Your guide to L.A. City Council District 5 race: Katy Young Yaroslavsky vs. Sam Yebri

Los Angeles City Council District 5 candidates Katy Young Yaroslavsky, left, and Sam Yebri.
(Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles City Council District 5 race was very nearly decided in June, when Katy Young Yaroslavsky finished with 48.97% of the vote — just over a percentage point shy of the 50% plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff.

Instead, the district’s first new representative in more than a decade will be chosen Nov. 8, when Yaroslavsky faces off against Sam Yebri, who finished with just under 30% of the vote in the four-way primary.

Like many other city races, the battle to succeed Councilmember Paul Koretz and represent this largely Westside council district has focused intensely on homelessness and public safety.


Click here for the latest results from the election.


Who are the candidates?

Yebri and Yaroslavsky have quite a bit in common: Both are lawyers in their early 40s with young children. They each spent part of their childhoods living in the district and have broadly similar views on many issues, though they differ on some specifics. Both are Democrats.

Yaroslavsky has deep family roots in local politics — her father-in-law is Zev Yaroslavsky, who represented District 5 on the City Council for nearly two decades, and her mother was an L.A.-area district director for Supervisor Sheila Kuehl when Kuehl was in the state Assembly.

Before getting into the race, Yaroslavsky worked for Kuehl for more than six years, handling public health, environmental issues and the arts for the county supervisor. She began her career as a land-use attorney at Latham & Watkins, a politically influential law firm where she also did lobbying work, and spent several years at an environmental nonprofit.


Yebri belongs to a family of Iranian refugees who arrived in the U.S. in 1983, when he was a toddler.

He co-founded a Century City law firm and has been on a number of nonprofit boards, including Bet Tzedek, where he has assisted with legal clinics and handled the cases of renters pro bono. He previously served on the Los Angeles Civil Service Commission and the city attorney’s Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. He also co-founded 30 Years After, an L.A.-based Iranian American Jewish civic organization.


Where is their support coming from?

Yaroslavsky has the backing of the county Democratic Party, the Sierra Club, the political arm of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. Kuehl and Supervisor Hilda Solis have endorsed her, as have Rep. Karen Bass, Rep. Judy Chu, City Council President Nury Martinez and state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon

Yebri has the support of major business groups, such as the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and County Business Federation, two local chambers of commerce and unions representing police and firefighters. His backers also include former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, Controller Ron Galperin, Rep. Nanette Barragán and former Rep. Henry Waxman.

Yebri has taken in a little over $1.1 million in contributions, while Yaroslavsky has raised about $950,000. Both candidates have received some outside support from unions, but the bulk of outside money in the race has come from an association representing landlords and developers that is backing Yebri.


Where is District 5?

Council District 5 sprawls from the hills of Bel-Air all the way to Hancock Park. It’s roughly bounded by the 405 Freeway to the west, Mulholland Drive to the north and Venice Boulevard to the south. It snakes around the cities of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood to the east.

Neighborhoods include Bel-Air, Westwood, Palms, Cheviot Hills, Century City, Beverlywood, Pico-Robertson, Beverly Grove, Miracle Mile, Carthay Circle, the Fairfax district and parts of Hancock Park.


Where Yaroslavsky and Yebri stand on homelessness

Broadly speaking, both candidates would prioritize prevention, with strategies to prevent tenants from falling into homelessness and create more affordable housing, and also work to get people off the streets faster.

Both candidates say they would have voted to pass a controversial anti-camping ordinance known as 41.18, but their opinions on its use differ slightly.

Yaroslavsky has said she thinks 41.18 — which bans encampments in certain areas — should be used as a “backstop strategy,” paired with and following meaningful engagement and offers of services and housing. To do otherwise would just move people around, shifting the issue a few hundred feet away and “increasing people’s misery,” she said during a recent debate.


Yebri, who told The Times anti-camping ordinances should be used “robustly,” has knocked his opponent for waffling a bit on 41.18 throughout the course of the campaign.

“I think it will save lives because it creates urgency and it helps transition people who are suffering and dying on our streets into shelter and into housing, into medical healthcare, faster,” Yebri said during a recent debate.


Where Yebri and Yaroslavsky stand on policing and public safety

Both candidates say that the most important function of their job is keeping people safe.

Yebri has pledged to “rebuild our depleted LAPD force,” saying the city should get back to having at least 10,000 officers. (The City Council has authorized an LAPD force of about 9,700 sworn officers, but the number has dwindled to just above 9,200 officers.)

Both candidates have talked about expanding use of crisis intervention teams to ensure those in crisis get better care and law enforcement is freed up to focus on public safety.

Yaroslavsky has also said the force should expand but declined to provide a number. She said the city will be able to better assess the need after more social service workers are hired for homelessness engagement and response and officers are redeployed back into the field from desk duty.


Past coverage

Candidate Sam Yebri is taking aim at opponent Katy Yaroslavsky’s work as a City Hall lobbyist. She says the real estate industry is pushing hard for Yebri.

June 4, 2022

Meet the candidates vying to replace Los Angeles Councilman Paul Koretz in District 5, which stretches from Bel-Air to Hancock Park.

June 5, 2022


L.A. Times Editorial Board Endorsements

The Times’ editorial page publishes endorsements based on candidate interviews and independent reporting. The editorial board operates independently of the newsroom — reporters covering these races have no say in the endorsements.

The L.A. Times’ editorial board endorsements for statewide ballot measures, elected offices in Los Angeles city and county, L.A. Unified School District board, L.A. county superior court, statewide offices, the state Legislature and U.S. House and Senate seats.


How and where to vote

Ballots will be in the mail to all 22 million registered voters in the state no later than Oct. 10. Californians can return ballots by mail, drop them at collection boxes or turn them in at voting centers. They can also cast ballots early at voting centers or wait until Nov. 8 to vote at their neighborhood polling places.

Californians can register to vote or check their status at


Here’s how to vote in the California midterm election, how to register, what to do if you didn’t get mail ballot or if you made a mistake on your ballot.


Follow more election coverage

California voters head to the polls Nov. 8 to vote for U.S. Senate, governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, controller, treasurer, attorney general, and races for U.S. representative in Congress, state senator and state Assemblymember. Local races include who will be the Los Angeles mayor and L.A. County sheriff. There are seven ballot propositions for voters to decide on the table.

In the November midterm election, California is one of the battlefields as Democrats and Republicans fight over control of Congress.


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