Our Great Online Debate Comes to an End – It’s Now Up to You

PEOPLE POWER-It has been my honor and pleasure to help coordinate your on-line debate. Ken -- and all of us at CityWatch -- thank the candidates and campaigns that participated by submitting videos and accompanying info. If you’ve not checked it out, here’s the LA Election 2017: The Great Online Debate page as of the weekend before the election. 

While many of LA’s candidates (Zuma Dogg, for example) used the free opportunity quickly and wisely, I’m personally not all that happy with the engagement. I’m not sure we met our aims, and I’d like to hear from our readers in anticipation of the next election. 

Is this an idea worthy of further work? How can we make it more engaging? 

When I told him I was writing a final just before Election Day piece, Editor Ken Draper suggested I answer this question: “…why should anyone bother voting in this poor excuse for an election?” 

He went on about the dilemmas facing the LA voter: “…incumbents that have been involved in so-called soft corruption (Sea Breeze, Rick Caruso, etc.); homeless population remaining at 45,000, sidewalks unfixed, trees toppling; jobs are scarce, affordable housing non-existent; crime numbers continue to grow, cops are still shooting mentally disturbed people with pipes in their hands, etc. ... vs. a candidate list that is mediocre at best.” But you know me. I’m just too much of an optimist to go that dark. Plus, I just re-planted seedlings I grew from seed and next week we turn the clocks ahead. If it’s not raining or too cold (below 65 degrees, that is) I’ll attend my first Indivisible meeting tonight. 

And, oh yeah, the page got between 750K and a million hits, he tells me. Oh. 

Just in case anyone cares about my election recommendations, here they are: 

County Measure H:             YES!!! 

City Measure S:                  NO!!! 

Measures M & N:               Yes on M; no on N (this is a consensus opinion of all interested parties -- and me) 

LA Charter Amendment P:  Yes 

Mayor:                              Eric Garcetti 

Controller:                         Ron Galperin 

City Attorney:                    Mike Feuer 

CD 1:                                Gil Cedillo 

CD 3:                                Bob Blumenfield 

CD 5:                                Paul Koretz 

CD 7:                                Karo Torossian 

CD 9:                                Curren Price 

CD 11:                               Mike Bonin 

CD 15:                               Joe Buscaino 

If you’re not convinced about Measure S, I recommend the LA Times editorial and pretty much anything written by the Times about the initiative and its backer. Or read this thorough treatment from Capital & Main, Strange Bedfellows Unite to Stop Anti-Development Ballot Measure in Los Angeles.  

For me, it’s hard to be pessimistic about the future if you spend any time with people under 30. Also, again, I’m retired and living in La Crescenta. Don and I have the beginnings of a small, lovely garden. And a grandchild and his wonderful Mama and Papa in Highland Park. Besides writing here, I’ve covered several meetings of the local Land Use committee for the Crescenta Valley Weekly News and even witnessed community approval of a potentially controversial condo project. Because the developer came to the community and its genuine organizations early and openly, and then listened to real concerns he heard, the sub-development won widespread support. The battered owner will likely have to add more rock to the front of the finished project (not a problem in this rocky foothill.) Still, I anticipate new housing will be built on Foothill Blvd. 

I also covered the passage of a “Safe Haven” resolution by the Glendale Unified School District strongly asserting support for every student without regard to immigration status. The only opposition raised at the packed public hearing was that the language wasn’t strong enough. Many members of the exceedingly diverse community anticipated administrators barring the doors to the schools from INS officials. The discussion was welcoming and supportive; community members produced their own lawn signs, in English, Spanish, and Armenian: “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.” 

Community activist Sharon Weisman testified about the signs and their origins: 

Strong, active community support for GUSD’s Resolution No. 17: Reaffirming all GUSD Campuses as Safe Haven for all Students 

This original black-and-white wooden sign (photo left) at Immanuel Mennonite in Harrisonburg, Va., has inspired thousands of yard signs. It was written by Pastor Matthew Bucher and translated with the help of congregation members and friends.   (Courtesy of Immanual Mennonite.)  

In Riverside, my old friend John Russo, former Oakland City Attorney, Alameda City Manager, now the esteemed City Manager of Riverside, announced this week that the City is moving customer service forward even beyond its front desk concierge! Happy or not? (Can you imagine this in Los Angeles City Hall?) 

Our ballots only had one item on them: Los Angeles County Measure H. We voted yes and our ballots are long in the mail. Yours? 

If you vote in Tuesday’s municipal election, you’ll be making history: it is the last city election in an odd year. Vote! Vote! Vote!


(Julie Butcher writes for CityWatch and is editor of the CityWatch Great Online Election Debate project, is a retired union leader and is now enjoying her new La Crescenta home and her first grandchild. She can be reached at juliejbutcher@gmail.com or on her new blog ‘The Butcher Shop - No Bones about It.’) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.