Meet Kenneth I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and housing justice activist born and raised in LA. I want to use my expertise as an auditor and a CPA to audit the city’s finances to determine departmental effectiveness and identify wasteful spending that can be reallocated to other critical areas to help our city. I was born in Los Angeles and raised in the San Fernando Valley with my three siblings in a Catholic household. Like many other immigrant families, my parents immigrated to the United States from the Philippines in search of better opportunities. Unfortunately when I was 7, my parents got divorced and I was raised by my mother. She worked from morning until night as a registered nurse to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. She even beat cancer twice and to this day, she cares for her elder siblings and grandchildren. My upbringing in a working class neighborhood in an immigrant single-mother household would eventually shape most of my life to work just as hard as her and to care for others. In 2010, I graduated from Woodbury University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting, and soon after, I received my Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license in the state of California working as an auditor for one of the big 4 accounting firms. I worked 60 hours a week auditing multi-million and billion-dollar private and public companies to ensure that their financial statements were in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). My audit experience taught me how to dig into the details, know where everything is, and ensure that every financial transaction had support behind it. While working as an auditor and accountant in LA, I would regularly see the poor living conditions of people living on the streets. Our unhoused population kept increasing every year and many working class families were a rent increase away from losing their homes. This prompted me in 2016 to co-found a community service group called “We Can Make a Difference – LA” where we provide essential supplies to unhoused communities and low-income families in Skid Row, Westlake, Koreatown, and Echo Park. We also fundraised for tenants fighting rent increases or evictions, and organized multiple environmental community clean ups throughout LA. In 2016, I joined the LA Tenants Union to organize and fight alongside tenants experiencing immoral rent increases, unjust evictions, and uninhabitable living conditions. The tenants had great victories over the years, such as organizing the largest rent strike in LA’s Westlake neighborhood, where the landlord refused to repair units to habitable conditions and then tried to evict striking tenants (she eventually dropped all the cases). Other victories include LA Tenants Union successfully organizing against unjust rent increases in Boyle Heights, where tenants received an $800-per-month rent increase. From 2017 to 2018, I was a Neighborhood Council Board Member in Koreatown where I fought for working class families by advocating for tenant protections, affordable housing, and housing and shelter for the unhoused. I had the opportunity to represent my Neighborhood Council and Koreatown constituents when I advocated for tenant protections to the LA City Council. As a result of our advocacy, the City of Los Angeles endorsed the state measure to allow California cities to enact rent control. During my time organizing with We Can Make a Difference – LA, LA Tenants Union, and other housing advocacy groups, I found that our elected officials let us down constantly. While they refuse to pass policies that could help vulnerable Angelenos, volunteer and community organizations are doing their jobs for them. It seemed as though our resources are being used and spent elsewhere while critical issues like housing, homelessness, and the environment are forgotten. That is why I am running for Los Angeles City Controller – the City’s elected auditor, chief accounting officer, and paymaster. I want to use my expertise as an Auditor and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to audit the city’s finances to determine departmental effectiveness and identify wasteful spending that can be reallocated to other critical areas for the city. I want to provide financial data to the public in a way that is accessible; all too often, financial data can be confusing and overwhelming. I want the people of L.A. to know what the city is spending its money on so they can reach out to their City Council members and fight for the needs of their community. I also want to educate the public on basic accounting and reading financial data so that they are armed with the knowledge they need not only to fight for a better city, but to make more informed financial decisions in their personal lives as well. The more transparent and accessible the City’s finances are, the easier it is to determine where our city’s priorities lie and where they should. Let’s get to work!