Peter Torres, City Council District 9

ThisisapartialtranscriptofPeterTorres'interviewwiththeL.A. Weekly's editorialboard.Aswithallofthecandidateinterviews,ithasbeenonlylightlyeditedandhasnotbeenfact-checked.

L.A.WEEKLY:You'rechallengingJanPerry.AreyoucurrentlyanLAPDofficer?

PETERTORRES:I am, yes.

L.A.WEEKLY:WhyareyourunningagainstJanPerryinthisrace?

PETERTORRES:I'm running for City Council for the 9th District basically for the same reason I became a Los Angeles police officer. To serve the community where I've lived my whole life. The area of Newton Division, which is the center of the 9th District. When I tell people that, "They say that's good, 'cause Jan Perry hasn't done anything." If she hadn't done anything, I probably wouldn't be running. It's because of things that she has done is why I am running.

L.A.WEEKLY:Couldyougivemeaquickrundown?

PETERTORRES:The city of Los Angeles has a big problem with homelessness. Typically, in the downtown area of Skid Row. She's transferred the problem of the homeless to south Los Angeles. She not once notified the neighborhood council. She did not once notify the schools in the area. She did not once notify the residents in that community. We're creating a new Skid Row in South L. A. My property crimes are up. My burglaries at 3:00 in the morning are up. My residential burglaries at 2:00 in the afternoon are up since people are not home. Kids walk through this neighborhood. Nine out of ten of them have been arrested. It's not women and children who are seeking shelter; it's people who are addicted to crack cocaine.

L.A.WEEKLY:Whydoyoubelieveshemovedthehomelessfromoneareatoanother?

PETERTORRES:There are a lot of people pouring billions of dollars into downtown. I'm all for that. But, she's ignoring 90 percent of her residents who live south of the 10 Freeway. People who voted for her. Those are the people she's supposed to represent. She's not representing the interests of any of them. Developers are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into that area. That's why she's doing it.

L.A.WEEKLY:Whatelsehasshedonetothedistrict?

PETERTORRES:The 9th District has the highest amount of crime for 2004 and 2003 and yet we had the least amount of resources. It's not only putting people's lives in danger to live there, but as police officers it's also 1397518451 Last February 20, I was the first officer to find an officer down.

L.A.WEEKLY:Whowasthat?

PETERTORRES:Ricardo Lizarraga. He responded to a radio call. He was overwhelmed with calls and so the next thing 1397518451

L.A.WEEKLY:Newtonisnolongerdown,isit?

PETERTORRES:It's still down compared to Devonshire. The mayor needs more police; otherwise voters are not going to reelect him. Perry knows all these facts but not once did you ever hear her tell the mayor who she's allied with, or the chief, that she demand more police. Not once. I addressed my captains, my captain says 1397518451 so people know this. I'm the only LAPD officer who lives and works in south L.A. Um, a lot of ...

L.A.WEEKLY:Isthatright?

PETERTORRES:I'm the only ...

L.A.WEEKLY:InalloftheLAPD?

PETERTORRES:In all of LAPD. I remember when I was about 21 I said I would never be an LAPD officer, growing up in south L. A. I never knew that there was such a title as senior lead officer. I want to help John Doe. And here I am now.

L.A.WEEKLY:Haveyouservedyourentirecareerhere?

PETERTORRES:Eight years.

L.A.WEEKLY:WhatelsehasJanPerrydone?

PETERTORRES:I cross to go north on Washington from Figueroa and not only are the lights so much brighter but bus stops have their own lights on every bus stop. And I'm thinking, well the time is a lot less than it is south of Washington. So, why are there lights here on bus stops downtown but there are no lights for bus stops in south L. A. The streetlights are dimmer. It doesn't make sense.

Four years ago, we had the highest amount of teenage pregnancies in all of California. We cannot disregard this. We need to have child care centers so that they can finish high school, go to junior college and get a job so that they can provide for their children. We have three high schools in the 9th District. Jefferson, Fremont and Manual Arts. Those three are among the lowest-performing high schools, not only in L. A. Unified, but also in California. Just how she can raise $350,000 with limits and not tax deductible in eight, nine weeks? Well, you know what? I will build a study hall a one-block radius from each high school because I've been to thousands of homes 1397518451 The neighbors are blasting their boom boxes 1397518451 There's no place to study. It's so challenging. There's no libraries in there and one or two in the whole district. So what I'd like to do is build a study hall with Internet computers. A small classroom setting where we could hire maybe some students who live in that area or maybe students at USC or Trade Tech. They can tutor some of these kids. There are a lot of children there who want to succeed. A lot of people see the community 1397518451 that kids are dropouts, and parents don't care. That's not true. These people have so many challenges. So these are things I want to do. I want to bring better police protection. I want to help reduce crime. I think it's more important that we save lives.

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