When the average cost of a rental in Los Angeles is $2,500 per month, and the average price of a home is just shy of $1,000,000 – if you’re not super-wealthy, you’re super out-of-luck.
As Mayor, I will be a champion for working people, making sure that everyone pays their fair share, including corporations and the super wealthy, so that the working families and small businesses who make this city go can thrive. And here’s why:
I know firsthand what it feels like to live on the margins. Growing up, there were many months when my mother – who often worked more than one job just to make ends meet – didn’t have the money to pay the rent. When the landlord would come knocking on our door, she would raise a finger to her lips, and in a hushed voice she would say, “Shh, callense! No digan nada!” “Shh, be quiet. Don’t say anything.”
In my early twenties, I spent years living out of my car, relying on the kindness of friends for a place to stay, even sleeping on the floor of an office where I worked. I had a job – I just couldn’t afford to put a roof over my own head.
Since then, it’s only gotten worse for so many Angelenos. Most people in Los Angeles spend more than half their take-home pay on rent, if they are lucky to find a place they can afford at all.
This is not the Los Angeles that we all want. Whether you’re a teacher, a firefighter, a carpenter, a street vendor or a small business owner, you deserve to have a liveable, affordable Los Angeles. As Mayor, I will be a champion for working people – enacting my plan to put this city to work for all Angelenos by addressing inequality, and making sure everyone who lives in this city has access to affordable housing.
From containing rising rents, the cost of paying the monthly bills, and housing costs to helping small businesses recover from the pandemic, we’re looking at innovative ways to make this city work better for you.
Expanding homeownership isn’t just good for the homebuyer— it’s good for communities. It allows people to build equity and generational wealth, the type of wealth that builds financial security for families. The City of Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) has a First Time Homebuyers Fund, but it is massively depleted and helps only a handful of people every year. Kevin will supercharge this fund, making the dream of owning a home a reality for more working Angelenos, and leveling the playing field. Most importantly, this fund only pays off loans for people who stay in their homes for years, not speculators trying to make a quick profit.
For too long, developers have bought their way out of providing affordable units. By abusing exemptions, wealthy developers have been able to continue building expensive luxury units which sit vacant while working Angelos have to move to other cities to find a home. That’s why Kevin will mandate every new project approved contains various levels of affordable housing. In the Downtown Plan Update in Kevin’s district, he committed to requiring mandatory affordable housing onsite in every new project– and he will do the same for the rest of the City.
Our city has hundreds of commercial buildings whose heights have been kept artificially low through zoning. This type of “downzoning” by previous City Councils has blocked off prime, usable space for affordable housing and forced us to build “out” instead of up. By upzoning commercial corridors, we can– in conjunction with Kevin’s affordable housing mandate- add density and height in the areas that need it most, creating thousands of new units to replenish our affordable housing stock and give more people a chance to call LA home.
Small businesses have already been devastated by the COVID 19 pandemic– and so have workers. As President of the California State Senate, Kevin led the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. But as costs have increased, we need to make sure that the most vulnerable workers have some support – as well as the businesses who employ them. That’s why Kevin will cut fees and taxes for businesses who pay their employees a higher wage. Kevin will also, as he has his entire career, work towards increased unionization so that workers have the protections they deserve. Businesses will see a better bottom line as a result of supporting workers, and those workers will help move our economy forward. By helping businesses do the right thing and helping workers have more money to put back into our City, Kevin will unleash the power of small businesses to boost our economic recovery.
Los Angeles currently utilizes a gross receipts tax on businesses, and Kevin knows how hard this can be for small to medium sized operations. That’s why he has proposed a tiered gross receipts tax to lessen the burden on smaller businesses. The smaller the business, the smaller the percentage of tax they would pay. Small businesses are the beating heart of L.A.’s economy, which is why under Kevin’s leadership small businesses will have an ally in City Hall.
Public transportation should be safe, affordable, and integrated into our communities – without displacing Angelenos. Creating density around transit corridors means that not only can residents live near public transportation, but businesses in these areas have constant foot traffic. Commercial corridors will be built around transit lines to create an organic relationship between public transportation riders and shops along the route. Kevin wants to make sure that as we build out our public transportation infrastructure, we are planning routes and development together to move people around the City efficiently while giving local businesses a boost.
Kevin has a long track record on fighting climate change and is the author of some of the most consequential state greenhouse gas targets in the nation, which is why he understands how essential green industries are for our city to move into the future. From solar panel installation, to permeable pavers, to weatherizing houses, green industries can provide good, union jobs that provide a pathway to the middle class. Currently, Los Angeles has a 4 mile Green Corridor in downtown to serve as home to the CleanTech which will drive the City’s future economy. Kevin will expand this area and work with both industry groups and trade unions to attract these CleanTech businesses to our city. Finally, Kevin will create a pipeline of vocational schooling and apprenticeships with local unions to make sure the best in these new fields come from Los Angeles, and he will require Labor Peace Agreements so that workers and employers have clearly outlined rights and benefits.
California law allows for cities to operate public banks. A City Bank of Los Angeles– the first of its kind in the nation– would allow for micro-loans to small businesses, and give a chance for those who cannot be underwritten in typical banks, like green card holders, the chance to access capital. A public bank can offer much lower interest rates and has much more discretion in how they assign loans. This is an idea which already has support on the Los Angeles City Council, and amongst progressive leaders like Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago. Kevin knows that this could level out the playing field for many small businesses, which is why he wants to make it a reality and give small businesses the boost that they need to help grow our economy.