When I think of South Los Angeles, I think about the richness of its history, its thriving neighborhoods, historical craftsman homes and its beautiful people. Garbage and construction waste dumped on our streets makes our communities look abandoned. I will work tirelessly to clean up our streets and alleyways, our parks and our schools. That is the #1 job of the City Council Member. Returning pride to our neighborhoods begins with picking up a broom…and leading by example!
“There but for the grace of God, go I”… our brothers and sisters who find themselves living on the streets are as much a part of the community as anyone. We must have compassion and we must include their situation in every community plan on how to improve conditions in CD9. We have to decriminalize homelessness and take a comprehensive approach that includes: housing, mental health and general health needs, connecting to resources that provide short term and long-term financial sustainability. But it all starts with shining a light on the homelessness epidemic in CD9 and making sure we are part of the conversation at the citywide planning table!
The biggest asset Council District 9 has to offer is its people. Our community is resilient, hard working and entrepreneurial. All we need is for our Council Member to take leadership and make it a top priority to invest in them. We need to use the Council Office to advocate and negotiate for careers, not only short-term construction jobs or long-term service jobs that pay poverty wages, but union jobs and pathways into emerging sectors like technology, health, green, social services & entertainment. Twelve years ago, I set-up my business in CD9, I hire and train local workers and pay a living wage. I know it can be done and I know how to do it.
Violent crime and homicides are up 33% in District 9 over the last 2 years. When the elected councilman spends most of his time with city hall lobbyists at LA Live and cutting back door deals with developers over billion dollar projects, that is what you can expect. In order to reverse this deadly trend, we need to engage and invest in our youth, we need to expand community policing, and we need to empower our strong neighborhood organizations so voices are heard at city hall…we need a resident/leader from Council District 9 on the Police Commission!
We have the highest percentages in the city of Latino and African American youth in CD9, we have to engage them and capture their imaginations to dream beyond what they think is possible. The core idea of The Big House is to engage youth and encourage them to think creatively and like entrepreneurs and to provide a safe place for them to hang-out. I have invested heavily in the youth of CD9 and will continue to ensure that their voice is heard in city hall. Our youth comprise one-third of the electorate of CD9 and 100% of its future!!
Where is the affordable housing that was promised in the last election? The rich got The REEF, but many in the community are still living month-to-month and evictions are at an all-time high. We need Rent Control and protection from the forces of gentrification that are creeping over from the expansion boom in DTLA and threatening our neighborhoods. We need to connect our community to resources that facilitate home purchase for first-time home buyers who are ready to lay down roots in CD9 for future generations. We need to establish a culture of “Don’t Move…Improve!”.
Los Angeles is home to an estimated 350,000 +/- undocumented residents and one-third of those residents call CD9 home. While Los Angeles has not formally declared itself a sanctuary city, but has adopted sanctuary city policies, as your new council member I will declare CD9 LA’s first Sanctuary Council District! Our undocumented neighbors are not “some other group”, they are part of us, they own homes right next door, our children attend the same schools, and they aspire to make their community better for their children. Our police should not be federal immigration agents but focused on building strong relationships with all residents to help solve the growing crime rate of the last four years. Moreover, DACA youth have reported a 40% increase in their wages and that lifts all boats. We are all in this together and we cannot, and I will not, distinguish between one neighbor and another.