Councilman Curren D. Price Jr. is the city councilman for the 9th District and on March 7, he will go against his opponents for City Council elections.
Pleasing to the 9th District, the community has relied upon him to be an advocate for the underrepresented. For four years he said, he has done just that.
“We got elected in 2013 and I think it is a testament to how well we have done to help improve the quality of life in 9th District,” Price said.
Within the 20 years of his political career, he built up an extensive resume of public service across the board, serving the community at large. In 2006, he served in the State Legislature as an assemblymember and as the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting and Committee on Governmental Organization. In 2009, as a State Senator, he chaired the Business and Professions Committee and was chosen by his colleagues to lead the California Legislative Black Caucus, as Chair, in 2010. Currently, Price is devoted to improving the socioeconomic status of low-income families and children.
In 2014, he passed the historic legislation that increased the living wage for hotel workers citywide and will increase the minimum wage to $12 this coming July, and $15 by 2020 for all of Los Angeles. Residents are privy to 48 hours of paid sick leave with benefits.
He is the Chair of the Council’s Economic Development Committee, and serves on the committees on Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM); Homelessness and Poverty; Housing; Public Works and Gang Reduction; Arts, Parks, and River; as well as the Ad-Hoc Committees on Immigrant Affairs, Comprehensive Job Creation and the 2024 Summer Olympics.
“I’ve done my part to bring jobs, jobs and more jobs to a community that is starved for employment,” he said.
Price crusades for job literacy, promotes healthier communities, aides the homeless, provides resources to the less desirable and so much more.
“We got the streets and allies cleaned up and for the past three in a half years,” Price said.
According to Price, almost 15,000 tons of trash have been removed from neighborhood streets and alleys. He worked with the city to ensure trash, debris and bulky items were picked up.
“We are making [Public Works] do their job,” he said.
“Cleaning the 9th District enhances the environment, so that people who want live and work in their community, can do so. Its improving with picking up trash, we’re making the community cleaner and green.”
Price not only cares about keeping the city clean, green and welcoming, he said, he cares about restoration. He helps locals get back to work. He has provided employment opportunities for younger citizens.
“I’m also proud that we created jobs, it is over 6,000 jobs for people and we have been responsible for cleaning up over the past four years,” he said.
“Cleaning and restoring jobs are significant projects in our district. For example, the Reef Project has a lot of interest. The project is used to create new housing. It will also produce 1,100 parking spots into a vibrant place to live, work, and play.
There are folks who are opposed to it, however, there are more folks that are happy about it. The Reef Project has a 30 percent local hire.
“There is a quarter of a million dollars set aside to help small businesses and it is going to provide the blue transit line we never had before. We are talking about 1200 jobs, construction jobs and another 600 permanent jobs, on this one project.”
Price is using the USC Village Project to help produce work for Los Angeles citizens in his district.
“We have a 30 percent local hire and we are stressing the importance of hiring from the community,” Price told the L.A. Watts Times.
“This project has been successful. A $350 million, state-of-the-art Banc of California soccer stadium for the Los Football Stadium Project is under construction and has a 40 percent local hire.
“These are good paying jobs as well as union jobs for benefits, that provides significant training opportunities for youngsters and others who are trying to retrain to regroup themselves.
In addition to that, we are going to renovate the Sports Arena, where there is a commitment again for local hire.”
Well-informed on what needs to be done for the 9th District, Price stated, “my job is to make sure we are able to negotiate these agreements and then make sure we take advantage of these agreements, and remember these arrangements are unprecedented.”
Residents living in the 9th District are overlooked and underrepresented, “going back to the Reef Project for example, they are committed to a $15,000 million dollar agreement for affordable housing, that is unprecedented in South L.A. or any place else.
“People who are in affordable housing have a covenant that could expire. This allows the landlords to go to the regular marketplace consequently, hurting disadvantaged locals in his district.”
Price also continues to be resourceful by helping to implement new ways of building community wealth for the 9th District. New property in the community can create income and jobs. Aware of this, he states, “we are providing resources in the community in ways we haven’t before.
“There are four hotels being planned in our district from Adams Boulevard down to King Boulevard. The hotels are providing local jobs, they are going to have a project labor agreement, we’re going make sure they carry out good labor jobs during construction.”
These are examples of some of the things Councilman Price has been pushing for. He has put in place job training programs to better the livelihood of the 9th District.
District 9’s parks and centers are often neglected and infested with bad activity, Price is remedying that issue by cleaning up and rejuvenating.
“We are making our resources available for youngsters and our seniors and having allocated almost 30 million dollars to complete this task,” he explained.
New playgrounds, soccer fields, football fields, pools and skate parks were replaced and improved so that locals can engage and utilize their parks and recreational centers.
“We have transformed the district where to make it a livable place where people can live, work and play. There is a clean-up campaign enacted and in addition we are working closely with sanitation, public works and street services, we have invested an extra million dollars into the pot to have extra clean-ups in our area. This is discretionary funding that I thought was important to focus on.”
Price said he will also continue to tackle homelessness in the 9th.
“The issue of homeless is a terrible problem in our city and in the district,” he said.
“The 9th District has the second largest encampment. While I am proud to be on the homelessness and poverty committee, I’m further proud to have been instrumental in sponsoring Proposition HHH. We have to do more…”
For that reason, he has created resources that support and aid homeless individuals. “We are having days where resources are provided for individuals, we bring the health services, social security, job training and housing. All these services are made available to inviduals who want to take advantage.”
“We are trying to show leadership in our council office, you cannot sit back and wait for things to happen you have to make things happen. I’m proud of the progress that we have made but we still have more to do.”
Councilman Price continues to improve his neighborhood and views it as a reflection on his public service. As the community moves forward, he rebrands his leadership, coining the term the New 9th.
“We want to continue to build on the success of the New 9th and we want to continue keeping our streets clean and green.”
He also said he will be working with schools and other community based organizations to provide resources that did not exist before.
With all the great tasks he carries out for the district, it can be a battle at times getting necessary resources to underserved communities. When he took office, there were a lot of issues in 9th District in South L.A. When the area wasn’t initially considered for “Promise Zone” money to aid poverty stricken areas in Los Angeles, the district was able to win the battle.
“We did it a couple of ways,” Price recalled.
“We applied twice in the central office and were not successful, but I said we cannot give up. I was responsible for reconvening. We were able to do redo the application based on the input that we got and it was because we came together in such a powerful way. We were accepted after two failed attempts. Working with people in economic rights, immigrant rights, job training, health and education showed how impactful we were.”
Price is the everyday man, a down-to-earth-guy who is accessible and friendly to his constituents.
“My staff is always on me, because I give everybody my phone number,” Price joked.
When he is not being an advocate for his district, he prefers to fly under the radar.
“I like to be unassuming, blend in and to not take my positon to seriously at least from an ego perspective until I remember that I am a public servant and I think that means to be approachable, accessible and being able to relate to the citizens,” Price said.
“We are encouraging neighbors that the Price is right.” I think if they’re serious about a progressive and positive leader with a track record and the ability to bring people together, then I am their candidate,” he said.
Price’s ability to improve the face of half of South L.A. and create jobs show his loyalty and commitment to change.
Nothing is off limits for him.