulted UCLA to one of the world’s great research universities,” Yaroslavsky commented. “Moreover, under his stewardship this university became a consequential player in its own backyard — Westwood and the greater Los Angeles community. As an elected official who represented UCLA for four decades, I never had a better partner.”

Stewardship and partnerships were a hallmark of his work and affiliations on campus.

“Chancellor Young welcomed me personally when I was recruited to UCLA,” said Fernando Torres-Gil, professor emeritus of social welfare and public policy. He recalled Young’s graciousness and interest in his career, which would include a number of leadership roles at UCLA Luskin.

“Since that time, I took great joy in calling him ‘Chuck’ and experiencing the great university he helped to create. Very few individuals have the good fortune to see a legacy grow and flower, and Chancellor Young could enjoy his creation on his many visits to campus post-retirement,” Torres-Gil said.

Read more about the life and career of the former chancellor on UCLA Newsroom.

Yaroslavsky on California’s ‘Formidable’ Pick for U.S. Senate

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, spoke to CBS Los Angeles about the appointment of Laphonza Butler as California’s next senator. Butler, who has deep experience in Democratic politics as a campaign strategist and labor organizer, was selected by Gov. Gavin Newsom to fill the seat of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “Laphonza Butler is a very serious and formidable individual in whatever position she takes,” said Yaroslavsky, who worked closely with Butler when she was a Los Angeles labor leader and he a county supervisor. Her work in the labor, nonprofit and private sectors demonstrated her “tremendous leadership qualities,” he said. The appointment fulfill’s Newsom’s vow that his next Senate appointment would be a Black woman. Said Yaroslavsky, “I don’t look at her just as an African American woman, I look at her as a formidable human being who has paid a lot of dues so far in her young life.” 


‘We Were Prepared and, as a Result, We Made Our Own Luck’

The New York Times checked in with Los Angeles civic leader Zev Yaroslavsky to discuss the impact of Tropical Storm Hilary, which broke records for August rainfall in Southern California but did not cause catastrophic damage or large-scale loss of life. In some communities, emergency workers were dispatched to ferry people to safety, and crews responded to reports of fallen trees, potholes and downed power lines, along with flooding and mudflows that cut off roads. But officials generally expressed relief that things were not much worse. “I can’t remember a major storm in which we had no fatalities,” said Yaroslavsky, a former Los Angeles county supervisor and city councilman who now directs the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin. “We were prepared and, as a result, we made our own luck.”


‘Become a Leader, Not Just a Bureaucrat’

A Los Angeles Times piece asking veteran public servants to offer words of guidance to the seven new members of the Los Angeles City Council included insights from Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin. Yaroslavsky, who served the people of Los Angeles as a city councilman and county supervisor for nearly four decades, stressed the importance of mastering the rules and processes of legislating, but said it’s essential to become a leader, not just a bureaucrat. He advised each of the new councilmembers to look in the mirror each morning and ask: “What issue am I willing to lose my job for?” He continued, “People will respect an elected official who takes a calculated risk in the interest of the public.” 


A Look at the Behind-the Scenes Battles That Helped Shape Los Angeles

A new political memoir by Zev Yaroslavsky, who helped shape Los Angeles as a member of the City Council and County Board of Supervisors for four decades, has drawn widespread attention from news outlets around the country. The New York Times called “Zev’s Los Angeles: From Boyle Heights to the Halls of Power” a “history of the people and policies that have shaped the city,” delving into tax revolts, police culture, immigration, the arts, the environment and more. A review in the Jewish Journal said the book’s glimpses of behind-the-scenes deal-making “may even give the reader a new appreciation for the work of a politician.” Yaroslavsky, now director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, has appeared on “L.A. Times Today” on Spectrum News 1 and “Air Talk” on LAist, and he discussed the book at length in a two-part interview on “Then & Now,” the podcast of the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy.


Yaroslavsky Memoir Offers Lessons for L.A. and Beyond

A newly published political memoir by Zev Yaroslavsky weaves tales from his life and family with a half-century arc of Los Angeles history, which he helped shape as a longtime fixture in the region’s civic life. “Zev’s Los Angeles: From Boyle Heights to the Halls of Power,” shares stories about Yaroslavsky’s early years as the son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, his entry into social activism as a young man, and his four decades serving on L.A.’s City Council and County Board of Supervisors before joining UCLA Luskin as director of the Los Angeles Initiative. While in public office, Yaroslavsky championed health care, transit, police accountability, fiscal stewardship, the arts and the environment in Los Angeles. The book, however, reaches beyond borders. “The stories I’m telling aren’t just vivid historical moments. Each one offers lessons about how to use power, how to make government listen to the people it serves, and how to bring about change — all without sacrificing one’s values or integrity,” Yaroslavsky writes. At a June 6 event at Royce Hall hosted by the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy, Yaroslavsky discussed the book with UCLA Professors David Myers and Gary Segura and Alisa Belinkoff Katz, co-director of the Los Angeles Initiative. The conversation delved into how far the city has come, but also how the struggle continues against income inequality, homelessness, racial tension and other societal ills. “Zev’s Los Angeles” is dedicated to Yaroslavsky’s late wife, Barbara Edelstein Yaroslavsky, whose legacy is enshrined in her decades of community service “performed with grace, generosity and love.”

Listen to a conversation with Yaroslavsky on the Center for History and Policy’s “Then and Now” podcast.

View photos from the book event on Flickr.

'Zev's Los Angeles' Book Event