PRESS RELEASE: Councilmember Ryu, Activists Call for Anti-Corruption Reforms

LOS ANGELES - Councilmember David Ryu was joined by advocates from California Common Cause and former City Councilmember Mike Woo on the steps of City Hall today to urge action on anti-corruption reforms at Los Angeles City Hall. Ryu has introduced anti-corruption legislation and has called for sweeping reform to the Los Angeles City structure, which Ryu says is out of date and led to the kind of corruption seen in Los Angeles today.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  

June 29, 2020

Contact for Councilmember Ryu:

Mark Pampanin

mark.pampanin@lacity.org

213.407.7616

Councilmember Ryu, Activists Call for Anti-Corruption Reforms

LOS ANGELES - Councilmember David Ryu was joined by advocates from California Common Cause and former City Councilmember Mike Woo on the steps of City Hall today to urge action on anti-corruption reforms at Los Angeles City Hall. Ryu has introduced anti-corruption legislation and has called for sweeping reform to the Los Angeles City structure, which Ryu says is out of date and led to the kind of corruption seen in Los Angeles today.

“Corruption will not be solved with Huizar’s arrest or suspension,” Ryu said. “Corruption is only solved with real reform and systemic change. I am calling on all of the City Council to join this effort, and meet this moment with meaningful reform.”

Ryu, who has refused developer contributions since running for office in 2015, led the fight to ban developer contributions in City elections, which was signed into law last year. In May, Ryu introduced a motion to establish an Office of Anti-Corruption and Transparency (LA ACT) with the power to investigate city officials and their land use decisions, which has been scheduled for the Rules Committee on Tuesday. Ryu also recently introduced a motion to change the City Charter, removing the power City Councilmembers have to interfere in City Planning Commission decisions.

"Changing the status quo in City Hall is always difficult," said Woo, who led the effort to enact L.A.'s last major ethics and campaign finance reform measures in 1990.  "The people who have the power don't like giving it up.  I commend Councilmember Ryu for leading this current fight to clean up City Hall."

"We can no longer ignore corruption in Los Angeles. We need broad changes that will restore L.A. residents’ trust in their government. We need to reform how campaigns are funded and how money flows in our politics, and we need to strengthen the City’s watchdogs," said Jonathan Mehta Stein, Executive Director at California Common Cause. "Angelenos deserve a government that works for all its residents, not just those in power and their wealthy, special interest backers."

Ryu also announced that he will be working on further reforms that will be introduced at the end of summer, and called for action on legislation to publicly finance elections in Los Angeles.

Ryu’s reform package will, among other things, include expanding the Los Angeles City Council and reforming the City Charter to change the discretionary power individual Councilmembers have over land use and planning decisions. The City Council has not been expanded since 1925, when Los Angeles had a population of around 1 million. Councilmember Ryu said the Council should have at least 25 members, which would be proportionally similar to the City of New York, which has 51 Councilmembers for it’s 8.4 million residents

One of the first pieces of legislation Ryu put forward in 2015 was to ban all business and other non-individual donations in local elections, which was not supported by the City Council at the time. Ryu is the only sitting City Councilmember to have a citizen-run discretionary funds task force and to publish all his discretionary spending and meetings with developers online.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice have led a sweeping corruption probe into the City of Los Angeles that has led to the arrest of Councilmember Jose Huizar and a guilty plea from former City Councilmember Mitch Englander, among others. The FBI and DOJ claim that Mr. Huizar led a massive pay-to-play scheme, taking bribes from real estate developers and abusing his power over land use to enrich himself.

Read more about Councilmember Ryu’s motion on Anti-Corruption and Transparency here.

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Assistant City Council President Pro Tempore David E. Ryu represents Los Angeles’ 4th Council District which includes Griffith Park, Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Larchmont and portions of Koreatown and Van Nuys.


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