It is estimated that one in every five workers in the workforce will be Latino in the next eight years. And Latinos comprise the majority of the school population in our city.
Three out of Four students. However, LAUSD has failed and continues to fail Latino students, which is contributing to a void of well-educated Latinos in our local workforce. A large percentage of the Latino population does not have access to reliable internet, and LAUSD has not created a Latino Student retention program to keep Latino kids in school and learning.
During the COVID pandemic, it was common in many neighborhoods for Latinos to have to combine resources to manage their expenses. This resulted in multiple families sharing a single dwelling.
Metropolitan Water District (MWD) has announced the tightest water restrictions in the state’s history, with the need for a 35% reduction in water use. This translates to roughly 80 gallons per person per day. Given that in many Latino households, there are multiple families under one roof, how would you ensure that the water rationing does not disproportionately affect Latinos?
Latinos are an estimated 51% of the city’s population, although some experts say those numbers are undercounted. But unquestionably, Latinos are by far the largest demographic in the City of Los Angeles (followed by white and AAPI. Nevertheless, we find that Latinos – and in particular Latinas -- have been and remain severely under-represented in the leadership and workforce of most of the city departments.
I think every one of you would agree that one of the greatest challenges facing this city is the lack of affordable housing. Does anyone disagree? No? Good.
There are many ways to address the issue of getting affordable housing built, and we’d welcome your ideas. But let me focus in on one specific concern – the level of set-aside required from developers for affordable units in new housing developments.
We all know that these caps, as low as they are, are waived over and over again. The current set-aside requirement is capped at 10 percent of units. When the city’s affordable housing stock is so grossly below what the need it– especially for communities of color–
How can the city justify the 10% cap on affordable units? and how can we stand and watch while this low cap is waiver repeatedly?
The City of Los Angeles has 44 documented departments on its website with an aggregate annual budget of 11.2 billion dollars. LEADI obtained a detailed breakdown of the annual budget of one department – DPW, the Department of Public Works, for fiscal year 2020. That department alone had an annual budget of $856 million. Of that total, LEADI was told that 40% of the budget was allocated to department staffing. That left approximately $500 million for contracting, services, and procurement from outside sources. Of that total, Latino businesses in 2020 received 1.3 million dollars. That represents a total of point ZERO, ZERO two percent of the department’s budget for outside products and services.
Let’s put that in context – Latinos represent at least 51% of the city’s population, but DPW spent point zero zero two percent of its dollars with Latino-owned firms and service providers.
Can you explain why you think this was the case? And as Mayor, how will you ensure that Latino firms receive an equitable share of contracting opportunities?
What will you do to ensure that Latino firms are aware of the opportunities to compete for billions of dollars worth of contracts and that Latino firms are guaranteed fair and appropriate consideration by the departments making these decisions?
Latino-owned businesses are the fastest growing segment of small businesses in the region and in America. The biggest stumbling block for these businesses is not their talent or their energy or their commitment, but rather their lack of access to capital. These are the businesses that are the primary job generators for our communities.
As mayor, how would you use the City’s resources to expand access to capital for Latino-owned businesses?
Our nation has lost 1 million people to COVID. Brown and Black communities have been hit especially hard, with a disproportionate number of cases and deaths. And even those who did not get sick were severely impacted, put at risk as they worked in essential services and healthcare, and in other fields where working from home or social distancing were simply not possible.
With cases on the rise again and no end in sight for the pandemic, how do we protect our most vulnerable communities from the same ravages we saw in 2020 and 2021?
All taxpayers pay for city services like sanitation, recreation, parks, fire, public safety, or public transportation, but we frequently find that poorer communities don’t receive their fair share. Poor neighborhoods are often blighted by graffiti that would be cleaned up immediately in other areas of the city. Response times for fire and police are often longer than in other neighborhoods. Green space and rec facilities that are available in other neighborhoods are scarce in poor communities.
What will you do as Mayor to ensure an equitable distribution of city services to ALL Angelenos?
Part of the challenge of addressing homelessness is its diverse and varied manifestations across unique geographies, demographics, and socio-economic populations. Case in point, Latinos are consistently undercounted in the annual point in time count because of the unique ways our community experiences homelessness as we are often either inappropriately housed (e.g., overcrowded apartments) or unsafely housed (e.g., un-permitted structures, garages, etc.).
How do your proposals to address homelessness take into account the unique ways Latinos experience homelessness?
One of the lasting lessons of the pandemic is that it is vital to get every home connected to high-speed internet. The ability to work from home, to learn from home, to use telehealth and other essential services all depends on having a fast and reliable internet connection, a computer or other appropriate device, and basic digital skills to make use of them.
As mayor, what will you do to make sure that every neighborhood in this city has access to high-speed internet - and what will you do to get every family connected?
On that second point, President Biden just announced that there are billions of dollars in subsidies available to low-income homes under the new Affordable Connectivity Program. These dollars are available right now, but many people – particularly those who don’t have the internet at home – are not aware of them.
How will you make sure that low-income Angelenos get every internet subsidy dollar they are entitled to?
The police are essential to the safety of Latino communities, but police violence and misconduct are real problems in those communities. More than half of police killings in Los Angeles County are of Latinos, and Latinos are frequent victims of brutality and misconduct… but too often, Latinos are not part of the public discussion about bad policing.
As Mayor, what would you do to bring awareness to this issue?
What will you demand of your Police Commission to stop the killings and misconduct by the police whose sworn duty is to protect our communities?
We have a serious issue of “food deserts” -- neighborhoods that have little to no easy access to fresh foods. This problem has been around in communities of color for many years, but no administration has made it a priority. The lack of fresh and healthy food contributes to greater incidences of diabetes, cancer, heart, and other diseases in these communities.
What can you do as Mayor to promote greater access to healthy foods?
How can you create the right incentives for private sector investment in delivering healthy foods to these neighborhoods?
What creative ideas do you have to help Angelenos eat healthier?
Many Latino women care for others’ children as a profession, but many of those same women cannot afford childcare for their own children. When they can neither obtain nor afford childcare, low-income often have to make difficult choices about where to leave their own children so that they can work during the day. And of course, Latinas working in many other jobs, from domestics to factories to service industries, can’t obtain or afford childcare either. Neither Federal nor state programs have addressed this crying need for childcare.
The U.S. is a nation of immigrants, and the City of Los Angeles stands out for its high percentage of immigrants. We are home to nearly 540,000 immigrants, representing approximately 37% of the City’s total population. According to Census data, nearly 60% of children born in Los Angeles County have at least one immigrant parent, and 44% of households are headed by an immigrant.
1) As the Mayor of Los Angeles, how do you plan to address the diverse issues that our immigrant communities face today?
The current mayoral administration has laid a foundation for expanding services and outreach to immigrant communities. They implemented the City’s first Office of Immigrant Affairs, and they launched an expanded in-language access capacity throughout the City. However, the LA Justice Fund is currently the only immigrant-specific program that is directly funded by the city.
2) If you become mayor, what will your administration do to ensure immigrant communities are receiving sufficient services and outreach?
3) What kind of programs will you create/invest in to meet the diverse needs of immigrant Angelenos?
Let me focus more on the LA Justice Fund. This is a program established in partnership with the County and private philanthropy that provides legal services to immigrant Angelenos in deportation proceedings. The mayor included two million dollars in funding for this Fund in his budget. However, it took nearly 11 months for current fiscal funds to get approved. His proposal was gridlocked in the City Council over which program design to adopt: a program with criminal exclusions, versus a universal representation model with no exclusions that was strongly supported by the community. The delay in Council action severely hindered the rollout of the program, leaving immigrants to face immigration proceedings without legal representation.
1) If elected Mayor, how will you work with the Council to make sure the $2 million allocation for next fiscal year follows a Universal Representation model