Holly Mitchell was sworn-in to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Sunday, December 6, 2020. However, she says that between moving out of her Senate office, moving into her new Supervisors office, hiring a full staff, getting brought up to speed on exactly what’s going on in the 2nd Supervisorial District, thanking voters and supporters and the holidays, all while remaining socially distant, she really didn’t get down to business until January 1, 2021.
With Mitchell’s “let’s get down to business” personality the newest member of Los Angeles County’s all-female Board of Supervisors didn’t waste much time doing the people’s business.
“Obviously, my office has been working diligently to get up to speed and to get help to the people in my district. It’s about equity and justice for those who so desperately need the resources the county can provide to combat this pandemic,” said Mitchell. She says that equity in resources is her main focus. She points out that the residents of her district have been disproportionately affected by Covid. She says her constituents are the people on the front lines.
“We are the health care providers, the grocery store workers, the service providers the people who most often are affected by this pandemic,” said Mitchell. “But, we are not getting our proportionate share of the resources. We need more testing, more vaccines because unfortunately we are also the ones most often dying from this disease.”
Mitchell succeeds Mark Ridley-Thomas in representing the Second District, which runs from Wilshire Center to Carson, from Mar Vista to Lynwood. Mark Ridley-Thomas, who now serves as the Councilman for Los Angeles 10th Council District, left his seat because of term limits and Mitchell defeated former L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson to become the second African American Female to hold the high-powered seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
She knows that the seat she now sits in has a lot of influence, but she also realizes that because of the diversity and tremendous gaps between the haves and the have nots in her district, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. While responding to the pandemic is the major issue today in her district, she also realizes that economic empowerment, quality and affordable housing, and community concerns about gentrification are only a few of the other major issues her office will need to address.
Mitchell served almost 10 years in the California Legislature, three years in the California Assembly and seven years in the California Senate. During that time, she was one of the most progressive political leaders in the state. She was a powerful voice for criminal justice reform, an advocate for youth in the foster care system, and fought for greater services for those with mental illness. In the senate, she served as the chairperson for the powerful budget committee and was the key leader in fighting to keep funding in place for Martin Luther King Hospital when so many hospitals were targeted for major budget cuts in response to the fiscal challenges brought on by COVID-19.
Mitchell sees her role as a Supervisor much like she saw it as a member of the State Senate. “My job is to bring resources and opportunity to my community,” said Mitchell. She says that she has always been an advocate for those less fortunate. A very similar role as the one she played before she ran for elected office as the executive director of Crystal Stairs, a local non-profit organization committed to helping parents find childcare, training childcare providers on how to nurture and educate young children, and helping parents and providers bridge the affordability gap with child care subsidies.
When asked about housing in the county and people concerns about gentrification, Mitchell does not bite her tongue.
“We need to say to Black and Brown people to stop selling your homes,” said Mitchell. But, while that answer alone may not be something people want to hear, she does have a plan. She says that in order for us to maintain communities of color we have to understand and have a transition plan. We have to educate our people on what it takes to buy a home, maintain a home, have an estate plan and understand what effects not having a plan will do to our families, our communities and our future.
She says that she wants to provide incentives to homeowners to build accessory dwellings that low- and very-low-income tenants could rent, by reducing property taxes through subsidies or reducing or eliminating construction fees. She also wants to find ways to have more landlords accept rent vouchers.
Lastly, she wants to address economic empowerment by assuring that the developers and people building developments within our community look like the people who will buy, occupy and operate businesses in our community. She says that “economic empowerment needs to come from within. We have to create economic opportunities for people in our community to be in the lead roles of development, that is a key factor in how we can move forward and uplift our community.”
Mitchell also talks about creating a land trust. A public/private partnership which can purchase properties (at market rate) from sellers, transfer the property into the trust and then make the property’s more affordable for those in the community at re-sale.
Mitchell ran a campaign she described as based on “creating a more equitable, inclusive, and prosperous L.A. County” and touted her accomplishments in 10 years in the state Legislature, which included passage of a package of criminal justice reform bills, and other legislation providing for transitional housing placement for foster youth to help prevent youth homelessness and extended access to mental health care services.
Holly Mitchell has very little energy for wasting time. Whether you start her clock on December 6th or January 1. Since ramping up, she has been doing the people’s business from day one. She has already taken local, state and federal government to task calling for an equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. She has also advocated for additional resources to be provided to the youth home where David McKnght-Hillman was brutally killed. She has pulled together members of the faith community to aid in a countywide movement to prevent and combat homelessness and she has pushed to expand protections for small property owners and wants to create pathways to homeownership for communities hit hardest by COVID-19.
Either way you look at it. Holly Mitchell is up to speed and running hard. She knows there is a lot of work to do and she is ready, willing and able to respond for those in need and those who need help the most.