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.  

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..?