Community advocate Gina Viola spent years organizing around LGBTQ rights with Aids Project Los Angeles. She also was a mentor and board member for the organization Girls & Gangs. She has more recently turned her focus toward racial and social justice work.
LAist sent a multiple-choice survey to every mayoral candidate on the ballot for the June 7 primary, starting in April. LAist sent out more than 30 questions to every mayoral candidate who was actively campaigning for the June 7 primary. Categorizing their responses was a challenge, and there was a lot of agreement and overlap among the candidates. We ultimately focused on 12 questions that we think help to distinguish their positions on key issues. You can review Viola’s positions below. And you can read her full, unedited responses to the questionnaire here.
L.A.’s “anti-camping law” (Municipal Code 41.18) bans people who are unhoused from camping on public property close to locations such as schools, parks, libraries, and underpasses. Should it be kept as is, repealed, or changed?
Keep it as is
Keep it, but expand support for those experiencing homelessness
Change the law, or change how it's implemented
It should be repealed. It is a human rights violation.
I believe the primary cause of most homelessness in Los Angeles is…
A history of racial inequity in housing and wealth
It’s not that simple. It's a complex problem that includes issues like housing costs, addiction and mental illness, racial and social inequity, and a crumbling social safety net
The history of 20th century U.S. housing policy is wealth building for white people and wealth extraction for Black people in particular and people of color in general. Until we reckon with this fact, we will never eradicate houselessness.
Do you agree with Angelenos who say that the large number of people living outside makes the streets less safe?
Yes, the homelessness crisis makes everyone less safe
Yes, but most significantly for the people living on the streets
It is the most unsafe for the people who have been forced to live on the streets.
Who should build housing for the unhoused community: the city or private developers?
The city. The public/private partnership has resulted in our tax dollars being transferred to the private sector
Both. We need an all-hands-on-deck approach with support from public and private partners
We need to focus on temporary stabilization, not permanent housing
The city! The public/private partnership has resulted in our tax dollars being transferred to the private sector.
I believe the biggest barrier to building more affordable housing is…
Red tape, funding challenges or bureaucratic hurdles
NIMBYism ("Not In My Back Yard")
Restrictive zoning, and having no requirement that new developments include affordable units
The growing number of private equity firms involved in the process has made securing financing for developers more difficult
The amount of private partners who've become overly involved in the process. I've spoken to developers of low income housing who've told me the difficulty that is had securing the funding from the various income streams that are beholden to private equity firms.
Should the Los Angeles Police Department remain at its current size of 9,500 sworn officers, should it be downsized, or should it increase?
Increase to full authorized force (around 9,700)
Increase to 10,000 or more
Keep the same
It should be downsized. Have you seen the response to a person having a mental health crisis? I've routinely witnessed as many as 10 vehicles with 20 officers and even a helicopter respond.
The current LAPD budget of $1.76 billion represents almost 16% of the overall city budget. Should LAPD funding stay the same, increase or decrease?
Stay the same
It should be decreased. This number [16% of city budget] is not inclusive of the LAPD's full budget number of $3.2 billion which is just less than half of the city's unrestricted budget. A budget of this size leaves nothing left to invest in the health and well being of our city in the form of youth development, community development, childcare, healthcare and job training.
Is it possible to reduce crime in the city without increasing the LAPD budget?
Absolutely. Healthy, resourced communities are safe communities.
Media investigations have found that LAPD officers have disproportionately stopped Black drivers, and were much more likely to search Black and Latino drivers. Do you believe racial profiling is a problem?
I believe that LAPD should be removed entirely from traffic stops.
District Attorney George Gascón came to office on a progressive agenda that includes fewer prosecutions for low-level crimes. What statement best reflects your opinion of his agenda?
Broadly aligns with my beliefs
I disagree with some of his agenda
I think he should be recalled from office
California is in a chronic drought. Which of the following strategies most closely reflects what you think should be done at the city level to improve individual water conservation?
Increase DWP rates
Encourage voluntary conservation, but be willing to enforce rationing
Individual water use is not the right intervention point
Promote conservation, but also secure our local water supply by modernizing our infrastructure, recycling water, capturing rain and stormwater, and using native or drought-tolerant plants
Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Los Angeles. Where do you see the biggest opportunity to lower those emissions?
Convert all city transportation to electric or hydrogen
Expand public transit
Help Angelenos live closer to their work to reduce transportation within the city
Make our streets safer for pedestrians, expand our electric vehicle network, and electrify our bus fleet
We must reduce our over dependence on car travel in this city. It is time for us to invest in our public transportation systems and make them truly public by making them free! By properly funding and investing in public transit, Los Angeles can become a healthier city.
Credits & Support
- Brianna Lee
- Caitlin Biljan
- Austin Cross
- Maloy Moore
- Kyle Stokes
- Frank Stoltze
- Camila Thur De Koos
- Karen Wang
- Ethan Ward
- Ross Brenneman
- Brian Frank
- Oscar Garza
- Megan Garvey
- Paul Glickman
- Tony Marcano
- Rebecca Nieto
- Ariel Zirulnick
- Melissa DeMund
- Diana Chu
- Will Welch (The City: NYC)
- Nathaniel Beaver
- Jerome Harris
- James Evers
- Dan Carino
- Arantza Peña Popo
- Jon Cohn
- Tony Federico
- Kristen Payne
- Rebecca Stumme
This coverage was made possible through support by the Committee for Greater LA in partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Weingart Foundation.
Special thanks to The City, which originally conceived and developed this project for voters in New York.