Los Angeles, April 30 – Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles Mel Wilson 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.
Wilson is running in the nonpartisan primary for Mayor of Los Angeles.
Below are Wilson’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?
My first step is to make Los Angeles safe from violent crime, safe to travel on LA streets and sidewalks and offer help to Angelenos that are mentally ill, homeless and that are suffering from drug addiction. I will fund up to 1,500 additional patrol police officers along with 350 mental health experts (caseworkers). I will increase funding to install more street and pathway lighting around school campuses in LA.
Reinstitute a dedicated Metro policing agency. Metro ambassadors, customer care specialist and sworn patrol officers will board the buses, trains, and platforms. Patrol officers will regularly patrol bus stops to add a transit safety element for all transit riders.
I will take actions to create housing that is affordable, reducing overcrowded living conditions. I will fund additional lighting near school campuses. We will focus on maintaining compliance with ADA mobility regulations. My team will identify sidewalks near school properties and make necessary repairs and replacement of broken and damaged sidewalks are a high priority.
My budget and plan invest in children, youth, and families. We will hire 75,000 part-time high school students and offer a bonus pay of $3 per hour upon each student’s completion of their required course work at the end of the semester. I will fund childcare subsidies for low and middle-income households. The less you income you make, the higher the childcare subsidy.
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?
I will include the voices of people with disabilities in my administration at the highest level (serving in the mayor’s office, in leadership positions on my staff and on commissions that I appoint.
My campaign for the most part is operating on a virtual platform. Accessible via the internet and other telecommunication systems. Although I often interact with Angelenos in person, I have a strong presence on social media.
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?
My plan is to create 30,000 supportive homeless shelter beds giving people who are suffering from homeless temporary housing, while transitioning them to permanent supportive housing. The 350 mental health experts I hire, will be deployed on the streets and homeless encampments throughout our city. We will first assess the condition of those suffering from the effects of being homeless. Our homeless shelters will offer treatment for mental, dental, and public health and drug addiction.
My plan is to work with the public, private sectors, nonprofits, and faith communities to provide supportive housing with wrap-around services. Create incentives to build housing and mixed-use commercial developments located near public transit.
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?
Offer disabled people training for green jobs that are being created because of the actions I will take to fight the effects of climate change. I will integrate Autonomous Intelligence (AI) in communications, and operating systems. My staff, commissions and advisors will be composed of able and disabled people.
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.