Another 5th District Candidate Slams Boks
L.A. City Council candidate stands up for animals: “Ed Boks’ hiring was a mistake.”
by Kate Woodviolet,
Candidate David Vahedi is seen here with wife Karli and adopted rescue dogs Stofer and Jackson. It's unusual to get a straight answer from a politician, much less a candidate running for office. Sadly, it's even more unusual to find a politician who's willing to talk about a subject close to many people's hearts – the issue of animal care in our city.
That's why it was surprising that David Vahedi, candidate for City Council in the Fifth District, not only gave me time during his campaign to discuss several animal issues, but answered candidly my questions about frequently untouchable subjects, including the role of City government in animal welfare. He was blunt about some of L.A.’s failings.
Kate Woodviolet: Why do you make it a point to talk about animal issues?
David Vahedi: I think it’s the moral and right thing to do. KW: What, in your opinion, are the main problems facing animals in Los Angeles?
DV: There’s a lack of willingness [on the part] of Animal Services to do even the simplest things to avoid destroying animals. For example, the city still does not advertise in the Yellow Pages under pet stores. Many other examples exist, including LAPD’s unwillingness to take dog fighting on as a serious crime issue, [which also results in] many dogs released by gang members into the streets, un-neutered, when they do not fight.
I was surprised by the candor of Vahedi's response to questions regarding the failures of City government in the area of animal care and control.
KW: L.A. has two distinct governmental animal care and control entities: L.A. Animal Services for the city proper, which falls under the authority of the Mayor and the L.A. City Council; and the L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control, for county and unincorporated areas, which is overseen by the County Board of Supervisors.
Both of these departments have experienced their share of controversy, including a recent petition of no confidence against LAAS General Manager Ed Boks signed by over fifty percent of LAAS workers; and several pending lawsuits against LACDACC and its director , Marcia Mayeda.
What, in your opinion, are the most pressing issues that need to be resolved, both with LAAS and LACDACC?
DV: Ed Boks’ hiring was a mistake. Own up to it and get him out. But problems also exist in management other than with Boks that must be addressed. I’m not as informed as I would like to be with LACDCC and as such I’ll reserve comment on that for now.
KW: As an L.A. resident, I see people walking dogs off-leash frequently, which is a violation of the law, and presents a danger to both dogs and humans. What would you do to strengthen leash laws and make sure they’re enforced?
DV: Similar to my proposal for graffiti and littering, mobile phone pictures can be uploaded to LAPDONLINE.ORG. If we know where [the owners] live, a citation can then be mailed.
But bottom line, I have seen LAPD units not on call drive by unleashed animals and not stop. We have to convince LAPD of the importance of enforcing leash laws.
Part 2: Vahedi is unsparing in his assessment of recent animal-related controversies including anti-Pit Bull legislation, and he gets honest with animal care activists.