Since I was away, my good friend and fellow activist – Pete Sanchez of Valley Village – covered the event and offers his take on the candidates. Pete is a former candidate himself, having competed in the crowded CD2 field last year where he endured many forums and interviews.
Thank you, Pete, for stepping up and attending on behalf of Village to Village.
So here is Pete’s report:
LA Clean Sweep 9/25/2010
Paul asked me to cover this event, the first ever citywide candidate forum promoted and sponsored by neighborhood activists, because he was out-of-town. I wasn’t sure how to approach it, Paul’s style is hard to imitate. I decided to look for a pro, a con and one memorable quote (all my opinion of course) from each candidate. As a former candidate myself (CD2 Primary, September 22, 2009), I know what it’s like to sit at the front of the room and answer these questions.
LA Clean Sweep (per their mission statement) is a non-partisan political action committee that became organized to support grassroots community candidates with integrity and a broad vision for Los Angeles and to sweep out of office those City Council members responsible for the budget crisis that threatens to force the city into bankruptcy and long-term financial instability.
The program was two-part agenda. The first part tested the clients with prewritten and distributed questions. The candidates had time to think about their answers before hand. The second part took questions from the audience.
It was decent crowd that stayed for the whole three hours plus. At 1:00 PM there were sixty-one people, excluding the candidates. At 1:30pm – eighty-five, 2:00pm – seventy-five and 3:30pm – seventy-three. Not shabby for six months out from the March 2011 elections.
Here are the candidates:
(The candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name.)
David Barron for City Council District 6
Pro: He works for the city now and knows what it’s like to be on the inside.
Con: there was so much talk about Tony Soprano, the white shirt and white tie made you look like one of his boys. Otherwise it might have been a nice look.
Quote: “I will repeal the city business tax.”
Business owners will like this, but where will the replacement revenue come from?
Stephen Box for City Council District 4
Pro: Speaks well and seems knowledgeable about city issues.
Con: His appearance will turn off some (the long goatee).
Quote: “When you fight for your community you encounter the Department of NO.”
Community activists will get this immediately.
Anthony Butka for City Council District 14
Pro: Third generation Angelino; he has seen the evolution of Los Angeles. Likeable guy, he could be your next-door neighbor.
Con: He has the same complaints we all do: budget, open government, power-sharing, but I heard no solutions.
Quote: “The City is moving from tax based revenue to fee based revenue because there are no limits on raising fees.”
True. But what do we do?
Armineh Safarian Chelebian for City Council District 12
Pro: Was direct – she had an opinion on every question asked of her.
Con: Wants the pension issue on the ballot. We’ll end up with something worst than what we have.
Quote: Regarding city pensions: “it is a subject that should be put on the ballot.”
Sitting next to Dinesh helped you. Your voice was loud and clear compared to your competition.
Austin Dragon or City Council District 10
Pro: You have to love the name, Austin Dragon. He got the first big applause with his opening remarks.
Con: No big applause for the rest of the forum.
Quote: “The ultimate watch dog of city government has to be the people. The last election 91% of the voters did not show up to vote.”
He’s right. Go to a forum, read up on the candidates and get out and vote people.
Phil Jennerjahn for City Council District 4
Pro: Has strong beliefs.
Con: His beliefs may be too strong for some District 4 voters.
Quote: “We need to be realistic, this is a big city and there are going to be drawbacks to living here.”
He’s right, not everything will be Mayberry in LA.
Dinesh Lakhanpal for City Council District 12
Pro: Seems likeable, but I could not hear him.
Con: Speak up Dinesh! The crowd told you numerous times they could not hear you. Your message got lost in your low volume, monotone voice. (The mike was bad but it was not the mike.)
Quote: No quote – see above.
You seem dignified, but fight man, get your voice heard!
Amberly McDowell for City Council District 8
Pro: Young and enthusiastic.
Con: Young and naive.
Quote: “I will work from the bottom, up.”
If elected he will have a rude awaking.
Bernard Parks for City Council District 8
Pro: Bravery. I give him credit for showing up at this event. (Only one to get a boo.)
Con: Seven years in City Council and former police chief.
Quote: “I’m here today because I feel it is important to listen.”
Really, you’ve had a long time in office to listen.
Arnulfo Yanez for City Council District 14
Pro: Definitely a man who cares about family and the community.
Con: May be too focused on his neighborhood to see the larger picture.
Quote: “Pension for my family is the Social Security System.”
First one to say: “when elected I will take half salary.” The voters love that.
Pete Sanchez ran for City Council District 2 in September 2009. He placed fifth out of ten in the primary. He is the founding President of Neighborhood Council Valley Village and the current President of the Valley Village Homeowners Association.
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