March 18th, 2020
Dear Representative Adam Schiff of California’s 28th District,
The uncertain times we face as a nation are leading us to a crisis of which millions of Americans can and will be exposed to CoronaVirus. In combating the effort to hasten its spread, quarantines and lockdowns are starting to become the new normal. In the case of the city of Los Angeles, Mayor Garcetti and Governor Newsom have ordered the shutdown of bars, restaurants and large event venues. Social distancing is a new normal. Yet even with this, due to the lack of preparation our government had in regards to this pandemic, it is certain we are headed for a country wide lockdown. This inevitability has many Americans, in particular the millions such as myself living paycheck to paycheck, terrified at the possibility of falling behind on bills, not having money to provide food for themselves and their families, and to pay rents, mortgages in a city which the cost of living is astronomical.
Being that I live in your district, my location in Hollywood has been advantageous in giving me convenient access to the city. Yet as you should know, to live here if you are an low income worker, requires two (even three jobs) to have the slightest sense of stability, and if you are someone who works in the restaurant service or hospitality industry-you more than likely don’t have a job due to the citywide closings. Before my current position, I worked in restaurants and former coworkers are scared. Their life’s work is being jeopardized. The way they feed their families is being jeopardized. Even worse, some private companies like Marriott have deprived their employees the opportunity to collect unemployment benefits for them, reverting them to zero week schedules to prevent them from being classified from being laid off so they can collect unemployment and health benefits. This is a very scary time for your constituents and citizens alike, and what we would expect from the government-of which our votes elect the representatives that represent US-is that they would immediately give us the relief to provide a sense of normalcy in these abnormal times.
Representative Schiff, perhaps it may appear not many of your constituents need the financial support as this is a higher income earning area of Los Angeles. But know that within the hustle and bustle of West Hollywood, the by-the-thread multi ethnic hard working communities of Echo Park, Little Armenia and Thai Town, the vast Hollywood Hills and Griffith Park that lead over to the suburbs of Burbank and Glendale, and the gusts of the Angeles National Forest providing La Canada, Sunland, Tujunga and Pasadena fresh mountain air, that people such as myself face instability and sink further into the divide of wealthy and the poor. We are the ones who clean the houses, that serve and bartend, that cook and dish wash, that park cars and provide food and delivery services, and assist the many big time major studios that keep Hollywood running. If you will not think about us, please consider those in neighboring districts who make their cross town treks to work in these establishments.
As you stated on your Twitter, $1,000 for every adult is something that while good, is not enough, especially for those lower income earners who live in your district. I for example make 25% less than the average median income of your district which is $65,849. There are those that I know that make far less. I implore you to please support an emergency monthly supplemental income of $2,000 as expressed by Senator Bernie Sanders. In fact I dare say, go further and double that. There needs to be a rent freeze as well for the many Angelenos who dread the due date of rent in less than two weeks, and many of them in situations with slumlords who do not care what tenants situation is. The Federal Reserve has injected $1.5 trillion in short term loans to save the stock market during this health crisis. Surely if we can do something to save private institutions, then we can provide financial security for the citizens that actually run the United States, yet are not thought of in the discussion on how to properly take care of us. We know ourselves as a collective better than any elected politician, and I and so many others are telling you, we need help. And we need it NOW.
This may fall on deaf ears, and the next two weeks are unpredictable as my words may not even make a dent in the establishment politics that have dominated Washington for several years. But to know that someone in your staff, or maybe you, will see the perspective of one of your concerned constituents and vouch for radical reforms to help the helpless. I am young, and my life is not yet revealed, but I know that if I don’t try to make an impact on opinion, I surely will have missed my opportunity to make a change.
Representative Schiff, I certainly hope that you won’t miss your opportunity to make one either.
Antonio E. Herron
Resident of California’s 28th District