Yesterday, the Metro board approved committing the agency to advancing equity. The Metro Equity Platform Framework was approved by the board's Executive Management Committee in February, then approved by the full board yesterday.
Though the term "equity" is likely understood by many Streetsblog L.A. readers, it is important to clarify what it means in this context. Many politicians toss around the term "equity" to mean simple geographic equality - along the lines of: my district should get the same amount of library funding as every other district gets. This sort of geographic equality may appear fair, but it does not address historic inequalities. If a rich area has three libraries and a poor area has one, then funding them both equally will mean that the poor area will always have less.
This meaning was clearly expressed by Metro boardmembers in their discussion at the February 15 Executive Management Committee meeting. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl stated it well as "equality of outcome" and not just equal treatment.
Representatives from numerous community groups - from East L.A. Community Corporation to TRUST South L.A. to Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic (FAST) to Investing in Place - attended the committee meeting and spoke in favor of approving the equity policy.
There are four components of the Metro Equity Platform Framework:
- Define and Measure - Metro acknowledges that historically and currently, inequity exists and has been largely defined by race and class - as well as age, gender, disability, and residency. Metro commits to working with historically underserved communities to establish meaningful equity goals.
- Listen and Learn - Metro establishes forums to engage historically underserved communities, including with community-based organizations. This will include investing in technical capacity for local governments that serve these communities.
- Focus and Deliver - Metro will incorporate an equity focus in the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). Metro will partner to address issues of gentrification/displacement/affordable housing.
- Train and Grow - Metro will cultivate top-to-bottom ownership of its equity agenda throughout the agency. This includes internal training and education, including in communications and evaluation methods.
Read the full equity framework document in the staff report, or highlights in the summary presentation.