Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Getting Excited about New Blood for the 15th District--Except It Might Be Old Blood
By Diana L. Chapman
I am relieved it’s over.
Those of us in the 15th District are finally saying goodbye to Janice Hahn, our Los Angeles councilwoman for 10 years, after she swept to victory in the election for U.S. Congress.
But while everybody was partying hard at her victory celebration, I felt this overwhelming sense of liberation: Yes, it’s done. We can move on at last!
A cast of candidates has already started to line up to fight over the vacant Los Angeles Council seat.
Let’s talk about the old blood first. Hahn’s immediate predecessor, former Councilman Rudy Svorinich, wasted no time saying he will run. Charging in right behind him was Assemblyman Warren Furutani (D-Gardena), also a former Los Angeles School Board Member.
Then there are the folks running who are without political stature or the accompanying campaign coffers: Joe Buscaino, a Los Angeles police officer, and Pat McCosker, president of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles. Both have boldly announced their intentions.
Other possibilities: Doug Epperhart, a stalwart on the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council; David Greene, president of the San Pedro Democratic Club, and Jayme Wilson, owner of Spirit Cruises along with many others. We won’t know for sure until everyone actually files.
But my point is this: It’s time for us to decide who we really want to represent us on the City Council. Can we find someone who won’t listen only to the unions and entrenched business leaders, but will get down and dirty in the trenches with those trying to make our communities better? Can we find someone who can actually nudge aside the City’s mountain of bureaucracy – a big reason we don’t see projects materialize for 10 years or more?
Which one will fight not just for the big guy but the little guy? Not just the people with campaign money, but the folks who don’t want another convenience store in a neighborhood where there are three already? I’ve watched scores of people work diligently over the years to improve our community, but rarely did they get much support from Hahn.
My wish list for our new council member:
· Help clean up and beautify our towns, whether it’s San Pedro, Wilmington, Harbor City or Watts. We don’t have to look like ragged communities left in the dustbin 30 years ago. None of us wants to be step children to downtown L. A. anymore. Come up with a plan, for God’s sake! Don’t do a little bit here and a little bit there with disconnected projects that don’t pull communities together.
· Be on top of your staff to make sure they’re responsive and truly know what’s happening in all areas. Listen carefully to the reports that stream in. Make sure you’re in touch with your communities, whole-heartedly, not just half-heartedly.
· Look us in the eye and tell us you’re going to keep the commitments and promises you ran on – and mean it. Take the actions you say you’re going to take instead of giving us empty promises.
The best leaders listen to all sides of an issue, bring everyone to the table and negotiate a game plan. Good leaders can do this. Poor ones can’t. As fractional as our community of San Pedro is, I still believe a strong leader can bring us together.
That’s the type of leader I’m looking for. What about you?