Los Angeles County is facing a humanitarian crisis in addition to a public health and public safety disaster. More than 60,000 of our brothers and sisters are living on the streets, 3 of whom are dying each day. We need to take immediate action by:
- Declaring a state of emergency and calling on the State and Federal governments to provide immediate assistance from the National Guard and FEMA.
- Immediately starting to erect temporary shelters with beds, showers, and medical care for all 60,000 homeless residents. There are over 5,000 government-owned vacant or underutilized properties in Los Angeles County that could site these shelters.
- Simultaneously providing economic incentives in the form of property tax rebates for existing multifamily unit owners to house low-income and homeless families and individuals.
- Expediting the zoning and building of permanent supportive housing. Again, utilizing the 5,000 vacant County and City-owned lots.
- Keeping people in their existing homes through robust tenant protection and rent stabilization measures.
Criminal Justice Reform
Los Angeles County has become a model for mass incarceration, and our County jails have become our mental institutions. This has led to dangerously high recidivism rates, wasted taxpayer resources, and decreased public safety. We need systemic reform in the form of:
- Ending cash bail and the death penalty.
- Investing in the continuum of care – rather than new jails – to promote education, prevention, and community health, which will increase public safety and end the revolving door of recidivism and early release.
- Doubling the budget and resources for the Office of Diversion and Reentry so that we properly serve individuals suffering from mental illness and drug addiction.
- Establishing a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Mental Health Academy that will train and deploy mental health professionals with Deputy Sheriffs in the field.
- Phasing out juvenile detention facilities and work camps, and replacing them with community-based job programs and rehabilitation.
- Providing robust re-entry programs for people to find careers. Homelessness is inextricably tied to finding a job, and finding a job proves very difficult with a criminal record.
Los Angeles County should be the model of inclusion and diversity. We need to lead by example in showing how a progressive County like LA treats our immigrant communities. We need a Supervisor who supports common-sense immigration policies. The County must lead by:
- Enforcing our Sanctuary County Policy by aggressively kicking ICE and any immigrant targeting services out of any County and County affiliate departments or programs.
- Providing healthcare and all government services to undocumented immigrants.
- Supporting California’s current lawsuit against Donald Trump’s discriminatory “Public Charge” rule that makes it harder for immigrants to gain legal status.
- Allowing for undocumented immigrants to serve on commissions and organizations within LA County.
Gun Violence Prevention
This country has a gun violence problem. Too many of our children and neighbors are dying or becoming critically injured because of gun violence, and this violence is affecting women and communities of color at a disproportionate rate. We need leaders at every level of government who are willing to keep our communities safe. As a Supervisor, I will fight to:
- Keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and people with dangerous mental illness through the promotion of Red Flag laws.
- Require background checks on all gun sales.
- Prevent guns from being carried without a permit, or in sensitive places with children or alcohol present.
- Require responsible and safe storage of firearms.
- Develop and implement evidence-based threat assessment programs to keep our schools and communities safe.
- Lobby federal officials to pass legislation holding firearm manufacturers liable for gun-related deaths and injuries.
Housing, Climate, and Transportation
Housing, transportation, and climate policy are deeply interrelated. 63% of climate emissions from LA County come from transit, most of those from private cars. Scientists say we need to drastically cut those emissions by at least half in the next decade. Switching to cleaner cars is part of the solution, but reversing the trend of commuters traveling farther distances is where we can get the biggest wins for the climate and for our communities. Every person who works in or is otherwise part of a community should have a reasonable chance of living there. In the 5th District, too many residents are spending hours in the car, driving to and from the Antelope Valley, to get to work. Some of my solutions include:
- Establishing a Housing Czar in Los Angeles County who will coordinate between Departments to ensure that the requisite housing supply is being built quickly, efficiently, and in environmentally friendly ways.
- Creating an Expedited Processing Unit to facilitate this process.
- Situating new housing not only near transit, but also walkable to job centers and schools.
- Allowing for multi-unit housing in commercial and industrial zones.
- Encouraging the “Missing Middle.” Our current housing system creates lots of upper income housing, and also produces income-restricted housing. This means blocky apartment buildings and lots of single-family homes. We are missing the middle, and creating it is our biggest opportunity.
- Creating a housing policy that supplies median-income families with affordable-by-design homes.
- Creating housing in places where residents can stimulate local business by walking to restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops and other spaces for everyday needs.
- Encouraging small apartment buildings and multiple units on lots in and around city centers.
- Small apartment buildings are more likely to be built and owned by locals, strengthening our economy.
- Often, these changes allow families to stay in our communities instead of having to move.
- Allowing gradual change to our communities, including building missing middle class housing, creates stronger places over time.
Climate and Sustainability
The County has set the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Scientists say this isn’t bold enough. As a founding member of the Clean Power Alliance, I have walked the walk when it comes to delivering cleaner energy to the County. The County must be aggressively pursuing a Green New Deal by:
- Establishing a County goal to become carbon neutral by 2030.
- Investing significantly in building green technology of all types (solar, hydro, wind, storage) throughout the County, with a concentration in the 5th District, where space is most available. I will work to establish solar-by-right areas within the 5th District to cut through the red-tape and expedite the planning, approval, and building of these necessary projects. I will also work towards allowing wind technology in areas where it environmentally makes sense.
- Phasing out fossil fuel production in the County, and working towards shutting down Alison Canyon.
- Establishing training programs with our union partners for the proliferation of green tech jobs.
- Requiring that all new commercial and residential buildings are built with the most cutting edge, environmentally-conscious products and technology possible, such as utilizing cross-laminated timber instead of steel, mandating solar panels for each new building, and instituting an all-electric building code.
- Reducing solid waste generation by 50% per capita by 2030. One way to do this is by forbidding the County from purchasing all single-use plastics, and supporting California’s efforts to phase out single-use plastics in the next decade. As a major consumer, LA County can help drive manufacturers and producers to use only recyclable and compostable materials.
- Creating more composting facilities, with an eye towards local solutions like digester-based composting, within the 5th District.
- Encouraging water conservation by phasing out the use of fresh water for landscaping.
- Setting a County goal of zero days of unhealthy air quality by 2025 to address childhood asthma and assist vulnerable groups like seniors who are affected by this issue.
- Drastically reducing average vehicles traveled (VMT) per capita. We do this by:
- Creating housing in places that shortens driving.
- Improving transit.
- Making streets safe enough for everyone to feel comfortable doing short trips without a car.
- Encouraging eligible workers to work at least once a week from home.
- Enhancing Metrolink service and strengthening MTA Rail connections between the northern part of the County (Santa Clarita, Palmdale, and Lancaster) and downtown Los Angeles.
- Creating a “Valley to Valley” rail link that provides rail service from San Gabriel Valley to San Fernando Valley, with a connection to the Bob Hope Airport.
- Significantly altering and electrifying Metrolink to allow for more short-hop trips and dramatically reducing the costs of current fares. Metrolink is an underutilized resource region-wide, and we need innovative thinking to encourage more usage of this vital transit link.
- Making it possible for low-income residents to drive less. Driving less puts more money in their pockets, and keeps climate emissions (often from older, dirtier cars) out of our air. To this end, we should:
- Make our MTA bus lines free of charge. Metro is already subsidizing nearly the entirety of each bus ride, but making bussing free will encourage all of us to utilize our bus system and relieve the financial stress on low-income residents getting to and from work.
- Implement congestion pricing on our high-congestion freeways during peak hours. To change behavior, we must economically incentivize our car-dependent population to find alternative means of transportation.
Health Care, Mental Health and Foster Care
We have children dying and being mistreated in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). We also have established a pipeline from foster care to homelessness: children in the foster-care system often wind up in Juvenile Hall (nearly 90% of the youth in Juvenile Hall come from the foster-care system). Once these youth reach adult age, they often become homeless. This is unacceptable and shows the system is broken. In addition, healthcare is one of the most basic functions that we provide to our citizenry, and for decades, our Supervisors in this District have torn up the vital social safety net and sought to privatize major portions of it. We need a County Supervisor that will stand for the most vulnerable amongst us. The County must:
- Establish an “All Children Thrive” initiative. No matter what, our children will graduate from college and avoid homelessness, whatever the costs.
- Lead the region and nation by building on My Health LA and instituting a robust public option healthcare option provided by the County to ALL residents of the County. A more insured County leads to healthier, safer, and more productive outcomes, and a more efficient and cost-effective healthcare system.
- Reverse the worrying trend of the elimination of Trauma Centers, especially in economically disadvantaged areas. We should be building more hospitals that are easy and convenient to use.
- Commit significantly more resources to mental health well-being and end the stigmatization of mental healthcare.
- Institute a Mental Health Czar that will work hand-in-hand with local school districts, public safety, and housing departments to strength the linkage between the County Department of Mental Health and those agencies.
- Double the number of DCFS social workers. Caseloads are too high and victims are falling through the cracks.
- Demand a continuity of care. Each foster-care child should have the same social worker throughout his or her placement, rather than being subject to multiple hand-offs within the system. As we have seen in the horrific examples reported in the news, multiple social workers handling a single child has led to inefficiency and unintended, grave consequences.
- Utilize technology to bolster effectiveness and eliminate human error within the foster-care system. We should be encouraging regular “televisits” and utilizing data-driven means to systematically identify problem cases.
The unemployment rate may be low, but the middle class is disappearing, and working families continue to suffer economically, especially in the 5th District. As your Supervisor, I will address this by:
- Encouraging more regionalization of the County’s vital services. The County should be devolving more services to regional centers that allow people to access services closest to where they are, which in turn, will create more jobs. This is especially acute in the sprawling 5th District, and most pressing in the Antelope Valley. I will commit to shifting more services, resources, and programming to the fastest-growing region in LA County.
- Focusing on careers, not just jobs. We need to promote north LA County as a hub for major businesses, with an eye towards green technology providers, by providing economic incentives for them to establish corporate centers there. While we need to support small businesses, we also need to realize that creating sustainable careers requires scale and a local economy that will support increased housing and transportation.
- Expanding universal child care and preschool. Low and middle-class families must balance careers and child care, which often leads to sacrifices in both. High quality education should be a right for our preschool children starting at the age of 4. Child care is too expensive, and many day cares are subpar in quality. If we implement more affordable, higher quality child care and preschool options, this will empower more people to participate in the workforce rather than staying home.
To fix any of these problems, we must fix our democracy first. The County employs the most incumbent-friendly, obscure electoral system in the Country, which protects the status quo. It also allows for special interests and big, dark money to control the policy decisions. To solve this, we must:
- Establish public matching of small-dollar donations in all County elections, as is done in many cities and states. Regular, every-day individuals should be controlling our democracy, not the top 1%.
- Require Supervisors to recuse themselves from any vote affecting an individual or entity who was a hard-money or soft-money donor to his or her campaign. Let’s end the quid-pro-quo, business-as-usual politics that has corrupted our system.
- Establish a five-year moratorium on former County staff and elected officials from being able to lobby decision makers, including Supervisors and Metro board members.
- Limit and eventually eliminate the usage of government vehicles by the political staff of County elected officials.
- Forbid any County official from using emergency resources for non-emergency transportation.
- Establish an independent non-partisan redistricting body for LA County (modeled after the State) that is beholden to the voters of the County and not elected officials and special interests.
- Eliminate the 50+1% rule in primary elections that only serves to help incumbents and stifles the voices of underrepresented communities that often don’t vote in primary elections.