LOCAL

Q & A: Paul Koretz and David T. Vahedi

As the May 19 runoff election nears, Times editors posed these questions to the two remaining candidates for the Los Angeles City Council's 5th District seat.

Paul Koretz

1) What specifically distinguishes you from your runoff opponent? What important skill or experience do you have that your opponent lacks?

I have extensive experience in state and local government and a proven history of delivering results for the people of the 5th Council District. As a deputy to former council members Marvin Braude and Zev Yaroslavsky, I learned how to deliver essential city services to neighborhoods and how to cut through city bureaucracy to serve constituents.

As mayor and City Council member in West Hollywood, I helped turn a neglected strip of unincorporated county land into a thriving community with a balanced budget and an $80-million surplus, a three-minute police response time and one of California's highest levels of local services.

And as a member of the state Assembly, I took on the gun lobby, corporate polluters and the tobacco companies to fight for healthier, safer neighborhoods.

2) Now that you have highlighted yourself, what do you consider to be your opponent's best attribute?

My opponent is very articulate and quite passionate in his beliefs.

David T. Vahedi

1) What specifically distinguishes you from your runoff opponent? What important skill or experience do you have that your opponent lacks?

As a lifelong resident of L.A. and a 35-year resident of the 5th District, I have never wanted to live anywhere else. For the last 10 years, I have served my district by serving on the Westside Neighborhood Council and on my local homeowner association board, bringing quality services to the 5th District and fighting for a better quality of life.

I am now raising my family in the same neighborhood that I was raised. My son will attend the same public schools that I have attended.

Now, more than ever, we need my auditing experience, with over 250 comprehensive audits completed, to identify and stop the waste before it occurs to assure that every tax dollar is spent wisely and efficiently to avoid unnecessary reductions in city services or the unnecessary need to raise taxes.

When I entered this race, I made a pledge not to fund my primary campaign from contributions from downtown special interests such as large developers, their attorneys, billboard companies, strip clubs or medical marijuana clinics that have recently proliferated in our neighborhoods. I made this pledge because I wanted to try to inspire the residents of the district that each and every one of them does make a difference and that together we can be a collective voice for a better L.A. More importantly, I wanted the residents of the 5th to know that their councilman is making decisions based on what is best for the district, not based on special interest contributions.

Finally, my experience in trying to maintain our infrastructure and receive our fair share of city resources such as police and fire has led to my campaign being endorsed by more homeowners association presidents and community leaders than my opponent.

2) Now that you have highlighted yourself, what do you consider to be your opponent's best attribute?

I believe my opponent's best attribute is his willingness to make sure animals are treated humanely.

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