Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer jumped into the 2022 mayor’s race Monday, announcing his candidacy for City Hall’s top office and creating a fundraising committee.
Feuer, 61, becomes the highest-profile politician to take steps to replace Mayor Eric Garcetti, who will be forced out because of term limits. A former L.A. City Council member and state legislator, Feuer filed paperwork to begin fundraising one day after the city’s campaign window opened.
Feuer, a Democrat, said in an interview with The Times that tackling homelessness and affordable housing issues would be among his top priorities if elected mayor.
“Public service and helping people is at the core of who I am,” Feuer said. “And I want to bring the values of service, integrity, standing up for people, changing the world, to the mayor’s office.”
His announcement comes eight months after FBI agents raided the city attorney’s office, serving search warrants in an investigation into two lawsuits that emerged from the 2013 botched rollout of a new Department of Water and Power billing system. No one has been charged or arrested.
A court-appointed investigator said in November that he has found preliminary evidence of fraud and ethics violations.
Feuer has sought to cast blame on two outside attorneys hired by his office for the billing litigation, while one of those attorneys has said his work was done at the “express direction” of Feuer’s office.
Feuer said the incident has made him a “better leader” and that he’s since put in place stringent hiring protocols. He also said that investigators didn’t raid his office when they swooped into City Hall in July.
In addition to prosecuting misdemeanors, vetting proposed city laws and representing the city in civil cases, the city attorney’s office under Feuer has filed a number of high-profile lawsuits against big-name companies, including banking giant Wells Fargo over its sales practices. A $185-million settlement followed, earning Feuer national headlines.
Feuer also touts his office’s program that puts city attorneys in neighborhood police stations to tackle illegal dumping, graffiti and other quality-of-life issues.
Homeless activists, businesses and some City Council members have at times clashed with Feuer over his support for laws targeting homeless people, with groups criticizing those policies as either too lenient or harsh.
Feuer, the former executive director of Bet-Tzedek Legal Services, was elected to the City Council in 1995, where he represented a predominately white district that included the Fairfax district, West L.A. and Sherman Oaks. In 2001, he ran unsuccessfully for city attorney, losing in a runoff to Rocky Delgadillo.
Feuer is married to Gail Ruderman Feuer, a justice on the California Court of Appeal. The couple lives in Beverly Grove and have two adult children.
The fundraising window for 2022 citywide elections opened Sunday. The primary is March 8, 2022.
Several other L.A. politicians are considering a run for mayor, including Secretary of State Alex Padilla, state Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents a Watts-to-San Pedro district, according to people familiar with their thinking. Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents part of the Eastside, also hasn’t dismissed the idea of a mayoral campaign.
County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and former state Sen. Kevin de León have repeatedly declined to rule out running for mayor.
Jaime Regalado, professor emeritus of political science at Cal State L.A., said Feuer’s decision to jump in early gives him an advantage over others, including possible candidates Ridley-Thomas and De León. Those men are both awaiting results in their respective races for City Council.
“It lets Angelenos know and the fundraising community know that he’s in,” Regalado said.
Times staff writer David Zahniser contributed to this report.