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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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County

Los Angeles CountyCandidate for Supervisor, District 5

Photo of John C. Harabedian

John C. Harabedian

Mayor of Sierra Madre
84,199 votes (20.58%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Solving Homelessness
  • Economic Development and Job Creation
  • Transportation/Reducing Traffic

Experience

Experience

Profession:Mayor of Sierra Madre
Mayor, City of Sierra Madre (2012–current)
Mayor, City of Sierra Madre — Elected position (2012–current)
Board Member, California Acupuncture Board — Appointed position (2017–current)

Education

Stanford law School J.D. (2010)
Oxford University Master's Degree, Comparative Social Policy (2006)
Yale University B.A., Political Science (2004)

Biography

John Harabedian (38) is a lifelong resident of the 5th District. Born and raised in Sierra Madre, he has served on the Sierra Madre City Council since 2012. John went to local schools in Sierra Madre—Sierra Madre Elementary and St. Rita Elementary School—and subsequently graduated from Loyola High School in Los Angeles as the Loyola Award Winner (highest award given at graduation). He then matriculated to Yale University, where he graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and was involved in various activities, including being a member of student government and the Association of Native Americans at Yale. John graduated with an M.Sc. in Comparative Social Policy from Oxford University, and then served as a Coro Fellow in Los Angeles, where he worked with AFSCME Local District 36 and helped Debra Bowen win her first Secretary of State Campaign over Republican Bruce McPherson. He then worked as a Policy Analyst in Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s office, before attending Stanford Law School. During law school, John served as a certified student-attorney in Stanford’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic and led the Equality Pro Bono Project which worked directly with the National Center for Lesbian Rights in providing pro bono legal services to the LGBTQ community.

Upon graduating from Stanford, John clerked for federal district court judge Josephine Staton, and then joined the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins LLP. John also served as a prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. He is currently an Associate Investment Manager and Legal Counsel for Bentham IMF, a litigation finance company. He is an ADEM delegate for Assembly District 41 (having served in the same capacity in 2015), and is active in local Democratic politics.

He lives in Sierra Madre with his wife Young-Gi Harabedian and his two sons, John (5) and Joshua (1). He served as Mayor of Sierra Madre in 2014-15 and was once again selected by his fellow Councilmembers to serve as Mayor in 2019. He serves on various regional boards, including the Clean Power Alliance, and also serves as a board member of the California Acupuncture Board.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of Los Angeles County (2)

Affordable Housing is a major issue in Los Angeles County. What can you do as a supervisor to encourage the construction and renovation of low and moderate income housing in the county?
Answer from John C. Harabedian:
  • Declaring a state of emergency and calling on the State and Federal governments to provide immediate assistance from the National Guard and FEMA.
  • Immediately starting to erect temporary shelters with beds, showers, and medical care for all 60,000 homeless residents. There are over 5,000 government-owned vacant or underutilized properties in Los Angeles County that could site these shelters. 
  • Simultaneously providing economic incentives in the form of property tax rebates for existing multifamily unit owners to house low-income and homeless families and individuals. 
  • Expediting the zoning and building of permanent supportive housing. Again, utilizing the 5,000 vacant County and City-owned lots.    
  • Keeping people in their existing homes through robust tenant protection and rent stabilization measures.
  • Establishing a Housing Czar in Los Angeles County who will coordinate between Departments to ensure that the requisite housing supply is being built quickly, efficiently, and in environmentally friendly ways. 
  • Creating an Expedited Processing Unit to facilitate this process.
  • Situating new housing not only near transit, but also walkable to job centers and schools. 
  • Allowing for multi-unit housing in commercial and industrial zones. 
  • Encouraging the “Missing Middle.”  Our current housing system creates lots of upper income housing, and also produces income-restricted housing. This means blocky apartment buildings and lots of single-family homes. We are missing the middle, and creating it is our biggest opportunity.
  • Creating a housing policy that supplies median-income families with affordable-by-design homes.
  • Creating housing in places where residents can stimulate local business by walking to restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops and other spaces for everyday needs.
  • Encouraging small apartment buildings and multiple units on lots in and around city centers.Small apartment buildings are more likely to be built and owned by locals, strengthening our economy.
  • Often, these changes allow families to stay in our communities instead of having to move.
  • Allowing gradual change to our communities, including building missing middle class housing, creates stronger places over time.      
Gasoline and diesel powered vehicles generate 40% of current greenhouse gase (GHG) emissions in our region. What strategies would you support to significantly reduce the number of miles driven in the region?
Answer from John C. Harabedian:

Drastically reducing average vehicles traveled (VMT) per capita. We do this by:

  • Creating housing in places that shortens driving.
  • Improving transit.
  • Making streets safe enough for everyone to feel comfortable doing short trips without a car.
  • Encouraging eligible workers to work at least once a week from home. 

 

  • Enhancing Metrolink service and strengthening MTA Rail connections between the northern part of the County (Santa Clarita, Palmdale, and Lancaster) and downtown Los Angeles. 
  • Creating a “Valley to Valley” rail link that provides rail service from San Gabriel Valley to San Fernando Valley, with a connection to the Bob Hope Airport.
  • Significantly altering and electrifying Metrolink to allow for more short-hop trips and dramatically reducing the costs of current fares. Metrolink is an underutilized resource region-wide, and we need innovative thinking to encourage more usage of this vital transit link.
  • Making it possible for low-income residents to drive less. Driving less puts more money in their pockets, and keeps climate emissions (often from older, dirtier cars) out of our air.  To this end, we should:
    • Make our MTA bus lines free of charge. Metro is already subsidizing nearly the entirety of each bus ride, but making bussing free will encourage all of us to utilize our bus system and relieve the financial stress on low-income residents getting to and from work.
    • Implement congestion pricing on our high-congestion freeways during peak hours. To change behavior, we must economically incentivize our car-dependent population to find alternative means of transportation.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Homelessness

Los Angeles County is facing a humanitarian crisis in addition to a public health and public safety disaster.  More than 60,000 of our brothers and sisters are living on the streets, 3 of whom are dying each day.  We need to take immediate action by:

  • Declaring a state of emergency and calling on the State and Federal governments to provide immediate assistance from the National Guard and FEMA.
  • Immediately starting to erect temporary shelters with beds, showers, and medical care for all 60,000 homeless residents. There are over 5,000 government-owned vacant or underutilized properties in Los Angeles County that could site these shelters. 
  • Simultaneously providing economic incentives in the form of property tax rebates for existing multifamily unit owners to house low-income and homeless families and individuals. 
  • Expediting the zoning and building of permanent supportive housing. Again, utilizing the 5,000 vacant County and City-owned lots.    
  • Keeping people in their existing homes through robust tenant protection and rent stabilization measures.

Criminal Justice Reform

Los Angeles County has become a model for mass incarceration, and our County jails have become our mental institutions.  This has led to dangerously high recidivism rates, wasted taxpayer resources, and decreased public safety. We need systemic reform in the form of:

  • Ending cash bail and the death penalty.
  • Investing in the continuum of care – rather than new jails – to promote education, prevention, and community health, which will increase public safety and end the revolving door of recidivism and early release.       
  • Doubling the budget and resources for the Office of Diversion and Reentry so that we properly serve individuals suffering from mental illness and drug addiction.
  • Establishing a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Mental Health Academy that will train and deploy mental health professionals with Deputy Sheriffs in the field.
  •  

Climate

 

The County has set the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.  Scientists say this isn’t bold enough. As a founding member of the Clean Power Alliance, I have walked the walk when it comes to delivering cleaner energy to the County.  The County must be aggressively pursuing a Green New Deal by:

  • Establishing a County goal to become carbon neutral by 2030.
  • Investing significantly in building green technology of all types (solar, hydro, wind, storage) throughout the County, with a concentration in the 5th District, where space is most available. I will work to establish solar-by-right areas within the 5th District to cut through the red-tape and expedite the planning, approval, and building of these necessary projects. I will also work towards allowing wind technology in areas where it environmentally makes sense.
  • Phasing out fossil fuel production in the County, and working towards shutting down Alison Canyon.
  • Establishing training programs with our union partners for the proliferation of green tech jobs. 
  • Requiring that all new commercial and residential buildings are built with the most cutting edge, environmentally-conscious products and technology possible, such as utilizing cross-laminated timber instead of steel, mandating solar panels for each new building, and instituting an all-electric building code.
  • Reducing solid waste generation by 50% per capita by 2030. One way to do this is by forbidding the County from purchasing all single-use plastics, and supporting California’s efforts to phase out single-use plastics in the next decade. As a major consumer, LA County can help drive manufacturers and producers to use only recyclable and compostable materials.
  •  
  • Setting a County goal of zero days of unhealthy air quality by 2025 to address childhood asthma and assist vulnerable groups like seniors who are affected by this issue.
  • Drastically reducing average vehicles traveled (VMT) per capita. 

Health Care, Mental Health and Foster Care

We have children dying and being mistreated in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).  This is unacceptable and shows the system is broken. In addition, healthcare is one of the most basic functions that we provide to our citizenry, and for decades, our Supervisors in this District have torn up the vital social safety net and sought to privatize major portions of it. The County must:

  • Establish an “All Children Thrive” initiative.  No matter what, our children will graduate from college and avoid homelessness, whatever the costs. 
  • Lead the region and nation by building on My Health LA and instituting a robust public option healthcare option provided by the County to ALL residents of the County.  A more insured County leads to healthier, safer, and more productive outcomes, and a more efficient and cost-effective healthcare system.
  • Reverse the worrying trend of the elimination of Trauma Centers, especially in economically disadvantaged areas.  We should be building more hospitals that are easy and convenient to use.       
  • Commit significantly more resources to mental health well-being and end the stigmatization of mental healthcare. 
  • Double the number of DCFS social workers.  Caseloads are too high and victims are falling through the cracks.
  • Demand a continuity of care.  Each foster-care child should have the same social worker throughout his or her placement, rather than being subject to multiple hand-offs within the system.  As we have seen in the horrific examples reported in the news, multiple social workers handling a single child has led to inefficiency and unintended, grave consequences.   
  • Utilize technology to bolster effectiveness and eliminate human error within the foster-care system

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