ELECTION WATCH-When it comes to politics, we all tend to talk about the issues on the broader scope, right? Things like U.S. Immigration, U.S. Labor, and the President and his Administration.
But, even though we all want to make the world a better place, the question is, “What can we do in order to change the things we don’t like?” Let’s be honest: There is nothing we can do besides go and demonstrate, write letters, and so on, but in the end, it barely makes a dent in something we have no control over.
But, what if we can actually make a difference when it comes to politics right here in our own backyards? No, not the ones with the birds and the trees -- I am talking about the politics within our reach: The Local Ones!
Just in case you missed it because you are too pooped from last year’s Election experience, there are City elections heading our way, and yes, they are on March, 7, 2017.
Voters across Los Angeles have option of sticking with the same old business or…they can vote the incumbents out of office.
I guess by now you are wondering who you would replace them with, right?
Well, there are a number of candidates running against the City Insider’s Wheel of Fortune.
The City Ethics Commission’s website has them all listed. From Mayor, City Controller and City Attorney, to all the hopefuls for the uneven numbered City Council Districts. However, instead of taking on the entire world of election-hopefuls and the incumbents, I will stick with those who are near to my heart.
Even though I am now a Westside resident, I am still very much interested in the well-being of my former area of residency: Council District 13.
I used to live in Hollywood, which is part of CD 13, and which is currently represented by Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell.
Mr. O’Farrell has been around since the good old days when he worked under then Council President Eric Garcetti.
O’Farrell claims that he has brought nothing but good things to the neighborhoods he represents, but from articles and conversations, as well as listening to City Council meetings, I learned that there are a lot of people who will disagree with that.
One of these people is Douglas “Doug” Haines, a longtime resident of Hollywood and a first-time candidate for Council District 13.
Doug Haines has earned his recognition in City Hall by speaking up against big developments that threaten the character of a neighborhood, and these neighborhoods don’t necessarily have to be around the corner from him.
Haines has fought and won in and out of court as a member of the La Mirada Neighborhood Association, and he has voiced his concerns multiple times during meetings of the LA Planning Commission, LA Planning and Land Use Committee (PLUM), as well as before City Council.
Perhaps that is why he is so very familiar with the way the Big Money Machine works, yet he is not one of those who greases the wheel when it starts squeaking. Instead, Haines goes and starts speaking and, as the last resort, is heard by judges in the California courts.
He’s been speaking to and with anyone who wants to listen, and he has proven that a lot of talk can actually make a difference.
His experience with politics started when he got himself involved with saving the Cinerama Dome on Sunset Blvd, a treasured iconic structure that wouldn’t be standing there today if it wasn’t for Doug Haines and his interest in preserving history in Los Angeles.
Haines also took part in the early stages of forming the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council, and still serves on its board as well as on the board of the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council.
Living in a community that has been deprived of new park land for decades, Mr. Haines made it another goal of his to bring a new park to the neighborhood. It might not be the biggest park created within the last 50 years, but it sure is a great start for the community surrounding it.
Mr. Haines knows that he cannot resolve homelessness and problems with gangs and crime all by himself, but he started working on these issues with the LAPD in the Hollywood area.
Candidate Haines has walked his immediate neighborhood almost every day, cleaning up the streets, speaking with neighbors, reaching out to shopkeepers and helping those who feel that they have no voice in the city.
Still, what does a successful film editor, who spent most of his time in closed dark rooms working on major movies have to offer when it comes to working with people? My answer is: Everything!
He is smart, he knows building codes and regulations, he is charismatic and engaging, he listens to people, brings concerns to the front and fights City Hall from the outside in.
Candidate Haines said that he is not accepting money from developers during his campaign, and he will not accept it at any stage when in office.
Mr. Haines is ready to spend the next 12 years, give or take, with his constituents, working on identifying the right development for the neighborhoods by keeping an eye on City Codes and Regulations. This time however, he will be doing this from the inside out.
And let’s not forget that he is a big supporter of Measure S, the initiative that is promising to put a moratorium on overdevelopment throughout the City of Los Angeles.
If you would like to find out more about this candidate, please check out the web page supporters of Doug Haines have created at https://www.votedoughaines.com/.
Many candidates stepped up to the plate to run against the incumbents of today’s City Hall, but now it is up to you, dear voters, to decide who will be voted in, who will be voted out and who will remain in office.
Do yourselves a HUGE favor. Take a look at the candidates on the March 7, 2017 ballot and decide for yourself who is worthy of your vote.
(Ziggy Kruse is an activist and reporter for www.HNN-TV.com, where this article was first published. She is also a former Board Member of the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council. Ziggy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ms. Kruse views are her own and do not reflect opinions of either the staff or management of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.