The economic recovery has not been strong enough to move a majority of people that lost their jobs during the Great Recession from unemployment to steady work that can support a family.
The number one priority for people from the Westside to South Los Angeles is jobs.
We must do our utmost to create new jobs. We can accomplish this, in part, by supporting small businesses. We must expand the abilities of small business owners to take advantage of local and state contracting opportunities.
As taxpayers, we invest our hard earned wages to make a myriad of public projects possible. It’s time that local businesses that can create jobs are given a greater opportunity to expand their operations to create more jobs by bidding for contract work on state and local taxpayer-funded projects.
We are investing billions of taxpayer dollars to build transit systems, schools, and community college facilities. It is essential that we redouble our efforts to help unemployed residents in the 54th Assembly District get connected to labor apprenticeship programs that will enable them to learn the hands-on skills they would need to begin a career in construction.
I don’t have a miracle solution to our local traffic woes, but I do know it is time to gather together the best transportation minds in our region and state to evaluate and assess how we can best mitigate our vehicle gridlocked surface streets and freeways to promote better movement of people and goods.
Mothers driving their children to school are begging for traffic relief. Businesses shipping goods to retailers have to factor in greater time and fuel costs tied to gridlock.
Workers across our district have to factor in up to an hour’s drive for their morning and evening commute if they’re heading east or west a distance of only 13-milies during ‘drive-time’. Without our persistent gridlock, we should be able to expect to travel up to 50-milies in that same amount of time.
Traffic is a daily frustration that costs everyone’s precious time and money. It is time that we engage community stakeholders and transportation experts in a series of discussions that will point us in new directions on our local traffic in hopes of lessening the daily gridlock that grips our streets and our lives for far too long each day.
The Affordable Care Act will open the door to healthcare coverage for millions of Californians. But it will only work when people walk through the door to choose their healthcare provider that is best for themselves and their families. We must make sure residents and business owners are properly educated on the choices and benefits made available through the Affordable Care Act.
We need to make sure Covered California is such a huge success that other states that opted out of ‘Obamacare’ begin to wonder what were they thinking. We’re the Golden State. We have the capacity to make this happen. We have the skill. All we need to do is demonstrate the will.
Our public hospital and healthcare system is strained with patients waiting hours to be examined by hospital staff and caregivers. We must work to lessen that strain by making sure the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital in Willowbrook is reopened and reemerges as the key healthcare delivery asset available to families from Watts to Westwood that it was envisioned it could be more than three decades ago. MLK Hospital is getting a new lease on life. We need to ensure it has a long life because our lives may depend on it some day.
Let’s fund school health centers through public-private partnerships that focus community-based healthcare resources where they may be needed most – at our neighborhood schools. Let’s make sure our children have access to physicals, immunizations, medial screenings, flu shots, eye exams and dental care. When our school children are healthy they can learn and excel. While we tend to our children’s healthcare needs at school, we can enroll their parents in health care programs to meet the entire needs of the family.
Our law enforcement agencies – from LAPD to Culver City PD to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department – need to be assured they will have the resources, tools and community support to perform the challenging daily job of keeping our neighborhoods safe.
Community policing that engages community members and assesses their public safety needs is now a highly accepted form of law enforcement for two principal reasons: (1) It works and (2) Residents and business owners respond favorably when their public safety needs are met through collaboration with officers on patrol and detectives in the field.
But public safety is not solely about more officers on our streets. We must dedicate resources to community-based efforts to prevent crimes from occurring.
We must support effective programs that direct young people who are vulnerable to the lure and solicitation of gang organizations to supportive activities that enable them to envision their future as productive wage earners, skilled tradespersons, college graduates, career professionals, and ultimately, retirees with a fixed income they can count on. It’s not impossible if we work at it. It’s possible if we stay determined to stand by the young people of our community.
Getting Our Fair Share from Sacramento
We give up a lot to Sacramento. Our state leaders asked our cities to give up our community redevelopment agencies, though “ask” is being overly generous. Our state leaders asked us to pay more in taxes to balance our state’s budget. We went to our polling places, voted and went along with their request.
But everyone who pays takes wants to know: What do we get in return? Our community redevelopment agencies helped turn some of our blighted central cities into community destinations with desirable neighborhood open space and new mixed-use retail-housing developments that included rental units for low-to-moderate income residents.
Public dollars that were used to encourage private capital investments helped fund the redevelopment of downtown Culver City. We now need to examine what the new financing incentive model will be for turnarounds that are needed in Westwood, Southwest Los Angeles and transit-adjacent parcels along Metro’s Expo Line and the upcoming Crenshaw/LAX Transit Line.
We have much work to do in our communities. We need our fair share from Sacramento in order to do the job right.
Let’s start at the beginning with education and get it right to meet the learning needs of our children. Early childhood education for children 6-months-to five-years-old is critical to our economic future.
Yes, it might seem odd to say that quality preschool is the linchpin to everything we do and will accomplish as a society in the years ahead, but the fact is: It’s true.
Let’s not ignore that fact. Let’s make the solid public and private investments we need to make to give every child the best start in education and life they can get. Children who are enrolled in a quality preschool before they enter kindergarten have higher graduation rates from high school and higher admission rates to college.
But preschool is still some of the priciest private schooling available to parents with children. Head Start is critical, but we must do more. We must engage First 5 LA and LAUP (Los Angeles Universal Preschool) to ensure that our public dollars dedicated for preschool education give our children the best learning bang for our buck, and provide working parents throughout our 54th Assembly District with safe, secure and nurturing learning environments for their kids.