Why are you interested in this position?
I am running for Long Beach Mayor because I want to bring the same spirit of unity, collaboration, and innovation that helped transform North Long Beach by bringing neighborhood, labor, businesses, and clergy leaders together to improve economic conditions and bring educational opportunities. I have the experience as Vice Mayor and regionally, and have led on several city wide initiatives including adopting our COVID-19 recovery plan, funding public safety institutions, and building our city’s only homeless shelter. I’ve worked everyday to make Long Beach a better place to live, work, and play and will work hard to deliver for our residents so everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
What relative experience do you have in this career field?
As Vice Mayor I helped navigated the city's most complex challenges, from homelessness to COVID-10 response. In addition to serving as the city’s Vice Mayor, I am the Immediate Past President of the Southern California Association of Governments and a South Coast Air Quality Management District Board Member. My roots in public service stem from Leon Panetta as a participant in the Panetta Institute and from my time as Student Body President of Cal State Dominguez Hills. After college I became a community organizer, and at 25 bought my first home in North Long Beach, becoming the first person in my family to own real estate. I soon after began serving as Chief of Staff to Councilmember Steve Neal, before being elected to City Council in 2014, the youngest in our city’s history.
What are 3 changes you would like to make while in office?
Establish a local mental health bureau to address the mental health and homelessness crisis occurring our community.
Appoint a Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Recovery focused on our economic recovery and seeking additional opportunities for economic growth in Long Beach.
Make our neighborhoods safer, healthier, and more secure by investing in public safety, community resources, and inclusive economic development.
What are your top priorities for small businesses ?
Securing additional COVID-19 recovery funding specifically for small businesses and ensuring the delivery of those funds.
Streamlining and modernizing our permitting program including creating a fully online one-stop portal for all permitting and licensing needs.
Updating and strengthening our BIDs with more resources to beautify and maintain business corridors across our city.
What are your top 3 goals or concerns for District 3?
Address the homelessness and mental crisis.
Improve critical infrastructure including streets, roads, waterways, and trees in need of repair.
Implement proactive public safety resources that will keep our communities safe.
How would you address people who are concerned about the City and States Affordable Housing plan and its impact on their neighborhood?
As the immediate past president of the Southern California Association of Governments, I had an opportunity to be on the frontlines during conversation between the State of California and local government leaders when discussing our regional housing assessment numbers. The truth is that with the stringent standards the state has put upon us, we will need to build more housing, including more affordable units. It is important to know that we can do this while maintaining community character.
Do you have plans to strengthen Homeless Outreach Programs such as the Quality of Life Team, Project Homekey/Roomkey, etc...? Do you have ideas of your own you would like to implement?
I am proud to have been a citywide leader in our discussions around addressing homelessness in Long Beach. I am proud to have successfully built the Atlantic Bridge Community in North Long Beach, serving 125 people every day, which will soon expand into a comprehensive campus with services, workforce training, and more.
As part of the Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative, I proposed the creation of a mental health crisis response team called REACH to help people experiencing homelessness. REACH teams are best practice alternative response models composed of a public health nurse, a mental health clinician, and two outreach workers to appropriately address the needs of those experiencing homelessness.
As Mayor, I would use data to inform all of my decisions around expansions to our quality-of-life teams, and I am very supportive of creating more affordable housing through project homekey and roomkey programs. I believe to truly address homeless, however, we need to look upstream. When we conduct our point and time homeless counts every year, we often find that half of those on our streets are suffering from mental health challenges and others are there due to economic issues. My platform includes creating a dedicated mental health bureau in our city that can use a localized approach to address issues before they end up on our streets, and invest in economic inclusion efforts that stop community members from falling into poverty in the first place. By finding ways to create more affordable housing units, expanding our homeless outreach efforts, and addressing the early risks that cause people to fall into homelessness, we have a comprehensive plan that will have positive impacts on all neighborhoods.
What plan do you support/propose for The Queen Mary?
I am a supporter of the city keeping the Queen Mary as a city asset. I know this is often a charged topic, but what we know is that it will take approximately $110 million to decommission the ship completely. If we invest roughly the same amount of money in the ship, we can revitalize the area, bring in the tax dollars to expand city services, and preserve what many consider to be a city landmark for the next 25 years. This needs to be done with diligent oversight, and consistent evaluations to ensure every tax dollar is being spent in a way that is transparent and consistent with the goals of the project.