Interview with Councilwoman Jan Perry


Segment One
Download MP3


Councilwoman Jan Perry
9th Council District
City of Los Angeles

Whether implementing cutting edge improvements or ensuring delivery of fundamental services, Councilwoman Jan Perry is making a positive change in the lives of her constituents. Now in her third term in office as Councilwoman of the Ninth District, Perry represents some of the most diverse and vibrant communities in LA including Bunker Hill, Little Tokyo, and South Los Angeles. She has responded to the district's needs by ensuring access to basic city services, making major improvements in the district’s infrastructure, driving efforts for quality job development and job training, and supporting the development of housing at all income levels.

Over the past decade, Perry has supported the development of major redevelopment projects in Downtown Los Angeles that represents over $15 billion in investment, over $40 million in City tax revenue, and the creation of over 90,000 full-time jobs. From catalytic developments like LA Live to iconic developments like Our Lady of Angeles Cathedral to major public buildings like the new Police Administrative Building—Perry has been at the forefront of ensuring that downtown moves forward to meet its potential as the economic engine for the entire region.

Perry also serves on the Joint Powers Authority for the Grand Avenue Committee which oversees the Grand Avenue Project. As part of this project, a 10-acre civic park is currently under construction and will open in the later part of 2012. The Broad, a contemporary art museum being developed by the Broad Foundation, is also underway; this $200 plus investment on Grand Avenue is scheduled for completion in 2013, bringing with it the promise of approximately 1,300 construction and 100 full time jobs.

Determined to ensure that downtown Los Angeles will continue to provide job and career opportunities for the residents of South Los Angeles and the entire region, Perry developed and received unanimous support for the Department of Public Works Project Labor Agreement and Public Infrastructure Stabilization Ordinance guarantees local hire opportunities at more than 98 public works projects in the City of Los Angeles. The goal is to hire a workforce comprised of local, City of Los Angeles residents. Specifically, the agreement requires that thirty percent of work hours are performed by local residents and, within that, that ten percent of the hours are dedicated to disadvantaged workers. Additionally, the agreement provides that 20% of the total work hours are performed by apprentices, offering unemployed and underemployed workers the opportunity to re-enter the workforce with a promising career ladder and steady employment.

Perry also understands that tackling the challenges of homelessness is an essential part of creating a healthy city for everyone. A champion for the homeless, she has successfully kept the city’s emergency shelter program open on a year-round basis and has been a strong advocate for the development of affordable housing with supportive services to house chronically homeless individuals, many that have been homeless for decades. The unwavering political will that she exhibits on the issue of housing the homeless has resulted in the development of over 1,000 units of housing with support services on-site, with more in the pipeline. Additionally, she has fought to ensure that the Central City Community, known by many as Skid Row, is treated as a true neighborhood, defending the rights and safety of the homeless, formerly homeless, and those in recovery. In 2008, Perry authored city legislation to end the practice of dumping homeless individuals in Skid Row by hospitals and other institutions.

Investing in the redevelopment of South Los Angeles has been a top priority for Perry. Historic Central Avenue has been revitalized in large part because of the completion of projects that are an integral part of this vision. In the past year, four major projects have opened along Central Avenue, including a mixed-use senior housing development; two new, full-service grocery stores; quality family housing; and a Silver LEED certified neighborhood city hall. More projects are underway, including the redevelopment of the historic Dunbar Hotel and Sommerville I and II apartments; inter-generational housing on South Vermont designed for seniors raising young family members; and Phase I of The Crossings which will include new affordable, family housing, restoring the residential integrity of the community by removing industrial uses within yards of single-family homes and an elementary school.

Looking to the future, Perry has engaged the South Los Angeles community in the process of proactive community planning. As part of this effort, she has pushed to update community plans for South Los Angeles, engaging members of the community to work with the city define future land uses in the district. Perry also spearheaded the development and passage of the Fast Food General Plan Amendment that prohibits the development of new free-standing fast food franchises in South Los Angeles without extensive public hearings and adherence to strict to design guidelines. In addition, Perry has worked with the Community Redevelopment Agency to develop incentives like the undergrounding of utility poles, assistance in land assemblage, and help with project design in an effort to attract more sit-down restaurants, grocery stores, and neighborhood-serving retail to the community.

Perry co-authored and is widely credited with passage of Proposition O to clean Los Angeles water. The measure benefits every neighborhood in Los Angeles, as it works to upgrade storm-drain systems, eliminate flooding at key intersections, create new community parks and improve water quality. Since her first term of office, she has also greened her district by reducing blighted property and cleaning brownfields. Over the past 10 years, Perry has invested over $73 million in improving, expanding, and developing new recreation and park space throughout the Ninth District, from downtown to South Los Angeles.

The Augustus Hawkins Wetland is one of Perry’s most inspiring initiatives. The nation’s first man-made wetland in a highly urban area is part of Augustus Hawkins Park. Perry initiated the project, and it is due in large measure to her unwavering tenacity that it came to fruition. The project is an ecological wonder in its own right, and it also serves as a demonstration project for a second, ten-acre South Los Angeles Wetlands Park that will simultaneously improve water quality and provide much-needed park and recreation space to the South Los
Angeles community. The Wetland Park is currently under construction and phase I will open this year.

Perry currently chairs the Energy and the Environment Committee and Ad Hoc on Proposed Downtown Stadium and Convention Center Renovation; vice-chairs the Public Safety Committee; and is a member of the Housing, Community and Economic Development Committee and Transportation Committee. She was appointed by the mayor to represent LA as governing board member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and was recently reappointed to serve a third, four-year term. Perry also serves on the Exposition Light Rail Authority and was elected by her colleagues to serve as Council President Pro Tempore (Vice-President) for the Los Angeles City Council from 2009-2011. Prior to that, she was appointed Assistant Council President Pro Tempore, a position she held from 2006-2009.

Perry earned her bachelor’s degree from the USC School of Journalism, cum laude, and her master’s degree from USC in public administration.

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Connect with us on LinkedIn VMS

  Back to "Beverly Hills Local Leaders" Show Home
Back to "Local Leaders" Station Home