LOS ANGELES (CN) – Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced his candidacy for City Hall’s top seat Tuesday, becoming the first high-profile candidate to launch a fundraising operation and mayoral campaign ahead of the 2022 election.
Feuer, 61, has served as city attorney for seven years after voters elected him in 2013 and 2017.
While in office, Feuer has filed numerous consumer protection lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and tax filing software companies and clashed with the Trump administration over conditions it placed on the city’s application for law enforcement grants.
In response to mass shootings in schools around the country, Feuer formed a panel of students, law enforcement, teacher unions and residents to discuss solutions to the crisis.
The former state lawmaker and city councilmember is now taking steps to replace current LA Mayor Eric Garcetti who will be termed out in 2022.
Feuer said in a statement Tuesday that, if elected mayor, his top priorities would be solving the interrelated crises of homelessness and housing affordability.
“No one should have to live on the streets, and we need even more urgently to create housing and services,” Feuer said in the statement. “I want to change that. People of all income levels must, one again, be able to find a home in LA.”
Feuer previously noted his desire to balance public safety with a humane response to the homelessness crisis in a brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Martin v. Boise.
In that case, the Ninth Circuit found that a pair of city ordinances from Boise, Idaho, that criminalized the act of sleeping in public places were unconstitutional if no alternative shelter is available to homeless people.
Feuer wrote in the brief that while he agreed with the tenet of the panel’s decision, he said it was too broad and could expose LA to costly court battles over enforcement of anti-camping laws.
“Homelessness is a public health and safety emergency which requires a careful balance on our streets,” Feuer wrote in a statement. “Boise’s lack of clarity could place the city at risk of litigation as leaders strive to fashion the humane, practical solutions this crisis urgently demands.”
The high court declined to take up the case this past December.
A Feuer campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for further comment on the campaign’s focus, but a statement said Feuer will share details of his platform in weeks to come.
Feuer also stressed he would ensure safety for all residents as the city takes on multiple crises.
“At the same time, we’ve got to assure our public spaces are safe and accessible for all of us,” Feuer said. “Striking that balance will require taking our city’s best efforts to a whole new level.”
Feuer was criticized by community groups after he filed criminal charges against California State University, Los Angeles, professor and Black Lives Matter LA co-founder Melina Abdullah following her arrest at an LA Police Commission meeting.
Feuer claimed Abdullah assaulted a police officer as she escorted a fellow activist from the meeting. A California judge later granted Feuer’s request to dismiss the charges.
Abdullah filed a federal lawsuit against the city in February claiming wrongful arrest and unlawful silencing of her speech.
Feuer has yet to respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.
The Harvard graduate said his father’s experience as a survivor of a Nazi prisoner of war camp in World War II inspired him to pursue a career in public service.
“[My father] emerged determined to use his time on earth to perform the most important work in the world,” Feuer said. “My dad’s example led me to public service.”
That path led Feuer to lead Bet Tzedek, a free legal aid clinic in LA, as director for eight years and to work on former LA Mayor Tom Bradley’s campaign for governor.
Feuer served on the LA City Council from 1995 to 2001 and was elected later to the California Assembly.
He is married to Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Gail Ruderman Feuer.