Hahn and Villaraigosa discuss community issues

Daily Sundial

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Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn and mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa campaigned with One LA/IAF members, a non-partisan institution, to address issues, such as safety and housing, May 1 at Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles.

A diverse five-member panel of leaders dialogued with each candidate on a few issues.

One LA/IAF is an institution composed of congregations, schools, unions and non-profit organizations throughout Los Angeles. Last year, members of One LA-IAF drafted an agenda called Standing for Los Angeles Families.

The agenda pinpointed the issues that most concern the Los Angeles community, said Pastor Richard Martini.

“After long months of deliberation, we came up with four issues that Los Angeles residents are most worried about,” Martini said. “These issues are crime and safety, affordable housing, education and health.”

Hahn said he plans to work with One LA/IAF, and committed himself to working toward improving conditions in Los Angeles.

“We really are one L.A.” Hahn said. “I am glad that the City of Los Angeles did not break up in little pieces.”

Hahn said crime in Los Angeles had decreased by 27 percent, but acknowledged it was not enough. He said he plans to work with the Los Angeles Police Department to get more police on the streets.

Hahn also said he is working on creating a $100 million trust fund, which will give an incentive to contractors to build affordable housing in Los Angeles.

Hahn said the mayor should also play a more direct role regarding charter schools.

“The mayor should have the ability to charter schools,” Hahn said. “I plan to put more books in schools and charter at least five schools every year.”

Villaraigosa also expressed his commitment to One LA/IAF.

“This is not a campaign process,” Villaraigosa said. “I know how important it is to have a safe neighborhood. It is important to know where one came from to know where they are going.”

Villaraigosa said that if elected mayor, he wants to put more police officers on the streets and at schools, to deter interracial violence on local campuses.

“I want to provide a safe passage from school to home,” Villaraigosa said. “We need to also focus on teaching diversity at schools every day.”

Villaraigosa also said he plans to use property the city already owns to build more housing. He said he does not support the current plan the City Council is facing regarding inclusionary zoning, because he said he feels the plan does a poor job at providing incentives to contractors.

Candidates also discussed topics that have not been as widely addressed during their campaigns, such as trash and waste disposal.

“I am tired of the trash, waste and pollution in the San Fernando Valley,” said Susie Vejar, a San Fernando resident.

Both candidates responded to Vejar’s testimony by committing themselves to stopping the expansion of the Bradley Landfill and any proposed transfer station. Both candidates also said they plan to work with One LA/IAF to find an alternative to the current trash and toxic waste disposal.