September 28, 2021 - From the September, 2021 issue

Candidate for LA Mayor Jessica Lall’s Priorities & Promise to Act on Homelessness

Earlier this month, Central City Association president & CEO, Jessica Lall, announced her candidacy for Mayor of Los Angeles. In this brief TPR interview, Lall shares why she's running and offers a 7-point action plan for addressing LA's acute homelessness and affordable housing crisis. Lall promises to harness the full breadth of resources and power in City Hall to implement a holistic and humane approach to the city's most pressing challenges. 


Jessica Lall

"My approach to homelessness, and all its complexities, is founded upon three values: 1) Everyone deserves a safe place to call home; 2) We need to account for the experiences of all Angelenos; and 3) Our streets and sidewalks are not meant to be anyone’s home."—Jessica Lall

Jessica, share why you are now running to be LA’s next mayor? 

I’m running to be your next mayor of Los Angeles because the city is ready for a change. I bring a new kind of leadership that is fueled by creativity, inclusivity, and action.

As a mom, I share the concerns about being able to raise a young child in this city. And as a working mom, I know how to manage many responsibilities and will bring a no-nonsense problem-solving attitude to City Hall. 

I also know the impacts that mental illness and substance abuse have on loved ones. I refuse to accept the status quo and will treat the human suffering we see in our shared spaces like a personal matter.

And your proven leadership experience?

I’m a proven executive leader with a track record of getting things done. As the President & CEO of Central City Association, a group that represents over 300 organizations, I know how to bring people together to find common ground.

As a biracial woman of color, I found my home in this city that welcomed me for exactly who I am. I pursued my dreams in LA and was able to make something of myself. Now, it’s time for me to do my part to ensure that the spirit of LA endures for generations to come. 

My experiences have prepared me to be your next mayor and to tackle homelessness from day one. Despite good intentions, our government institutions have failed to adequately address the housing and humanitarian crises plaguing our city. More and more people are turning to tents when they need homes, and our systems cannot meet the demand for housing and care.

What do constituents, from your campaign’s research, want from LA’s next Mayor in terms of priorities and leadership?

We need informed, consistent and aggressive leadership that will take a holistic approach to our crisis and relentlessly push a coordinated strategy. I am prepared to deliver on this. 

My approach to homelessness, and all its complexities, is founded upon three values: 1) Everyone deserves a safe place to call home; 2) We need to account for the experiences of all Angelenos; and 3) Our streets and sidewalks are not meant to be anyone’s home.

And your action plan?  

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As your next mayor, I will put my values into action through this seven-point plan:

1. Direct a consistent citywide strategy to get people off the streets into safe environments where we can properly identify their individual needs and get them the support and services needed – rapid rehousing, substance abuse programs and more. We must match people with the right intervention.

2. Push for more recovery housing, like recuperative care beds, that help people in mental health crises stabilize. We will modify our affordable housing programs to get this specialized housing built fast.

3. Bring in outside expertise to advise on the creation of our own city public health department, which will give us the authority to serve Angelenos with urgency and care.

4. Support a full spectrum of housing - shelters are the beginning, not the end - Angelenos are eager partners, and we need to take the burdens off their shoulders. We shouldn’t ask a property owner to lend their site to the city for shelter but hold them responsible for all the legal consequences of construction and more. And we must expand the pool of developers that can build permanent supportive and affordable housing by making changes to our zoning and financial incentives.

5. Seek the best legal expertise to unravel the complicated world of past settlements, current lawsuits, and legal interpretations so the city can reclaim its ability to serve our most vulnerable, as well regulate our community spaces. I will ensure the city moves from playing defense to offense and commit to not signing policy until it has been reviewed by a constitutional legal expert. 

6. Address criminal activity. We will not allow criminals to continue to prey on the most vulnerable and make our neighborhoods unsafe.

7. Hold people and government accountable by using the bully pulpit - and the mayor’s power to hire and fire - to aggressively hold people and other levels of government accountable and demand adequate resources whether it’s calling on LA County to increase general relief, or on the federal government to provide new housing vouchers.

And, before closing, what other issues will be priorities?

How our city moves forward on homelessness will dictate how we move forward on every other issue including ensuring an equitable economic recovery from the pandemic, addressing the lack of housing supply and affordability and making sure our city is safe for all Angelenos. While we urgently work to implement the seven-point homeless action strategy I just described, we must apply that same energy to addressing the systemic failures that feed the homeless pipeline. We must work to end poverty, address racial injustice and level the playing field.

I am ready to get to work for you and for Los Angeles, and I hope you will join me. If you would like to learn more about me and our campaign, visit my website jessicalallformayor.com. Have feedback on the seven-point plan? Please email me at jessica@jessicalallformayor.com.

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© 2021 The Planning Report | David Abel, Publisher, ABL, Inc.