The draft Democratic Party platform doesn’t speak forcefully to the concerns of ordinary people. So we asked a group of Angelenos known for their community activism and progressive politics to propose planks they’d like to see included.
Executive Secretary-Treasurer, LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
We think it is critical for the Democratic Party to embrace immigration reform and amnesty. If you’re going to organize in LA, you’re going to organize Latino workers. We want to assure Latino workers that we’re in their corner doing battle with them on issues that affect them. Not just amnesty, but the whole issue of immigration, because it sends a strong message to immigrants that they count. Right now we have a backlog of people awaiting processing to be US citizens–600,000 in LA County alone.
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Member, Los Angeles City Council
The widening gap between rich and poor is probably the fundamental question, but neither party wants to address it, because both are getting campaign contributions unlike anything they’ve ever had as a result of that disparity. We have a statistic in LA that just boggles the mind: The top fifty individuals control more wealth and money than the bottom 10 percent in LA. In the last century, when they saw that there was a need to industrialize America, there was significant investment in public education and job training to make that happen. We aren’t making those investments now.
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Executive Director, Communities for a Better Environment
Al Gore has not made any statement on environmental justice or on the fact that Congress has forbidden the EPA from processing Title VI complaints under the Civil Rights Act. If you look at environmental degradation and microscope down into California and LA, it’s the Latino constituencies, who are mostly low to moderate income, that are worst affected in terms of industrial pollution, environmental policy and lack of enforcement. We see politicians talking about jobs or talking about crime and education–all of which are important–but one of the things they fail to realize is that environment has an impact on crime, poverty and low educational and social achievement.
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Attorney and lecturer
I would like to see the candidates putting forth a vision of what they see this nation doing in trying to advance the concern of peace in the world. There are a number of places in the world where that is breaking down; and given the state of technology, we do have the capacity to destroy the world as we know it. Arms-control agreements aren’t spoken of, and they’re so critical at this stage, given the number of places where conflict could break out, and where race relations and ethnic relations come into play.