Commissioner Brogdon

Note, this post was written last week, but my energy was ebbing and I worried that I wasn’t clear and lacked confidence in my voice following the shooting.  I’m feeling better, looked it over and now I’m posting it.i love laThis week I’ve been shaky and a bit daft from the trauma of Monday’s shooting.  However, a ray of sun broke through.  Yesterday, exhausted and emotionally and physically spent I rallied and went downtown for my confirmation hearing before the City Council’s Planning department.  It was long scheduled and not the kind of thing you can easily change.  It was good to have a reason to put on make up and I got my hair blown out.  Felt down right therapeutic. When I was being interviewed I said straight up that  I was off my game and why. “Sorry if I’m not clear headed, you see I was at Wilshire division last night…” They were kind and it went well.  The next day was the big confirmation in front of the city council.

Let me back up… so the last couple of years I’ve been a volunteering, community machine.  So much so that as I crouched in the lectern Monday night as bullets fired and I was praying I wouldn’t be killed I did think, “Maybe I volunteer too much?”  I’m happy that I have lived to fulfill this honor that Mayor Garcetti has bestowed upon me to be on the Central Area Planning Commission.

at a reception for commissioners a couple of months ago. Do I seem less shaken then?

at a reception for commissioners a couple of months ago. Do I seem less shaken then?

I pulled Vivien from school for the occasion.  I want my daughter to be proud of me.  My sisters, mom and Mark were all there.

We waited a while the eccentric characters who make one challenge our countries commitment to free speech spoke. ( one guy had a cape, the other muttered “stupid bitches” under his breath) Than I and another commissioner went and sat at the table in front of the council.

I am sitting listening to Council President Wesson, me on screen too

I am sitting listening to Council President Wesson, me on screen too

My councilman Herb Wesson, President of the Council, spoke.  He said he whole heartedly endorsed both of us for the appointments, but he wanted to speak about why he thought I would be a good commissioner.  He spoke about showing up after the shooting,(he did) which is in his district.  That he had come to check on his staffer who was present during the shooting and the other people who were with me in that community room.  He said, “They applauded for me.  I should applaud them.”  I said later, we applauded for you because we were touched that you were there for us and had come to support us.  He said he would have been running screaming, but the council had stayed calmed and passed three motions after the shooting was over.  He said that I, and the others, were heroes and that if I could handle that I could handle this appointment.  I’m paraphrasing, but it was a very generous speech.  I would say the heroes were the LAPD officers who under fire neutralized the suspect and the police who RAN IN toward the sounds of shots to liberate us .  THOSE are the heroes. I’ve never been happier to see a cop in my life!!

I got a tad uneasy as I realized Vivien was hearing this.  I have purposely NOT told my children about this incident.  I think it would freak them out.  So I turned to look at Vivien sitting with the rest of my family to gauge how she was taking this in.  She smiled broadly.  I smiled back.  I don’t think she really got it, but later I said, some people had a loud fight near our meeting, but everything was ok. She seemed fine with that.mom and daughtedaphne and morencybrogdon family

After the council confirmed us we went to the city clerk office and I was sworn in. I’m so lucky to have such great support.  It was a good moment. Click  for my swearing in  I got a little choked up, in a good way.

Not like the old times.. hanging with Mayor Garcetti

Ah, remember the good old days of calling supporters from Eric Garcetti’s kitchen while he munched on leftovers?  Well, I do and the I miss the jazz of the campaign.  Sure I worked a lot for no money, but I met some great people and it was an exciting atmosphere.  Well, we won which meant other people got jobs in City Hall and I didn’t have to drag my kids to canvas on Saturdays.

"this is where you say, 'and I couldn't have done it without Daphne Brogdon'"

“this is where you say, ‘and I couldn’t have done it without Daphne Brogdon'”

So, I was pleased to recently be invited to city hall with other supporters for a quick photo with the Mayor, Mayor Garcetti.  As luck would have it I was walking toward the wine table just when The Mayor walked in.

“I miss you!” he said as we hugged.  Ah, with running the second biggest city in the world do you remember the old days?  You know, 7 months ago?  We quickly caught up on family and my work, he wanted to hear about Mark.  As he walked away to get in position to greet the throngs I said aloud to no one in particular, “I got a moment!  I got a moment!” I got my picture… Daphne Brogdon and Mayor Garcetti

My first picture with EG as Mayor!  There is a difference between a candidate and office holder. There just is.  One can’t help being a little more formal and deferential.

I worked the room and met other civic minded people.  Interesting people who have been nibbling at the edges trying to create a better city longer than I. All of us either on neighbor councils, commissioners, volunteers in social organizations.  So, in that way the campaign continues.

Garcetti Inauguration Day

From this

little campaigners

to this

We did it!

The campaign trail is over.  Eric Garcetti was sworn in as the 42nd Mayor of LA yesterday. Mark and I were there.  We took the red line downtown.   I was sure I would be needed to MC, sing a song, hold a bible, but if you have Jimmy Kimmel, Moby and your wife on hand I guess not. Alas, my work was done.  As exciting as it is to see your guy win, there is a little bittersweet element, “Don’t you guys need me anymore?”

My sister Carole and my nephew Charlie who also worked on the campaign were there along with my brother in law Kevin and a good friend of Charlie’s who helped him make calls for Eric.  It was on the steps of city hall.  All were invited, but only a few  ( 1,000?) got a paper invitation with a seat.  We were in that group and we were pleased.  There was the blue group and the purple group. Purple group over here!

before it started...

The purple group were a tad closer flanking the stage.  I was on Eric’s stage right.  His wife Amy Wakeland looked great in a red/orange dress and Eric had a sharp hair cut himself. The new city councilman were sworn in and when that was done they did a big group hug.   Paul Koretz got caught in the middle and looked a little uncomfortable.  Sure it was the heat.

Moby singing, Eric down front with wife in orange red dress

Then the big moment.  Eric had a kid give him the oath. Yeah, cute, but how about a mom blogger?  Heh?  I can say “repeat after me”.

I kept scanning the heads of the people on the “floor”.  That’s where the Garcetti family was, politicians, consulates.  I saw Jan Perry, Nate Holden, Gray Davis and there front row was the other mayoral candidate Wendy Gruel, and now former city controller.  She looked very nice in a green dress sitting next to her husband and some council members. I was glad to see her there.  Since I love peaceful democratic processes and good sports.  Man it was hot…

hiding from the sun

Though the record June heat in LA left us all sweaty I tried not to drink to much of the water as I have a phobia of porta potties.  My phobia is that they are GROSS. The “Garcetti Fans” they had passed out came in handy to block the unrelenting sun. I was glad when Eric mentioned working.. wait, when Mayor Garcetti mentioned working with Neighborhood Councils.  I’m on one and I would like to stay active in helping our community, our city.  “Over, here, over here, I can help.”

Before we left Rex told me, “Mommy, you have a fancy face, but not a fancy dress.”  But, it’s a day event Rex and I need a dress that will breathe.

“Not fancy” he repeated.  He asked why he couldn’t come and play with Maya, like he had the other times I worked for Eric.  “We will try to see her this summer.  They have a lot going on right now.”

Carole and Fancy Face

Eric quite rightly bagged the idea of a fancy party, though Rex might not have approved and threw a fair like gathering at the new park that adjoins city hall.  There were bands, food trucks, porta potties.  I don’t do food trucks.  There is always a line and I don’t love the food, for the most part.  I talked to a few people I knew from the campaign and then we walked a half mile to a restaurant.  Now that the sun was down it was a lovely night.

Cold wine, good food and recapping sharing a neat experience with my nephew.  Good luck Mayor! We are still Garcetti fans.

 

When Stars Align a guest post by Monique Ruffin

While I’m on my trip I have enlisted some of my favorite women to help me fill this space.  Because of my involvement in the Mayor’s race I have felt more connected to my city and wanted to pick bloggers who also feel that connection.  Today it is Monique Ruffin.  I met Monique at a shoot for Mom.me sometime in ’12 and I was instantly drawn to her.  A charismatic single mom I thought, “she has it”.  She writes for the Huffington Post and is passionate about her dedication to doing good and raising her son who has special needs.             If we were in pre school together I would pull my mat next to hers at nap time.  The more you know of her you too will want to be her friend. 

 

Last Tuesday, May 21, 2013, Eric Garcetti was elected mayor Los Angeles, the second largest city in the U.S. It was a hard-fought race for both candidates, and by the end of the campaign, many local news outlets were saying it was too close to predict a winner. In my personal circle, which includes many politically savvy folks, the message was to keep campaigning to the very end in order to ensure a Garcetti victory.

 

As fate would have it, I was interviewed by Seema Mehta, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, just three days before the election. At the time, I was at the park pushing my six-year-old son on the swing. Sometimes the stars just align, and things happen more fortuitously for you than if you had tried to organize them yourself. I have been a political junky all my life, and I was heavily involved in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. I even wrote a book, titled Open Your American Heart: From Personal Responsibility to Collective Accountability, hoping to help citizens understand the personal nature of politics and how valuable we each are to the process. And so when Mehta approached me with a tape recorder and asked who I was supporting for mayor, I was ready to talk. What a fabulous opportunity!

 

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and I have lived and worked in many different areas of the city. I love it here. One of my most favorite things about L.A. is our farmers’ markets. I do most of my shopping at the farmers’ markets because I understand the value of circulating dollars to local farmers and how the practice impacts the community and the environment. And because I have a young son, I care deeply about the welfare of the city’s parks, and of the public schools on which he and I rely. My son has Down syndrome, so when it comes to education, I’m all too aware of the benefits of a well-funded system. Maintaining solid programs that benefit all children will prove to be a mighty effort for mayor-elect Garcetti, as it has been for mayors in the past. It is my belief that this mayor has what it takes, the heart and the wisdom, to make a difference.

 

The day after Mehta interviewed me, the Times called to ask if they could come and take a photograph of my son and me. I agreed, and the day before the election Zion and I hit the big time, supporting Eric Garcetti for mayor. That morning my phone started ringing early. I thought someone in my family had died, because relatives I usually see or speak with during the holidays or on my birthday were calling me. After learning that the district where I live, Mid-Wilshire, might be the one to determine the next mayor, I wrote a piece supporting Garcetti for the Huffington Postto drum up last-minute support. I also persuaded as many friends and family members as I could to go vote. It was expected that only a small percentage of voters would participate (it turned out to be only 19 percent), so I knew every vote would make a difference. By the end of election day, two of my neighbors acknowledged my efforts as the reason they took themselves to the polls to cast a vote for Garcetti. I just love that.

Eric Garcetti, Monique Ruffin in the Charlie Chaplin room at Campanile July 2012

 

I’m looking forward to the next four years. I’m going to engaged deeply in local politics and support the issues that matter most for me and my family. I have Daphne Brogdon to thank for this. If she had not invited me to the luncheon hosting a group of about twenty blogging moms and then mayoral candidate Garcetti, I would not have gotten to know him, and I would not have felt as inspired as I was on the day the reporter approached my son and me in the park. Who knows what’s possible when the stars align?

Monique Ruffin can be found at the Huffington Post and at Moms Can Change the World.  

My famous forehead and ear

Hey I am heading out of trip right NOW.  But, wanted to share a few seconds of supportive fame from the recent election.

Local TV in LA would rather do a story on a murder, any murder, no matter where then spend much time on our exhausting long Mayors race.  They ask why people don’t vote? Sheesh.  So, here is one of the FEW news reports on Mayor Elect Garcetti’s first news conference. Well, done Dave Lopez of channel 2. You can see me behind him. I’m the blonde with bands squinting in the sun.  The lady with curly hair to my camera left the begining of the tape I met canvassing in South LA.  Okay, I got to finish packing.

Oh yeah, the rest of the video is vision for LA, blah, blah, oh, why didn’t bring I sunglasses?

 

too nervous to write: election night for Los Angeles

Okay, I have more to say about my deep involvement in the LA Mayor race, but right now it’s less than an hour till polls close and I can’t get thoughts together.  We first did something to help Eric Garcetti become mayor of LA in the summer of ’11.

Tonight I will stand behind him on stage at the celebration party.  I hope it’s a victory party, but for me it will be a celebration no matter because I have experienced so much.  Met so many great people.

Fingers Crossed.

Mama chat : LA Mayors race

I am a guest on this podcast. Donna Schwartz Mills and Cynematic of Momocrats host.  Since it’s audio this the kind of thing you listen to while you walk or clean up the piles in your house.  Oh, maybe that’s just me.

I’m  extremely partisan, of course, for my friend Eric Garcetti, but I really tried to be as even as I could in this.  Sometimes that meant putting my hand over my mouth so I didn’t blurt out “Oh, come on Eric has a proven track record in his district and he is a super sweet guy!” I could go on…

 

Do I have to vote with my vagina?

This was originally posted on Momocrats.com earlier this week.  I have touched on this subject on coolmom.com, but I think this was a more thoughtful exploration of the issue and bit less “bloggy”  for me at least. I added a couple of personal snap shots to this.  Thanks to Momocrats and Donna Schwartz Mills for having me on as a guest.  I’m also going to be a guest on the Momocrats podcast this Friday the 17th.  

Back in the ‘90’s when I was a budding young professional I got a call from EMILY’s List. Their pitch was they helped elect pro choice female candidates nationwide. Since as a child in the ‘70’s I participated in ERA rallies, had an account with the first Women’s Saving and Loan in West LA, wore my “Keep Abortion Legal” button in marches I participated in Junior High. I gave them money that day and continued to periodically give them money here and there over the last 15- 20 years.

But, I’m not going to any more.

When Hillary Clinton ran in ‘08 for President I was a lukewarm supporter until the media seemed to be positively howling with delight in her Iowa defeat. After her comeback in New Hampshire I was on board, even going to Texas to help work the caucus.

greueladFront side of Wendy Greuel campaign mailer, funded by EMILY’s List. View the ad in its entirety here.

Now in the Los Angeles Mayor’s race it has come down to two pro choice candidates. One was born with a penis. One was born with a vagina. The latter is getting support from EMILY’s List. Well, that is their mandate, so that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense to me is that they spent money, money that people like me gave them, to send out a mailer smearing the candidate with a penis.

All those years I gave money to EMILY’s List I assumed that my money went to NOT electing anti choice, anti woman conservative men. Some guy who pats the waitress on the behind, loves his guns and cuts funding to for day care.

Not sure why I assumed I was defeating this cartoon Archie Bunker. But, this mailer that EMILY’s List sent out against Eric Garcetti is such a comic. It depicts an attractive blonde women in a slinky dress getting out of a fancy car. “Not everyone in LA lives like this, but Eric Garcetti does,” it says.

Politically, this hate mail doesn’t jibe with the man I know at all. He is a pro choice feminist endorsed by NOW, who as a councilman put aftercare programs in all the schools in his district and unlike his female opponent says there should be no age barrier for getting Plan B. I know this doesn’t jibe with the guy I know personally. He has a Prius, never wears dresses and has brown hair with a little grey at the temples. The other night I was at his house while I and other volunteers phoned for his campaign. Eric came in tired after a day of campaigning. He went upstairs to put his little girl to bed. When he came back down he looked at the fridge for something to eat. I felt bad for him. He was pooped. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were going to be here or I would have brought you some food from Mark.” I said. My husband is chef Mark Peel who first met Eric when his sister worked at my husband’s then bakery. Not a job of privilege, by they way.

“Oh, that’s okay” he smiled, sense of entitlement not be found. Tired, he sat down to answer his emails. A family friend started chopping onions in the kitchen. “I’ll make him something.” she said. What, no servants? 7 cars? Loot he collected from city services? He asked his friends about things in their life. Wait, Emily’s List said he is “in it for himself?”

Eric and my daughter Vivien. I cropped it so his daughter wouldn't show. (My policy I don't post pics of other people's kids.)

Besides being a mischaracterization of a friend, the mailer is divisive toward women. The attractive, slinky dressed lady is the “bad” one. The one who doesn’t take care of the citizens of LA. The other side is a picture of a slightly older lady holding a child. A mom or a nice looking baby sitter I assume. She is part of the verbiage of why Wendy Greuel is the better pick for mayor. Oh, that old saw. Sexual female is bad. Non sexual woman is good. That one takes care of the city.

I feel naive that I ever trusted EMILY’s List to do the right thing. Why couldn’t they have sent out a mailer with positive statements about the candidate with the vagina and not smear the candidate with the penis? Why should they waste their money on the LA Mayor’s race when women are systematically being denied access to reproductive freedom in Kansas and North Dakota? A candidate who isn’t pro-woman in LA would be run out of town on the speed train, whenever it’s built.

When I worked for Hillary was it partly because I wanted a women president? Absolutely. But, I also strongly believed she was the best, most qualified candidate. I went to Florida for Kerry in ‘04 as well. I work hard for people I believe in. I wasn’t going to hit the bricks for Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sarah Palin. Sometimes the candidate who was born with the penis is the best candidate. People speak of a Post Racial period, are we ready for a Post Sexual period? To paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr, I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, or by their reproductive organs, but by the content of their character.

As a mother of a daughter and a son I have this dream.

 

I’m in deep

GAS! ( Garcetti Action Squad, what my sister and I call ourselves) were fired up to meet Jan Perry and the other primary candidates who are all supporting Eric Garcetti for Mayor of LA.  None of them have the worldwide impact of a Bill Clinton.  But, I think for the 243 people in LA who vote they could have more impact.  Kevin James, the lone Republican ( a Republican in LA is a Pinko anywhere else.)

my sister Carole and Kevin James

Emanuel Pleitez, who is a gracious young Latino who  garnered a loyal cadre of supporters.  Jan Perry, she was my 2nd fave in the race all along.  She is a Council Member, representing Downtown and South LA.  So here comes the  gasp-able ( like teachable, but more astonishing) moment in the primary.  Wendy Greuel put out an ad saying that Jan Perry was not a good fiscal watch dog for the city because years previous her now – ex husband business failure forced them to declare personal bankruptcy.

Not cool sister, not cool.

1) personal attack, yuck

2) Greuel wants traction for potentially being the first female mayor of LA.  How about being a woman who doesn’t tear down another woman who could be the first female mayor of LA?

3) Are any of us in complete control of our spouses financial decision?  Their business?  Dang, I know I’m not. Ask Hillary Clinton if a woman should be blamed for her husbands failures!

4) it was bad politics.  Perry wasn’t going to win the primary, so why attack her, risk alienating African American voters?  Not a smart choice.

Team of Rivals and my hand

I was holding the Garcetti sign over my face, partly so it was visible to the cameras, partly because the sun was in my eyes.  I was listening to the primary foes speak to why they support Garcetti.   They didn’t say this, but I thought that part of this is because he is a more likable person.  Not to say that his record in his council district isn’t stellar, which it is and  he is worthy of endorsement. But, they did 42 debates with each other, they spent a lot of time together.  He is most likely just a more likable person.

My sister Carole and I were thrilled to meet Councilmember Perry.  We told her how rotten we thought her treatment was by Greuel and how elegant her statement was in response to it.  She quoted Maya Angelou by saying “Thank you for showing me who you are”. Snap.

Being a political nerd in general and an LA nerd specifically we fawned over Perry like we were 9 year olds at a Justin Bieber concert.

A couple weeks after this  we spoke again at Maverick Flat’s, at another Garcetti event.   I told her she won my area in a landslide during the primaries and she offered to come and speak to my neighborhood and speak on Eric’s behalf. Very cool.

So, long story short. Jan Perry is coming to my backyard!!.  I’m very excited and honored and of course have to clean that heap of toys and weeds out there!   I’ve started sending out the word to my neighbors.  I am hoping to get Jan fans who can convert to EG, undecideds and people who haven’t tuned in yet.   I don’t need the hard core Garcetti faithful, though a few ringers are always good.

Now, what refreshments should we serve..?

 

LA Mayors Race: me pissed at Emily’s List

UPDATE: notice ping back in comments, this post was picked up by some outlets regarding this subject.  Yeah, for once it not just me!

 

LA Mayors race is STILL going on. Some developments have caused me to BREAK TIES and SPEAK OUT against politicos who I use to respect.   To recap, my pick Eric Garcetti came in first in the primary.  No one got 50% so now it’s between him and City Controller Wendy Greuel.

I left town for 2 weeks over spring break and somehow the Garcetti campaign cobbled on without me! Cobbled meaning continued endorsements and a rise in the polls.

two of the best guys in LA!

As soon as we got back I felt I needed to jump back in and within a day Rex and Vivien were playing at Chez Garcetti with Eric’s adorable little girl while I phoned voters downstairs with other volunteers and his wife Amy. Two days later Mark was cooking a show stopping dinner at a friends fab house to raise money for the Garcetti campaign.  The food was extraordinary. It was great to see not only Eric, but it was really great to see his whip smart wife when we weren’t canvassing!  Those of us seated by her were transfixed as she told us about  why they chose to be foster parents and some of the connections they have made over the years.  When she got up the rest of us were saying stuff like, “oh, what a great thing to do, how wonderful, don’t think I could do it.”  But, that’s not for the mics.

In front of the mic, my former old favorite Bill Clinton really ticked me off because he announced his endorsement for Wendy Greuel.  Sure, that’s his right, but why?  It’s a race between two Pro Choice Democrats in a city that Clinton has NO connection or history too. Keep your nose out of it. I haven’t been this mad at Bill since the Blue Dress.  Greuel supported Hilary in ’08, but dang it so did I.   Bubba, don’t you have enough going on?  Go bring medicine to Africa, somewhere you can be useful. Ironic, because I think Eric Garcetti has Clinton-like intelligence and charisma.  An ability to speak from the heart to all types of people. To be fair, Clinton hasn’t said anything bad about Garcetti. But, a group I USE to like has.

MY deep rage I save for Emily’s list.  They endorsed Greuel and have given her a pot of money.  Now, this group is about supporting pro choice women candidates, so I’m not mad at them for following through with their mandate.  Over the years I have given them money.  I gave them money to support women, not make sexist ads and tear down a feminist man.  Check this out:  Wow, Eric has nice legs and pretty blond hair. I’ve been to Eric’s house, I’ve seen what he drives, he does not live like Paris Hilton.   Garcetti was endorsed by NOW (California chapter of National Organization of Women)  He has a great record of supporting women’s issues, hiring women on his staff and addressing everyday concerns of women.  He increased parks in his district and put after school programs in the schools in his district.  This is about him being up 10% in up in the polls.

Also, if that picture of the blond came from a male led group cries of sexism would be immense.

Last year I stopped giving to the Democratic Senate fund because I realized, hey some of those people I don’t like.  I would rather pick my own candidate.  I feel that way about Emily’s list now. I will do my own picking.