Endorsement: Erin Darling is the right choice for Los Angeles City Council District 11

Erin Darling  greets voters at the Pacific Palisades Farmers Market
Erin Darling, a candidate for Los Angeles City Council District 11, greets voters at the Pacific Palisades Farmers Market on Sunday, Sept. 4.
(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

Erin Darling is a civil rights lawyer who has devoted his professional life to representing workers, renters and others fighting for their rights. He’s our choice for the Council District 11 seat left open when Councilman Mike Bonin decided not to seek reelection. Darling will be a smart, thoughtful and strong steward of a district that stretches from Pacific Palisades to Playa Vista where residents worry about crime, traffic, brush fires and homelessness, among other problems.

For the record:

3:10 p.m. Sept. 27, 2022

An earlier version of this article stated that a Venice housing project had HHH funding for 140 units of homeless housing. The project has city funding but not HHH funding, and the 140 units are for homeless and low-income people and four on-site staff.

Born in Venice and now living there with his wife and young son, he would be one of the most informed advocates on the City Council for renters — who make up the majority of the city and half of Council District 11. And he will push to get more affordable housing in a district that mostly has priced out its workers. He is not against having a police force — contrary to what his detractors say — but he wants to encourage more unarmed responses to calls for service for things such as mental health crises.

Darling won’t ignore the complaints about homeless encampments on sidewalks and in parks. He has opposed the enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance but says he won’t try to undo the now-standing restriction on encampments outside schools. Darling has rightly said that the only way to significantly reduce homelessness is to provide more shelter and interim housing along with permanent housing. It will fall to Darling to help his constituents understand that necessity while hearing out their concerns and brainstorming with them about ways to build housing that blends into neighborhoods. We believe he can successfully do that heavy lifting.


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Sept. 8, 2022

On the other hand, we don’t think his opponent, Traci Park, will even try. While the municipal law attorney, who also lives in Venice, comes across as an affable politician who says that shelter and housing for homeless people is essential and believes in adaptive reuse of buildings on the Westside for housing, she has fought against all of that in her district.

She filed a voluminous appeal of the city’s approval of a permit for a 33-room Ramada Inn in Venice to be used as interim housing for several years and later probably as permanent housing. (The city bought it with the help of funds from the state’s Homekey program, which finances the purchase and adaptive reuse of motels and hotels for housing.) Among other things, she argued that it would adversely affect public safety. The president of the city’s Board of Public Works, which heard the appeal, suggested that with the 24-hour security planned the project might help public safety. Ultimately, the board unanimously denied the appeal.

Park is also opposed to a Venice housing project, partially funded through a city subsidy, that is being built on city-owned parking lots and would create 136 units of desperately needed housing for homeless and low-income people and four more for on-site staff. Among other things she told the L.A. Times, it’s in a tsunami zone. So are inhabited portions of Venice and Santa Monica.

This district needs someone who is willing and able to tackle the challenges of the city. Darling is that person.