The fifth annual Luskin Summit featured a keynote session, the unveiling of our annual poll about life in Los Angeles and a closing session, plus six breakout discussions. The keynote speaker for this year’s Luskin Summit was Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian.
The half-day event took place at the UCLA Faculty Club on Wednesday, April 19, 2023.
Opening Session: City Council President Paul Krekorian
The Summit’s keynote address focused on the state of governance at L.A. City Hall, marked by a period of upheaval that has shaken citizens’ faith but also opened the door to a period of change.
Quality of Life Index
Former public official and current UCLA professor Zev Yaroslavsky unveiled the results of his eighth annual poll of Los Angeles County residents on their satisfaction with their lives across nine categories.
Closing Session: The Local Housing Emergency
Ever-rising homelessness has been designated as an emergency by both the city and county of Los Angeles, yet roughly 70,000 unhoused people continue to sleep outside or in vehicles. Mayor Karen Bass and other elected officials have pledged to work together to address this complex issue in a compassionate, effective manner. But what is actually being done? Attendees were able to get answers from decision-makers at the state, city and county levels who are directly involved in ensuring that shelter and supportive services are getting to the people who need them most.
Six breakout sessions took place. Here are summary descriptions:
- CALIFORNIA’S ZERO EMISSIONS VEHICLE PLANS— NECESSARY, BUT INSUFFICIENT: California plans to phase out new gasoline vehicle sales starting in three years and will eliminate all sales by 2035. It’s a necessary step toward public health, equity and climate goals. But is it sufficient? The Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA will lead a panel discussion about the consequences of rapid transportation electrification without addressing driving activity — and who is most likely to get left behind.
- THE CRISIS OF RESILIENT WATER SUPPLY IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Los Angeles area is developing and accelerating radical programs to bolster its local water supply and reduce reliance on imported water sources, which are being cut dramatically. This panel discussion organized by the UCLA Human Right to Water Solutions Lab will highlight ways to address uneven adaptive capacities and examine barriers to progress across the region’s fragmented water landscape.
- CREDIT WORTHINESS AND ETHNO-RACIAL DISPARITIES IN HOMEOWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES: The mortgage industry plays a central role in ethno-racial stratification in the real estate market. This presentation led by UCLA faculty expert José Loya will demonstrate that even when debt-to-income levels are similar among ethno-racial groups, results vary tremendously, with loan rejections and high-cost loan originations far higher for Blacks and Latinos when compared to white or Asian applicants. In fact, Blacks and Latinos with excellent credit perform similarly to whites and Asians with below-average credit worthiness.
- HOMELESS EXCEPT FOR A VEHICLE? UNIQUE NEEDS, HUMANE RESPONSES: People who live in their vehicles experience homelessness differently than those living in shelters or outside. The experience also differs between dwellers in cars and RVs — as do the responses by neighbors and policymakers. The Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies will lead a panel discussion about the unique circumstances of vehicular homelessness in Los Angeles County and suggest ideas for humane transitions back into housing.
- CLIMATE ACTION, INFLUENCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS: Climate change experts at the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation will lead a panel discussion about ways to generate popular support for climate action. How can political support for further climate infrastructure investments be influenced progressively, building momentum based on current local and national efforts?
- VOTING RIGHTS, REDISTRICTING AND A LOOMING SUPREME COURT DECISION THAT MIGHT CHANGE EVERYTHING: In 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments to decide whether protected minority groups will continue to have a right to representation in the redistricting process. UCLA’s Voting Rights Project has set forth the important protections of the Voting Rights Act in an amicus brief to the court, and its authors will be joined by leading voices for voting rights among minority advocacy groups to discuss the uncertain future of voting representation.
- Laura Shell, chair of the committee
- Wendy Greuel, chair of the Luskin School’s Board of Advisors
- Kafi Blumenfield, member
- Stephen Cheung, member
- Michael Fleming, member
- Richard Katz, member
- Jeff Seymour, member
- Vivian Rescalvo, member
- Ann Cattalini Sinclair, member
Child and Family Well-Being | Crime and Justice | Economic Development and Labor | Environment | Global Issues | Health and Mental Health | Housing | Political and Social Institutions | Poverty and Inequality | Race, Ethnicity and Gender | Technology | Transportation
Summit Launch Event
The fourth annual Luskin Summit series opened with five webinars on the same day:
(presented in partnership with UCLA Blueprint magazine)
Three sessions with an international perspective were organized by Global Public Affairs at UCLA Luskin in cooperation with various campus and external partners.
The fourth annual Luskin Summit series ended with two sessions on the same day in a hybrid format with an in-person audience and others watching online:
(featuring former California governors Gray Davis and Pete Wilson and presented in partnership with UCLA Blueprint magazine)
April 19: This session moderated by Adrienne Alpert of ABC7 Eyewitness News in Los Angeles featured the unveiling of the 6th annual Quality of Life Index, which is a joint project of the UCLA Luskin Los Angeles Initiative led by longtime local political leader Zev Yaroslavsky and The California Endowment. Researchers ask residents to rate their quality of life in nine categories and 40 subcategories focusing on topics such as cost of living, education, the environment, the economy, race relations and health care.
April 9: With cities in Los Angeles County facing a requirement to build 800,00 new homes over the next eight years, this morning-long event focused on the lessons that can be learned from coalitions in places such as Seattle, Minneapolis, the East Bay near San Francisco and elsewhere that have achieved political and legislative wins in recent years while strengthening protections for those most vulnerable to displacement.
April 1: This session explored homelessness, focusing on what can be done to solve a chronic and severe affordable housing shortage in Los Angeles County that contributes to more than 60,000 people being unhoused. Speakers included members of the Committee for Greater L.A. that in September 2020 issued the “No Going Back” report, which argues that systemic changes are needed to ensure that pandemic recovery efforts and other governance decisions occur in a manner that ensures racial and economic equity.
Feb. 24: This session organized by the Hub for Health Intervention, Policy and Practice at UCLA focused on sexual health, home-based testing and telemedicine. Although implementation of these strategies in L.A. County had traditionally been slow, experts say the uptick in remote delivery of medical services amid the pandemic presents an opportunity to integrate more remote practices for sexual health care.
Feb. 22: The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected public transit systems. Fewer people are riding. Public health protocols and workforce reductions are complicating operations. More people without housing are turning to transit for shelter. And financial shortfalls loom large. This panel organized by the Institute of Transportation Studies explored the challenges faced by transit agencies as they seek to recover. View a recording of the session:
Feb. 17: A panel of scholars and public officials discussed the importance of public parks for our physical and mental well-being, as well as the environmental health of communities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. They outlined a watershed moment in which new funding offers an opportunity to improve access to public spaces in Los Angeles and throughout California. View a recording of the session:
Feb. 10: A panel of housing experts spoke about the economic slump precipitated by COVID-19 that has led to evictions in California and across the country. They said this crisis calls for an immediate response, presenting an opportunity to rethink housing policies and our housing system, addressing longstanding failings.View a recording of the session:
Feb. 4: Wildfires ravaged an unprecedented amount of California in recent years. This session featuring public officials and UCLA faculty explored the impacts of wildfires on health, low-income housing and small water systems, as well as highlighting innovative tactics to increase resiliency, especially for populations that are most vulnerable to wildfire. View a recording of the session:
Jan. 28: Anthony Rendon, speaker of the California Assembly since 2016, spoke about his legislative priorities for the year ahead and answered questions posed by UCLA Luskin Dean Gary Segura about housing affordability, healthcare and civic engagement. View a recording of the session:
A Look Back at Luskin Summit 2020
Videos from the 2020 virtual Luskin Summit series are in a Showcase on the UCLA Luskin channel on Vimeo.
June 10: Leaders of Los Angeles’ philanthropic community discussed current issues in the city.
May 22: How economic stimulus packages offer opportunity to invest in environmental sustainability-related initiatives. Co-hosted by the Luskin Center for Innovation and the USC Schwarzenegger Institute.
May 20: As anti-immigrant sentiment continues to reverberate, this session focused on Latino community mobilization in the Trump era.
May 15: Faculty affiliated with the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies discussed the evolution of transit and the pandemic’s implications for the weeks, months, and years ahead.
May 13: Laura Abrams, professor and chair of social welfare, spoke with alumni social workers about how the pandemic has affected their work with vulnerable clients and communities.
May 12: In “Man of Tomorrow: The Relentless Life of Jerry Brown,” author Jim Newton explores the unconventional arc of former California Gov. Jerry Brown’s career. Newton and Brown discussed Brown’s career, his impact on national politics and his take on the future.
May 7: This discussion focused on housing in the era of coronavirus and how today’s challenges might shape future policy. Co-hosted by the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies and the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate.
May 4: A session hosted by Professor Ron Avi Astor that discussed how schools can deal with the reality of educating during the COVID-19 crisis in Los Angeles and in countries such as Israel and Chile.
April 30: The Voting Rights Project and the Latino Policy and Politics Initiative at UCLA Luskin led discussion on the importance of vote-by-mail during the 2020 elections.
April 29: Author Geoff Manaugh discussed his forthcoming book on the history and future of quarantine with Assistant Professor Kian Goh of Urban Planning. The book is due out in spring 2021.
April 27: This session focused on opioid users and the structural determinants of health, such as poverty and homelessness, and co-occurring health issues, such as HIV and tobacco use.
April 23: Zev Yaroslavsky revealed the results of the fifth annual Quality of Life Index, highlighting the satisfaction of Los Angeles County residents with their lives across nine categories.
A Look Back at Luskin Summit 2019
On April 24, 2019, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs held the inaugural Luskin Summit. Its theme was “Livable L.A.”
Congresswoman Karen Bass, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2011, provided the keynote address. She said that “Democrats and Republicans actually do work together” in the nation’s capital. “We don’t hate each other.”
Providing a framework for the day’s discussions was the unveiling of the fourth 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.
Dealing With Disruption: From Public Transit to Public Mobility
Faculty Presenter: Brian Taylor, UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies Director and Professor of Urban Planning
Moderator: Richard Katz, Board Member, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
- Conan Cheung, Senior Executive Officer, Metro
- Seleta Reynolds, General Manager, L.A. Department of Transportation
Preparing to Thrive in a Hotter Los Angeles
Faculty Presenter: Jisung Park, Luskin Center for Innovation Scholar and Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Moderator: Liz Koslov, UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability Scholar and Assistant Professor of Urban Planning
- Mark Gold, UCLA Associate Vice Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability
- Elizabeth Rhoades, L.A. County Public Health
- Seth Jacobson, Senior Director, Climate Resolve
Why Access to Safe, Affordable Water Is Still a Challenge in Los Angeles
Faculty Presenter: Greg Pierce, Associate Director of Research, Luskin Center for Innovation
Moderator: JR DeShazo, Luskin Center for Innovation Director and Professor and Chair of Public Policy
- Caryn Mandelbaum, Water Director, Environment Now California Program, Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation
- David Nahai, David Nahai Consulting Services; former CEO, L.A. Department of Water and Power; Board Member, Luskin Center for Innovation
- Angel Jennings, Reporter, Los Angeles Times
A Housing-Oriented Look at Understanding Rising L.A. Inequality
Faculty Presenters: Mike Lens, Associate Faculty Director, Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies; Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy
Moderator: Evelyn Blumenberg, Director, Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies; Professor of Urban Planning
- Becky Dennison, Executive Director, Venice Community Housing
- Leonora Camner, Director, Abundant Housing LA
Census 2020 and Los Angeles
Faculty Presenters: Matt Barreto, Latino Policy and Politics Initiative Faculty Co-Director and Professor of Political Science and Chicana/o Studies
Moderator: Sonja Diaz, Latino Policy and Politics Initiative Director
- Erica Bernal-Martinez, Chief Operating Officer, National Association of Latino Elected Officials
- Berenice Nuñez Constant, Vice President of Government Relations, AltaMed Health Services Corporation
Can ‘Decarceration’ Policies Make Los Angeles Safer?
Faculty Presenter: Laura Abrams, Professor and Chair of Social Welfare
Moderator: Bryonn Bain, Scholar-Artist, UCLA African American Studies
- Isaac Bryan, MPP ’18, Million Dollar Hoods
- Patricia Soung, Children’s Defense Fund
- Susan Champion, Stanford Three Strikes Project
A panel discussion about civic issues was moderated by Adrienne Alpert of ABC7 in Los Angeles. It featured:
- Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy – Burbank
- Mayor Thomas Small – Culver City
- Mayor James Butts – Inglewood
- Mayor Tim Sandoval – Pomona