Los Angeles, March 25 – Candidate for the L.A. City Council and community advocate Elisa Avalos has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.
One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are approximately one million people living in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area with some form of disability.
Polls show that the majority of voters have either a disability or a loved one with a disability. Voters with disabilities and their families are up for grabs – and the actions campaigns take to reach out to these voters can make the difference between winning and losing.
Avalos is facing off against incumbent Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez to represent the northeastern San Fernando Valley and the City Council’s 7th District.
Below are Avalos’s unedited responses:
1) Education and Skills: What steps will you take to ensure that students with disabilities of all backgrounds have what they need to succeed?
As I’m sure you know, pushing items through school districts is very difficult and can be extremely frustrating for those who need immediate help. I am a fan of cutting through the bureaucracy whenever possible and focusing on working directly with organizations who know their own issues better than most. ALL kids must have what they need to learn and feel included in those pursuits. I will not legislate from an ivory tower. It takes all of us together to make a great society.
2) Access and Inclusion: Whether or not you have a formal platform, what specific plans do you have to incorporate the voices of people with disabilities into your decision-making processes, if elected?
I love a good discussion where people sit down with mutual respect for one another, and carefully and meticulously hash out all the details together. Governing by “Twitter” needs to end. I want to hear all the voices of our communities. This is why I decided to run as a no-party candidate in an attempt to leave partisan politics at the door.
What steps, if any, have you taken to make your campaign accessible for people with disabilities and to ensure that our voices are heard?
We have not been able to host many events due to our community based grass roots campaign with a limited budget, but we made sure the ones we have held were accessible. (BTW, any volunteer help would be greatly appreciated!)
3) Homelessness, Poverty, and Equity: What is your plan to address homelessness among your constituents, to work with other organizations to address the issue in the region, and to coordinate with other municipalities to create more affordable and accessible housing?
I intend on addressing the elephant in the room. Our County, State and Federal governments need to fund modern long term mental health care facilities in order to solve the homelessness issue. There is an estimated 60% of our homeless population who need long term care. There are several categories of homeless that need customized programs in order to address their specific needs. The City of L.A. is wasting billions on ineffective programs. The solution has to be interactive, with experts, organizations and community members having seats at the table.
4) Other Priorities: What other policies that impact people with disabilities are you ready and eager to work on?
I have a healthy respect for law enforcement and I am very excited to hit the ground running and push for community policing programs.
What is your plan to involve your constituents with disabilities in key decision-making processes?
We need to hear from those who are affected in their everyday life. It seems ridiculous to not involve constituents with disabilities in these talks. But then again, there seems to be a lot of apathy and ridiculous behavior coming from our City Council.
RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates. View more coverage of 2022 candidates.