What LA City Council Does
The 15-member LA City Council governs the city of LA. They oversee the city budget and create all laws that decide how we can conduct our lives and our businesses. This includes everything from how much housing costs to air quality to pothole repairs. Do you need a job? Are you worried about your rent going up? Wondering if anyone will help you out in this crisis? These are all policy initiatives well within their control.
Together, they represent a city of about 4 million people which means they each represent 200-300k residents. That’s roughly the entire population of Anchorage or Pittsburgh. For comparison, New York City has 51 city council members and Chicago has 50. So, you can see why some people say LA is dramatically underrepresented for its size.
City Council creates and passes the laws that govern the city of Los Angeles. To be specific, this includes:
- 🏠 Housing—where it can be built, what type we build, how high it can be built, how much it costs, what financial support is available
- 🏢 Land use—where buildings can be built, what type we build, how high they can be built, how much it costs to build, what construction gets approved, what financial support is available
- 💡 Utilities—what the rates are for utilities, where they can put infrastructure, how we reuse rainwater
- 🚌 Transportation—how roads are used and repaired, where bike lanes and transit go, what safety measures protect pedestrians
- 💼 Job creation—where to stimulate job growth, how criminal reentry programs work, how much minimum wage is
- 🚓 Police—how much we pay for police, what they can get involved in and how the city responds to crime (LAPD is the biggest line item on our city budget)
- 🚒 Emergency services—who oversees the city fire department, how we prepare and respond to fires, earthquakes and other natural disasters
- ✈️ Airport operations—how ground transportation works at the airport, where to add more terminals and runways and who sits on the Board of Airport Commissioners (for LAX and Van Nuys airport)
They also oversee parks, sidewalks, trees, street lights, trash pickup, recycling, the LA river, and land use. They handle a whole lot about our lives in Los Angeles.
Let’s meet some of our City Council members who are currently running for election: