I pledged to work toward a better Lakewood, for all, three years ago.
Issues of inclusion and equity are very much part of that. Active work to end racial disparities has been important to me for years.
Racism and racial disparities are real crises. This is why public health experts, who warn of the need to deal cautiously with COVID-19, have also been supportive of Black Lives Matter protests. Social equity and public health are inseparable issues.
Being proactive is the best approach to both. On June 15 I recommended review of Lakewood’s policing policies and several reforms, along with my at-large city council colleagues. These reforms reliably improve safety for communities, and for officers of departments which implement them. They can be an excellent beginning toward a safer and more just Lakewood for all.
I am grateful for Mayor George’s commitment to involve her entire administration in support of solutions. There’s much more to do, with public safety policies and with broader efforts for a welcoming, inclusive community.
Diverse housing options are critical to a diverse community, for example, and conversion of some of Lakewood’s more-affordable housing to high-end apartments requires new options.
A proposal for part of St. Clement’s Parish is a model for better development. The developer has talked to residents and designed for the local neighborhood; the plan will add 16 new townhomes to Lakewood; the design will support Lakewood’s storm runoff containment; and formerly tax-exempt land is now re-zoned, contributing to the city’s budget.
Waste management is another area where I’m taking a proactive approach. Apartment residents want better access to recycling and composting, and our city is developing ways to include them.
In July, council will take up a resolution designating St. Charles Green a park. Protecting the public’s access to green space is a basic, every day way to promote equity for Lakewood. The complexities of this property have taken time to work out, but that effort is ready to pay off.