ONE BIG THING: PREPARING OUR CITY FOR THE NEXT STORM
Last weekend, we saw firsthand how our City’s infrastructure is unprepared to deal with major storms, the increasing effects of climate change, and other potential disasters like earthquakes.
Power Outages - Folks were left in the dark both literally and figuratively: enduring extended power outages without any information about when their power would be restored.
Why it Matters - We received multiple messages from elderly constituents and folks on ventilators who didn’t know whether to make arrangements for other accommodations because of the extended outages.
At minimum – it’s a major inconvenience for residents. But for some, it can literally be a life or death situation.
Unhoused Neighbors - While our team was able to coordinate with Councilmember Hernandez to open 159 Emergency Winter Shelter Beds at Glassell Park Recreation Center for this storm, that additional capacity is nowhere close to what is needed across the City to accommodate the number of unhoused individuals forced to live on our streets during this deadly weather.
Why it Matters - This is a humanitarian crisis. An average of five unhoused people die on our streets everyday. During these storms, that number was likely much higher.
The Key to Fixing it? Follow the Money - Decades of disinvestment in our critical infrastructure, continuing to today, have led us here. We must realign our priorities as a city to focus on the real needs of our communities.
As a start, we seconded a motion from Councilmembers Raman and Yaroslavsky for DWP to report back on:
- The main causes of power outages by area, their responses, and recommendations on better systems for future weather events.
- Whether their staffing levels and operational strategies are adequate to respond urgently, and how they can improve operations.
- How we can improve data collection, outage notifications, and public communication.
We’re also continuing our work to expand Winter Shelter capacity along with increasing the city’s stock of affordable and permanent supportive housing.
Our office, City Council, and the City of LA can all do better to respond to what our neighbors need in times of crisis, and we are committed to leading that work in District 13 and citywide.
Two More Quick Hits!
1. Safety on Metro
In the coming months, the Metro board will decide on a path forward for making the system safer and more welcoming to riders. Instead of doubling down on the failed approaches of the past, we think it’s time to listen to Metro riders and invest in things that will actually make our system better and safer, like:
✅Homelessness outreach teams, drug treatment and mental health services
✅Cleaner Metro stations with bathrooms and maintenance workers
✅More unarmed safety ambassadors
✅Vendors at Metro stations to provide a more welcoming and vibrant atmosphere
✅More frequent service
2. Bus Shelters to Protect Vulnerable Riders from the Elements
This week, the LA Times Editorial Board pointed out that just 23% of bus stops in the City of LA have shelters. With 560,000 people riding Metro buses everyday, it’s unacceptable that we don’t provide them with benches to sit on or shelter to protect them from the wind, rain, or heat as we face the increasing costs of climate change.
That’s why we passed a motion directing StreetsLA to report on a list of all bus stops in CD13 without shelter, and a plan to install shelters at all of them. Stay tuned for more updates when we receive the report!
Meet Our Team
Planning Director Emma Howard
We are thrilled to have Emma Howard join our team as Planning Director for District 13. Emma comes to our office with over a decade of experience in land use planning for the City and County of Los Angeles, as well as experience at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, working on the first Cultural Plan for New York.
She will be overseeing our planning, capital projects and transportation team as we focus on creating new affordable housing in CD13, preventing displacement, and increasing mobility and street safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and bus riders.