Saturday, May 30

Mark Herd lacks complete grasp of a councilmember’s role

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We do not think Mark Herd is qualified to take over for current councilmember Paul Koretz, because Herd offered unrealistic or shallow solutions to problems, both in Westwood and at the city level.

Herd – a Westwood resident who grew up in the Village – is familiar with some local problems, like high business turnover rate and the tension between UCLA students and longtime Westwood residents, but does not have a firm grasp on how to address them effectively.

Herd also brought up topics that reflect a disconnect between his priorities and those of the university’s community. He took issue with UCLA’s construction of new buildings, for example, and is concerned about projects simply because they might bring traffic to Westwood – even if they would also bring more jobs.

To be fair, Herd was part of the effort to keep free two-hour parking on Broxton Avenue. He also understands the struggle for small business owners who face high turnover rates in the Village, and wants to reform the gross receipts tax to make it easier for businesses to stay afloat. Koretz also wants to alter this tax on business revenue, but has a more nuanced way of achieving it.

In 2010, Herd helped to establish the Westwood Neighborhood Council, which is city-funded and discusses issues pertinent to the Westwood community, then makes recommendations to the Los Angeles city council.

Thus, Herd has had interaction with the city council, and should understand its powers and limitations.

But he demonstrated a misunderstanding of a city councilmember’s role. He discussed using his powers as a city council member to address rising tuition levels at UCLA.

This is an issue that is related to the amount of funding the state allocates to the University of California, and it should not be a priority for a Los Angeles councilmember.

Yes, Herd is from Westwood and has dealt with a few of its problems, but being a city councilmember means more than being familiar with the issues in just one neighborhood.

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