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.

local councils, Oh the glory!

I’m a board member of our Neighborhood Council.  Volunteer, natch, but we are given a budget by the City to do things for our area, we have to take really dull webinars like a city worker with a paycheck and benefits and supposedly we have the ear of City Hall.

Long story short, some guys with gusto came to our council to get funding for surveillance cameras in a local park.  It is a mixed area.  Lots of families, normal, good park activities and couple of gang shootings a year.  The police always tell us, “It’s so much better than it was”.  Which it is. Here I am recently in said park on National Night Out.  I was getting people to sign up to get emails about our council.  If they did I gave them a t-shirt, a flashlight or a reusable grocery bag.  Some of them thought they could just get the t-shirt without hearing from me about their neighborhood council.

They were wrong.

So, I felt that our council member, Herb Wesson should have listened to these local heroes when they emailed his field deputy about this issue. Crickets.  We only get so much dough a year so I don’t want to fund all things that cross our desk, and didn’t we give the council man some scratch for movies in the park? I’m also still waiting for my stop signs.. another story.   Cut to: we fund half and I say I will help them contact the council office for the other half.

Then 3 weeks of my life was spent lobbying, email, phone calls. My favorite was the one from the field deputy Vincent , “Thanks Debra, do you have a number I can reach you.”   Yeah, my name is not Debra, but here is my number.  He never called.  Some headway with his boss, high up deputy, not enough.  Went the Mayor route, which looked promising, but our council meeting was now coming up and I felt the momentum would be to fund or dump the project.  Frankly, it was less than 6 grand and there was a thick petition to go with the request.

A friend of a friend is in this HILarious video that takes place in a city council meeting.  It bears some resemblance to the dynamic of these groups. Good satire

The night of the meeting Wesson’s rep Sylvia Lacey was there.  Now, if you have ever been involved in a board meeting or city gov’t NOTHING runs zip, zip along, so it’s hard to break this down and give you, the reader info, and not want to stick a fork in your head at the pace of things.  Bottom line, the council voted to be contingency funding for the cameras if the council office couldn’t “find the money”.  I was also able to bring to Syliva’s attention that our community was feeling like they weren’t being heard… or called back.  She wrote down our laundry list of issues, from problems with their website to badly placed traffic lights.

This has a happy ending.  Two days later the council office funded it.  I was so relieved as I didn’t have the time to start the recall my council member campaign ( must cancel that T-shirt order).   I have other unpaid projects to work on.