Colonized by the Spanish and later inhabited by a number of Japanese immigrants, West Los Angeles was originally its own municipality known as Sawtelle.  In 1922, Sawtelle was annexed by the City of Los Angeles.  Today, West Los Angeles is a largely affluent community, home to about 30,000 residents.  In addition to its residential areas, West LA is home to a number of commercial developments, including some high-rise office buildings along its main corridors.  It continues to maintain a strong Japanese community and business district along Sawtelle Boulevard.

Mike’s Work in West LA/Sawtelle Japantown

Public Safety

  • Mike successfully led the fight for redeployment of hundreds of LAPD officers to neighborhoods patrols — including dozens to Westside neighborhoods — so they can better protect neighborhoods and build relationships with communities.
  • Mike pushed for hiring more firefighters, and has delivered more than $60 million in additional LAFD resources for the Westside.


  • Mike launched Westside Fast Forward – an initiative focused on giving people options to get around LA without being forced to sit in traffic.
    • Westside Fast Forward includes a wide range of exciting progress, but one of the most significant projects for West LA is the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project – rail that will connect the San Fernando Valley with the Westside and then LAX. The project will be a game-changer for alleviating traffic in neighborhoods near the 405.
    • Westside Fast Forward also includes bringing the Wilshire subway to the Westside. The Metro subway that starts downtown is heading west and will have a station at the VA campus, near West LA.  
  • Mike initiated and completed the “West LA Walks” project, providing neighborhood improvements in the area around the Bundy/Expo station, including 24 curb extensions, 58 access ramps, 77 bike racks,188 trees, wayfinding signs, and a new landscaped median.
  • Mike chaired the Expo Metro Line Construction Authority, opening the first Metro station (at Expo and Bundy) in West LA in decades.
  • Mike worked with LADOT, and students at Citizens of the World Mar Vista to fund and install in-road flashers for a crosswalk in front of the neighborhood school.

Affordable Housing and Homelessness

  • Mike won neighborhood support for 74 units affordable/permanent supportive housing at former West LA animal shelter.
  • Mike worked with neighbors to demand more affordable housing and community amenities for the Martin Expo Town Center Project (located at an incredibly important location near the only Metro Expo light rail station in CD11). The project will consist of 516 residential units, and more than 20 percent of those units will be earmarked for affordable housing. This is the largest voluntary contribution of affordable housing in the history of Los Angeles for a project of its kind.
  • Mike won support from the West LA neighborhood council to implement the safe parking program behind the West LA District office parking lot to offer people a safe place to sleep in their vehicles.

Sensible Development

  • Mike successfully pushed legislation to impose new fees on developers to pay for traffic relief projects, for affordable housing, and for park improvements.
  • Mike fought to make sure the Martin Expo Town Center project included neighborhood-serving retail, as well as parking for the nearby Expo station.
  • Mike secured funding and staffing for the Department of City Planning to launch an update of the community plan, allowing residents to have a greater voice in shaping modern land use, development and housing policies in the neighborhood.
  • After years of public hearings, Mike led the approval of zone changes allowing more housing near several Metro Expo stops, including the Expo/Bundy station. The plan allows housing in areas currently zoned industrial, and Mike fought successfully to increase requirements for affordable housing in the area.

Community Building and Neighborhood Improvements

  • Mike worked closely with community partners to beautify West LA Civic Center through community cleanup programs.
  • Mike partnered with the Department of Cultural Affairs to fund a utility box art program in 11 different locations throughout West LA.
  • Mike officially designated the “Sawtelle Japantown” neighborhood of West LA and helped add new signs to mark the area.
  • Mike supports the annual OUR HOUSE 5k whose route goes through the entire neighborhood.
  • Mike co-sponsors many community events including the Oaxacan Community’s annual Festival De Tejate, the West LA Obon Festival, West LA’s Farmers Market, and Movies in the Park at Stoner Park.
  • Mike partnered with Recreation and Parks to complete improvements at Stoner Park, including major refurbishments at the tennis courts, repaired cracked concrete, painted new lines and fixed broken fence posts.
  • Mike worked with local organizations to find neighborhood artists to create engaging and vibrant public art on public utility boxes throughout Mar Vista.


For more information or if we can help, please contact:
Gaby Markley, Field Deputy
[email protected]