Paul Koretz

Paul Koretz

Paul Koretz (seen right) with his former Rent Stabilization Commissioner Kevin Norte at the 2007 Equality Awards
Member of the Los Angeles City Council from the 5th district
Assumed office
July 1, 2009
Preceded by Jack Weiss
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 42nd district
In office
Preceded by Wally Knox
Succeeded by Michael Feuer
Personal details
Born (1955-04-03) April 3, 1955
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Gail Koretz
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
Occupation Politician
Religion Judaism

Paul Koretz (born April 3, 1955) is an American politician. He is a member of the Los Angeles City Council, representing the Fifth Council District. He was previously a member of the California State Assembly and the West Hollywood City Council. He is a member of the Democratic Party.


Koretz's father escaped Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews in 1939 by emigrating to America, settling in what was then unincorporated Los Angeles, modern-day West Hollywood.[1]

Koretz grew up in what is now the 5th Council District of Los Angeles, graduating from Hamilton High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in History from UCLA in 1979, where he was a founder of the "Bruin Democrats".[2] Koretz served on the Los Angeles County Democratic Committee for more than 10 years.

While he was a student at UCLA during the 1970s, he was defeated for a seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. Koretz would go on to serve as an aide to then-Los Angeles City Councilmember Zev Yaroslavsky in 1975, and after that, to then-Los Angeles City Councilmember Marvin Braude in 1984. After his marriage to Gail, the Koretz family moved less than a mile away from his parents' home to an area where his father originally lived upon moving to Los Angeles.[3]

City of West Hollywood

In 1984, Koretz supported the creation of the City of West Hollywood from what was then unincorporated Los Angeles County. Koretz campaigned for the City's incorporation while managing the City Council campaign of Alan Viterbi and served as Viterbi's deputy after his election. Upon Viterbi's retirement in 1988, Koretz was elected to the West Hollywood City Council.[4]

As Councilman, Koretz appointed Kevin Norte to the City's Rent Stabilization Commission in 1992, that commission's first openly gay chair for two one-year terms. Koretz also appointed former Log Cabin Republicans member and Equality California[5] leader attorney John Duran[6] to replace Norte as Koretz's appointee to the Rent Stabilization Commission. Duran would go on to succeed Koretz on the West Hollywood City Council.

Also during his council tenure, Koretz played a major role on many high-profile issues. In 1988, Koretz sponsored a city-wide ban on semi-automatic rifles, which built momentum for a subsequent statewide "assault weapons" ban. In 1996, Koretz co-sponsored the City's ban on "Saturday Night Specials." The city was the first to enact such a ban, which survived various legal assaults by the National Rifle Association. Koretz also sponsored an ordinance limiting handgun purchases to one gun per month in order to cut the resale of guns on the black market.[7] Koretz served as Mayor and City Councilman for twelve years before being elected to the State Assembly.

Koretz's former colleague on the West Hollywood City Council, Abbe Land, was a candidate for Koretz's seat in the California State Assembly, and faced former Los Angeles City Council member Mike Feuer in the June 6, 2006 Democratic primary. Koretz endorsed Feuer, who defeated Land, winning 52.4% of the vote to her 36.3%.[8]

State Assembly

Koretz represented the 42nd district in the California State Assembly from 2000 to 2006, serving the maximum 3 terms allowed under California term limit law. The district includes West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Universal City, and the portions of the City of Los Angeles encompassing the Sunset Strip, Hollywood, Hancock Park, Los Feliz, Westwood, Brentwood, Studio City, Encino, Sherman Oaks, and North Hollywood/Valley Village.

During his six years in the Assembly, Koretz served as the Chair of the Assembly Labor Committee since his first year in the Assembly. He also chaired the Assembly Select Committee on Gun Violence and the Assembly Select Committee on California's nursing shortage. Koretz was also a member of the Health, Public Safety, Business & Professions, Insurance and Natural Resources committees.[9]

As a state Assemblymember, Koretz introduced legislation in the State Assembly to increase the smoking age to 21. As a City Councilman, Koretz had authored West Hollywood's ordinance banning smoking in restaurants, and developed the strategy of making it a regional ban by having neighboring cities pass the same ban at the same time. This provided momentum to help pass then-Assemblyman Friedman's historic AB 13.

Koretz was the first Southern California Director of the California League of Conservation Voters and served as Administrative Director of the Ecology Center of Southern California. In the Assembly, he introduced legislation requiring retailers profiting from the most commonly littered items to share some of the costs of removing trash from storm water runoff, and he is the joint-author of legislation to ban the use of dry cleaner solutions, which have been found to be carcinogenic .

He is an unwavering champion of the rights and well-being of the LGBT community. He is also a passionate advocate for the Jewish community.[10]

Koretz has been a protector of Los Angeles County's health system.

He is a well-known opponent of animal cruelty.

Crime prevention is also one of Koretz's top priorities.

In 2006, Paul Koretz introduced Assembly Joint Resolution 39, which called for the impeachment of George W. Bush.

Post-legislative service

In November 2006, Koretz ran for the West Basin Water District, but narrowly lost the seat by a little more than 1% of the vote.[11]

In June 2007, Koretz was nominated by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez to the California Board of Podriatic Medicine.[12]

Los Angeles City Council

On August 2, 2007,[13] he became a candidate for the 5th District seat on the Los Angeles City Council. The seat was occupied by Jack Weiss, who was a candidate for Los Angeles City Attorney. In the March 3, 2009 primary, Koretz and candidate David Vahedi finished in the top two of six candidates. Koretz defeated Vahedi in the general election by under 800 votes. Robert Schwartz, Ron Galperin, Adeena Bleich, and Robyn Ritter Simon were unable to advance to the runoff. Former Los Angeles City Controller Rick Tuttle and outgoing Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick had been rumored as possible candidates for the same seat, but did not enter the race.

Personal life

Koretz's wife, Gail, serves as government and community relations manager for Kaiser Permanente's Los Angeles Medical Center. They have one child, Rachel. The Koretz family resides in the Beverly-Fairfax District of Los Angeles.[14]

Koretz was the owner of an American historical and political memorabilia distributor that was one of the country's largest for several years.


Political offices
Preceded by
Jack Weiss
Los Angeles City Councilmember,
5th district

July 1, 2009 – present
Succeeded by
California Assembly
Preceded by
Wally Knox
California Assemblymember,
42nd District

Succeeded by
Michael Feuer
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