Table of Contents
The UN’s 2030 climate goals were outlined for every major city and Los Angeles is not on track to meet them. To achieve a sustainable and livable city, we’ll need to act comprehensively and with urgency. Increasingly common and severe heat waves, fires, drought, and air pollution are products of years of inaction. CD1 has always had a very high population of Latinx residents, migrants, and low-income communities of color. As a result, residents have been disproportionately impacted by environmental racism, displacement in the name of development, traffic deaths, and other results of our failure to invest in a more livable city.
We must reach our goal of becoming a zero-carbon emission city, and we can get there through utilizing public and private sector unions and increasing the labor force. A fair and just transition is a powerful and effective strategy to address both our climate goals and the need for good union jobs.
To advance environmental justice in CD1 and across Los Angeles, my office would develop community-driven processes for major projects around infrastructure, development, and planning. Community members should not only have access to necessities like housing, parks, safe roads, and transit, but also be actively engaged in shaping their city.
Intersectionality in Environmental Justice
PART ONE: TRANSPORTATION AND PUBLIC SPACE
We must seriously begin to redesign the way we get around. Given the option, Angelenos will walk, bus, bike, scoot, and train to get around if they are able to do so safely and conveniently. At every opportunity I will work with the LA Metro board, the City Council’s Transportation Committee, and other public and private entities to increase our investment in public transportation and street safety. I am committed to the goals outlined in Vision Zero and beyond.
If elected to serve as CD1’s councilmember, my priorities will include:
I. PROTECTION FOR PEDESTRIANS, TRANSIT RIDERS, AND BICYCLISTS
294 individuals lost their lives in traffic-related incidents on the streets in 2021, a 20% increase over the previous year. The incumbent councilmember Gil Cedillo has demonstrated time and time again his disinterest in the safety and health of the residents of CD1, recently pulling protected bike lanes that were promised.
► CD1 experiences high rates of traffic deaths. I would launch a community review process of dangerous intersections and advocate for redesigning the most impacted areas.
► Biking is a fantastic alternative but our current infrastructure does little to protect riders. I would work with transit advocates such as Streets For All and review planning bike lane installation as well as look for additional corridors where we can implement safe transportation options in District 1.
► Closing off major streets to build walking plazas for business patronage creates neighborhoods with more amenities where residents have to travel less for the things they need.
II. IMPROVING THE ACCESSIBILITY OF PUBLIC TRANSIT
Although the LA Metro is not under the purview of the City Council, we cannot become a truly equitable and environmentally-minded city without removing and lowering the barriers to accessing public transit. Recently, LA passed on the opportunity to permanently extend the fare-free bus program that was implemented at the beginning of the pandemic. This was a mistake.
► I would support and advocate for fare-free transit at every opportunity. Additional funding for more buses, upgrades, and maintenance could be redirected from fare enforcement to improve services and buses for Angelenos.
► City Council offices have a Street Furniture budget to address the need for bus shelters and other public amenities on our city streets. I would utilize my funds to implement more covered bus shelters, bike racks, and structures that provide supportive comfort and accessibility for people using alternatives to driving. This includes restoring our urban canopy to lower the temperature of the street and provide shade for pedestrians.
► The LA Department of Aging and the Department of Disability utilize free, application-based shuttle services for senior and disabled Angelenos. I would advocate for expansion and improved outreach around these programs to lower barriers to accessibility.
► My office would support LA Metro with outreach around new programs such as Metro Micro to grow a local option for publicly-owned rideshare services.
III. EXPANDING GREEN SPACES, PARKS, AND RECREATION CENTERS
CD1 only has 2.7 acres of green space per 1,000 people. Wealthier areas have as much as 53.3 acres of green space per 1,000 people.
► I would partner with the LA County Health Department to update the assessment of access to green space in CD1.
► Direct the CAO to identify publicly-owned land not suitable for housing but potentially suitable for micro parks or green spaces.
► Tour the community centers of CD1 for an inventory of needs to improve programs for young people, seniors, and families.
PART TWO: TRANSITIONING AWAY FROM FOSSIL FUELS
I. ACCELERATING THE CLOSURE OF LA’S OIL WELLS AND ENGAGING PUBLIC AND PRIVATE UNIONS TO CONDUCT ENVIRONMENTAL RECLAMATION AND REMEDIATION OF OIL SITES
There is a 4 mile strip of 854 oil wells known as the “Los Angeles oil field” that runs under the Vista Hermosa community spanning between CD13 and CD1, but is mostly in CD1. These wells are currently under residential neighborhoods and have been poisoning Angelenos for decades due to improper capping. It is well documented that wealthier and whiter neighborhoods have been able to push oil and gas out of their communities. The lasting impact of these sites in BIPOC neighborhoods is environmental racism that must end now.
► As councilmember, I would do everything in my power to cap all abandoned wells and create job programs and “Just Transition” opportunities to remediate the land. I support the Stand LA demands with proactive urgency.
► My office would ensure that we engage in thorough environmental reclamation before building on toxic soil. In the past, LA has not taken the appropriate measures to ensure environmental health and safety on land for new projects. Our city built a new women’s jail on land with valley fever spores, and York Park was built on a gas facility.
II. IMPLEMENTING A “JUST TRANSITION” FOR LOS ANGELES
Given the economic impact of the past couple of years, an influx of millions of high-wage and economically secure jobs would make a major impact on the workers of LA.
► Prioritize a Just Transition process to transfer jobs that maintain oil wells to jobs that shut down oil wells and remediate the land.
► Retrain oil and gas industry workers to retrofit our buildings and reclaim and clean our land. 4% of the buildings in LA use 50% of the energy, so even by targeting our efforts we can make a huge impact.
► Address urban heat islands, which would also bring in an influx of local labor and community projects, by ensuring the growth of vegetation and trees in CD1.
PART THREE: INTERSECTIONALITY IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
It is imperative to intentionally incorporate the values of environmental justice and equity into advocacy efforts, committees, leadership spaces, and movements surrounding racial and gender justice, criminal legal reform, and the building of housing.
I. HOUSING JUSTICE AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Housing and urban living infrastructure is a core way to address both our housing crisis and our climate goals. Los Angeles has the power to direct our housing, growth, energy grid, and urban design toward sustainability and reduced consumption.
► Prioritizing development near transit hubs. LA needs deeply affordable housing and dense, transit-accessible urban areas have significantly smaller footprints than sprawling suburban-style areas.
► As mentioned in our Housing Platform, reducing energy demand by improving energy efficiency for all homes and energy retrofitting for older homes. Decarbonizing municipal buildings to make the city’s building stock carbon neutral will be an important aspect of tackling the climate emergency over the next 30 years. However, the initiative could hurt renters if landlords pass on the costs of decarbonization to tenants. Considering that 67% of the rental housing stock in Los Angeles is owned by corporate investment vehicles, the owners should absorb the decarbonization costs.
► Address urban heat island (which would also bring in an influx of local labor and community projects) by ensuring the growth of vegetation and trees in CD1.
II. ADDRESSING THE INTERSECTIONALITY OF ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
► Disabled people make up more than 25% of the US population. What we see locally and nationally is that disabled people are significantly impacted by environmental pollution, especially if they are BIPOC. Additionally, discriminatory housing and zoning laws have forced disabled people to live in areas closest to environmental hazards. In office, I will seek the input of disabled people in discussions and committees working on policies related to environmental justice, housing, planning, and the budget.
► Indigenous peoples should be at the forefront of the conversation on environmental practices and the micro and macro solutions we can implement. My office will proactively co-govern with indigenous leaders and environmental advocacy organizations that uplift indigenous leadership.