Mark your Calendars for Council Member Hugo Soto-Martinez and J.T.

Yours truly is happy to reconnect with Soto-Martinez for Los Cuentos in his first discussion with us as the official representative at L.A. City Hall for Council District 13. Leading up to this conversation, if you’re a local resident of the district or have other close ties to our community, please feel more than welcome to submit questions for the Councilmember via the comments section below or this contact form.

J.T.

L.A. Mayors Ball: 1913 – 2022

How time flies. Below, from left to right, are 15 L.A. mayors over a 100 years and then some.

Henry Rose, 1913 – 1915. Charles Sebastian, 1915 – 1916. Frederick Woodman, 1916 – 1919. Meredith Snyder, 1919 – 1921. George Cryer, 1921 – 1929. John Porter, 1929 – 1933. Frank Shaw, 1933 – 1938. Fletcher Bowron, 1938 – 1953. Norris Poulson, 1953 – 1961. Sam Yorty, 1961 – 1973. Thomas Bradley, 1973 – 1993. Richard Riordan, 1993 – 2001. James Hahn, 2001 – 2005. Antonio Villaraigosa, 2005 – 2013. Eric Garcetti, 2013 – 2022. Gina Viola, 2022 – 2030, perhaps?

And from our latest at Making A Neighborhood: “There’s also no telling just what the city’s first non-male mayor in its nearly 241 years in existence could achieve for voters with a term or two onto 2030, and all the more so given L.A. city hall’s historically inequitable—and often compromised—structure in any case. But given Viola’s strong position on divestment from incarceration for L.A.’s most vulnerable communities—especially Black Lives—a policy that’s also gained increasing momentum at the voting booths over the last decade, it sure is something different for the city and its neighborhoods in generations; in fact, with the data and ground-game in mind, it’s an unprecedented opportunity.”

Mail-in ballots arrive this May 9th, 2022. And Election Day is June 7th, 2022.

J.T.

A line of police officers forms a barrier at L.A. City Hall in downtown Los Angeles

LAPD officers Now Face a Crucial Choice: To stand with policies as they are, or stand for a change, even in their own ranks

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 78)

As of 2018, according to Police Chief Michel Moore, Black, Asian and Latino police officers make up at least 60% of LAPD’s force in Los Angeles.

However, the Board of Directors for the police union, known as the Los Angeles Police Protective League, which works to “protect, promote, and improve the working conditions, legal rights, compensation and benefits of Los Angeles police officers,” is made up of nine officers, including just one Black woman, two white women, and six white men.

In other words, the board is not an accurate representation of what the majority of police officers in L.A. look like, and by extension, what their values are, as well as where they may see room to work along with members of the community in Los Angeles for the betterment of the public good.

The board of police commissioners, on the other hand, which “sets overall policy while the Chief of Police manages the daily operations of the Department and implements the Board’s policies or policy direction and goals,” is slightly more representative, but might be said to still fall short of “a fair share.”

Made up of five mayor-appointed representatives, overseeing a police force where 60% of officers hail from Black, Asian and Latino communities, one could expect these groups to have, say, three out of five seats on the board.

Instead, two white women and one white man take up 60% of the board seats, while one Black man, and one Latina woman account for 40%. In a democratic country, numbers like these suggest we still have a ways to go before achieving an actual functioning democracy.

It’s therefore a good time for every LAPD officer to ask themselves: In the best case scenario, what might the future of policing look like in Los Angeles? For whom should police work, and how?

If there was ever a time for departments, organizations, and individuals everywhere in America to reflect on their own practices and representation, clearly that time has now arrived. And if there’s going to be any meaningful process of change and perhaps even reconciliation, these are just a few key questions to start with.

J.T.

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