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Yaroslavsky on Takeaways From Tuesday’s Elections

A New York Times article on key takeaways from this week’s nationwide primary elections turned to Zev Yaroslavsky for his insights on the California races. Yaroslavsky, a longtime public servant who is now on the UCLA Luskin faculty, said voters were more interested in effective government than ideology. “People want solutions,” he said. “They don’t give a damn about left or right. It’s the common-sense problem-solving they seem to be missing. Government is supposed to take care of the basics, and the public believes the government hasn’t been doing that.” Yaroslavsky directs the Luskin School’s Los Angeles Initiative, which produces the annual UCLA Quality of Life Index to measure residents’ satisfaction with life in L.A. County. In its election coverage, the Los Angeles Times cited the index’s findings that Angelenos are deeply disillusioned with the status quo, particularly inflation, public safety and housing.


 

Yaroslavsky on Deep Dissatisfaction Among L.A. Voters

A CNN analysis about the potential for a right-tilting backlash among California voters who are discontented with public disorder cited Zev Yaroslavsky, a longtime public servant who now directs the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin. Yaroslavsky said the level of voter frustration is reminiscent of the late 1970s, an era of high inflation and soaring property tax bills that produced California’s Proposition 13 and helped propel Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980. He cited this year’s UCLA Quality of Life Index, a poll of 1,400 residents that showed deep dissatisfaction with life in L.A. County. The region’s struggle to meet the basic housing needs of its people is “a billboard that says failure,” Yaroslavsky said. “I think homelessness is both a real issue but it’s also a metaphor for everything else that’s gone wrong in society and government’s ability to address something that is so visible and so ubiquitous in the county.”


 

Sheriff’s Approval Ratings Point to Risk at the Polls

A Los Angeles Times story on L.A. Democrats’ failure to agree on a consensus candidate to back in the race for county sheriff cited results from this year’s UCLA Quality of Life Index, produced by the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin. The actions, policies and rhetoric of Sheriff Alex Villanueva have alienated local Democratic clubs and progressive advocacy groups, but infighting and indecision kept them from mounting a united campaign against the incumbent, the article said. The Quality of Life Index, directed by Zev Yaroslavsky and published in April, found that 37% of voters had a “very or somewhat favorable” view of Villanueva, 33% have a “very or somewhat unfavorable” view, and 30% have no opinion or are unfamiliar with him. The results suggest that Villanueva could have trouble getting 50% of the vote in the June 7 primary, needed to avoid a runoff. The index, a survey of 1,400 L.A. County residents, includes favorability ratings of local officials.

Yaroslavsky on Inflation’s Fallout on Local Elections

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, spoke to KPCC’s “AirTalk” about the impact of Southern California’s widening economic gap on upcoming elections. Yaroslavsky cited results of the 2022 UCLA Quality of Life Index, which found a steep drop in residents’ satisfaction with life in L.A. County, largely due to concerns over inflation and public safety. “What stands out is that people are unhappy, they’re anxious, they’re angry, they’re concerned,” Yaroslavsky said. Lower-income households, hard hit by lost wages and rising inflation, have been slower to rebound from the financial shock of the COVID-19 era, the survey showed. “We are the ground zero in this country of the economic divide,” Yaroslavsky said. The Quality of Life Index also showed a decline in approval ratings of many local government officials. “Inflation, I think, is the most pernicious thing economically that we have in our society,” Yaroslavsky said. “That will have a political bite like nothing else.”

A Shadow Over Garcetti’s Final Months as L.A.’s Mayor

A New York Times article on Eric Garcetti’s delayed nomination as U.S. ambassador to India cited the Los Angeles mayor’s declining favorability ratings as reported in this year’s UCLA Quality of Life Index. The nomination has been on hold during a Senate inquiry related to accusations of sexual harassment by one of Garcetti’s top aides. The Senate found that “it is more likely than not that Mayor Garcetti either had personal knowledge of the sexual harassment or should have been aware of it.” The mayor denies the claim, which the White House referred to as a “partisan hit job” meant to drag out the confirmation process. The Quality of Life Index, produced by the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin under the direction of Zev Yaroslavsky, found that Garcetti’s favorability ratings have slumped dramatically in the last two years, to 45% from 62%. The index is based on interviews conducted in English and Spanish with 1,400 Los Angeles County residents.

Yaroslavsky on Worrisome Survey of L.A. County Residents

Worrisome findings from this year’s UCLA Quality of Life Index drew coverage from several print, online, television and radio news outlets. The index, a project of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, found that L.A. County residents’ satisfaction with the overall quality of their lives is at its lowest level since the survey was launched in 2016. “What the pandemic couldn’t do over the last two years, inflation and increases in violent and property crime succeeded in doing,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative. Still, nearly 70% of respondents said that COVID-19 has fundamentally changed their lives. “This finding — that life has been permanently altered — may be the most profound,” Yaroslavsky said. News outlets covering the 2022 Quality of Life Index include the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine and La Opinión; television stations ABC7, CBS2, FOX11, KNBC, KTLA and Telemundo 52; and radio stations KFI and KNX1070.


 

Measuring Public Support for District Attorney Gascón

A Los Angeles Times story about a petition to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón cited this year’s UCLA Quality of Life Index, a survey that includes favorability ratings for selected state and local officials. County residents surveyed in March were nearly equally divided in their opinions of the reform-minded D.A., who had a 31% favorability rating compared to 32% unfavorable. However, more respondents had intensely unfavorable opinions (22%) than intensely favorable ones (9%), according to the index produced annually by the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin. To move forward, recall organizers must collect signatures of support from 10% of L.A. County’s registered voters — a little more than 579,000 people — by Oct. 27. Gascón has also faced lawsuits from prosecutors in his own office, interference on cases from other California law enforcement leaders and an outcry from some crime victims who claim his policies have abandoned them.

Yaroslavsky on COVID-19’s Stark Lines of Inequity

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, spoke to Spectrum News’ “Inside the Issues” about this year’s UCLA Quality of Life Index, which offered a deep dive into the impacts of COVID-19 on Los Angeles County’s residents. “There are two Los Angeleses,” Yaroslavsky said. “There are the people who are doing well, who are making it. … And then there are those who are struggling, who are living on the margins of the economy and are always feeling one step away from oblivion.” The index included the surprising finding that Latino residents were more positive about their overall quality of life than white residents. Yaroslavsky said this may be because white people on average had higher incomes and more to lose during this pandemic, despite their greater privilege overall. Latinos faced tough challenges but “they worked their way through it, and they are much more optimistic about getting ahead in Los Angeles,” he said.

Yaroslavsky Urges Action to Uplift the Most Vulnerable

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, spoke to KPCC’s AirTalk about findings from the 2021 UCLA Quality of Life Index. The annual survey of Los Angeles County residents showed that 40% suffered a drop in income over the last year as the region was rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Those are the people who are pessimistic, those are the people who are threatened with losing their apartments because they can’t make their rent payment at the end of the month,” said Yaroslavsky, who called on policymakers to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable. As one example, he noted that office space vacated as businesses downsize after the pandemic is “going to have huge implications for land use.” He asked, “What do you do with that empty office space? Can you repurpose it for housing, for example?” Several media outlets covered the Quality of Life Index, including the Los Angeles Times, KABC7 News and RealClear Politics.

Luskin Summit 2021 Closes With a Call to Action

Zev Yaroslavsky

The UCLA Luskin Summit concluded its 2021 season with a session delving into the sixth annual UCLA Quality of Life Index, a comprehensive look at residents’ satisfaction with life in Los Angeles County. Zev Yaroslavsky, who oversees the index as director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, led summit attendees through the most striking findings of the countywide survey, which was conducted in March. This year’s index put a spotlight on the COVID-19 pandemic’s harsh impact on household income, children’s education and confidence about the future. “What this survey has once again exposed is the two Los Angeleses that we have, the disparities by income, by race, by ethnicity, by age,” Yaroslavsky said. “And it’s not sustainable.” He called on policymakers to “focus on the people who don’t have the capacity to weather a storm like this” but acknowledged that the complex issues do not lend themselves to simple solutions or talking points. During the session, ABC7 News reporter Adrienne Alpert presented questions from the virtual audience on topics including rising fears of violent crime, a notable increase in civic engagement and the effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. The April 19 webinar was the last of nine Luskin Summit sessions exploring pressing public policy issues under the banner “Called to Action.” The series began in January with a keynote address by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon; other sessions focused on issues such as housing insecurity, access to parks, sexual health, public transit and the numerous effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


 

Events

Conference: 2022 Berggruen Governance Index

In partnership with the Berggruen Institute. 

About this event

Two-day gathering focusing on scholarly implications of this landmark project, which analyzes the relationship between democratic accountability, state capacity and the provision of public goods to better understand why some countries fare better than others at providing a high quality of life.

Details will be announced closer to the event date.

Toward Understanding: The 2022 Berggruen Governance Index

In partnership with the Berggruen Institute. This event will be recorded and posted online.

About this event

Join us for lunch as we unveil a landmark project that analyzes the relationship between democratic accountability, state capacity and the provision of public goods to better understand why some countries fare better than others at providing a high quality of life.

10:30 a.m. Check-in and Continental Breakfast
11:00 a.m. Welcome and Introductory Addresses

  • Gary Segura, dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • Dawn Nakagawa, executive vice president of the Berggruen Institute

11:10 a.m. The 2022 Berggruen Governance Index

  • An overview by UCLA adjunct professor Helmut K. Anheier, former president of the Hertie School in Germany, and Markus Lang, a researcher for the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • Presentation of the visualization and analysis application by D. Vinay Dixit of Stamen, a San Francisco data visualization firm

11:30 a.m. Panel Discussion

  • A discussion of democracy, public policy and global challenges featuring an esteemed panel of UCLA experts, including:
  • Alexandra Lieben of UCLA’s Burkle Center for International Relations (chair)
  • Steve Zipperstein, an attorney and lecturer in global studies at UCLA
  • Veronica Herrera, an associate professor at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs who studies political development in the Global South
  • Cesi Cruz, an assistant professor whose research intersects political science and economics at UCLA
  • Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld, an assistant professor at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs focusing on subnational conflict, statistics and advanced data analysis

12:00 p.m. Q & A with the audience
12:10 p.m. Closing Comments

  • Michael Storper, a professor at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and an internationally recognized urban geographer
  • Andrew Apter, a professor of history and anthropology at UCLA whose research expertise includes Afrocentric cultural dynamics

12:30 p.m. Outdoor Lunch

Transportation

Public Transportation: Blue Bus and Metro

Ride-hailing Zones: Uber/Lyft designated locations available, for nearby locations and map visit bit.ly/uclaridehailing

Parking

Pay-by-space parking is available for $3.00 – $14.00 (1 hour – All Day) in Parking Structure 4: 221 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095.

COVID Protocols

UCLA COVID protocols are in alignment with guidance from the California and Los Angeles County public health departments and in some cases surpass state and county requirements.

  • Masking is required for attendees, including UCLA affiliates and external guests. Guests may remove their mask to eat or drink.
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, negative COVID-19 test, or UCLA Symptom Monitoring Survey (SMS) clearance certificate will not be required.
  • Speakers/panelists may remove their mask while on stage.

Luskin Summit 2021: Called to Action

The 2021 Luskin Summit will be a series of webinars focusing on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and other important public policy issues. Here are the confirmed sessions for which registration is now available:

 

2 p.m., Jan. 28: Keynote Address — Kickoff session with Anthony Rendon, speaker of the California Assembly since 2016. He was first elected in 2012 to represent the 63rd Assembly District in southeast Los Angeles County.


Feb. 4: Preparing for Even Wilder Wildfires — Wildfires ravaged an unprecedented amount of California in the past 12 months. This session will explore the impacts of wildfires on health, low-income housing and small water systems, as well as highlight innovative tactics to increase resiliency, especially for populations that are most vulnerable to wildfire.


Feb. 10: The Threat of Mass Evictions and an Opportunity to Rethink Housing — The economic slump precipitated by COVID-19 has led to evictions in California and across the country, and the problem seems likely to get worse. This crisis calls for an immediate response, but it also offers an opportunity to rethink housing policies and our housing system, addressing longstanding failings.


Feb. 17: A Landmark Opportunity for Park Equity — The pandemic has proved the importance of public parks for our physical and mental well-being, as well as the environmental health of communities. During this watershed moment, new funding offers an opportunity to improve access to public spaces for all. This discussion will illuminate pathways to increase park equity in Los Angeles and beyond.


Feb. 22: Transit Impacts: Fewer Riders, More Homelessness — 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 experiencing homelessness are turning to transit for shelter, and financial shortfalls loom large. This panel will explore these challenges as agencies struggle to recover.


Feb. 24: Sexual Health: Hooking Up With Home-Based Testing and Telemedicine — Investment in home-based testing, telemedicine and partner-delivered therapy for sexually transmitted infections are among the options to deliver sexual health care remotely. Implementation of these strategies in L.A. County has traditionally been slow, but the uptick in remote delivery of medical services amid the pandemic presents an opportunity to integrate more remote practices for sexual health care.


REGISTER TODAY!

 

Planned but not yet open for registration: 

February or March: A micro-summit with at least three sessions in one day focusing on adaptive reuse of commercial properties and public buildings to benefit people experiencing homelessness or facing pandemic-related eviction from their homes.

April: Unveiling of the 2021 Los Angeles County Quality of Life Index