In her first meeting as Los Angeles City Council President, Nury Martinez said Tuesday she intends to focus on families and work to decrease the city’s homeless population, an effort that could begin with an assessment of local agencies that handle such issues.
“We face tremendous challenges here in our city, challenges that demand us to lead with a sense of urgency,” Martinez said. “The working people of this city are doing everything they can to ensure that they keep a roof (over) their heads, but it’s still not enough. Our children are living with parents who can’t guarantee whether they’re going to be able to have a home next month. As public servants, we have an obligation and a purpose to help them.”
The newly minted council president introduced several motions Tuesday, which are part of her “Families First” initiative that includes reevaluating the city’s role with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and reviewing the city’s Homelessness Strategic Plan.
Martinez also introduced motions to create incentives for businesses to hire foster youth who are transitioning into adulthood, to create a way for more women to be hired by the city, to create an internship program for low-income youth and to create a revolving loan program that would help people pay for essential items to prevent them from becoming homeless.
When asked by reporters about what will be the difference between her presidency and that of former Council President Herb Wesson, Martinez said there would be some noticeable changes.
“I’ve made that very clear. I have a different style and approach to solving issues,” Martinez said. “I think it comes from being a woman and perhaps from being a mom. I just don’t have a lot of patience for not getting things done.”
In contrast to commonly unanimous votes under Wesson’s tenure, Martinez said she is “not afraid of having an 8-7 vote on any given Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday.”
Martinez is the first Latina to ever serve as Los Angeles City Council president.
She was first elected to the City Council in 2013, and at the time she was the only woman serving on the panel. According to her office, she helped lead the effort to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, and she created a task force and increased efforts to help women who are used for human trafficking to escape and get the assistance they need.
Martinez has her own “Green New Deal” agenda that is focused on environmental justice for low-income and communities of people of color communities that historically suffer from pollution.
Martinez said she also will continue to be “relentless” in seeking public safety, transportation and clean street resources for the families of the northeast San Fernando Valley.
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