Does this campaign make my butt look big? No, because when you canvas you walk! More about one of my latest part-time “jobs”.
That's my kind of mayor!
So, there are several reasons why I ended up in Eric Garcetti’s kitchen ( see blog post from a few days ago…) One is there is a grounded quality to him and a clear integrity. When Campanile announced it was closing Eric wrote to me and Mark . It was a personal note and I don’t want to share it, but to say it was appreciated.
Another reason…Several weeks ago I spoke to Eric at a another gathering of supporters and or would be supporters. This was a bunch of people who are in charter schools, like we are. I think it’s the 7th or 8th time I’ve heard him speak, yet I still enjoy hearing him speak. I feel that he can lead LA into the next phase with dynamism, intelligence, and imagination.
He and his wife have adopted a baby girl and after speaking to the crowd at this convocation he was rushing out to do the “night duty”, that’s another reason.
Amy Wakeland in my dining room addressing volunteers about how to canvas
Another reason I love the guy is his choice of spouse. No small aside is his wife Amy Wakeland. She is a strong, confident, whip smart woman. They met when they were both Rhodes Scholars . However, she is also down to earth and will envelope friends in a warm hug. No job is too small for her, no detail is missed. One day my sister and I were going out to canvas for Eric and she told us if a voter had more questions get their number and she will call them. We thought for a second she was kidding. She was not, and she does.
The other week I hosted a canvassing party at our house. The carrot was that Mark Peel would be making his famous grilled cheese sandwiches for volunteers. It’s hard to get people to go knock on strangers doors and ask them to vote for your guy, but the food did it. We had a good crowd and there was Amy leading the troops with her daughter crawling nearby. Classic strong working mom. She separated the tiny, swallowable toys out of the toy basket I had presented, changes a diaper and then told 30 people how to hit the bricks to get her husband elected with aplomb. Fired up, I canvassed while my sister Cecily watched my kids.
Now, it’s not all work supporting a candidate. The other week my friend and I went to a concert Moby gave to raise money for Eric’s campaign. Jimmy Kimmel hosted. Will Ferrel made a funny video. Last week I went to a Chefs for Garcetti event. This time, my husband wasn’t one of them, but lots of other good restaurants participated with tasty dishes, Little Fork, Black Market and wine from Silver Lake Wine. I went stag, but hailed Gil Garcetti down to take a picture with me at their red carpet meets photo booth set up. Gil is Eric’s father and former District Attorney of LA ( the ’90′s, OJ, yeah him). Sweet guy, now he is an art photographer. He has been making cold calls to voters on his sons behalf.
“Aren’t people surprised that you are calling them?” I asked.
“Sometimes they think it’s a robo call. One woman asked me to prove it.” He chuckled. I didn’t ask how, but wondered what he would say to prove he is really Gil Garcetti. Tell the lady where Eric has a birth mark?
Since I’ve been pounding the pavement for Garcetti for Mayor I get asked “how can you do this with kids?” Like everything else when you are a parent the answer is two-fold 1) selectively, can’t go to every event and 2) it takes a village.
Direct voter contact is proven to be effective in getting out the vote. A couple of times Amy invited me and some other mom supporters, to come to her house. She had a sitter there for her daughter so they would watch my kids as well. Vivien and Rex had a great time hanging out. I was touched by being so easily welcomed into their home, even if I was there to help.
One day, a few other supporters were sitting in the front room or kitchen. I sat at the counter in the kitchen so I could charge my phone while I called potential voters. Eric was in between events and he was working around us. There is little difference between the “on” side to Eric and the at home eating left overs out of his fridge. “Do you want some he asked?” as I sat at his kitchen counter dialing voters. A rare time I didn’t take food that was proffered, but I had gassed up before hand. Whether I speak to him casually as a friend or hear him address a crowd he has a light that attracts people like the proverbial moth.
I heard Eric making his own calls and there was no cynicism as he moved from donor support, or reaching out to a community leader. A few times I was stymied by an inquiry on the phone. Sometimes you reach thoughtful people who want deeper answers to the questions than I can provide.
“Well, Joyce, if you care about the environment you should know Eric was endorsed by the Sierra Club.” But, she had more detailed question and “did I mention how nice he was to my mother?” Didn’t seem like it would cut it, though I thought it should. I put my hand over the phone,
“Eric, can you talk to Joyce, she is an environmentalist.” He took the phone from me and rattled off a bunch of things he has done. Nation’s widest-reaching green building ordinance, the nation’s largest local clean water initiative, and legislation leading to the nation’s largest solar rooftop program, etc. He spent some time with her. ”Can I count on you for support?” he said finally. ”Thank you Joyce.”
When he hung up I said, “you are the closer!” I said, wait, we gotta take a picture of this. So we recreated the calling. THAT is how I ended up in Eric Garcetti’s kitchen.
When we left he gave Rex and Vivien campaign buttons.
Rex was making a fierce face for canvassing, Viv takes a lighter approach
Sarah of MomsLA asked if I would interview him for a video for their site. We got a few minutes as he rushed between engagements. The street sound is not ideal, but here is some of it. I’m going to try a pass at my own edit later, but Sarah did well to get this together.
Rex told me today that “Eric Garcetti is going to win.” It was even cuter because we weren’t even talking about the election. I was pouring chocolate milk.
I really hope Eric Garcetti wins the primary and the run off in May. I think it would be great for Los Angeles. It’s been great to be part of the campaign and to share with my children what it is like to be involved in local politics like I did when I was growing up. Well, except for hating some of your neighbors who didn’t support your dad, they can miss that part.
Los Angeles Vote on March 5th Tuesday. Seriously