I am an all-purpose activist and will fight where I can make the greatest difference. In the last five years, I have focused on the housing crisis—the #1 issue in LA County. Over 70,000 Glendale residents are rent-burdened tenants who live on the edge of becoming homeless, and I have worked to keep us housed. Throughout the pandemic, my friends with the Glendale Tenants Union (GTU) and I have advised our fellow renters of their rights under ever-changing emergency housing laws passed by the federal, state, county, and city governments.
- Back Rent Repayment Plan: On October 20, 2020, I convinced the Glendale City Council to align the city’s plan for the repayment of back rent with the state’s plan, which made life simpler for both tenants and landlords.
- Tenant-Landlord Committee. I worked with the Coalition for an Anti-Racist Glendale, GTU, and the City Council in 2021 to make this committee a reality, so we can discuss and resolve issues in an open and fair way. Their first meeting was held on March 23, 2022.
- TOPA or Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act would introduce a new model of affordable housing, where tenants can buy the building they live in and share ownership of tenant-led limited equity co-ops. This would allow tenants to build equity instead of paying rent, with nothing to show for it at the end of every month.
- Right to Counsel—Tenants should have legal advice, especially for eviction cases, because tenants who show up in eviction court without an attorney lose 98% of the time.
- Anti-Harassment Ordinance. The pandemic has seen a 300% increase in harassment cases, which can be hard to prove. Let’s pass a law that defines and bans harassment, like LA’s recent law.
“It’s a Wonderful Bank”
Someone told me that saying public bank would put people to sleep, so I refer you to the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which does a beautiful job of showing how a community bank can help people buy their own homes and start small businesses.
- Imagine cutting the cost of large public projects in half—we could do this with a public bank! Half the cost of a large infrastructure project is paid in interest on bonds, so for a $400 million project, Glendale could save nearly $200 million by financing it with a public bank instead of bonds.
- A public bank would also save the City millions of dollars in bank fees every year.
- A bank with a mandate to serve the public will help tenants finance the purchase of tenant-led limited-equity co-ops and offer financing to historically underserved groups to start and expand small businesses.
City government must reflect the needs of the people who live here.
- Council Districts. The current system of electing the City Council produces 5 out of 5 Councilmembers who are homeowners in north Glendale. Let’s change this to a district system so that all areas of the City will be guaranteed representation in every election.
- Campaign Finance Reform. Let’s expand the public financing of campaigns so that more working people and middle-class people get their voices heard in City Hall, by matching contributions from small donors.
- Ethics Commission. Last year, the City Council passed a Code of Conduct for City Councilmembers and Commissioners. Let’s take the next logical step and form an Ethics Commission to investigate conflicts of interest and keep our city officials honest.
Racism runs far more deeply through the structure of our society than the way an individual might treat another individual. The Sundown Town resolution passed by the Glendale City Council on Sept. 15, 2020 recognizes this fact by showing how racism has historically been expressed in Glendale’s housing practices. Many of my policy proposals address specific ways in which historical racism can be corrected with housing, banking, and government reforms. For example, 75% of white households are homeowners but only 42% of Black households own their own homes, nationally; let’s create policies that correct this imbalance, like TOPA. That is the job of a politician, after all—to translate stated principles into policies that affect our daily lives, and I am happy to work with the Coalition for an Anti-Racist Glendale to build a city that welcomes diverse voices.
Water is the first issue that took me to the Glendale City Hall in August 2017, in the company of water activists from Food and Water Watch. I was amazed that ordinary citizens could request meetings and discuss issues with City Councilmembers—who are just people, after all. And all people need clean water!
It’s a miracle that most of us are living here today, because local water sources would support only one million people. Ten million people live in LA County today thanks to water imported by aqueducts.
- Let’s plant more trees that our grandchildren will enjoy in 50 years, especially in South Glendale.
- Water for our trees—and humans—should be free of PFAS and microplastics. I’m also interested in working with the Metropolitan Water District on projects to store and reuse local stormwater.
I am 48 years old and I don’t know how to drive—this fact astonishes people, especially around LA. I have always lived in or near large cities like Honolulu, New York, and Boston, and I relied on public trains and buses to commute to work. I have never owned a car and do not need one to move around the city. Most of all, I love to walk, and you really get to know a city when you consistently walk around it. A big reason why I moved to Glendale is because I can walk to everything I need in about 30 minutes—that includes regular walks to and from City Hall, even when City Council meetings end at unpredictable hours of the night.
The people who will work hardest on issues are the ones who live them every day, and walking and public transit are part of my daily life.