With COVID-19 still dictating the pace of our lives and for the foreseeable future, it can be hard to look forward to actually tackling the crisis.
But that’s exactly what candidate Khin Khin Gyi is doing, and she has a major advantage in this front: she’s a professional in the medical field.
A Burmese immigrant who came to the country in 1967, Gyi has spent most of her adult life practicing neurology — which deals with the brain and can include cases such as dementia and stroke.
“As a physician, I can help the city prognosticate and plan for what lies ahead in the middle of a pandemic,” Gyi explained.
She is also a member of the Culver City Democratic Club, and once served as its vice president, and is currently a member of the Los Angeles Neurological Society.
Gyi says she is running for council because she is concerned that the city’s response to and recovery from COVID-19 would not be handled as effectively as it should be without a medical professional on the council.
“I want to make sure that Culver City comes out of the pandemic in a safe and healthy manner on the other side, so we can resume with our economic prosperity and the opportunities that we enjoyed before,” Gyi explained.
Gyi also has sustainability credentials, earning a certificate from the UCLA Extension Center in 2018, which she notes as important because Culver City no longer has a sustainability program.
“I noticed that the city eliminated its sustainability budget, so I don’t see any sustainability personnel on its consultant lists or anything, and I would be happy to serve as the sustainability professional.”
Additionally, Gyi places a high priority on tackling the homelessness crisis. She is currently a member of the Committee on Homelessness in Culver City.
“Homelessness, according to the LA Times, is the first priority of any city,” Gyi claimed.
“Well, we are the state with the most homeless folks, and being the fifth largest economy in the world, it seems that should not be.”
Gyi noted that on her two homeless count runs, about 90% of the people she counted lived in cars. So, when she joined the Committee on Homelessness, she said the first thing she did was ask for a safe space to be designated for those cars to park.
While a place has been found, Gyi hopes that the logistics of designating the area for the homelesss is done by winter. This hope is not just an arbitrary mark close enough to the present day; it comes with a reasoning that is a testament to the importance of Gyi’s medicl background.
“This winter, we’re going to be dealing with dual viruses with COVID and the influenza virus, or even more,” Gyi said.
“So I think that it is important that we have someone on the homelessness committee moving forward advocating for plans.”
Gyi understands that there is a fear for safety among those who live near homeless encampments — especially families with children — but believes that people now need to be driven less by fear and more by compassion.
“One of the things that I have noticed with the pandemic and the current administration at the federal level is that compassion and generosity of humanity has been thrown out the window, and it’s become in vogue to act on the basis of fear and intimidation,” Gyi noted.
“We have to ask what we value in Culver City. What do we share in common? How did Culver City become the city that it is now?”
Additionally, Gyi voiced support for the Culver City Police Department (CCPD), reiterating the idea that many candidates have that the CCPD has grown dramatically and evolved from what it was in the past.
“CCPD is not the police department of Minneapolis, Minnesota or Portland, Oregon. They are community police folks, and they have integrated well in the community in the last five years.”
Gyi is also well versed on other issues outside her comfort zone. In terms of taxes, Gyi hopes to find new ways to make money for the city through bonds and other non-tax outlets.
“By diversifying our investment portfolio at the city level, I think we can leave the city treasury in a better state than when we found it,” Gyi stated.
As a whole, Gyi hopes to leave a cleaner, healthier, and safer Culver City.
“I think we would be able to look back on our experience and say we did leave the area with cleaner air, less pollution for all, and we gave the next generation a better chance of fighting any pandemic, a chance of better opportunities for economic prosperity through infrastructure of green jobs, green energy, and a greener life than we’ve ever had.”