We’re facing unprecedented times. I’m running for city council because it’s time for an unprecedented leader.
Photo: Linda Rapp
Three years ago, I ran for city council on a progressive agenda that was unapologetically bold and far-reaching, from homelessness to housing justice to community policing. That year, our campaign reframed the conversation around working families and our city’s most vulnerable residents.
Since that time, I have worked tirelessly to help the people who need it most. My principles as a staunch Democrat drive what I do.
As a founding member of Mobile Workers Alliance, I have worked for fair pay and employee benefits for Uber and Lyft drivers. I fought the LA County Board of Supervisors’ attempts to legalize the unconstitutional imprisonment of our unhoused residents suffering from mental health issues. I personally collected thousands of signatures from Burbank voters to put a rent regulation measure on the ballot and to block the construction of yet another luxury hotel, all while raising my disabled son.
This is personal.
These aren’t just political issues to me – they’re personal. As an Uber driver, I’ve watched my wages fall with no union to protect me or negotiate on my behalf. As a formerly homeless Burbanker, I know the anguish of sleeping in a car every night. Many employers won’t hire me because I’m autistic, and those that do rarely make accommodations. For these reasons, I have always been behind the eight ball, struggling to keep up. If not for a helping hand when I needed it most, I easily could have fallen down a different path.
My political advocacy is based on paying that help forward: From my early days of
protests against forced institutionalization to working as Community Manager at Disability Action for Hillary in 2016, I have put my talents toward helping others.
I’m a committed Democrat, and I believe in the power of organizing. I’ve been a SAG-AFTRA member since 2006, and I’m also a member of SEIU 2015 and a dues-paying member of DSA-LA. I have served on the Burbank Transportation Commission since 2017 and on the Burbank Advisory Council on Disabilities since 2018. It is through these networks of advocacy that I will tackle the issues facing our fair city.
Burbank’s biggest opportunities
In Burbank, our biggest challenges are the housing crisis and homelessness, our vanishing small businesses, unfair wages, traffic and speeding, and outdated environmental policy. Our city needs to focus on building affordable housing and finally selecting a location for a homeless shelter. In addition, we must do everything in our power to protect the mom & pops that are the heart & soul of our city’s economy, especially in Magnolia Park.
Also, I believe Burbank needs to go back to its roots as a union town and fight to raise wages for all our working-class residents. Furthermore, we must reduce pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities in our high-traffic areas and combat incessant speeding on the hillside, while stewarding safety for all modes of transportation. Lastly, it’s time for Burbank to be a leader in green energy.
Together, we can do all this and more.
My pledge to you
I do not take money from corporations, corporate PACs, property developers, realtors, landlords, fossil fuel executives, or police associations. I believe it is unethical for a politician to accept financial help from an individual who might have future business before the city. A city council member’s only job should be representing the interests of the public.
Illustration by Tom Lamb Maps
Why I’m running
There was a time when I would scour the info pages of a candidate, just as you’re doing now, wondering who this person is and why they’re running. For too long, I waited on the sidelines for someone else to step up and fight for those most in need. After much encouragement from family and friends, I realized I had the experience and qualifications necessary to be that fighter who will lead with kindness, collaboration, and creativity.
My kindness is modeled after my mother’s, who emigrated from Greece in 1977. I saw how she struggled with a new language and culture and yet still made time to raise three children with love and compassion. I learned to collaborate with others in every job I’ve had, starting as a teen working at a pharmacy for my father. My creativity was forged on the stage of improv comedy over the last 20 years. My experience and my drive give me the tools necessary to succeed in this race and in our council chambers. But, I cannot do it alone – I need people like you in this fight with me.
For the first time ever, we will see our city council election on the same ballot as the presidential race. That means more Burbank voters than ever before will weigh in on who leads our city and what we stand for as a community. For our campaign to win, we have to build a solidarity movement of working-class Burbankers to enact a sweeping progressive agenda and make the real changes that all of us deserve.