Zev Yaroslavsky, LA County Supervisor, 3rd District
Zev Yaroslavsky (born December 21, 1948 in Los Angeles, California) is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, representing the western part of Los Angeles County and a constituency of two million people. He was elected to the board in 1994 and has been re-elected four times, most recently in 2010. He previously served on the Los Angeles City Council (1975-94) to which he was elected and re-elected six times. He earned an M.A. in British Imperial History and a B.A. in Economics and History, both from U.C.L.A. He is a graduate of Fairfax High School in Los Angeles.
As a member of the County Board of Supervisors, Yaroslavsky quickly emerged as a leader on fiscal, health care, transportation, cultural and environmental matters. He authored the 1996 Proposition ‘A’ park bond which resulted in the preservation of rural open space and the development of urban parks throughout the County. He authored the 2002 Proposition ‘B’ trauma tax, approved by over 73% of County voters, a measure which is largely credited with stabilizing the County’s perpetually unpredictable health care finances.
He was the driving force behind the Orange Line bus way across the San Fernando Valley which opened in 2005 to record ridership (22,000 daily boardings). He led the effort to rebuild and modernize the world famous Hollywood Bowl amphitheater which re-opened in 2004, and he was instrumental in the development of Walt Disney Concert Hall, the home of the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra, which opened in 2003. He has also helped fund major investments in the L.A. County Museum of Art and the County’s Museum of Natural History.He is regarded as the County’s fiscal watchdog, insisting that it live within its means.
As a Los Angeles City Councilman, Yaroslavsky honed his fiscal skills as the respected Chair of the Council’s Finance Committee, but he also earned a reputation as a politician who was willing to take on issues that others would not, including the highly controversial excessive use of force and intelligence gathering policies of the Los Angeles Police Department. As Councilman, he also co-authored two landmark initiatives with his colleague, the late Councilman Marvin Braude: Proposition U (1986) which cut by half the commercial development rights adjacent to residential neighborhoods, and Proposition O (1988) which repealed a drilling permit previously issued to the Occidental Petroleum Company.
Since 1991, Yaroslavsky has also been associated with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), a non-governmental organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., that promotes the development of democratic institutions in burgeoning democracies. He has monitored three elections for NDI: Romania (1990), Mexico (2000), and Ukraine (2004). He has conducted seminars on democratic institution-building in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Bosnia/Herzegovina.
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