Two candidates are running against incumbent Councilmember Paul Koretz for the City Council District 5 seat. The city council election will take place on March 7. The Daily Bruin spoke with both candidates to discuss their platforms and background.
Mark Herd grew up in Westwood and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Arizona. He was a member of the Westwood Neighborhood Council’s founding board and its Land Use Committee. He was also a board member of the Westwood Homeowners Association.
Herd is currently a political consultant who travels around the country working for various political candidates and causes.
He said he supports Measure S because he thinks it will help fight developer corruption in City Hall and force the city to update its community plans. Herd said he thinks current city council members favor developers over the community, and added he wants to prioritize the larger community.
“I am running to give better representation to the community stakeholders, instead of developers and special interest groups,” Herd said.
Herd also said he wants to make Los Angeles homeless shelters open at all times, give the homeless population temporary prefabricated housing and help them transition to permanent housing.
Herd said he wants to increase community policing in high-crime neighborhoods and improve traffic flow by syncing city traffic signals.
Additionally, Herd wants to build more parking lots in high-density areas, such as Venice Beach and Hollywood. Herd worked with the Westwood Neighborhood Council to prevent the city from selling the Westwood parking garage on Broxton Avenue and increasing parking prices.
Herd said he thinks his efforts for affordable parking symbolizes his desire to represent the community.
“The parking structure represented everybody,” Herd said. “People have to park to get to (all of the businesses in Westwood). It helped the businesses, it helped the students, it helped the homeowners, (it improved) the quality of life for everybody, for you and me. We all needed to save the lot.”
Bill Weld, the 2016 vice presidential nominee for the Libertarian party and a former Massachusetts governor, and Lisa Chapman, president of the Westwood Neighborhood Council, have endorsed Herd.
Jesse Creed moved with his family from Toronto to West Los Angeles as a child and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Princeton University. Creed then attended Columbia Law School and later worked as a law clerk for two federal judges.
Creed also worked at the Westwood campus of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where he worked to bring 1,200 apartments to homeless veterans.
Creed is a practicing lawyer for nonprofit and mission-oriented organizations, but he is currently working full-time on his campaign.
He pledged not to take any campaign donations from developers and said he will fight developer financing and corruption in City Hall. He also said he does not support Measure S because it imposes a two-year development moratorium on the city.
Creed said he wants to increase the number of police officers, community policing and policing technology in local neighborhoods to prevent crime. He also said he wants to use more funds to provide supportive housing for the Los Angeles homeless population.
Creed said homelessness is an important issue for him because he dealt with economic hardship in his youth when his family went bankrupt, and he highly values support systems.
“I lived in eight homes in eight years and was constantly moving around,” Creed said. “The thing that I had that gave me support was my family, and I recognize that a lot of people don’t have that. My call is to recognize people without that support system and to foster support systems in those communities.”
In addition, Creed said he would work to improve mobility and transportation in Los Angeles and make the city cleaner and more environmentally friendly.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, former City Controller Laura Chick, Lisa Chapman and the organization Citizens for a Humane Los Angeles have endorsed Creed.