Los Angeles County Supervisor issued the following statement after the Board of Supervisors approved a $1.22 billion federal CARES Act spending plan:
“This nation faces a reckoning. Now, more than ever, people are coming together recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic is a symptom of our system’s failures, of institutionalized racism, and of decades of too little investment in our public health. The COVID-19 crisis paints a stark portrait of inequity where the results of long-term neglect in our communities of color can no longer be denied or minimized.
“This is gravely reflected in the disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases in the First District which I represent, which is comprised primarily of working-class Latinos. Approximately 27% of the cases countywide are in the First District, based on the latest data reported by the Department of Public Health on July 17.
“The CARES Act allocation from Congress provides us an opportunity to address the COVID-19 pandemic through an equity lens, ensuring we target and prioritize communities that have historically been underinvested and underserved. COVID-19 exacerbated so many longstanding disparities impacting our communities of color. Now is the time to tackle these issues head-on.
“With that in mind, we must continue to dedicate resources in communities with the greatest needs. It is not about divvying up resources equally, but rather distributing them equitably, with the realization that our communities of color have been systemically denied services and resources that have been readily afforded to other populations.
“The CARES Act allocation provides an opportunity to bolster—supplement, not supplant—these efforts. I am pleased to see many of the allocations I advocated for in today’s plan, including:
- $301 million, or approximately 25 percent, of the $1.2 billion will be used for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing;
- $160 million allocation to provide grants for small businesses and help employers comply with worker protection requirements, stemming from my motion on June 9. This will help to ensure people who return to work are protected at work.
- Funding must be directed to small local businesses, mom-and-pop shops, especially in disadvantaged communities, and not to large corporations.
- This pandemic has ignited widespread hunger. To that end, there is $85 million set aside for food, because no one in LA County should go hungry.
- $100 million has been allocated for rent relief, which includes eviction defense and expands on the efforts of a motion I had co-authored with Supervisor Hahn.
- $15 million for childcare prioritized for residents who are indigent essential workers.
“Lastly, I firmly believe that change is the one constant we can rely on in life. Change is within our grasp, reflected in the priorities demonstrated in this funding plan. We are in historic times where people, young and the not-so-young, have taken to the streets to chant in one voice that Black Lives Matter. Statues glorifying slave traders and colonialists have been toppled off their pedestals, ending a bygone era that denied that particular groups of people were given preferential treatment over others simply because of their race.
“Change is all around us, and it is also reflected in the funding plan we adopted today. It is a plan that rejects the labels of ‘us’ or ‘them.’ It recognizes we are all stronger when we stand alongside one another while extending a helping hand to our brothers and sisters in need. We remain more focused and driven when we embrace our diversity, our challenges, and our strengths in a unified voice. For a full list of the allocations I advocated for, please see my letter to the CEO by clicking here.
Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Director of Communications, email@example.com