Our Community Centered District 15 Platform
I am a proud mom of an entering first grader at an LAUSD public school. I believe in our public education and the educators, staff, and administrators that truly support my child’s needs as well as his health and safety. Our schools are the heart and soul of our community and, as a future city council member, I will do my part to advocate for resources and ensure LAUSD policies such as Community Schools, along with ensuring parents, educators, and staff have a voice at the city level. I believe in our public schools, which is why I walked the picket lines during the big educator strike in 2019. I joined committees and picket lines in Harbor City and truly believe that our educators working conditions are our children’s learning conditions. I believe that we need additional resources such as full-time nurses, vocational trade training, and additional counselors to help transition our children back to school given the COVID19 pandemic. I will defend our schools from the billionaires and privatizing forces that simply see our schools and students as buckets of money to strip away resources from the public good. I stand with our educators, fellow parents, staff, and administrators to strengthen our LAUSD schools.
Our senior citizens need the resources, both social and emotional, to stay engaged, respected, and heard. Given the pandemic, many of our senior citizens had to isolate from friends and family and many encountered moments of food insecurity, loss of a loved one, and challenges with building community online. Our elders deserve to have safe recreation centers, community engagement opportunities, along with wrap around services to strengthen social bonds as well as resources for senior living, public transportation, and safe neighborhoods. We must always honor our community elders.
We know that our district faces many environmental burdens that affect the air, water, and soil that we all live, breathe, and endure. Whether it’s the goods movement such as port trucking, the refinement of crude oil, and illegal dumping of hazardous materials in alleyways, we all are impacted. I am not taking oil industry money to ensure it is clear to our community that my decisions that benefit the whole of the community and not just a few. We need to provide the community with facts on fracking, drilling, along with diesel polluting trucks that idle in our communities moving billions of dollars’ worth of goods. We should invest in clean vehicle technology as well as preserve high paying jobs through the unionization of these green industries such as wind, solar, and alternative clean fuels that are human driven.
As a businesswoman who started and ran small businesses, I know the daily struggle of keeping a business open and the many hurdles that entrepreneurs in the City of Los Angeles face. To simply open a business seems at times impossible given the tremendous red tape that small business owners encounter. I want to streamline the process to open a brick-and-mortar store front. Driving through Watts, the Harbor Gateway, Wilmington, San Pedro, and Harbor City, I see both the lack of investment and the opportunity to attract homegrown and outside business leaders to reinvest in vacant store fronts throughout our district, along with encouraging local hire. Through an incubator and accelerator program, we can develop future business leaders to generate wealth, self-reliance, and self-determination all while improving the quality of life for our communities. The Harbor Area possess a large quantity of underutilized existing infrastructure within it commercial corridors that has the potential to be renovated and developed into a sustainable vibrant nightlife thus creating additional local jobs and boosting our districts local economy. Moreover, I will work with our City’s Youth Development Department and assist unions, local community colleges, public schools and organizations to secure certification, apprenticeship programs and training centers to prepare our youth and those who are transitioning from one industry to an another for jobs of the future. An increase in the availability and accessibility of workforce development programs, particularly for our low-income communities of color, is one of the proactive approaches to prevent and combat homelessness. Resources and priority should be given to women with children, military veterans, the disabled, and the chronically unemployed.
The only way we can end the homeless crisis is to treat it like the emergency that it is and use a comprehensive approach to the issue. We need to expand mental health and crisis support teams to provide treatment, resources, and wrap around services for homeless people who want and seek treatment. High paying jobs and employment through workforce development programs such as job development, career recruitment, and livable wages will aid in keeping people in their homes and apartments. We can also work to increase the surplus of single-family homes, ensure that Airbnb’s are not consuming all housing stock, and to create a program that apartment seekers can use to help with security deposits, first month’s rent, along with an application fees. Trauma informed practices should be used to keep folks in jobs and in their homes. Resources and priority should be given to women with children, military veterans, the disabled, and the chronically unemployed.
I envision expanding green spaces and recreation centers for families to utilize and enjoy, leading to building community amongst neighbors. Parks offer much needed space to let children simply play. Additionally, we need to take inventory of the environment and zoning laws to ensure that our store fronts look welcoming, sidewalks are not crumbling, trees are not damaging walkways and streets, and both residential and business corridors have defined layouts. District 15 is in urgent need of ensuring community plans represent what the community wants, such as traffic control measures, utilization of abandoned buildings, parks, street parking, murals, ample lighting at night, and drivable roads to avoid costly vehicle damage from potholes. Our infrastructure should be welcoming, enhance the quality of life, and keep people safe. I will work with our urban planning department to ensure we have a clear and transparent vision for our district.
Deep community organizing, neighborhood watches, and building trust with local resident leaders aids in the preventative measures to ensure our youth are being mentored, supported, and not recruited into gangs and other entries into violent crime. Deescalating tactics and training is key to ensuring that if law enforcement is called to a scene, a response of de-escalation, rather escalation, is the outcome. Focusing on some of the plausible causality of crime such as unemployment, under employment, lack of hope, and economic prosperity will alleviate the heavy-handed solutions such as arrest and incarceration, which are temporary fixes to a deeper community issue. Hiring to the need instead of a number must be priority. Hiring to the need and placing officers in those respective areas is a more effective way to policing. Removing officers from office work, placing them in patrol vehicles will bring safety and security in our neighborhoods immediately.
I have toured each neighborhood in District 15, such as Harbor City, Harbor Gateway North, Harbor Gateway South, San Pedro, Watts, and Wilmington and seen first-hand the daily fight to keep our streets clean from debris, furniture, human waste, trash, and even abandoned cars. We pay taxes and our taxes should be working for us. I will have the Bureau of Sanitation on call and expand the department to ensure a 72-hour turnaround time with real time reporting on clearing of streets, alleyways, and removal of bulky items. I will generate revenue for the City with the immediate impoundment and sale of abandon vehicles to recycling industries to pay for any additional costs associated with clean ups.
I am pro-union. As a former officer with the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) Women’s Auxiliary 8, it is imperative that we support our sisters and brothers in the labor movement seeking a voice on the job through collective bargaining, dignity on the job, and ensuring those who are fighting to unionize are joined through solidarity actions. I spoke at the Port of L.A.’s Board of Harbor Commissioners to push back against automation, which will have a severe detriment to the local economy and the many families that will be impacted by job loss. Additionally, I walked the picket lines with educators from the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) during their strike in 2019 fighting for Community Schools, more nurses, and staff to ensure our children have the best public school system in the nation.
Digital Divide – Internet Access:
Since the inception of the COVID19 pandemic children and teenagers in the TK-12 educational systems such as the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) with mainly students of color encountered challenges with accessing free to low-cost Wi-Fi internet service along with barriers to fast, quality, and uninterrupted internet for downloading. Residents, including our senior citizens residing in the City of Los Angeles, should have access to a publicly owned Wi-Fi broadband infrastructure to close the digital divide such as Wi-Fi towers throughout District 15 similarly being done in parts of the State of Virginia. This policy proposal may offer economic resiliency given the jobs that can be created with the planning, construction, installation, education, and maintenance of these Wi-Fi towers, above ground and underground wiring of networks, routers, and modems. Workforce development opportunities can arise with local hire to include construction workers, linesmen, and infrastructure maintenance. In addition, the pre-planning and execution of work can recruit and train the chronically unemployed to into good paying union jobs through the Electrician Training Institute (ETI), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 11, or other union agencies.
L.A. City Health Officer (Liaison):
The pandemic revealed that we need an interdepartmental city health officer-liaison between L.A. County and the State of California to ensure that communication, coordination, and implementation of life saving information and services are rendered to City of Los Angeles constituents. In partnership with the L.A. City Fire Department, we can continuously plan for unforeseen disasters such as earthquakes, fires, floods, and even future pandemics. A city health officer-liaison would ensure that resources and designated staff will be in constant communication with community leaders and health officials. Messaging, directives, and policies will be streamlined and efficiently disseminated throughout L.A. City, County, and other governmental levels. Simply put, a clear and unified message to implement health policies should be seamless with state, county, and city staff and officials.
Department of Public Transparency & Accountability:
Creating a Department of Public Transparency and Accountability will ensure oversight of taxpayers’ dollars and L.A. City operations while evaluating efficiencies. It will hold L.A. City departments accountable for any mismanagement and the L.A. City Council accountable for services that should be equitable throughout the city. Incorporating, expanding, and funding the Fraud Waste and Abuse Unit within the Office of Public Transparency and Accountability will further reduce complaints and allegations of staff and organizational transgressions. It is essential that L.A. City restores the trust of the public and eradicate any misuse of our city’s revenues. In short, I want to ensure that we uphold public integrity and be the model of good governance, honesty, and justice to rebuild trust with L.A. City council officials, departments, and the use of public tax dollars to be reinvested in historically under resourced communities.
Though immigration policy making tends to fall at the federal level, I stand in solidarity with all undocumented people and those seeking refuge. I support DACA recipients and TPS holders who are fighting to protect their status and seek permanent solutions. District 15 is a historical immigration hub with many calling San Pedro, Wilmington, and Harbor City home given the close proximity of the Port of Los Angeles. Immigrants from Italy, Croatia, Japan, Greece, and now Mexico and Central America call our Harbor Area home, and we must value our deep roots as a community of immigrants that contribute to our great city and nation.
Film & Television:
Keeping film and television production in Los Angeles is critical to ensure that we continue to support good union jobs that impact labor allies such as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), the Directors Guild of America (DGA), and sisters and brother from the Teamsters. District 15 has iconic scenery such as the Port of Los Angeles, our Watts Towers, diverse housing landscape, and highway corridors which allows for robust film production. Providing incentives, reducing red tape, and creating partnerships with film industries will provide a multiplier effect for not only preserving good union jobs but fostering potential local hire and revenue.