Peter Torres, City Council District 9

L.A.WEEKLY:Doyousupportincreasedcommercialdevelopmentormarketratehousinginthedistrict?WhataboutsouthofWashington?

PETERTORRES:You mentioned affordable housing. 90011 is the biggest area of the ninth district. The average household income is $220,000. The average house in L. A. County last year was $435,000 so the homes are affordable. 90011 was even actually lower than any county average. So, the homes are affordable but the people there don't have the 20 percent down for these houses. I'd like to see the city help them — prequalify them. Let's give them like zero percent interest 1397518451 Let's get businesses some reasonable small business loan so they can fix their businesses. Let's make them more attractive, move inviting for people to shop there as it is south of the 10 Freeway. It needs the bus lanes center. People are attracted to that when they go out at nighttime. We have that already in south L. A. You go down Broadway and San Pedro and all the major corridors at night. They're bustling with people.

L.A.WEEKLY:Buthaven'tyouheardthatpeopledon'tfeelsafeoutthere?

PETERTORRES:That's true.

L.A.WEEKLY:Andisn'titalsotruethattheactivitiesthosepeopleareinvolvedinarenotthetypeofactivitiesthatthecommunitywantstohavegoingon?

PETERTORRES:Right. That's why we need the best-qualified person for this spot. I'm much better qualified in reducing violent crime in the 9th District than Jan Perry. She's never lived there. She came to California when she was 21. I've lived here my whole life. I know every street. I know every alley. I know people; I know all the preschool and the churches. I'm a police officer. I'm very aware of what the crime trends are. We need to really bring the violence in that community down. I'm on the 14th schedule and I am given the responsibility of basically having my days 1397518451 as long as you go ten straight hours, four days a week. You can determine those days.

L.A.WEEKLY:Isthatbecauseyou'reaseniorleadofficer?

PETERTORRES:It's because I'm a senior lead officer.

L.A.WEEKLY:Arethereanychildhoodexperiencesthatyoucanrecallthatsparkedthiscommitmentyouhavetoyourcommunityandthepolicedepartment?

PETERTORRES:I don't know. I have five brothers and three sisters and I'm the only person who's actually gone 1397518451 I love what I do. I work hard at what I do. I truly believe that no actions, thoughts or work goes unnoticed in the community. Everything you say, do and think impacts the community.

L.A.WEEKLY:Whotaughtyouthat?

PETERTORRES:I have believed that for a long time.

L.A.WEEKLY:Wasitateacheroraparent?

PETERTORRES:I was brought up in Catholic school for 12 years. My father would bring guys off the street, guys who were drunk, and give them a shower. He would let them stay in the garage for a few days. Feed them and try to give them some help. I think that might have influenced me. My own curiosity has taken me to places. But all that taught me is that everything out there is all in here. When I talk to gang members and say, "Doesn't your mom live here? Don't you want them to live in a nice neighborhood?" Oh, of course. Then help me help you make this a better neighborhood. And you know what? Simple words like that can go along way. 'Cause for the first time someone is actually talking to them, and not beating something into them. Now, they have a tremendous amount of respect for Officer Torres because they know that he's not kidding. He's actually here to help. Don't get me wrong. If I catch one of these guys doing something, I arrest them and they go to jail. Even in the neighborhood, respect will go a long way. If they know that you're from the neighborhood, they have a lot of respect.

L.A.WEEKLY:WhydoyouwanttobecitycouncilmaniftheLAPDneedsyou?

PETERTORRES:I don't want to be a commander. My whole goal is to those kids. So, when I see someone doing harm to the community whether it is a gang or a representative, then I do what I need to do to stop it. She is doing a disservice to that community 1397518451

L.A.WEEKLY:Don'tyouthinkBrattonwouldwantyoutobegroomedascommandingofficer?

PETERTORRES:Someone told me that Bratton told him that the last man we need is another cop on City Council.

L.A.WEEKLY:Hemightbesmarttokeepyouontheforce.Howmanyshootingshaveyoubeeninvolvedwithinyourcareer?

PETERTORRES:I've never shot anyone.

L.A.WEEKLY:Haveyoubeenshotat?

PETERTORRES:I've been shot at.

L.A.WEEKLY:Haveyoueverbeenhit?

PETERTORRES:Never been hit.

L.A.WEEKLY:Howmanytimeshaveyourunforthisoffice?

PETERTORRES:I ran for this office eight years ago when no one ran for office. I ran because initially no one ran. This place is devoid of leadership. In fact, Rita Walters had to sue the city of Los Angeles to run for that seat because she said that she had never lived in the 9th District but as a school board member she represented part of the 9th District. And that should allow her to run for office. The state gave her that right, which I disagree with. There was really nobody else running. So, I thought, you know what? I'm 29 years old. I looked around for leadership since I was in my early 20s. I always looked around for someone I can put my full support behind. After ten years, I stopped looking. There was nobody. I'm the only person who can truly represent that community and protect it.

L.A.WEEKLY:WhatcanyoutellusaboutEddieReyes?

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