Act as a Consumer Watchdog
As City Attorney, I will serve as a watchdog for consumers and citizens. It will be my duty to protect Angelenos from fraud, corruption and unethical business practices by both private and public actors. I will ensure that privacy and data laws are closely followed, and that violators are prosecuted.
As City Attorney, I will not act as a shield for City Hall corruption. I will stand up to those in power and hold them accountable when their actions hurt the people of my city.
Investigate the City Attorney’s role in the LADWP Billing Scandal
As LA’s City Attorney, I will conduct my own investigation into the current City Attorney office’s role in the LA Department of Water and Power (LADWP) scandal, ensure that anyone who was involved in the scheme is held accountable, and provide the public with full transparency into the matter. The DWP scandal itself cost ratepayers millions of dollars; the City Attorney’s fraudulent lawsuit against PricewaterhouseCoopers – intended as a mechanism to avoid footing the bill for the crisis – also cost taxpayers at least $19 million in lawyers fees, in addition to wasting the public’s time with a blatant lie and evasion of responsibility.
Protect Workers and Hold Corporations Accountable
I will use my power as City Attorney to protect workers from employers that violate their rights. I will pursue corporations and companies in court for withheld or overdue pay – regardless of the immigration status of the worker in question – as well as unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous working conditions.
Now more than ever, the health and safety of workplaces is a matter of life and death for Angelenos. That’s why I will create an online portal on the City Attorney’s website, where workers can anonymously report unsafe working conditions, withheld or delayed wages and other abuses, so I can aggressively employ my office’s power to sue corporations when such abuses are discovered. I will also partner with unions and community-based organizations in order to receive guidance on how the City Attorney’s office can best support workers and uphold their rights.
The culture of corporate impunity that currently reigns cannot be allowed to continue. The City Attorney’s office is funded by the people of Los Angeles and should serve and protect their interests – not the interests of wealthy corporations.
Use Affirmative Litigation to Protect Citizens
Traditionally, City Attorneys provide advice and defense on behalf of local governments. However, City Attorneys can also act as civil plaintiffs and initiate legal actions that address violations of local, state and federal laws that harm their communities. If I am elected City Attorney, affirmative litigation – or, litigation that proactively addresses public harms – will be a top priority for my office. By bringing cases against government entities, corporations and other actors that are actively harming our city, I will be able to protect residents and ensure that, for example, Angelenos have equal access to housing and jobs, that our air and water are clean, our children are kept safe from toxic substances and corporations are held accountable for abuses.
Affirmative litigation affords the City Attorney the power to actively influence policy. By suing bad actors, a City Attorney can push governments to uphold their obligations when it comes to enforcing laws and regulations intended to protect citizens, and force corporations to comply with the law. In some cases, these suits can establish legal precedents which will protect citizens for decades. In other cases, Los Angeles will be able to recover lost revenue through these lawsuits, which we can reinvest in the communities that have been harmed.
As City Attorney, I will be able to file a lawsuit based on a harm done to the City of Los Angeles. San Francisco, for example, sued the state of Nevada for handing one-way bus tickets to psychiatric patients from Las Vegas to San Francisco. Similarly, in Los Angeles, we have had problems with so-called “patient dumping,” an illegal practice in which hospitals dump indigent and/or homeless patients on the streets. I will sue such hospitals if and when they are found to have engaged in this illegal practice.
Because the City of Los Angeles is a market participant, the City Attorney often has standing to sue corporate actors – for example, electricity providers, natural gas suppliers, and more – who are found to be engaging in price-fixing and other anti-competitive behaviors.
Affirmative litigation is also an important tool when it comes to protecting public health and the environment. Cities in California, including Los Angeles, have also sued corporate entities over illegal disposal of hazardous waste using the California Hazardous Waste Law. As City Attorney, I will carefully track violations of our environmental laws and regulations and sue bad actors. Environmental harms often fall disproportionately on low-income communities of color. Pursuing environmental justice is a critical component of our fight against climate change, and affirmative litigation is an important tool in this fight.
Support Social Equity in Cannabis
California’s Cannabis Equity Grants Program was (and still is) intended to bring equity and a degree of reparations to the individuals and communities who were most impacted by the “War on Drugs” and the decades of destructive policies towards low-level marijuana use it entailed. Communities of color and low-income communities were the intended recipients of the benefits of this program, and individuals from such communities were to be given priority when it came to licensing legal dispensaries. However, the reality has been remarkably different: high-status and high-level positions within California’s marijuana industry are still held by wealthy white individuals, and low-income persons of color – and/or victims of the war on drugs – have not been given priority when it comes to licenses.
Moreover, predatory companies have been allowed to manipulate the program and exploit its intended recipients. For example, the LA Times reported that 4thMVMT, a company founded by a wealthy businessman that partners with black entrepreneurs to obtain cannabis licenses (as of 2020, the company had partnered with 13 applicants for the program) has handed its partners’ predatory contracts that grant the company the legal capacity to forcibly buyout its partners for a less-than-market-value price and take over their ownership stake in the business.
As City Attorney, I will prioritize creating real social equity in the marijuana business. I will not allow predatory companies to scheme and manipulate communities who bore the brunt of our nation’s catastrophic campaign of mass incarceration and moral policing.