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.

 

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..?