Picked another winner

Last night GeorgeMckenna won the school board seat in LA for District one.  Mark and I were there.daphne brogdon and george mckenna victory

My cute partner in crime

My cute partner in crime

Happy the experienced guy won and the Mark Ridley Thomas machine did not prevail.  But, what did we eat?  They served some good Caribbean food.  Good we ate before we walked in the room because it was Louisiana hot in there.

when it looked like victory...  ah, where is the media consultant.. why the blank wall?

when it looked like victory… ah, where is the media consultant.. why the blank wall?

Think they didn’t have the campaign funds for A/C.  But, good vibes mixed with the heat as the results came in he was ahead from the start– barely, but never lost the lead.

with our friend retired Councilman Nate Holden

with our friend retired Councilman Nate Holden

Of course hardly anyone voted so in the end though he won by about 6%, that was only 1,800 votes. In a city our size that’s tiny.  But, hey, a special election in summer?  To be expected.

"Mey Ms. Waters can I get a picture?" We use to live near her. "Where are you now?" She asked.

“Hey, Ms. Waters can I get a picture?” We use to live near her. “Where are you now?” She asked.

The event we had for him a couple of weeks before went well. I was sweating with A/C trying to  get bodies there.  Summer vacations, apathy and resistance to a nuanced political strategy made it hard to get people to commit.  But, in the end I got the numbers I wanted.

The candidate speaks in my family room

The candidate speaks in my family room

It was a fun party and it was good mix of people. Folks were charmed and impressed by Dr. Mckenna when he spoke and everyone loved Mark’s grilled cheese.

grilled cheese fuels democracy

grilled cheese fuels democracy

Daphne Brogdon's mckenna event

The opening act

I was really touched by a few old friends who came or volunteered and loved seeing new faces.  I think it’s great for our kids to see us involved in our community. But I won’t kid you, I’m glad it’s over.  Oh wait… this was just the special election!  Next year it happens again.  Honey, warm up the grill!

Me, Nate, actress Lisa Raye McCoye, Mckenna, Mark, Jan Perry

Me, Nate, actress Lisa Raye McCoye, Mckenna, Mark, Jan Perry

stop me before I volunteer, again

 

I think I have a problem.

I can’t stop volunteering.

A few months ago I was elected head of my neighborhood association.  10 Saturdays out of the year I run the meetings, bring the refreshments and in general voice the concerns of our community to the city.  So far I threw a block party, longwood block partyhelped get some trees planted, advocated for some issues with our local councilmanherb wesson with constituents , and got a website up.

The jewel in my unpaid work history was my mayoral appointment to the Central Area Planning Committee.  Roughly twice a month I am one vote on planning issues that come before us.  I get to go to city hall and I have a laminated pass.  Never has anyone felt so excited to be accepted as a civil servant. Maybe because of all the years of freelancing, I like going to an important building with a clip on badge and working.. albeit with no salary.commissioner Brogdon

I’m also on a few committee’s for my daughter’s school. ( charter, underfunded).  So I take some interest in the school board races.  There are few that do.  It’s pretty un sexy, but in LA we have a mammoth school district and unlike other cities the mayor and the council have no control over them.  So, it’s a whole other empire.  Charter’s, while somewhat apart from regular public schools, still must be granted their charter through the school district.  So, the LA school board is “our” school board as well.   Teacher’s unions tend to not like charters because the teacher’s are outside of the union.  Charter’s are suspicious of teacher’s unions and afraid they will try to shut them down.

My take on all this is that parent’s are discerning consumers of education.  So, charter’s magnets, traditional, private they will be existing with each other. But, we need to put our best foot forward. There are people in our area who would be interested in going to the local public school, but they don’t offer tours.  “Why?’  is what we have heard more than once when calling the school…that sound you here is the interested parent filling out an application for a charter lottery. No surprise, it’s under enrolled.  A mile away a traditional public school does do tours and shows itself well. That school is humming along.

So,  heard some charter parents were rally around one candidate in a special election to be held August 12th.  Good lord, the only thing lamer than having a special election in the dog days of summer would be starting school that day.  OH, that is what LA unified is doing.   I spoke to some of my political mentors about one candidate, George McKenna.  He is a retired teacher and administrator.  Years ago they made a “Stand and Deliver” type movie about his work turning around a tough school starring Denzel Washington.  A friend set up a lunch for us to meet and I went, even though he looks nothing like Denzel.  While not a movie star, I found a charming Southern man who was very thoughtful and earnest about helping children.  Before I could order an ice tea he was talking about trying to get mental health services to students in LA schools who come from troubled places.  It was one of the concerns that reminded me of how vast the LA school system is. By the way since I was a kid I have thought the district should be broken up, but fat chance of that happening.   But, what can happen is for the grip to be loosened a bit on school so that a school can cater to their particular community.  This was something Mckenna and I agreed on. Well, we agreed on quite a bit.  From the good deviled egg appetizer to how a lousy principal can sink a school.

I told him, look the charter’s are scared of you.  He didn’t know why.  “I’ve gone on record as saying if a local school is working, charters wouldn’t exist”.  He was surprised the Teacher’s union backed him because of this.  He believes in traditional, charters, magnets, whatever works for children, not one ideology. I was touched by his sincerity and persuaded by his intellect and experience. He is being outspent. “Can Denzel give you some money?”

“I don’t know how to get to him.” he said.

So, before my after lunch espresso arrived I volunteered AGAIN.

“George, maybe I can throw you an event.” My dear husband was eager to hear about my lunch.  Later we attended a political meeting that a neighbor of ours had invited us too.  On the way out he met George.  The candidate was walking by himself having just thanked the group we were attending for their support and was on to the next.

“You need to go to 5 events a day.” Mark said earnestly.

“I wish it was only 5.” George said in his honey dripping accent.

We walked away and Mark said, “Let’s do grilled cheese.”  He was totally on board.  We must have done at least 3 grilled cheese events for Garcetti.  Now that the famous Thursday grilled cheese nights at Campanile are gone for good, it might be a bit of a draw for folks.  Former council members Nate Holden and Jan Perry who are my friends are also hosting.george mckenna fundraiser

The story has been picked up by a local online publication.  Come by if you care about educating the young, or just want to eat.  Don’t make my volunteering in vain!

 

 

 

my political involvement makes news…sort of

Well, someone is reading my tweets.  I was contacted by a local reporter recently about a rant I did in the summer!  Trying, but thwarted, from speaking before the LA city council.  Here is a link to the story To hear..   the audio click HERE

While I waited for hours my friend , retired councilman Nate Holden kept me company.

Hey, let's take a selfie while these windbags go on!

But, when he left for lunch and I was starting on hour 3 of waiting I asked to speak to someone from my council office.  I wanted it known that I was here for public comments and that apparently public comments was for the public to Hear, not be Heard. My council’s rep, rep said they agreed, but it wasn’t their show.  Hurumph.

So, my take on the package that was passed was never heard, but my take on the process was, so that’s something…I guess.

 

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.