L.A. Congresswoman Karen Bass to Give Keynote Talk at UCLA Luskin Summit The inaugural conference will address major issues facing the region

By Les Dunseith

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass will provide the opening remarks when the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs marks its 25th anniversary April 24 at “Luskin Summit 2019: Livable L.A.

The congresswoman will speak to elected officials, government and business leaders, UCLA scholars, civic leaders and others in the nonprofit and philanthropic spheres at a half-day inaugural conference at the Luskin Conference Center at UCLA.

The Luskin Summit is designed as a research-informed, cross-sector conversation about major issues facing the Los Angeles region. Following Bass’ remarks, participants will attend breakout sessions moderated by UCLA faculty members that will focus on issues such as public mobility, climate change, housing and criminal justice.

Bass is expected to speak about her efforts at the federal level to advance Los Angeles’ perspective on such vital issues as housing equality and access to public transportation.

Bass, a Democrat, has represented California’s 37th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2013. She represented the 33rd congressional district from 2011 to 2013.

She served in the California State Assembly from 2004 to 2010, and was Assembly speaker from 2008 to 2010 — the second woman and third African American to hold the position.

“Congresswoman Karen Bass has built a distinguished career as a leader and a legislator,” said Gary Segura, dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. “In Sacramento, she rose to the position of speaker of the Assembly, and in Washington, she now chairs the Congressional Black Caucus. Her record of advocacy for fairness and opportunity on behalf of Americans from all walks of life and economic circumstances is a model of constituency service and fierce representation. We are honored that she will provide the keynote address at our inaugural summit.”

The conference will close with a panel discussion featuring mayors from four cities in Los Angeles County — Emily Gabel-Luddy of Burbank, Thomas Small of Culver City, James Butts of Inglewood and Tim Sandoval of Pomona.

The moderator for the mayoral panel will be Adrienne Alpert, a general assignment reporter at KABC-TV who hosts the Los Angeles station’s weekly public affairs program, “Eyewitness Newsmakers.” Alpert is also scheduled to introduce Bass when the summit gets underway at 8:45 a.m.

Also on the agenda for the Luskin Summit is the release of results from the 4th annual Quality of Life Index, a project at UCLA Luskin that is supported by The California Endowment under the direction of longtime Los Angeles political stalwart Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative. The survey asks county residents to rate their quality of life in a range of categories and to answer questions about important issues facing them and the region.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a former colleague of Yaroslavsky’s on the Los Angeles City Council, is among other elected officials who are expected to attend.

Luskin Summit 2019 will precede the 49th Annual Conference of the Urban Affairs Association, which begins later that day and continues through April 27 at the Luskin Conference Center. This conference will bring together more than 1,000 multidisciplinary and international scholars to discuss urban-focused research, with plenary and special sessions featuring local and global experts on urban issues.

News media representatives interested in attending the Luskin Summit and/or covering the release of the Quality of Life Index may contact Les Dunseith, executive director of communications for the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, at (310) 206-5252 or ldunseith@luskin.ucla.edu.

 

 

High Stakes for L.A. Sheriff, Yaroslavsky Writes

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, published an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times detailing the ongoing conflict between newly elected Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Years ago, in response to scandals surrounding the county jails, the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence created a 600-page report with recommendations for reform in order to “establish a culture of constitutional policing, and consequences for those who wouldn’t acculturate,” Yaroslavsky wrote. Many of the reforms were implemented under former Sheriff Jim McDonnell, but Villanueva “has vowed to eviscerate these reforms,” he stated. Villanueva has prompted further criticism as a result of his reinstatement of a deputy who was discharged for domestic abuse allegations. Yaroslavsky wrote, “Alex Villanueva can either get on board with the U.S. Constitution or get out of the way.”


 

Yaroslavsky Offers Insights on State of the Union Address

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, provided in-studio commentary on KCAL9 following President Trump’s second State of the Union address. Yaroslavsky said Trump played to his base, spending almost 20 minutes speaking about immigration, but was also smart to acknowledge the record number of women now serving in Congress. “He was not as inflammatory as he’s been in the past. Let’s wait 12 hours and see what he tweets in the morning,” Yaroslavsky said. The former Los Angeles County supervisor also spoke about the changes in State of the Union addresses over the years. “It’s a television show,” he said. “In the old days, there was more substance, there was less theater. … During the civil rights movement and in the Vietnam War, the stakes were very high. So the theater was real, it wasn’t manufactured as it has been in recent decades.”


 

Yaroslavsky Offers Insight on California’s Political Landscape

Following the California midterm elections, Los Angeles Initiative Director Zev Yaroslavsky appeared on several media outlets to offer insight into the state’s shifting political landscape. In an interview with TV station KCAL 9, Yaroslavsky said Gov. Gavin Newsom is “probably going to inherit a downturn of the economy” but he expressed support for Newsom’s economic philosophy “[not to] undertake programs in the good years that you can’t sustain in the lean years.” He said the new governor has a “good track record and experience to play the role he needs to play to keep the state in line” in the face of a legislature that wants to spend and a Trump administration that is “trying to undo … virtually everything that California has been a trailblazer in.” Yaroslavsky also spoke with Fox News about the state’s Democratic supermajority. “Republicans are politically less relevant in California than they have been in years, and it is really up to the Democrats to decide what role they play,” he said. “As long as Democrats stay unified, they won’t even need bipartisan support.” In a CNBC story on the legacy of Jerry Brown, Yaroslavsky spoke about the state’s rebound after the four-term governor cut programs and services to restore fiscal stability. “[Brown] made some very tough decisions to bring California from the precipice of fiscal demise,” Yaroslavsky said. “The last four years were maybe a little easier because the economy did finally turn around and he was able to build the state back up.”


Outgoing Sheriff Lacked Political Savvy, Yaroslavsky Says

Director of the Los Angeles Initiative Zev Yaroslavsky spoke to the Los Angeles Times about Jim McDonnell’s defeat in the Los Angeles County sheriff race. Yaroslavsky supported incumbent McDonnell’s last two campaigns but commented on his lack of political savvy. “He didn’t have a political calculus, like in how to show empathy for constituencies that are being squeezed in our community,” Yaroslavsky said. “The immigrant community was not happy about the way the department was dealing with its relationship with ICE.” The article also cited Matt Barreto, faculty co-director of the UCLA Luskin-based Latino Politics and Policy Initiative, which measured Latino turnout in the November 2018 election.


 

Yaroslavsky Advises Newsom to Pick Battles With Trump

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, spoke with CNBC about challenges facing Gavin Newsom, the next governor of California. Newsom inherits a booming economy and looks to steer the state in an increasingly progressive direction, with focuses on gun control, a single-payer healthcare system and affordable housing. His liberal-oriented ideologies put him in opposition to President Trump, who endorsed Newsom’s opponent, John Cox. Yaroslavsky, a former L.A. County supervisor, advised Newsom to focus on policy rather than constantly sparring with the president. “He’s going to have to take care of business in California and pick and choose his fights with Trump,”  Yaroslavsky said. “In my opinion, you can’t be, and shouldn’t be, a knee-jerk opponent of Trump on every single issue because people start to treat you as the usual suspect — and they don’t take you seriously anymore. I think he knows it.”


 

Yaroslavsky on O.C. Republican’s Reelection Bid

ABC News spoke to Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, for its report on Orange County Republican Dana Rohrabacher’s bid for reelection to the House of Representatives. Rohrabacher, the article noted, is a staunch Reaganite who took an unexpected ideological turn in advocating closer ties with Russia. In the November 2018 midterm elections, he is one of several California Republicans scrambling to defend his seat. Observers noted that Rohrabacher’s longevity and conservative record give him a strong change of reelection.  “He’s been around for almost 30 years in Congress,” said Yaroslavsky, who has known Rohrabacher for decades. “Don’t underestimate him because he will fight.”


 

Yaroslavsky Weighs In on the Ballot Battle Over Rent Control

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, shared his expertise on housing policy with several media outlets covering the November 2018 ballot measure that would give California cities more power to curb rising rents. “The state doesn’t do anything for renters. It does everything for property owners and developers,” Yaroslavsky told the Christian Science Monitor. “If we keep this up for another generation, we’re going to have far more homelessness than we do now.” The Monitor’s article on the fight over Proposition 10 cited the Los Angeles Initiative’s 2018 Quality of Life Index, which found that more than a quarter of L.A. County’s 10.1 million residents had worried about losing their home in the previous year. “These are the people who are a lost job or eviction notice away from winding up on the streets,” Yaroslavsky said.  The Monitor also cited a UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy working paper on the historical roots of the affordable housing crisis in Los Angeles. Yaroslavsky has also been quoted in Proposition 10 coverage from Bloomberg News, the Guardian and Curbed LA.


 

Peterson, Yaroslavsky Comment on Possible Garcetti 2020 Presidential Run

Public Policy Professor Mark A. Peterson commented about the possible White House aspirations of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a story that appeared in the British news publication The Telegraph. “In personality, he is also everything President Trump is not,” said Peterson, whose research interests include the presidency and Congress. “He is articulate, gracious, cheerful, self-deprecating, devoid of bombast, and far from prone to insult and impulsive commentary or action,” Peterson added, but noted, “…some of those attributes may be a disadvantage in today’s politics.”  Zev Yaroslavsky, former Los Angeles County supervisor and current director of the UCLA Luskin-based Los Angeles Initiative, also commented in the story, which noted that mayors are considered long-shots for the Oval Office. “We never had had a reality TV star as president or an African American as president,” Yaroslavsky said. “Anybody running for president will be hoping that lightning strikes, so he is thinking why not me.”


 

Yaroslavsky Named to Team Working for L.A. Schools

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, was named to an L.A. Unified School District team created to provide more resources to local schools and improve student learning. Yaroslavky is one of three civic leaders volunteering their time to the initiative, which seeks to move resources and decision-making from the bureaucracy to schools. “This is about empowering and supporting our school leaders and teachers … and crafting a path to increased parent and community participation in schools,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner announced. “We are grateful for the support of the philanthropic community and the civic leaders who are involved in improving public education in Los Angeles.” As a former county supervisor and City Council member, Yaroslavsky has dedicated four decades to public service working on such issues as school-based wellness,  the environment, transportation and the arts. “I’m excited about working with the Greater Los Angeles community to ensure that every student receives an education that prepares them for the economy and society of the future,” Yaroslavsky said. “A thriving public education system is vital to the health and success of our communities and our cities.