The city council member representing Westwood is running for re-election March 7 with platforms on homelessness, environmental preservation and improving the Westwood community.
Paul Koretz, who has represented Los Angeles City Council District 5 since 2009, grew up in the district, which includes the majority of West Los Angeles. He said he has been involved in government since he was a child because both of his parents were politically active.
“My dad used to carry me at picket lines before I could even walk,” Koretz said.
Koretz received a bachelor’s degree in history from UCLA and was one of the founders of the student group Bruin Democrats. He also helped found the city of West Hollywood, for which he served as a city council member and mayor.
He later represented the 42nd district in the California State Assembly from 2000 to 2006.
Koretz said he thinks real estate developers in Los Angeles often build large houses and buildings without enough regulation and wants to limit developer power in the city.
He also said he likes certain aspects of Measure S, a March ballot initiative that would limit developers’ power. He supports the measure’s call to update the city’s community plan and its mandatory environmental impact reports by outside consultants for developments.
However, Koretz said he will not vote for Measure S because it imposes a two-year moratorium on development, which he said he thinks will decrease the amount of affordable housing in Los Angeles. The city has already passed legislation for the aspects of the measure he supports, he added.
Koretz also said he has made the issue of homelessness a central part of his platform as a city council member. He helped start the Hollywood facility for People Assisting the Homeless, a prominent homeless transitional program, and helped allocate $138 million of the city budget to homeless services.
Koretz supports Measure H, a March ballot initiative that would slightly increase sales taxes to fund homeless services and prevention.
Additionally, Koretz said he supports transportation and environmental preservation.
He supported Measure M, an initiative to impose a slight sales tax increase to raise city transportation funds that passed in November. Koretz also proposed a ban on plastic bags and co-authored a measure that would increase recycling and another that would put a moratorium on fracking.
Koretz said he would improve Westwood by fixing streets, increasing safety measures in schools, reducing the homeless population, planting trees and adding a dog park to the Westwood Recreation Center.
The UCLA student groups Bruin Democrats, Bruins Elect and Young Progressives Demanding Action have endorsed Koretz for re-election. In addition, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, Westwood Neighborhood Council Vice President Sandy Brown and the Los Angeles Times have endorsed him.