1. Metro bus ridership has dropped 25% over the last 10 years, as Metro has largely failed to provide quality and frequent bus service to transit-dependent communities including those in South and Central Los Angeles. It is clear that a wide network of frequent, reliable bus service utilizing bus-only lanes is a critical solution for low-income residents who depend on transit. If elected as supervisor, would you use your position on the Metro Board to support bus rapid transit projects prescribed by Measure M, and work with cities to aggressively implement bus-only lanes?
Yes – Bus ridership has fallen by 25% and bus speeds have decreased by 12.5% (link). Bus lanes are a safe way to increase bus ridership, reduce traffic, and benefit the environment.
2. The lack of safe infrastructure in the Second District means that people on foot and on bicycles are especially vulnerable to being killed or injured while moving around their communities, including the late Frederick “Woon” Frazier, who was killed by a hit and run driver in South L.A. What would you do as a Supervisor to prioritize safe mobility for low-income residents and students who depend on active transportation options?
As Supervisor, I would advocate for expanding protected bike lanes across the county, specifically, in low-income areas and near schools. There also needs to be dialogue about the unique concerns communities of color face when cycling with the board of supervisors and the related county departments and commissions. To achieve this, I would work with cyclist coalitions in the Second Supervisorial District to highlight the specific areas of the county that tend to be more dangerous for cyclists. I would also work with the Department of Public Works and Transportation to create wide surface, lighted, barrier-protected tracks along busy streets throughout communities in theSecond Supervisorial District.
3. This past summer Metro incorporated Equity Focused Communities into its Equity Platform to prioritize the needs of low-income residents and households with low vehicle ownership. On the Metro Board, would you put meaningful financial resources behind the Metro Equity Platform and fund projects that improve mobility, access, and safety of these communities?
Yes – Transportation options need to be accessible to all communities. We know that a lack of access to transportation prevents residents from getting to work, school or being able to explore other parts of the county. A 2015 Harvard study suggests that areas without access to public/mass transit experience the highest levels of poverty (link). It is vital that we invest in the Metro Equity Platform so it can make a real impact and live up to its name.
4. Gentrification is a major issue facing many communities across the District, especially where new transit investments are being made, such as along the Crenshaw Line. Metro’s power relative to individual cities lies with Metro’s power over funding. As a Metro director, how would you use funding incentives and existing programs (e.g. the Business Interruption Fund, Joint Development program, and Transit Oriented Communities program) to encourage cities to protect existing tenants and produce affordable housing, particularly near new transit investments?
We need more affordable housing that doesn’t displace communities who are marginalized. I would work to ensure that the Joint Development program is equitably distributing Metro land for housing and holding developers accountable for building a fair percentage of affordable units to help meet the needs of surrounding communities. To protect existing tenants we have to ensure there are strict provisions to prevent forced evictions along with providing loan options for renters through California’s newly formed public bank. Our housing crisis requires us all to commit to build for all. This means housing nears transit, housing with built-in supportive services, housing that consists of shared living spaces, etc. I believe that we can ensure black communities and other communities of color that have historically been on the short end of the stick for development are able to receive their fair share of housing. This is what the county is capable of and what I am committed to doing as Supervisor.
5. Far too many Angelenos face barriers in their access to public space including on public transit. For example, many Metro riders—but especially women—face high levels of harassment from other system users. At the same time, teens and young men of color are too frequently the victims of police brutality for simply existing in public spaces. In 2017 and fed by the false narrative that more policing provides more safety for riders, Metro directors approved a 5-year, nearly $1 billion security contract which has expanded the presence of armed police on trains and buses. What will you do to address the issue of harassment on Metro services and what would you do to build a relationship of trust between communities of color and law enforcement?
Public spaces must be inclusive for all Angelenos. Building trust between the police and community members takes time and can be done through forums where police officers address community concerns. Security funds can be spent on expanding surveillance on busses and trains to protect folks from harassment and hold officers accountable.
6. Metro CEO Phil Washington has called for congestion pricing to fund free transit in the Los Angeles region. A) What are your thoughts on Congestion Pricing and would you seek to expand Metro’s ExpressLanes program? B) Do you support making transit in Los Angeles County free?
I agree that congestion pricing should help fund free transit. We have to make sure the community is at the table on how we roll out congestion pricing and prioritize which areas receive funding from revenue earned. All options need to be considered for improving the quality of our transportation services and decreasing the cost of public transit for under-served communities. I would be open to expanding our Express Lane program contingent on having an equitable plan for how the revenue earned will be invested into communities that are in close proximity to highways and whose residents are more likely to take rely on public transit. I also support making transit in Los Angeles County free and more accessible for students and low-income residents.