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What Does Voting Do For South Central?

Voting in the 2018 midterm elections became a trending topic thanks to social media. For those who rebuke President Donald Trump, it was a chance to illustrate their disdain of our current administration at the polls.

It was cool and important to see Black celebrities and even Barack Obama champion behind Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum for the vote of Black America. It is amazing to see how close these two candidates came to making history as the “first” in 2018, thanks to the centuries of purposeful exclusion of African Americans. 

It is important to have representation in politics. If these Black political candidates do not have ideas or even the will to address the economic plight of inner cities across the U.S, then these Black faces are useless to Black America who voted them into office.  

The conditions of the South Central neighborhood that I was born and raised in is horrible. When I asked one of the representatives from my city councils field office if the councilman had any economic redevelopment plans for South Central he responded, “Well by Exposition Park….” I was surprised, but not really, understanding politics. I replied that USC area [Exposition Park] is cool and all, but I am specifically talking about 3 miles north, in the heart of South Central which was seemingly neglected.

Clearly the councilman was focused on areas where the money and investors were. 

On the Fall 2018 newsletter, the councilman is seen on the cover in photo ops riding bicycles down Figueroa near USC. Bright, colorful photos posed near USC’s magnificent architecture with other Los Angeles political figures. If they traveled 3 miles north down the same street at night, they would see young Black and Latinx girls strolling the block.

The area surrounding USC is popping and all, but Figueroa has always been synonymous with prostitution. 

USC is literally in the backyard of South Central and if you drive a short distance, you will be in the most economically deprived parts of Los Angeles.

A new stadium was finished last year on the fringes of USC’s carved out space. To the south you have Black and Latinx folks living on the fringes of society who are barely getting by.

This is why poor Black people feel their votes don’t matter. Nothing in their community changes, even with a Black face in office (word to Obama).

Thank God Compton has mayor Aja Brown, who is doing a wonderful job bringing new developments to a city that historically had been marked by inner city violence.

I went away to college to escape a community in squalor. When I finished and doubled back to tap in with my roots, the degradation of my community was appalling and it was obvious that conditions had gotten worse.

We need to know the plans of Black people we are electing into office to move our communities forward, or the community needs to come together to develop their own plan and ideas to present to their local city council. We can not be reactionary voters, but proactive in envisioning true change in our communities.

About slausongirl

Slauson Girl is a South Central native who has a love for journalism, history and all things Hip-Hop. She holds a B.A in Critical Race & Gender Theory & a Minor in Journalism.

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One comment

  1. You mention in your post that if you traveled “3 miles north” on Figueroa, visitors would see a completely different scene. I believe you meant south, because 3 miles north and you would be in the heart of Downtown LA.

    I would like to draw your attention to the inequity of the homeless crisis that South Central/South LA bears. First, a little history. In November 2016, LA City voters approved Measure HHH by a little more than 77% of the vote, a $1.2 billion dollar bond measure, intended to alleviate the homeless crisis. Four months later, voters approved measure H, a quarter cent hike in the sales tax to tackle the homeless crisis throughout the county (and in the City of LA).

    I voted against Measure HHH and Measure H. Why? Because Measure H contained no language that required the entire city to pitch in to solve the homeless crisis. Let’s face it, the homeless come from everywhere, all parts of the city, state, and country. Yet, most of the shelter and temporary homeless housing is located in Skid Row. As DTLA has gentrified, it has pushed those homeless further and further south into already poor, but hard-working neighborhoods of South Central. Wealthier parts of the city gladly voted for a bond measure to help homeless, so long as the homeless were shipped out of their nice neighborhoods. Proof?

    A year ago, the Mayor of LA asked all 15 council persons to identify and create 222 “emergency shelter” units. A year later, and the inequity is stark. According to a site maintained by the United Way of Greater LA, Councilman Curren Price (District 9, about 13 sq miles) has approved 366 “emergency shelter” units, which is 144 over the minimum requested by Mayor Garcetti. This is on top of an existing 182 emergency shelter units already in the district.

    Compare this to District 12, which includes communities of Northridge, Chatsworth, and wealthy Porter Ranch. The district is about 60 sq miles. According to the United Way of LA, it has under 100 “emergency shelter” units and has not approved any new units.

    Please tell me how a district that is more than 4 times smaller, agrees to house almost 400% more homeless than a district that is bigger and wealthier? Moreover, why would Councilman Curren Price agree to making his district even more impoverished than it already is? We are one city, our victories should be shared, but so too are the burdens.

    Sources:
    LA City Measure H: https://ballotpedia.org/Los_Angeles,_California,_Homelessness_Reduction_and_Prevention_Housing,_and_Facilities_Bond_Issue,_Measure_HHH_(November_2016)
    LA County Measure H: https://la.curbed.com/2017/3/8/14855430/los-angeles-election-results-ballot-measure-h
    United Way of LA tracker: https://everyoneinla.org/supportive-housing-tracker/
    LA City Council Districts Map: http://navigatela.lacity.org/common/mapgallery/pdf/council_districts/CDindex_8.5_11.pdf

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