There are many issues that Angelenos face, such as bad access to public transportation and housing insecurity. Even air conditioning is unobtainable to some.
The Day of Politics brought Los Angeles City Council & Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) candidates to Building 600 on Nov. 8, where they discussed what they would do if elected in a Q&A for Pierce College students.
The event was split into two sessions, with District 2 LA City Council Candidates debating in the first session and LAUSD School Board District 3 Candidates debating in the second.
Among the partners and participants were PTA District 3, Pierce College ASO, the League of Women Voters of Greater Los Angeles (LWV) and Political Science professor Denise Munro Robb.
“It’s good having all the students. They are learning about politics, which is my jam,” Robb said.
The debates were moderated by Rita Zwern from the LWV.
The questions ranged from topics involving public transportation, affordable rent and housing, climate and poverty.
In addition to the opening questions regarding issues of this election, students submitted flashcards with their own questions to the candidates.
One of the candidates for CD2 was Jillian Burgos, a self-described grass-roots progressive. If elected, she wants to build housing near Metro stations.
“Housing is my passion,” Burgos said.
CD2 candidate and State Commissioner Sam Kbushyan is a product of community college, once attending Los Angeles Valley College.
“I share a lot of values that help people like you,” Kbushyan said.
Housing and environmental advocate Manny Gonez said that the L.A. government is broken and that unions matter.
“I represent change, and I am an environmentalist,” Gonez said.
Marriage and family therapist Jon-Paul Bird is running on a platform that states that City Council needs a mental health professional. When asked what they would do to mitigate climate change for front line communities, Bird said that air conditioning should be a right.
Student coordinator for the Faculty Association of California’s Community Colleges Logan Fisher said he was grateful that the candidates were brave enough to show up and speak about what they are running on.
“Notably, there were some candidates that weren’t here. The candidates that did show up demonstrated courage,” Fisher said. “If you are not willing to face the public, then why should we elect you?”
Fisher also hopes that they have more public forums at Pierce.
Pierce clubs were present at the event, including the Pierce Democrats, LAPC Psychology Club, the LAPC Climate Change Awareness Club and LA Pierce College Pre-Law Society.
Founder of the pre-law Club Isaiah Magaña said that the one thing he held onto was when the candidates talked about homelessness.
One thing that was touched on briefly, very touch-and-go, was re-infrastructure in the community to break the cycle of poverty,” said Magaña while wearing a white wig. “I feel like we should try and uplift the people at the bottom to make them just as strong as they are at the top.
Those who were not able to attend the debates in person had the option to watch over Zoom.
Students were encouraged to register to vote before leaving the event. Election day is March 5, 2024.