Indian American Jessica Lall Sept. 20 formally announced her candidacy to run for mayor of Los Angeles.

Lall, in making her announcement, said, “This is a defining time for Los Angeles, and I have thought long and hard about the role that I can play, and the leadership and solutions I can put forward as mayor of Los Angeles. I believe that I can help LA turn a corner and recover into a city that we are all proud of.”

The candidate hopes to win the seat currently held by Eric Garcetti, who was chosen as the person President Joe Biden wants as the U.S. ambassador to India. Garcetti remains in the mayoral seat as his nomination awaits confirmation.

Lall, in her campaign website, claims that she is an “outsider with insider experience.”

Her platform aims to address some of the city’s hot-button issues, notably homelessness.

There is no larger crisis than homelessness facing the city, the business leader says. And it is clear that even despite good intentions, our government institutions have failed to adequately address the housing and humanitarian crises plaguing Los Angeles, she adds.

“Despite unprecedented investments by voters taxing themselves twice, the problem has only deepened,” the campaign site notes. “I have worked inside City Hall, and led outside City Hall working on our city’s issues day in and day out over the last decade. That is the experience I bring to bear, and why I will be uniquely prepared to tackle homelessness from Day 1.”

Lall, 37, has a decade of experience leading organizations, spending the last five years as CEO of Central City Association, a major advocacy organization with over 300 members that is focused on critical issues facing Los Angeles from child care to jobs to homelessness.

“I know what it means to rally people behind a vision and then be held accountable for outcomes. I know how to build a team, manage limited resources and make tough decisions. I’m not afraid to make changes and be bold,” the working mother said.

Prior to becoming CEO of CCA, Lall led the South Park Business Improvement District, a 52-block neighborhood, home to anchor facilities like STAPLES Center, L.A. LIVE and California Hospital Medical Center and the fastest growing residential population in downtown. As executive director, Lall represented the residents, property owners, large and small businesses in the community. She executed the community’s shared vision for a safer, more walkable and vibrant community by fixing broken sidewalks, ensuring a rich tree canopy and curating public art.

Lall grew up in Texas and England, the daughter of an Indian immigrant father and mother of a military family from Oklahoma. She first came to Los Angeles when she was in high school and attended Taft in Tarzana for one year.

“I knew then LA was my home. I returned to earn my undergraduate degree at USC where I was elected student body president. LA welcomed me for exactly who I was. This city has allowed me to pursue my dreams and make something of myself. Now, it’s my turn to do my part to ensure the spirit of this city will endure for future generations,” she said.

Some issues she says she will address include accounting for the experience of all community members; housing; serving the most vulnerable people; hold government officials accountable for their actions, jobs; climate change; public safety, among others.

Her top priority is homelessness. Lall believes the time is now for aggressive, informed leadership. The city doesn't need to conduct any more studies or analysis and must begin the important work of implementing a comprehensive, citywide approach.

She has a seven-point homeless action strategy that she detailed when she announced her candidacy.

Lall is an active community member and currently serves on USC’s Board of Governors and nonprofit boards for Coro Southern California, Goodwill Southern California and the LA Tourism and Convention Board. She works to increase civic engagement, equity, community empowerment and opportunity through her service with these organizations.

In addition to homelessness, Lall said she will lead an equitable economic recovery from the pandemic and prioritize those who have been most impacted including people of color, women and working parents.

Lall said she wants her daughter and children from across the city to be able to walk down the streets safely, attend local schools and pursue their dreams. Lall also lost her brother to mental health illness and addiction. She sees his story in the eyes of many people living on the streets. She firmly believes that a tent is no place to get better and that the status quo must end. 

Source - India West