“I fight for my community,” said LA City Councilmember Jan Perry to a group of about 25 esteemed API community leaders at Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment’s (CAUSE) third ‘Visions for LA’ event held in Chinatown on Thursday, May 24th.
Perry, a third-term councilmember, represents LA’s Ninth District, which houses a diverse group of communities that include Bunker Hill, Little Tokyo, and South Los Angeles. As mayor of Los Angeles, the self-described “African American Jewish woman who speaks Spanish” said that she would continue fighting to improve communities by creating jobs, improving education, and providing affordable housing for families.
“When you look at the issues that are on the table right now, such as budget cuts and tuition increases, you’re blocking up the pathway for people to be upwardly mobile,” Perry said.
In addition, she plans on making Los Angeles a more business-friendly city by fixing the current budget crisis and pension problems.
“Leadership starts at the top, the Mayor is the Chief Executive Officer and you can exercise that leadership in a focused, consistent, and direct manner,” said Perry. “You interact with people and understand what their needs are, not only from a small business perspective, but from a larger perspective of bringing in jobs, keeping jobs, making sure people have an opportunity to work, and making sure that people can come into the city and do business.”
Perry also addressed the redistricting issue, stating that this year it was more complex to re-draw the lines because they were multicultural on both sides. She made headlines for her dissent over the controversial new lines that were approved by the LA City Council in March. While she fought hard to keep her district together, she lost the majority of the communities that made her district unique.
“Our city has forgotten the devastating effects of disenfranchising communities,” said Perry, in an editorial with Bernard C. Parks. “It's time to learn from our history, address the improprieties of the current redistricting process and do the right thing for the benefit of everyone in our city.”
Under the re-drawn lines, the Ninth District lost Little Tokyo, Skid Row, Civic Center, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Music Center, Grand Avenue and Bunker Hill. The Ninth District will keep Staples Center and gain USC and Exposition Park.
Despite her loss, she said that she still has a loyal base of people who will mobilize on her behalf during her run for mayor. She also said that in addition to a strong base of supporters in the African American community, she has an unexpected base in the Latino community. With this, she plans to add Asian Americans to her list of supporters, as she sees the API vote as “very, very, very, critical” to her success.
“Those are still my communities, and I’ll be reaching out to everybody’s community: Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Cambodian… I have to reach out to everybody, and I will. It all adds up and nobody should be taken for granted,” Perry said.