About Warren

Warren Furutani for City Council

With more than 40 years of experience in education and public service, Warren Furutani has always been a staunch advocate for equal opportunity.

Beginning as a civil rights activist in the 1960s, Warren worked tirelessly to establish admissions programs for students of color at colleges and universities throughout the United States. He helped many campuses establish ethnic studies programs and was instrumental in UCLA and Long Beach State University adopting an Asian American Studies program. Warren’s activism at this time has been documented in the Japanese American National Museum’s exhibit “Common Ground.” He was also interviewed in the anthology, “Roots: the Asian American Reader.”

In 1969, Warren was one of the founders of the Manzanar Pilgrimage, an annual event to honor the 110,000 Japanese American men, women and children who were forced to leave their homes and were incarcerated during World War II. In 1970 Warren helped to create the Manzanar Committee that worked to get Manzanar designated as a national historical site. Today, thousands of people participate in the Manzanar Pilgrimage every year on the last Saturday of April.

In the mid-1970s, Warren worked as a counselor at the Central Continuation High School in Downtown Los Angeles. He later joined the Asian American Student Services Center at UCLA where he worked as an administrator and developed programs to recruit, mentor and tutor students as well as encourage them to be active in community projects.

In 1987, Warren was the first Asian Pacific Islander American to ever be elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education – the largest school district in California. In 1999 Warren was elected to the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Board of Trustees – the largest community college district in the country.

During his time with LAUSD and LACCD, Warren was known as a problem solver and consensus builder. He brought parents, teachers, staff and the community together to develop “school-based management” which improved our schools. He was an early and strong advocate for the LAUSD and LACCD construction bonds, which directed billions of dollars into repairing and building new schools and remodeling and constructing new facilities on our community college campuses.

While a Board Member at LAUSD, Warren led the effort to grant honorary high school diplomas to Japanese Americans who were unable to finish high school because they were forced into internment camps during World War II.

In the California State Legislature, Warren was appointed Chair of the Public Employees Retirement and Social Security committee, where he introduced pension reform measures, including Assembly Bill 340 to end the abusive practices of pension spiking and double dipping. He is also Chair of the Select Committee on Career Technical Education and Workforce Development where he is focusing on preparing students with the training they need for 21st Century jobs. He also founded the Community College Caucus and is a member of the Higher Education Master Plan Review Committee.

Warren’s work in the Capitol includes legislation related to career technical education, community colleges, clean air quality, and support for small businesses. He has successfully advocated for State resources to help rebuild the Gerald Desmond Bridge in the Port of Long Beach, which is expected to generate 4,000 jobs in the community for at least five years.

In 2008, he authored Assembly Bill 37 which granted honorary college degrees to Japanese Americans whose education was disrupted due to their wrongful incarceration during World War II. Since the bill was signed, thousands of Japanese Americans have received honorary degrees from college campuses throughout California.

Born in San Pedro and raised in Gardena, Warren is fourth-generation Japanese American. His grandfather was a mechanic on Terminal Island in San Pedro who repaired motors on tuna boats. During World War II, Warren’s grandparents and father were forced to leave their home with only 48-hours notice and were sent to an internment camp in Rohror, Arkansas. Warren’s father was in high school at the time, and while at camp he met Warren’s mother who was from Elk Grove, California. Warren’s father was drafted into the military while still incarcerated. After the war, his parents returned to San Pedro to start their family.

Warren is a product of the Los Angeles public education system. He graduated from Gardena High School in 1965. He earned a liberal arts degree from Antioch University. He is married to Lisa Abe Furutani, and they are the proud parents of two grown sons.

About Warren

Warren Furutani for City Council

Warren Furutani for City Council
JOBS
The 15th Council District has one of the largest economic engines in Los Angeles: the Port. This drives our local economy and creates thousands of jobs for residents in our community. That’s why I worked with community leaders at every level of government to secure state funding to help rebuild the aging Gerald Desmond Bridge that links the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. This project is expected to generate 4,000 jobs over the next five years.
I also introduced Assembly Joint Resolution 8 to support the efforts of the Pacific Battleship Center to bring the USS IOWA to the Port of Los Angeles. This project will not only generate jobs in our community but it will also help to revitalize the waterfront in San Pedro. What an exciting resource to be further developed in partnership with the communities of the 15th Council District and surrounding areas.

We must also ensure that we create an economic climate where small businesses can thrive alongside the burgeoning green tech industry and other businesses that call the 15th Council District home. At the same time, we must protect the thousands of good paying jobs we have now and provide the education necessary so residents can get the needed technical skills and higher education for 21st century jobs.

KEEPING OUR NEIGHBORHOODS SAFE
Our neighborhoods continue to suffer from gang violence and this has to stop. We have too few police officers on the streets to keep our neighborhoods safe. I will fight to make sure that our local police have the resources they need to combat violent crime, as well as support efforts to open more police stations.

As a former counselor at one of the toughest continuation high schools for dropouts in California, I worked to keep at-risk kids out of gangs and in school. I also pushed to expand early intervention programs like the Gang Alternatives Program (GAP) in local schools. We must continue to invest in these programs as well as look at other ways to prevent gang violence in our community.

WORKING TOGETHER TO IMPROVE OUR NEIGHBORHOODS
I was born in San Pedro, my father was born in San Pedro, and I have owned a home in the Harbor Gateway area for almost 20 years. Not only have I represented the neighborhoods of 15th Council District on the Los Angeles School Board, the Los Angeles Community College Board, and now the State Assembly, I have lived and worked in our community for most of my adult life.

I started my career as a community organizer and that’s the type of City Councilmember I will be. Working closely with each and every one of you to improve our roads, fix potholes, ensure that we have enough stop signs and traffic signals, tackle neighborhood nuisance issues, work to create safe and new parks, support new development projects that make sense, create economic opportunities and eliminate bureaucratic obstacles for new businesses, and most of all work together as partners in improving our quality of life.

In the State Assembly I was proud to do my part to help in building the new Wilmington Waterfront Park. I also placed two new traffic signals in Wilmington at PCH & Broad and PCH & Sanford based on requests from the community.

San Pedro, Watts, Wilmington, Harbor City and North and South Harbor Gateway are all vibrant and diverse communities full of history, culture and energy that make them unique in Los Angeles. Working together we can make them even better.

THE LOS ANGELES PORT
The Los Angeles Port is one of our city’s largest economic engines. It also happens to be our neighbor. Its welcome economic success also brings issues to our community such as security, traffic and pollution.

The Los Angeles Port is also a top terrorist target therefore we must continue to fight for federal funds to improve port security. We must continue to fight to keep the Wilmington Fire Station fully funded and staffed so our first responders are fully equipped to respond in the event of an emergency. Our firefighters and paramedics are a valued community resource and I will give them my fullest support.

I was a strong supporter of the Clean Trucks Program, which will eventually help to reduce port truck emissions by 80%. On the City Council, I look forward to bringing the community, the Port and other business interests together to address issues of mutual benefit and concern so that we can continue to be good neighbors.

EDUCATION AND JOB TRAINING
As a former board member of the Los Angeles Unified School District and a Trustee of the Los Angeles Community College District, I have always made education a top priority.

In the State Assembly, I founded and chaired the Select Committee on Career Technical Education and Workforce Development to provide Californians with the technical education and training necessary to prepare them for good careers in our communities. I also introduced legislation (AB 1330) to provide options to high school students so that they can take a career technical education class to fulfill their graduation requirement to help fight school dropout rates.

I am proud to have played a role in creating the Wilmington Skills Center as well as the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center, which have trained thousands of people for good jobs.

THE ENVIRONMENT
With the Los Angeles Port and the myriad of freeways and railways that crisscross the 15th Council District, I am committed to improving our air quality. That’s why I was a strong and early supporter of the Clean Trucks Program at the Los Angeles Port, which targets major sources of pollution by ships, trains, trucks and equipment. This program will eventually help to reduce port truck emissions by 80%. I also worked extensively in the State Assembly to introduce measures to improve our air quality and recently hosted a regional Air Quality Summit with community partners to discuss the past, present and future of air quality in our
community.

CIVIL RIGHTS
For over 40 years, I have been a staunch advocate for equal rights. I started fighting for civil rights as an activist in the 1960s and I continue to work hard to ensure that all people living in California have equal opportunities whether it is in education, the workplace, housing, equal access to clean air, or maintaining an adequate “safety net” for health and social services for those in need.