My number one priority is to address the City’s affordable housing and homeless crises as they impact the 10th District and region at large. More than 1,600 people sleep on the streets of the 10th District, deprived of a roof over their heads due to regional economic pressures, a critical shortage of housing, as well as untreated mental illness and substance abuse.
Despite an unprecedented investment of effort by both the City and County, the number of people falling into homelessness continues to increase. In the 10th District, encampments threaten to become a way of life — but we cannot accept this as our new normal. Our unsheltered neighbors deserve homes, and society as a whole cannot allow the public health and public safety hazards endemic encampments to persist.
I have been on the forefront of Los Angeles County’s campaign to end homelessness. In 2017, I authored and sponsored Measure H – the groundbreaking measure to raise over $3.5 billion over 10 years to provide much-needed funds to address the crisis.
Last year, Governor Gavin Newsom recognized my effective leadership and appointed me to co-chair his Council of Regional Homeless Advisors, along with Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. Along with our colleagues, we have advanced a comprehensive crisis response strategy to dramatically reduce street homelessness, expedite the development of affordable housing, and help more vulnerable members of our communities access the treatment that they need. I am ready to put that plan to work in the 10th. I know we can become a model for the rest of the City.
I am seeking a seat on the City Council to continue to bring urgency and bold thinking to this problem. We must stem the flow of residents into homelessness by preserving, protecting and expanding our rental housing stock, rapidly respond to those that have no other choice but to make the streets their home, and — we must commit, in every community and every neighborhood, to support the development of more affordable housing.
We must re-imagine transportation in Los Angeles. Once the proud home of the nation’s car culture, our city has the potential to become the proud 21st Century model for environmental sustainability, accessible public mass transit, and clean, electric-powered vehicles.
We must also build more affordable housing around transit stations and support the growth of small businesses in walkable, bikeable and transit-accessible economic hubs.
Over the past decade, I have helped begin this transformation of our transportation system by:
- Championing the construction of the Crenshaw/LAX Line, which will finally connect our public transit system to the LAX airport.
- Supporting the passage of Measures R and M, which have infused hundreds of millions of dollars in the dramatic expansion of our transit system, increased bus services, and local road improvements. These investments will benefit the 10th District, including the construction of a rapid bus lane along Vermont Ave, and an extension of the Crenshaw Line north to Hollywood.
- Making student fares more affordable and accessible.
- Creating a network of local community shuttles to help connect residents from transit to the destinations within the community to which they are traveling
- Establishing the first-ever public boarding school to prepare youth from South Los Angeles and LA County for careers within the transportation and infrastructure sectors.
And there is much more we can do to reduce traffic congestion in the 10th District. This includes construction of more walkable and bikeable streets, improving bus service — making it easier and safer to get from Metro to popular destinations — and expediting the construction of Metro’s much-anticipated transit improvements.
Clean air, pure water, open space and homes safe from toxic substances are the right of all Angelenos – of all people. We can achieve the goal of creating a clean, healthy and safe society by focusing on the creation of well-paying green jobs while also reducing our carbon footprint. As an L.A. County Supervisor, I saw to it that every new public building developed in my district was designed to be environmentally sustainable. I also renovated two existing including libraries to make them net-zero energy use, meaning they are completely non-reliant on the energy grid.
I worked to mobilize public-private partnerships to reduce the energy consumption of existing public buildings and residences, including weatherization work and the installation of solar panels that have been installed by local residents who have received “on the job” training to prepare them for long-term careers in the green industry.
And we can do more of this work in CD10. LA is heating up, but there are things we can do to address this crisis. The City has a solid Sustainability Plan, and I would ensure that the most critical strategies are implemented in a timely manner. These include:
- Increase the tree canopy in every 10th District neighborhood, and install more cool roofs. We must reinvest in both the public and private building stock to make sure our facilities and homes are updated to adapt to our climate crisis, and we can create local green jobs in the process.
- Create more livable communities by improving access to local sources of healthy food with high-quality grocery stores and also support urban agricultural initiatives.
- Implement Vision Zero strategies to make the streets the 10th District’s streets safer and more accessible for walkers and bikers and creating safer and more accessible parks and open spaces.
Our system of justice must function with even-handed fairness, transparency and respect for all Angelenos.
Over the course of my career, I have focused on improving the accountability and transparency of law enforcement agencies. I championed the establishment of the Sheriff and Probation oversight commissions, and advocated for the creation of the Office of the Inspector General to monitor the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
While we have made progress in advancing citizen-involvement in oversight of our law enforcement agencies, we still have a way to go. In particular, the tension between law enforcement and communities of color remains. Instead of accepting a perpetual state of distrust, we can emphasize what works: community-based policing and respectful communication.
Too often we ask our police officers to be on the front lines for all of the City’s problems. But they aren’t trained social workers, and that’s not their role. Instead, we should strengthen the social safety net in the right way, shifting resources to bolster a new approach to sustainable rehabilitation, providing residents with real opportunities for treatment, support, services and success.
Diversion, re-entry and rehabilitation programs are essential components of my vision to create safe communities. That is why i have helped develop sobering centers and psychiatric urgent care centers, to divert vulnerable residents suffering from mental illness and substance abuse away from our jails and into the care that they need. It is why I established LA County’s first-of-its-kind Reentry Opportunity Center near Exposition Park. The center is a one-stop shop for thousands of probation clients as well as their families, who can access the services necessary to facilitate a successful transition back into society.
I believe there is tremendous opportunity to further scale up alternatives to incarceration, and to do this, we must improve collaboration between the City and the County, and establish more such services in the 10th District. And that’s what I plan to do.
Arts are the lifeblood of our community and our city. Institutions such as the Korean Music Foundation, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Art + Practice, L.A. Commons and many, many others nourish the spirit of our community.
The arts also power a creative economy that supports our families and neighborhoods. The importance of the creative industries cannot be overstated. They are core economic assets and a key consideration when we speak broadly of economic development, education, social justice, community development and even public health. Art heals.
That’s why, when the Los Angeles County Arts Internship Program was in jeopardy, I worked with arts organizations and nonprofits to see that not only did it survive, but thrive. Today, the internship program has evolved, adapting to the needs of our college students and arts organizations. Students are provided with much-needed financial support, and arts organizations gain access to an engaged and motivated pool of talent.
So essential are the arts to our culture and economic life, that again, working with community leaders and art innovators, I led the effort to institutionalize government support for our creative community through the establishment of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. The Department issues grants to dozens of nonprofit organizations, many of which use arts to deliver mental health, homeless prevention, community re-entry and other vital human services.
Art is everywhere. The Vision Theater, the Ray Charles Memorial Library, the Nate Holden Performing Arts Theater and the William Grant Still Art Theater are resources of which the district can be proud.
In short, the 10th District is home to some of the city’s most innovative and influential arts organizations and leaders. My support for them has been, is, and will continue to be enthusiastic and ongoing.
The 10th District is transforming. Transportation projects, housing developments and new industries, such as bioscience, are going up all around us. While we must be thoughtful about these developments, one thing is certain: well-paying employment opportunities must accompany this economic surge.
As a long-time supporter of workers and organized labor, I know that we can never stop fighting for fair wages, safe working conditions and something more — the ability of workers from all walks of life to thrive and prosper. Carpenters, firefighters, hospitality workers, in-home care and workers in many other trades are vital to our economy and the backbone of our communities.
That’s why I’ve worked cooperatively with unions to recruit a diverse workforce that is genuinely representative of the community. I have done this by spearheading the establishment of Project Labor Agreements, as well as local hiring and small business targets at both the County and Metro.
Local hiring requirements are key. They are one of the best ways to ensure that the residents experiencing building booms — and the inconveniences that accompany them — also experience the economic upside — employment.
Providing employment, however, isn’t enough. We have to position our youth to prosper in this new economy. So, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, I am developing California’s first public urban boarding school. The SEED School of Los Angeles will prepare students (boys and girls) for careers in engineering, design, architecture and the various other professional trades that are essential to advancing our local infrastructure transformation.
My overarching goal? Provide residents with economic opportunity at every level!
Los Angeles is going to be the center of the world’s bioscience industry, and helping the 10th District become the destination for bioscience incubators, researchers and businesses, is one of my goals.
What is bioscience? It is a catch-all word for the multi-disciplinary sciences of life. It touches on the creation of medicines and diagnostic equipment, cures for illnesses and innovations around food — everything that helps people improve and sustain health and wellness.
For example, take the trailblazing work to treat sickle cell anemia by Dr. Yutaka Nihara, a researcher at LA BioMed, which is located on the Harbor-UCLA Medical Campus. Dr. Nihara developed a new sickle cell drug that was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, bringing hope to thousands of sufferers locally and throughout the country. That’s bioscience.
So, why bring this industry to the 10th District? Because it is a unique economic engine, already generating billions of dollars of economic activity annually in Los Angeles. That includes 70,000 direct jobs and 160,000 indirect jobs with the potential for thousands more. It is a field replete with diverse opportunities from top to bottom. In fact, during the Great Recession, only the field of bioscience didn’t suffer major losses and shrink. In fact, it grew by 12 percent!
In the 10th District, we have everything we need to be a bioscience success either within the district or nearby — world-class academic institutions, recognized leaders in the fields of science and medicine, and entrepreneurs looking to form public-private partnerships. More importantly, we have at under-utilized real estate perfectly located and suited for development. Working together we can bring this wonderful and worthy economic engine to our community.
Everyone should be able to walk, run, cycle, swim and play — or even just relax outside — enjoying the great gifts of nature bestowed on our city and the entire L.A. region.
To that end, neighborhood parks and pools, clearly marked bike lanes and safe hiking trails are essential for the health and well-being of our communities. That’s why enhancing and developing parks and creating open spaces for residents to enjoy will always be one of my top priorities.
While on the Board of Supervisors, I led the County to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in County parks and trails the Second District. I take particular pride in spearheading three projects that will dramatically expand recreational and transportation opportunities for residents of the 10th District and surrounding areas: The first is the Park-to-Playa project, the second, Rail to River and the third is the $100 million upgrade to Magic Johnson Park.
Park-to-Playa is seamless, 13-mile trail that will connect urban residents with the coast. Park-to-Playa should be completed and available for public use in 2020, after a pedestrian bridge is built across La Cienega Blvd.
Spanning approximately 10 miles, Rail to River will convert an existing, underutilized railroad right-of-way along Slauson Ave into a multi-purpose pedestrian and bicycle transportation corridor that will connect the Crenshaw Line, to the Silver Line and Blue Line, and eventually to the Los Angeles River. Metro plans to begin construction on this blight-busting project in 2020.
Renovations and upgrades to the 120-acre Magic Johnson Park will create an unprecedented recreational experience for all South Los Angeles residents. There will be a 20,000-square-foot event center intended for community gatherings and weddings, a splash pad and children’s play area, new walking paths, an amphitheater, outdoor event spaces and a transformed lake. Stormwater will also be diverted from the surrounding area, cleaned, and then used to irrigate the park.
Enjoying the great weather and being outdoors is a way of life in Los Angeles. For generations, those of us who grew up here perhaps took that for granted. But no more. Today we must be intentional and strategic about preserving, protecting and enhancing our green spaces – a necessary strategy if we want to promote not just our physical, but social and emotional wellbeing.
As the 10th District continues to see a building boom and our district becomes more densely populated, green space will become even more precious. Planning for open space should be part of the earliest stages of every new development.
Moreover, in the 10th District, our parks should be pristine, our bike lanes clearly marked, and our open space infrastructure well- maintained. Such is already the case with regard to County parks and recreational assets, and one of my goals is to bring those high standards of maintenance and upkeep with me, back to the City. The bottom line – every 10th District resident should be able to walk to a great park, trail or open space.