Your guide to the L.A. City Council District 12 race: Northwest San Fernando Valley

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Lee’s central campaign message is that voters know him and like his moderate views. A onetime Republican, Lee is now registered as “no party preference,” and he regularly backs city policies that support businesses and policing.

He was one of only two council members to vote against cutting the Los Angeles Police Department’s budget by $150 million after a national outcry over police use of force following George Floyd’s murder in 2020 by a Minneapolis officer.

Lee, 53, also points to his work earlier in the pandemic to help get food to senior citizens and loans to small businesses. He also pushed for an ordinance that makes it illegal to possess an unattached catalytic converter without proof of ownership.

Voters in his district know that he’s not “red or blue” and “not somebody who has come in with any type of agenda,” said Lee, who lives in Porter Ranch.

Oberstein, 44, argues that the district needs new leadership following a string of recent City Hall scandals. She also said Lee hasn’t been responsive enough to the needs of community, particularly on homelessness.

A Northridge resident, Oberstein has worked as executive director of the humanitarian nonprofit Jewish World Watch and as a regional director for J Street, a group that lobbies for Israel’s security and Mideast peace. She has also served as president and vice president of the city’s Ethics Commission and worked for then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Oberstein touts her experience working with Democrats and Republicans and people of different cultures and faiths.

“We need someone who’s going to bring people together now more than ever,” she said.

She sought to run for the District 12 seat in 2019, but was barred from doing so when a judge ruled that Oberstein had conflict of interest because she’d recently served on the Ethics Commission, which weighs in on campaign matters.

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