Addressing the historic and ongoing disparities that exist in our city is one of my campaign priorities. One way we directly address racial disparities across income, homeownership, and incarceration, is to bring the percentage of city contracts awarded to African-Americans from below 1% to a representational percentage of city contracts, which would be around 16%. Pulling from my experience working with the Lawyers’ Committee Under Law’s Minority Business Program, I would bring forth a resolution authorizing a Disparity Study to review the effectiveness of the city’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program within the Purchasing Department. I would stand with community members in calling for the mayor’s office to establish a program, similar to that in Nashville, where the recommendations of the disparity study inform a multi-year process for eliminating racial disparities in city contracting.
To create homeownership at lower income levels, I would introduce the idea of community land trusts established by charter that would allow residents to purchase a home separate from the land, thereby creating truly affordable homes that are not subject to market forces. Community land trusts create a more sustainable vehicle for cities to create long term affordable housing while also providing a mechanism for building wealth among low income communities. Cities can play a valuable role in providing the administrative and financial support needed to establish community land trusts. The controls provided by a community land trusts ensure that the city's investment in affordable housing remains available for low-income homebuyers for generations to come rather than our current model of incentivizing developers to build housing that will turn market rate after 10, 15, 20 years.