THIS IS WHAT I KNOW-Last week, I introduced you to Caney Arnold, a progressive candidate running in the March primary. Arnold and I sat down to discuss some of his ideas to turn the city around. The candidate, who brings a background in Air Force acquisition and program management, as well as a graduate degree in Public Policy and Administration, shares that he was inspired to support progressive causes around the time of the Gulf War.
“This campaign and my commitment while serving in office will be built around the following values: government transparency, grassroots democracy, ecology, social justice, and nonviolence,” he says.
Arnold says he is ready to support transparency because he’s “used to dealing with bureaucracy to weed out this sort of thing based on (my) career work for the Department of Defense and in the Air Force” where he learned how to work with management to get things done right. He is committed to stand up to the City Council and to work with the media to uncover conflicts of interest. “It’s not just in the campaign business but officeholders and committees are getting money from developers for office and city related purposes,” he says.
Grassroots Democracy and Transparency:
Arnold says listening to citizens will be an integral part of the daily management of the city -- and Neighborhood Councils will play a big part in that. “I want to increase communication with the NCs and with constituents to ensure citizens have more input in the decision-making process,” he says. He plans to actively seek input from the neighborhood councils and provide research to them before casting a vote on City Council, which is the reverse of the current practice. “As volunteers, NC board members usually don’t have the time to do this research. My office will provide information packets to each NC and formally request feedback.”
Arnold notes that his 15th District is “home to numerous oil drilling and refineries, as well as oil and natural gas storage facilities.” Safety failures involving explosions and toxic releases at these facilities have placed the community at risk. The candidate also supports reducing energy use by providing incentives to consumers and businesses, especially in fossil fuels consumption, by creating a plan to transition to sustainable 100 percent renewable energy sources, which must be approved by the Mayor and Council, backed with a firm schedule, adequate funding, and oversight. Water consumption is also an important issue that should be addressed in part by reconsidering plans for urban growth and development.
Arnold was inspired to run in part by his volunteer involvement with the homeless population. “We need to do a better job helping our neighbors without housing,” he says. “The Housing First strategy has worked in cities across the U.S. and is the preferred approach by the federal government. We need to move away from treating homelessness as a police issue and see the root causes of homelessness, as well as to help keep people in their homes.” The Housing First approach removes the homeless from unsafe environments on the street to get them into housing, providing them with services to help them find employment and become self-sustaining again.
Arnold’s platform includes improved relations between police and citizens to reduce over-policing and use of excessive force. He cites the positive approach of bringing police together with citizens to address issues, promoting programs such as the Institute for Nonviolence in Los Angeles Days of Dialogue program on the Future of Policing, sponsored by Mark Ridley-Thomas’s office.
Arnold is focused on rolling up his sleeves to turn around the status quo so that Los Angeles is a city for all residents and not just a selective few.
(Beth Cone Kramer is a Los Angeles writer and a columnist for CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.