Supervisor (D3): Yuval Kremer
Yuval Daniel Kremer, 42, is a private tutor for elementary and junior high school children, primarily in the Beverly Hills area.
Two supervisors have proposed setting up a permanent citizen’s commission to oversee the Sheriff’s Department. Are you in favor of that?
No…I support electing a GOOD non-political Sheriff, with oversight from the Board of Supervisors (which controls funding). If that becomes insufficient, that is what ACLU lawsuits, the County DA, the State, and the Feds are for! Oh, I forgot…the Local Media also is great at exposing Sheriff’s abuses! Anyway, “citizens commissions” are picked by the politicians, so they just create an extra layer of bureaucracy, additional expenses, a rubber stamp for the local pols, and a way for them to deflect blame and avoid accountability.
What role should the supervisors play in the management and operation of the Sheriff’s Department?
Former Sheriff Lee Baca has proposed replacing the Men’s Central Jail complex. What do you think should be done with the facility? If you believe it should be replaced, how large should it be?
It should not be replaced, but it should hold less people, be better staffed, and be better managed.
Some officials believe the Sheriff’s Department should use vacant jails outside the county to relieve crowding and reduce the need to release inmates early. Do you agree?
What would you do to improve the juvenile detention system, which is under federal review following the misuse of force against children?
Figure out who is responsible, replace them, and stop the misuse of force.
State prison realignment has shifted more felons to local law enforcement oversight. How well do you think it has worked? Would you do anything to alter it? Has the program had any impact on public safety?
It has not worked well, it has reduced public safety, and I would alter it, but need to analyze the matter further to make specific recommendations.
Is the Sheriff’s Department doing enough to lower the cost and frequency of use-of-force, harassment and traffic-related lawsuits against the agency? If not, what should be changed?
No. First and foremost, the Sheriff should be changed, and that has happened on an interim basis. Hopefully the Times will help the public choose a good non-political permanent replacement.
Would you support state legislation that would give more authority to Sheriff’s Department civilian monitors? Would you support legislation that would make county sheriffs less autonomous and more accountable to county supervisors?
What would be your top priority in improving the county’s child welfare system and how would you accomplish it?
Child safety. For one thing, I’d like the various police departments, the Sheriff’s Department, LAUSD, etc to be more involved in monitoring and reporting…it takes a village.
The Los Angeles County child welfare system has been criticized for mishandling victims of abuse or neglect. Many experts say social workers are insufficiently trained to know when to separate a child from a parent. Do you agree, and if so what would you do to improve the system? Do you believe social workers should be required to hold a master’s degree in social service, as some others counties require?
No, I think they know…they just don’t do it…I would improve the system with better leadership and oversight. Yes, they should be required to hold a master’s degree in social service, but not from a particular school or small group of schools. I hate that sort of elitism and exclusion, which I’ve seen with librarian hiring.
The Children’s Special Investigations Unit looks into problem cases and recommends ways to prevent the deaths of juveniles under the oversight of county workers. Because findings in each case have been declared confidential, the public and front-line case workers never learn what happened and how it might have been prevented. Would you support making the unit’s final reports public?
A special commission on child welfare is expected to recommend overhauling the child protection service and imposing greater oversight on private foster care providers. The group also wants to create a child welfare czar to coordinate services. Would you support such recommendations?
Yes to the first question and No to the “czar.”
With more than 36,000 children under county supervision, social workers complain that they have too many cases to effectively handle. The special commission was recently told that 683 caseworkers oversee 31 or more children and that some even have more than 60. Do you believe more workers should be hired? What would you consider a proper caseload? And if more social workers are needed, how do propose to pay for them?
Yes; a proper caseload might be 30 (I would need to analyze the matter further); and I would pay for it by keeping wages, overtime, health benefits, and pensions in check, finding other places to cut waste in the County’s roughly 25 Billion dollar annual budget, and outsourcing to nonprofit partners, if necessary.
What is your view of the job being done by Department of Children and Family Services Director Philip Browning and would you support his retention?
I would have to analyze if he is being blamed for an insufficient budget for his department before I would consider removing him.
A $100 million plan to regionalize homeless services by placing a stabilization center in each supervisor’s district was shelved after community opposition arose in 2006. Should that plan be revived? How should the county deal with the homeless?
My main concern is protecting the Residents of the county from the homeless population, while being compassionate with that population. I see homelessness as a major public safety, health, and quality of life issue. I would listen to all stakeholders, county staff, my fellow supervisors, and experts, before deciding what to do. I do believe there should be public bathroom facilities for the homeless, so that they do not use our streets, alleys, lawns, etc, and those bathroom facilities should be spread out throughout the county.
The county periodically assigns the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to move people off the streets, offering assistance and shelter. Many who go in for treatment, however, quickly leave. How should the county close this revolving door while making sure money is not wasted?
I need to study this matter further before making a recommendation.
About 60% of those on welfare are homeless. Some say they remain on the street because their monthly check of around $250 is far less than what it costs to rent. How would you address this issue? With federal housing vouchers frozen and rents continuing to go up, would you support raising the general relief amount? If so, how would you pay for it?
No, I would not. I already see the homeless community in my area using their money for booze, smokes, lottery tickets, and drugs. And a lot of people give them money and food, too.
As the Affordable Care Act increases the number of people with health insurance, a once-captive client base for county hospitals and clinics will be free to seek care elsewhere—and to take their newfound insurance coverage with them. What can you do as a supervisor to insure that county facilities don’t lose these now-paying customers?
I don’t believe they will lose them. Just the opposite…I think they will be flooded with more patients. The exchange plans have narrow networks and very narrow hospital networks. As for doctors, many of the good ones have gone cash-only. And many members of the middle-class have had their insurance terminated because of the Affordable Care Act…also, some employers have stopped covering their workers and dumped them on the government.
County health officials have said they will continue to care for people who remain uninsured, including immigrants without legal status. Do you agree with this policy? Should there be limits to this care?
Yes and Yes.
The projected $237 million cost for rebuilding Martin Luther King hospital rose to $281 million last summer. Its reopening has also been delayed for months. Do you think the delays and increased costs are justified? Is there more county officials should be doing to get the project completed; and, if so, what?
No to the first question. The delays and increased costs are likely due to lousy contracting, which is very common.
Studies suggest emergency room use is likely to increase at least initially as newly-insured people drop their reluctance to seek care because of cost. Given that most county emergency rooms are already overcrowded, what would you do to manage this growth?
The only way to manage this growth is with more funds, and way to get those funds is to increase premiums and/or get more money from the State/Feds. If the State cancelled the Bullet Train Boondoggle, that would be one way to free-up around 10 Billion dollars.
Do you have any concern about the amount of influence business or organized labor groups exert in county politics and this race specifically?
Of course I do; I’m a Registered Democrat, but I’m fiscally conservative. The LA County Democrats met in a union hall to select their pick, and Sheila Kuehl seems to be the Government Employee Union candidate, with their endorsements and money. I have seen firsthand the impact in the City of LA…Platinum Pensions, decimated services, and higher taxes and fees. Our Supervisor needs to be able to negotiate with these unions at arm’s length and represent the Residents/Taxpayers/Voters, not be the Gov’t Employee Unions’ Representative. As for businesses, I have seen shady contracting, dollar leases, dollar sales, and subsidized developers in the City of LA…I fully expect to find that at the County, too. I call campaign contributions “legalized bribes,” and I think it’s ridiculous that the unions were able to spend over 8 Million dollars to defeat Bernard Parks when he ran for Supervisor…Independent Expenditures are a Loophole that you can drive a truck through, and it’s often a fiction to believe that they are not coordinated with the campaigns of candidates.
Supervisors boast of having maintained the county’s fiscal health by keeping purse strings tight during the recession. In that same period, the jails have been overcrowded and fallen under federal investigation; the child welfare system has been accused of failing abused kids due to heavy caseloads; public hospital emergency rooms have overflowed with patients, and programs to move tens of thousands of people off on the streets have seen limited success. What would you do as supervisor to raise new revenue or free up existing resources to address these budget challenges?
In a roughly 25 Billion dollar annual budget, I’m sure I can find a lot of waste, shady contracting, misplaced priorities, subsidized special interests, and bloated pensions. We can also lobby the State and the Feds for more money, when appropriate. I am opposed to a split roll for Prop 13, unlike the 4 major candidates in this race…However, I would stop the abuse of Prop 13 by corporations who transfer commercial properties using a trick to keep a reduced property tax…I would close that loophole. I would try to work with the State to restructure the tax system and replace taxes that are currently wasted on First Five and questionable mental health treatments with taxes that pay for the items above. I would also phase out the CRV. I would also stop the abuse of disabled placards, which reduces parking revenue.
The county currently requires many contractors to pay a “living wage” that amounts to $11.84 an hour. Given the current national and local movements to raise the minimum wage to a much as $15.37, do you believe the county’s required living wage should be increased; and if so, to what amount?
No, because it’s a Job Killer.
Los Angeles County government has the largest workforce in Southern California, with about 101,000 employees. Many went without pay raises during the recession. Would you vote to give county workers higher pay at this point in the economic recovery?
No; they’re lucky to have good-paying jobs with great benefits in this economic environment, and I expect the economy to get worse, not better. I don’t see the economic recovery that others have seen…I see companies going bankrupt and other companies laying off workers. Also, California and LA are becoming VERY business-unfriendly, and Obamacare will hurt the economy in the short and medium term.
Los Angeles County is one of the few remaining jurisdictions that does not offer peace officers “3% at 50,” which would mean sheriff’s deputies can retire at age 50 and receive 3% of their highest year’s pay for every year of service. Do you believe the county should move to that standard?
Current civil service protections prevent the county from moving some veteran employees to posts where their experience may be most needed; for example, social workers who have already spent time in a difficult region of the county cannot be sent back without their permission. Would you do anything to change that civil service rule?
Maybe; I would need to analyze the matter further.
Oil extraction is on the rise in parts of the county and residents fear that some techniques might pollute the air and water. Do you believe it is acceptable to extract oil and gas in urban settings? Do you believe hydraulic fracturing is safe?
No and no.
What is your position on the proposal to transform the San Gabriel Mountains’ Angeles National Forest into a National Recreation Area either managed or co-managed by the National Park Service?
I need to study it further, primarily because of the location involved.
Should the county make another attempt to ask voters to approve a storm water cleanup fee? If not, how should the county address the cost of cleaning up storm water?
Everybody should pay it, not just property owners.
Given the statewide drought, should the county be doing more to conserve water; and if so, what? Would you limit new residential or commercial development?
Former LA City Council Member Greig Smith figured out that your Valley lawn only needs 10 minutes of water 3 days a week. The public needs to be reminded how to not waste water on their lawns. After that, yes, I would charge the big water wasters a lot more, in order to stop their behavior…the folks that leave their sprinklers on during a 3-day rainstorm, or water their lawns in the middle of the day, or for an hour or more at a time, or commercial buildings that create a river 7 days a week with their lawn sprinklers. I would increase financial incentives to rip out lawns and switch to drought-tolerant landscaping, as my family has done. I may limit residential or commercial development for other reasons, but not to conserve water.
The supervisors have been chastised for violating the state’s open meetings law, as they did in 2011 when they met in private with Gov. Brown to discuss state prison realignment. What will you do to improve government transparency and avoid violating the open meetings law and public records act?
Hold more open meetings.
Unlike a standard practice at Los Angeles City Hall, people paid to lobby county officials are not required to disclose the issues they work on, and they sometimes violate existing reporting standards without punishment. Would you do anything to change the county’s lobbying rules?
Yes, I would require these lobbyists to disclose the issues they work on and punish them for violating reporting standards.
Each supervisor has a pool of money that can be spent at their discretion and without full board approval. What would you do to insure that the public easily sees how you spend your share?
Post how each and every penny is spent on the county website.
The county’s current campaign finance law is designed to reward candidates who stick to a voluntary spending limit for elections. But critics say the current limit of $1.4 million is too low. Do you believe the campaign finance law should be changed; and if so, how?
Independent expenditures are the problem; the only way to level the playing field is to increase the limit and increase the allowed individual contributions, while requiring full reporting and transparency. I would also provide any candidate that sticks to the limit a complimentary candidate statement space in the voter booklet…currently, I would need to spend over $8,000 for such a page and over $16,000 if I want it in Spanish, too…that’s not good policy.
Should the supervisors create or seek voter approval of a regulatory body similar to Los Angeles’ City Ethics Commission, which attempts to shape, administer and enforce laws regarding governmental ethics, conflicts of interests, campaign financing and lobbying?
No. The LA City Ethics Commission is picked by the same politicians that they monitor, slaps offenders on the wrist years after their misconduct, and is highly ineffective. I think the County DA should have a division that handles these matters. Most importantly, we need the monitor to be independent of the politicians being monitored. While Eric Garcetti was LA City Council President, he was being monitored by his own dad!…Ridiculous.
Supervisors also serve as members of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, overseeing billions of dollars in subway, light rail and bus transit services. Do you use public transportation? If so, how often and what routes?
Yes. I choose not to have a car and I take the Bus primarily, although I often walk, and sometimes take taxis or rail. I used to use the Beverly Blvd Rapid to get to LA City Hall…until MTA inexplicably eliminated the route. I used to use the Fairfax DASH often, until Council Member Koretz eliminated half the service and made it inconvenient for me to use.
Should Metro’s rail system be extended all the way to LAX; and if so, how?
Yes. As for how, I would need to study the matter more to respond.
What do you believe is the most pressing transportation issue that county residents face right now and how would you address it?
Traffic. Let’s first understand that Traffic in the Valley and on the Westside is Horrible because the MTA has decimated Bus Service, contrary to the promises made to Bus Riders in order to pass the Measure R Sales Tax Increase. I think this is an intentional effort by MTA to shift even more money to Very Expensive Rail which will take Decades to build, while making Taxpayers suffer enough so that they vote for tax increases to pay for that Rail, which will STILL require a massive Bus Network (including much-needed additional N/S service) because LA is so spread out. I oppose turning Carpool Lanes into Toll Lanes, which I consider to be Double Taxation, and I oppose so-called “Road Diets”, which take lanes away from cars and hand them to bicyclists, and would make traffic even worse. I would restore the Bus Service Hours that have been cut. Since Bus Service has been cut in half, that would mean DOUBLING current Bus Service Hours. Heavy Rail is being built on the backs of Bus Riders, while MTA blatantly manipulates ridership data by making Bus Ridership highly inconvenient and allowing Rail folks to ride for FREE for the last Decade (unlocked gates scandal recently exposed by the Times). MTA has also added Rail Service in the middle of the night for drunk partiers every 15 minutes, while canceling the Beverly Blvd Rapid used by workers to go East/West across the County’s busiest traffic…now that trip takes half a workday, stopping every two blocks. I would expand MTA’s popular Red Rapid Bus program to all major streets, as well as increase its frequency and evening/weekend hours. Bus Riding has to be Convenient for the public to get out of their cars! I would also keep fares low for public transit, audit the MTA’s Multi-Billion Dollar Annual Budget, and eliminate the wasteful spending. The five Supervisors sit on the MTA Board along with others. I would use that seat to shine a media spotlight on MTA. I would fire MTA’s CEO, whom I consider to be Anti-Bus. I would also lobby Sacramento to kill off the One Hundred Billion Dollar Bullet Train Boondoggle, and to instead use those Taxpayer Billions for local road repair, new carpool lanes, new light rail, local Rapid Bus Service, Neighborhood Circulators (DASH and Commuter Express), as well as Safety Stoplights, Pedestrian Crosswalks, needed Safety Stop Signs…and Bicyclist Safety Efforts.
A sales tax for transportation projects (a new Measure R) will likely be on the 2016 ballot. Do you support a tax increase for transit? If so, what specific projects do you think such a tax should fund?
No…Not until the Valley and Bus Riders get our fair share of MTA funds!
A year ago, Metro and Caltrans converted the carpool lanes on the 110 and 10 freeways into experimental toll lanes that solo drivers are allowed to use. Would you support a similar conversion to toll lanes on other county freeways, like the 405 or the 5?
No…and I would end the experiment on the 110 and 10 freeways…I consider this Double Taxation. You want a toll lane? Borrow the money to build a new one and use the tolls to pay back the loan…That’s how it’s normally done. Instead, Villaraigosa stole carpool lanes. I am especially upset that 2 people in a car is no longer considered adequate to count as a carpool and have to pay to ride in the new lanes. This experiment discourages carpooling and thus increases traffic, in my opinion.