Los Angeles! City elections tomorrow, (Tuesday, May 21st).
Check out where to vote here: http://www.lavote.net/locator/
The Los Angeles Times has provided some very thoughtful endorsements here: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/endorsements/la-ed-end-endorsements-recap-20130519,0,7701052.story
From the tumblrs, a great endorsement of Garcetti: http://spiegelman.tumblr.com/post/42936851169/roughly-three-years-ago-there-was-this-town-hall
L.A. would be lucky to have the services of Eric Garcetti as mayor. He is thoughtful, competent, and he has a deep passion for Los Angeles.
Roughly three years ago there was this town hall meeting here in Los Angeles where some people gathered to ask local officials any questions they had about the future of the City. The event was live-streamed online, with a promise that the officials would also take questions from the Twitter audience. One of those officials was Councilman Eric Garcetti, whose district includes the neighborhood I had moved to a few months earlier. I followed the meeting live online to hear what my new representative had to say, and specifically because I was in equal parts intrigued and skeptical about one issue he was associated with: a somewhat insane project called the Hollywood Central Park.
The proposal for the Hollywood Central Park calls for a roof to be placed on a mile-long stretch of the 101 freeway, from just north of Hollywood Boulevard down to Santa Monica Boulevard, and then for a 44-acre park to be placed on top of this roof. I mean, look at this thing. It’s dramatic. It’s the kind of idea that reaches inside of your chest and gives your heart a little flick. Eric Garcetti was hooked by the idea, and he lent his name to the fundraising efforts behind the project.
By the time of the town hall meeting I had become cynical toward big dreams. It was a cynicism you could measure, exactly the distance between the euphoric heights of the first Obama campaign and the hard ground of political reality that followed. I was, to put it simply, let down. My skepticism toward anything big and dreamy framed the question I submit over Twitter.
“To @ericgarcetti,” it said, “The Hollywood Central Park project sounds amazing, but how is it anything but a pipe dream?”
The Councilman took my question. He started by explaining LA’s need for more parkspace, how our city ranked pretty low among other major cities in its ratio of parks to people. He talked about the number of jobs such a project would bring. He said the project would have a transformative effect not only on Hollywood but the whole city as well. Eric could have stopped there, but he didn’t. As if he wasn’t satisfied that he’d answered the real call of the question, he continued and said said this, which I’m paraphrasing slightly, but not much, because this is how I remember it.
“As for whether this is a pipe dream,” Eric said, “no, I wouldn’t characterize it like that. This is the kind of ambitious project that takes hold of the imagination of a community and brings people together. I wish there were more projects like this. If anything we need more pipe dreams. Because if we don’t shoot for the stars we’re never going to land on the moon.”
If I were to distill all the lessons I learned from all the schools I attended in Los Angeles, I would end up with this: that a man’s reach should exceed his grasp. It’s the secret to being better at anything, whether grades or sports or career-related things. It was always an individual value to me; I’m not sure I ever saw it as a community value as well. Not until that moment, anyway, when Eric Garcetti expressed it as such. I think he supported the Hollywood Central Park because he saw a community of people reaching for something together. I think their effort reflected his values, possibly learned at the same Los Angeles schools that I attended.
Anyway, the Councilman’s answer to my question was like a cup of ice water poured onto someone who refuses to get out of bed, with me the somnolent pouter in that metaphor. Get up and reach for it. Be part of a community that strives for something. When Eric announced his candidacy for Mayor, I signed up to help. I’ve been fundraising for his campaign for a year now. This week I start canvassing. I want this guy to win. I want Eric Garcetti to be the next Mayor of Los Angeles.
It’s crunch time. The election is on March 5th. (Well, the first round, at least. The top two candidates then face each other in a runoff if nobody gets 50% of the vote, which is likely here.) The media blitz is just beginning, and it needs to be strong to get Eric elected. Media is expensive. So, friends of Tumblr, I’m asking for your support. Please donate to the Eric Garcetti for Mayor campaign. Click here. $100, $50, $25, $10 —it doesn’t matter. Whatever number works for you. If you live in Los Angeles, give money because you want to care more about the city you live in. If you live outside of Los Angeles, give because Eric is exactly the type of human being you want in elected office, anywhere in this country.
Here’s that link again. Come on. Be part of this with me. And please reblog this post, if you would be so kind.
(Oh, and there’s a little box that says, “Please note the person who encouraged you to donate below.” If you’d put “Eric Spiegelman” in that little box, it would make me look really good. God, did I just ruin this whole thing? I hope not. But, you know, politics is politics.)
The 11 members of the Los Angeles Wheelmen bicycling club pose in uniform at the East Side Track in Boyle Heights on October 3, 1893.
Part of the Title Insurance and Trust / C.C. Pierce Photography Collection in the USC Digital Library.
I’m surprised someone hasn’t brought this name back.
One day, I hope we can travel from Union Station to Dodger Stadium to Griffith Park via an aerial tram like the one in London. #skyisthelimit