November 18, 2012 in Politics
Now that the Presidential elections are over, the Los Angeles Council District 9 is back in focus. The 9th’s competitive race is remarkably one of the best lackluster hodge-podge races the 9th is going to see in some time.
The salad bowl mix of progressives, grassroots, conservatives, men, women, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian are akin to the open monologue of the former Arsenio Hall Show where you think of things that make you go “hmmm”.
The candidates Justin Clayton, Ana Cubas, California Assemblyman Mike Davis, Elaine Gaspard, Ronald Gochez, Terry Hara, Charyn Harris, Sherita Herring, Norvell Lewis, California State Senator Curren Price, and David Roberts possess unique bios worth reviewing. However, they don’t seem to resonate as leaders with a sense of passionate leadership to transform the 9th.
Outside of the 9th’s downtown and USC area, there is so much at stake in choosing the right leader. The infrastructure is deteriorating; poverty and unemployment is high; air quality is poor; and economic development is slow. With intense conditions of the 9th, the leader will need to make gigantic strides in poverty, homeless, employment, and economic development issues.
If the 9th succumbs to being a seat of political career opportunity rather than a seat of change, the 9th will beholden itself to the historical practice of candidates launching or sustaining their political careers by taking up residency, developing power relationships, and getting endorsements from other prominent leaders at the expense of forward progress for the area.
How will the 9th be won with a slate so large? Any one of the candidates has a good shot. According to Koyaki Kwa Jitahidi of MA’AT Institute for Community Change, voter turnout will be the deciding factor. “People impacted by poverty and unemployment must turn out and vote. We haven’t seen a competitive race in over a decade. We must register more people, educate them, and get them to the polls in March.”
Jitahidi conveys that voter turnout signifies power. “The candidates and others will take us seriously as sophisticated and powerful voters.”
Unlike David Letterman’s infamous Top Ten, here is a list of Top Ten for 9th district voters:
1. Vet the candidates. See if they are out in the community getting to know you and understand your needs.
2. Forget the endorsements. Endorsements are good, but they don’t mean a thing if a candidate knows little about your community and is vying for the prestige of office.
3. Become knowledgeable. Look at the track records, past residencies, and contributions to the local community.
4. Attend candidate forums. Listen attentively and come with questions (the hard ones) and see if they respond with a vision of the 9th with you in mind.
5. Engage the candidates yourself. Don’t wait for a candidate forum or any other community information setting. Learn what these candidates are like on a person level. See if they will take the time to have a conversation with you. If they won’t do it now, they won’t when they are in office.
6. Develop the power mentality. You are equally important whether you donate to a campaign or not. Embrace knowing that you matter.
7. Avoid Sunday politics. Don’t get caught up with candidates attending your religious institution for recognition. One Sunday doesn’t mean anything, except trying to send a subliminal message the candidate has integrity.
8. Understand the strategic direction. Pay close attention to how the candidates envision the role of City government and how that vision will apply to the 9th.
9. Hold Accountable. Remember and call the candidates on issues that may have affected you.
10. Vote. Make sure you are registered and vote.
Like the well-oiled boots on the ground machine that President Obama successful executed to win re-election, the same will hold true for the 9th’s victor. The 9th won’t be won by recognition or branding alone. It will be won by people politics and who turns out the most votes.
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