Homelessness is a complex challenge and the pandemic has only made things worse for local governments who must do more to help people out of homelessness, for their benefit, and for the health and safety of our entire community. Statistics show that an average person experiencing chronic homelessness requires more than two dozen different interactions with service providers to receive any meaningful improvement in their circumstances. That’s why we need long-term strategies to support these individuals, including access to transitional housing and wrap-around social services to help them advance beyond their challenges. We have seen short-term success through the City of Long Beach’s and County of Los Angeles’ Project HomeKey, which converts motels into housing options with supportive services attached. We should also explore tiny homes and similar pilot programs in Los Angeles.
In addition to serving chronically homeless individuals, we must also address those who are either newly homeless due to job loss/eviction or those who are one paycheck away from being homeless. By focusing on preventative measures such as ongoing rental assistance in times of need, greater access to mental health services and streamlining access to state and federal services that reduce expenses for necessities and help pay those bills. If we are going to address homelessness in a meaningful way, we must create a full spectrum of housing options to promote homeownership within our communities. There is a direct link between poverty and homelessness that can also be solved by helping families and individuals build financial stability, resources that will inevitably go back into our local economy to support community efforts and small businesses.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT &
SMALL BUSINESS RECOVERY
Our local business community is critical to the overall success of our district and City. My work on the Uptown Property and Business Improvement District (Uptown BID) as the Community Board Member, has allowed me to promote safer, more inviting, and more successful business corridors throughout North Long Beach. In my four years on the Uptown BID, coupled with my work as the Chair of the Long Beach Planning Commission, where I regularly work to advance well-planned mixed-use developments, I am able to empower local businesses, create new opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovation and help shape a collaborative vision for how we build a local economy that works for everyone.
I believe we must be creative, strategic, and collaborative in the ways we build a brighter future for the 9th district and all of Long Beach. For example, through a consortium of local neighborhood associations over the past ten years, we have hosted our “Dine Out 90805” program to encourage neighbors to purchase from our local businesses. We all have a stake in the success of our communities. On the Long Beach City Council, I look forward to building on the work I’ve done to advance programs that build up our small businesses through community engagement, tax incentives to initiatives to attract new business types, ensuring that our commercial corridors have a mix of neighborhood servicing businesses and amenities.
PRIORITIZING PUBLIC HEALTH
Healthcare is a human right which is why I fully support Cal Care and plans to expand Medicare for All statewide and nationally. The pandemic has highlighted the need to invest in our city's public health infrastructure. As a public health professional, I am deeply concerned about the lack of consistent funding for our health department in Long Beach. We must tackle the critical social determinants that impact the health, wellness, and quality of life of all our residents.
By developing a strategic plan that targets public health, equity, and economic variables, we can better determine how to best position ourselves as a city post-pandemic so any future emergency response plans incorporate the lessons learned these past two years. As your Councilmember, I will lead the effort to create a City Council Sub Committee on Public Health to ensure we are addressing these challenges in a meaningful way.
PARKS & OPEN SPACE
Currently, there are less than 50 acres of programmable park space in our district. The 51,483 residents in District 9, many with young children who need safe spaces to play, deserve better park and open space resources. As your Councilmember, I will build on the work I have already done developing the North Long Beach Open Space Master Plan, which provides a framework for the Citywide Parks Strategic plan. As the most park-deficient area in Long Beach, District 9 needs a strong advocate on the City Council to ensure we are able to expand opportunities for new parks and open spaces in the 9th District. Being Impacted by pollution generated by freeway traffic, increased truck trips from the Port of Long Beach, and environmental degradation around the Los Angeles River makes the need for enhanced investments in park and open space development more critical. The newly adopted Parks, Recreation, and Marine Strategic Plan lays out a clear path to prioritize previously ignored communities like North Long Beach. I look forward to advocating for funding to make that plan a reality.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION
This is not just a campaign issue for me, it’s the work I’ve been doing my whole life. It is also something people struggle with every day here in Long Beach. That’s why I have led Health Equity conversations in collaboration with the Long Beach Dept of Health and Human Services as part of the city’s Framework for Racial Equity and Reconciliation. The Framework's goal is to ensure active engagement in ongoing racial reconciliation initiatives to dismantle and eliminate systemic racism. Recognizing the necessity of dismantling discriminatory practices within our public institutions and replacing them with those that ensure racial equity for all takes effort, investments, and a willingness to bring key stakeholders to the table. I currently sit on a diversity, equity, and inclusion stakeholder committee to engage, educate and hold our city leaders and departments accountable for the goals and strategies that were developed as part of the initiative.
In my work as Director of the Statistical Consulting Center at UC Irvine, I lead the local implementation and strategic plan for my institute's Black Thriving Initiative, which is designed to increase the number of Black trainees and faculty in the medical and public health fields. Within my department, I have also spearheaded initiatives to increase the number of Latinx, LGBTQ+, Native American, and Black faculty and students in STEM-related fields on campus. My work with existing faculty helps to open their eyes to the subtle ways we marginalize these communities and “de-colonize” their syllabi to make their classrooms more inclusive and accessible to students of color. I look forward to bringing a new perspective to the table in our fight for racial equality in Long Beach.
Public safety has been a growing and ongoing concern here in the 9th District as we see crime increasing in many parts of our community. As a former member of the Citizens Police Complaint Commission, I believe police reform and transparency are essential to ensuring that those who protect and serve our community are working with our residents in ways that increase mutual respect and minimize the tensions that undermine safety in our neighborhoods. We must increase the resources we allocate to assist our communities with mental health issues and services for people with disabilities. Our public safety personnel are often asked to do work they are not sufficiently trained to handle, with fewer resources than they need to do the work well. As we continue to assess our public safety continuum, we must reframe the discussion away from simply addressing crime as a singular issue to a broader focus on crime reduction, intervention, and prevention. To do so, we must think more broadly about the influences and circumstances people are contending with and relevant factors like age, economic circumstances, and where people are born, live, learn, work, play and worship. Approaching improved public safety from public health and social dynamic perspective can provide a more holistic approach to public safety and how we deal with crime and criminal behavior and how we address complex issues like domestic violence, mental health, and family conflict.