City Council: Three council members came and talked with us in the Chambers before their meeting today and all of them were really nice and encouraged political involvement. The three we spoke with were Council President Eric Garcetti, Assistant President Pro Temp. Dennis Zine, and Councilmember Bill Rosendahl. Some notes on them:
The city council meeting was a good experience. Not a fan of Jan Perry. She won’t win the mayoral election if for no other reason than she doesn’t seem to be a pleasant individual. Bernard Parks, staying true to my professor’s description of him, walked into the room, sat down in his seat, made sure everything was perfectly linear, and just sat there waiting for the meeting to start. No contact with us, or anyone for that matter.
We stayed for the public discussion forum and the people who spoke were zealous, for lack of a better word. It was interesting to see how the council members reacted to them - which was basically no reaction at all. Most of the members except for President Garcetti didn’t even pay attention to them. But maybe they watch the playbacks of their comments? Who knows. One lady came up talking about the necessity of an extension for families on welfare……she hadn’t had a job in FIVE YEARS. Pretty sure she was not the proper advocate for such a cause, considering five years is a hell of a long time to just “not be able to get a job”. That seemed to me to be more of a dependency on government aid than anything else. But anywho…
Question and Answer Session with the Mayor: This was definitely a great opportunity and experience regardless of my feelings about Villaraigosa. Right off the bat, however, I noticed that while he seems nice enough, there’s a certain level of sliminess to him. Sort of what one would expect from the usual politician playing the game. The answers to our questions were solely focused on what he had done and how he made everything all better. Even when one of my classmates asked what he thought we should look out for as hot-button issues in the 2013 mayoral election, he basically listed all of his major accomplishments and said those would need to be continued by the next mayor. I understand the necessity of stability and continuity between administrations, but he made it seem like Los Angeles needed Villaraigosa Jr. and even went so far as to say he would like to help the next mayor. I will say that he spent quite a bit of time with us (even though it made him significantly late to his next appointment) and that some of his answers seemed to be focused less on his politics and more on what he really felt personally. I appreciated those moments of our visit.
Occupy Los Angeles: This was definitely an interesting part of our day, but the most frustrating by far. We went around a majority of the “tent city” that is Occupy LA and asked individuals about why they were there and what their purpose was. These are some things I noticed:
Those are my general observations for the day. I usually stray from posting things like this here, but I felt like if I were going to do so, today would be the day. I definitely think that one of the biggest things I took away from this was that the best way to learn about an issue is to go out and experience it yourself. Visit your city hall, go learn more about the Occupy movement right from the source- even if it’s something you’re vehemently against, research your representatives, intern with an official you may not wholly support (for the experience itself, not necessarily for the political ideals), and fight political apathy. Nothing will change and you won’t make a difference if you sit back and wait for someone else to do it for you.
Okay, I’m gonna step off my soap box now.