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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Over $1 million in external support boosts John Lee’s LA Council campaign

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John Lee


[Meet the Candidates: John Lee]

Councilmember John Lee, representing District 12 of the Los Angeles City Council, stands out as the sole independent in Los Angeles, the United States’ second-largest city. Ahead of his third election, he describes himself as a “branded candidate.” In the 2019 and 2020 elections, Lee’s extensive career in the councilmember’s office was his primary highlight. Now, his constituents are more familiar with his policy proposals and implementation strategies.

With seven districts facing elections, Lee finds himself amid some of the city’s most fiercely competitive races. The Korea Daily inquired about his campaign strategy.

-It’s a runoff election in District 12, featuring only two candidates. How is the campaign going?
“It’s going well. Unlike four years ago, people are judging me based on the proposals I’ve supported and introduced on the council, not by my party affiliation. They recognize me as a politician who genuinely cares for and wants to protect them. I am seen as a servant eager to uphold the values dear to them, judged not by political colors and slogans but by the effort to engage with a diverse constituency.”

-External groups and organizations have spent over $1 million to support your campaign. Why?
“I believe it’s a testament to the policies I’ve advocated for on the City Council. This support comes from groups and residents concerned about my efforts to strengthen the police force and enhance neighborhood safety. It includes backing from the police, fire departments, businesses, and unions. I’m proud of this support.”

-Your opponent focuses primarily on the Ethics Commission issue.
“Rather than campaigning on substantial issues, my opponent has chosen to baselessly attack and criticize the incumbent councilmember. This election should be about serving the people, not about winning the election at any cost. Such a strategy does not benefit Los Angeles, especially during times of crisis. It’s disappointing.”

-The race for County District Attorney is tight. Whom do you support?
“Given the numerous issues highlighted by incumbent DA George Gascón’s candidacy, I believe we need someone more aggressive in prosecuting crime.”

-License plate readers have become a contentious issue. When will they be installed?
“Every vehicle entering District 12 will have its license plate scanned. If the vehicle is stolen or associated with an outstanding warrant, the LAPD will be notified. This initiative is focused on safety, not on minor infractions like speeding or running red lights, and privacy will be safeguarded. The first installation phase, costing $500,000 for 100 cameras in May and June, will significantly deter potential criminals. While it’s not feasible to extend this program to all of LA immediately, District 12 aims to set a positive example, following in the footsteps of Beverly Hills.”

-Do you have a message for Korean-American voters?
“As the son of a first-generation Korean immigrant and small business owner, I deeply understand the Korean-American community’s concerns and aspirations. I ask for your support in representing our community on the LA City Council.”

BY BRIAN CHOI [ichoi@koreadaily.com]