Los Angeles, April 11 – Candidate for the L.A. City Council and Venice Neighborhood Council President Jim Murez 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.
Murez is running in the primary to represent the 11th District in the L.A. City Council.
Below are Murez’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?
Having been diagnosed with a learning disability at a young age, I am personally aware of how our schools can fail students with challenges more mainstream students may not face. School districts must fully embrace the education of students with disabilities and stop treating them like potential lawsuits. Many of the LAUSD’s schools are undergoing renovation and new construction and our school campuses are massive construction sites with little or no attention being paid to how students can navigate the chaos. The LAUSD and the City must abandon the history of tokenism they’ve utilized to populate advisory committees and commit to the total meaningful inclusion of the disabled into all levels of policymaking, oversight and compliance.
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? What steps, if any, have you taken to make your campaign accessible for people with disabilities and to ensure that our voices are heard?
My campaign is actively recruiting members of the disabled community to join us in our effort to take back City Hall from the downtown special interests that stymie meaningful reform and effective city government. Once elected, I plan to bring the community into my efforts to regain citizen control of the vast City bureaucracy that has a history of dragging its feet or outright noncompliance with issues of inclusion and accessibility
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 fully support building as much affordable and permanent supportive housing necessary to house all who need and are willing to accept the help; and providing long term temporary housing (hotels, etc.) to those suffering from a job loss or some other short term economic challenge. However, we’ve got to address the situation of people with serious mental illness and substance abusers who are living unhoused on our streets and beaches, in our parks and under our freeways. This is a public health crisis and these people must get the medical and mental health treatment they need at once. Today, not next week, next month or next year. Today. Criminals living on our streets pose an immediate and direct threat to our disabled neighbors. We’ve got to consider our safety too.
4) Other Priorities: What other policies that impact people with disabilities are you ready and eager to work on? What is your plan to involve your constituents with disabilities in key decision-making processes?
Getting the mentally ill homeless safely off our streets and into treatment, cleaning up our neighborhoods, restoring quality education to our classrooms, cracking down on government waste and inefficiency, protecting and preserving our environment and making the City of LA a leader in the fight against global warming and climate change. Looking forward to working with anyone who shares my vision for our city.
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.