LOS ANGELES - Council President Nury Martinez introduced her Elevate LA agenda to tackle systemic inequality, from the home to our city planning, at today’s meeting of the Los Angeles City Council.
“As we begin year three of this pandemic, it’s clear that the city can't set aside the work that we’ve set out to achieve until this pandemic ends,” said Council President Martinez. “We can’t wait to turn Los Angeles into a city that works for everyone. Inequality persists throughout the world, but as leaders in the City of Los Angeles, we have a duty and a responsibility to do everything we can to prevent it here. For Angelenos to succeed we must be a city that uplifts all. Together we must Elevate LA.”
In an address to the full Council, Council President Martinez laid out a comprehensive agenda to tackle inequity across the city and introduced a series of motions to begin working on breaking the cycle of poverty. In Los Angeles, one fifth of all children under the age of five live in poverty. Today, Council President Martinez announced a massive goal for the city: to end family and childhood poverty in Los Angeles by 2035.
“We are failing our kids, and we are failing the future of our City. As leaders we must take it upon ourselves to actively work to break the cycle of poverty in this city,” said Council President Martinez. “No child should go to bed at night after overhearing their parents’ conversation, wondering if they will lose their home. We owe that to the children of this city.”
Council President Martinez also announced a commitment to making the City a more “mom-friendly” workplace. A long time advocate of a Families First agenda, Council President Martinez recognized that the City, as well as the private sector, needs to make changes that accommodate working families.
“The current state of this city requires both parents to work out of necessity,” stated Council President Martinez. “Yet the cost of childcare can consume nearly one parent’s entire salary. We need everyone to step up - public and private sector - to make the workplace more mom-friendly.”
Council President Martinez also announced a plan towards building generational wealth through homeownership. In her address, she noted Los Angeles’s unaffordable housing market and recognized the historic racial biases that led to low homeownership in communities of color. Currently, less than half of Black and Hispanic households own homes, as compared to 74% of White households. To begin tackling the impact that racism and poverty have on homeownership, Council President Martinez introduced a motion to create pathways to homeownership including creating new financing tools to help low income property owners to upgrade and build additional units on properties.
“Today the typical home value in Los Angeles is nearly three times that of the nation’s and we have hundreds of thousands of Angelenos who are on the verge of losing their housing every year,” stated Council President Martinez. “We need to keep people in their homes, build more housing people can afford, and create homeownership opportunities. Everybody loves the American Dream, but we need to make sure the American Dream includes everyone.”
Inequity in Los Angeles is evident, not only in socio-economic status and individual assets, but in community resources as well. Throughout her speech, Council President Martinez reaffirmed her commitment to developing Los Angeles into a more liveable and equitable city. Many cities around the world have found success by creating cities that are more accessible on foot or bike. While establishing the Council’s priorities for the 2022 session, Council President Martinez declared a commitment to ensuring Angelenos have equitable access to resources across the City–no matter what neighborhood they’re in. “The challenges we face today demand that we lead with a sense of urgency,” said Council President Martinez. “Angelenos shouldn’t have to drive to the next neighborhood to go to the grocery store for healthy food, or get in their car and drive over 20 minutes to go to the hospital. We must work to create a Los Angeles where no matter where you live, you have accessible resources in your community. Los Angeles needs to work for everyone.” In addition to a Citywide approach, Council President Martinez acknowledged the opportunities available now within her district and put forward two motions to begin building a more liveable City in Van Nuys. The first motion would add more green space to the Van Nuys Civic Center, acknowledging that the region surrounding the Civic Center is park poor and lacks the green spaces that other parts of Los Angeles are flush in. The second motion put forth by Council President Martinez would instruct the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and the Department of City Planning to report back on what improvements can be made to Van Nuys so that it is a more liveable and accessible area for all Angelenos.
Click here to see all Elevate LA motions introduced today.