CLIMATE JUSTICE FOR LOS ANGELES
The Plan to Tackle the Climate Crisis and Protect Our Environment
READ TIME OVERVIEW: 2 MIN | FULL: 10 MINS
As your Council Member I will:
Fight to Ensure Streets for All
Reach zero annual traffic deaths on city streets
Increase the number of residents living a 10 minute walk from a park or plaza from 65% → 100%
Increase the number of residents living within a 10 minute walk from a dedicated bus-only lane from 11% → 55%
Increase the number of residents living a 10 minute walk from a protected bike lane from 10% → 65%
Ensure every school and park is directly connected to a neighborhood greenway or slow street
Reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in LA by at least 13% per the LA Green New Deal
Increase the percentage of all trips made by walking, biking, or transit 35% per the LA Green New Deal
Fight for Environmental Justice
Ensure a 2,500 ft buffer zone between oil wells and homes, schools, and daycare centers
Ensure a managed phase-out of oil wells
Secure clean air and water for our community
Create more green space and tree cover prioritizing underserved communities
Investing and renovating our public parks and planting thousands of more trees throughout our city and neighborhood
Fight for Food Justice
End “food deserts” by creating access to affordable, healthy food
Ensure funding for farmer's markets
Ensure funding to create and maintain urban farmland and urban farming education
Ensure funding to create and maintain home-based gardens especially in Black, brown, and working-class communities
Fight to Combat Climate Change
Increase the percentage of zero-emission vehicles in the city to 100% by 2030
Direct public investments in free public transportation and energy-efficient affordable housing
Direct LADWP to move to 100% carbon-neutral electricity by 2030
Direct public investments in creating safe and secure bike lanes
Prohibit fossil fuel industry and plastic manufacturing companies from being able to contribute to Citywide political campaigns
The fossil fuel and plastic manufacturing industries will also be prohibited from hosting fundraisers and raising money from other donors. These restrictions will also apply to subcontractors.
Leaders should not accept money from special interests who profit at the expense of our health and future
Fight for a Just Transition
Ensure a dignified quality of life for affected workers and the communities they live in
Secure pensions of affected workers
Invest in the economic development and infrastructure in communities currently supported by fossil fuels
Massive public investments in infrastructure and industry, creating thousands of good-paying, family-sustaining union jobs in the process
Engage with local workers while crafting environmental plans
Employment opportunities from LADWP for workers affected by the transition that matches or exceeds their previous salary
Paid job retraining programs and apprenticeships
Today, we are in the midst of a multitude of crises. Our society has been hit by a global pandemic and economic crisis. However, there is another crisis that poses an existential threat to our planet—climate change. As the climate crisis worsens, so too do the poor environmental conditions we are forced to endure.
According to a report made by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the climate is changing faster than expected and the worst elements of climate change may be felt as soon as 2040 at this current rate. The report also states that “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” are required in order to limit global warming to or below 1.5°C.
For the sake of the health, safety, and wellbeing of all Angelenos, the City of Los Angeles has a moral duty to combat climate change and advance environmental justice.
We need a Green New Deal
In order to combat this crisis, we need public investments at the scale of President Roosevelt's New Deal that protects Black, indigenous, and communities of color and a just transition that protects and empowers workers.
The Green New Deal provides Los Angeles the opportunity to combat climate change and create thousands of good-paying, union jobs in the process.
Climate Justice is Racial Justice
Our district is disproportionately impacted by environmental racism. Majority Black and Latino communities like Watts and Wilmington are in the top 5% of neighborhoods in California with some of the worst cases of pollution.
Industrial sites such as oil & gas drilling sites, factories, and warehouses both produce and attract a lot of pollution such as those from diesel trucks. These sites disproportionately are located in working-class, communities of color. Many of these communities also have low to no access to green spaces like parks and community gardens as well as poor tree coverage.
All across the Harbor region, our communities are disproportionately impacted by warehouse pollution, increasing our risk of health ailments.
Watts is considered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be a food desert. These are areas where at least 100 households live more than half a mile away from the nearest supermarket and have no vehicle access. Furthermore, the food markets that are available often don't provide fresh, high-quality food.
Consequently, families are more likely to eat at fast-food restaurants that are more affordable and easier to access. In the U.S., areas with 10%+ of households living in food deserts also have higher rates of obesity and diabetes compared to areas with 1% or less.
Wilmington is home to the Port of LA and hundreds of active and idle oil wells. Right now, there are thousands of families in Wilmington who live less than a mile away from an oil well. These oil wells emit harmful pollutants into the air like methane and diesel particulates.
As a result, Wilmington residents have one of the highest rates of cancer in California. In the short term, many suffer from bloody noses and watery eyes. In the long term, CD 15 residents have an increased risk for a variety of health illnesses such as asthma, cancer, and miscarriages.
Climate Justice is Food Justice
It's time we turn Los Angeles into a food oasis for all. You shouldn't have to travel more than a mile outside your neighborhood to get fresh produce. We can invest in more local sources of food and increase access to all families.
We can retrofit liquor stores in our neighborhoods and transition them to places of community and health with affordable fresh food. Hanks Mini Market in Hyde Park offers a great example of the success of retrofitting liquor stores throughout the city. By transitioning into a community space, the market has made it easier for local residents to purchase healthier food options.
We can use a public bank to help local residents start up worker-owned cooperative grocery stores. We no longer need to wait for or incentivize supermarkets to come to our neighborhoods. Public banks can support cooperative ownership structures by increasing the lending capabilities of local credit unions, community banks, and CDFIs.
Worker-owned co-ops like Arizmendi Bakery in San Francisco give workers an equal say and the benefit of running the store. Co-ops empower workers to have a direct impact in the working conditions and success of the cooperative business.
The city of Los Angeles can also run a government-owned grocery store. In Baldwin, Florida, the town of 1600 people opened their own store after their last grocer left. They became one of the first in the US to open a government-run store. Operating at a minimum margin, the store provides inexpensive food without worrying about making huge profits. Unlike for-profit, large food corporations, city-owned stores know what the local residents need and can balance prices with quantity. There is no incentive to only sell what makes the most money at the expense of community residents. Furthermore, they are accountable to the community and not the interests of a few wealthy private investors.
Climate Justice is Transit Justice
We can change our city's infrastructure to make it easier and safer for all of us to access the road from transit-riders, cyclists, drivers to pedestrians.
Our city has long relied on parking tickets to keep public spaces like streets, roads, and sidewalks safe. However, parking tickets disproportionately impacts renters, working class people, and Black and Brown communities. Obstructive parking is not safe, but giving excessive tickets doesn't solve the root cause of these issues either.
For a working class person, a parking ticket is expensive. Imagine you're a minimum wage worker and have to pay a $73 parking ticket. That's about 60% of 8 hours of work gone, all because you were 10 minutes late to move your car before street sweeping came.
During financial crisis, a $73 ticket can be life shattering. If you're unable to pay the ticket, your car gets impounded resulting in even more fees you can't afford. This is how our government traps people into debt.
It costs our city millions more more to enforce traffic and parking than it takes in from tickets. If the purpose of parking fines are to keep people safe rather than make the city money, then we need to reimagine what public safety looks like in a way that most efficiently uses public resources and is equitable.
Streets for All
Public safety looks like expanded and accessible public transportation. Our campaign is proud to sign onto Streets For All LA's 25x25 Initiative where we commit to giving 25% of street's public space back to the people.
We can make public transit a viable option for all by making it free, with more bus stops that have benches and shade.
We can expand and invest in free public transit as well as safe and secure bike lanes, pedestrian lanes, and more. We can create a city that is safe, livable, and equitable for all by creating policies that uplift and empower communities.
Climate Justice is Housing Justice
Do you know how many public housing units Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest city both by population and economic output, own? Just a bit over 6,500 units. With over 45,000 people on the waiting list. To put it into perspective, New York City, which is the largest in the country, owns nearly 170,000 public housing units.
The lack of affordable public housing units in LA has resulted in many Angelenos having very limited options for living in our city. Consequently, the majority of LA renters are rent-burdened with nearly 73% of households spending more than 30% their income on rent. Nearly half are severely rent-burdened, meaning we spend more than 50% of our incomes to pay the rent. The skyrocketing rent and lack of affordable housing has also fueled the worsening homelessness crisis with at least 41,290 Angelenos currently unhoused. As a renter and someone who has lived in rent-controlled apartment housing, this issue is personal for me.
Furthermore, poor communities tend to be housed in poor environments. In addition to the pollution from warehouses and neighborhood oil drilling that our communities are forced to endure, our homes are also surrounded by freeways. Watts is crossed over by two major freeways, the I-110 and I-105. LA's freeway system extends from Watts in South LA all the way to the Harbor region making our neighborhoods one of the most polluted in California.
The environmental racism inflicted upon our communities is not a coincidence, but a consequence of racist policy decision-making like redlining.
In the early 20th century, people of color were prevented by the government from accessing 95% of the city’s housing stock. Black folks only had access to the areas in South Central. Many of these redlined neighborhoods in South Central and throughout Southeast LA were also located near areas zoned for polluting industrial sites. As industrialization continued especially during World War II, more of these industrial sites were placed near these homes.
Today, we are still dealing with the generational consequences of industrial waste and pollution. I believe that housing is a human right and that no one in one of the wealthiest cities in the wealthiest country in the world should go without a home. I also believe that every human being has a right to a clean, healthy, and safe environment to live in. For the sake of our environment and the places we call home, we need a Green New Deal for Public Housing.
With a Green New Deal for Public Housing, we can tackle the housing crisis by creating tens of thousands more affordable, public housing units that are protected from the pressures of the private real estate market. We need a robust, social safety net for residents who can't afford the rents in the private market.
We can eliminate our emissions by implementing green retrofits of all needed housing repairs. This would also improve the safety, comfort, and living conditions of our homes.
We can increase the energy efficiency of our homes by, transitioning from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy and installing solar panels. This would also reduce our energy and water bills.
We can accomplish these goals while creating thousands of good-paying, union jobs prioritizing communities most impacted by environmental injustice.
The issue of protecting the environment, and combating climate change is also an issue of racial, health, and housing justice. With the rise of climate change, the conditions for our communities are expected to get worse as access to healthier environments are increasingly becoming unavailable and unaffordable.
As one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the country with a publicly owned utility, we have both a responsibility and opportunity to lead in transitioning our society into a carbon-free, environmentally sustainable economy.
However, such a major shift in the economy can jeopardize the employment of many workers. Therefore, we must have a just transition that prioritizes marginalized communities and protects workers. Clean energy jobs are the fastest and largest energy jobs in California making up 56% of the energy sector. Los Angeles has already created at least 146,394 clean energy jobs and with an increase in public investments, we can create even more. However, we need to make sure that these jobs are unionized. Labor unions provide major benefits for workers: negotiate better pay, employer benefits, collective bargaining, negotiating better working conditions, and more.
Due to the impact climate change and environmental injustice have on our environment, community residents, and workers, I will commit to working in collaboration with our community, labor, and impacted groups.