Spring 2013 Candidate Surveys: L.A. City Council Dist. 13 Archive

Spring 2013 Candidate Surveys: L.A. City Council Dist. 13 Archive

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Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to revise or submit responses, please contact Abe Flores at info@artsforla.org or 213-225-7526.

Elections for this city council are run by district, meaning voters in each district may elect one name from the district’s candidates. Voters may vote in only one district.

To determine your home district, please visit the Los Angeles County Register-Recorder/County Clerk website.

A runoff may be held on May 21, 2013 between the top two candidates who received the most votes if neither receives a majority. If one candidate receives a majority of votes in this election, that candidate wins and no runoff will be held.

Candidates: John J. Choi, Alexander Cruz De Ocampo, Roberto Haraldson, Sam Kbushyan, Emile Mack, Robert Negrete, Mitch O’Farrell, Octavio Pescador, Josh Post, Michael Schaefer, José Sigala, Matt Szabo

Question 1: What was the most meaningful arts and cultural experience you had growing up?

When I was 12 years old, my mom took me to see Pavarotti perform at the Hollywood Bowl. Experiencing an international virtuoso artist at one of LA’s most historic venues left a lasting impression that resonates with me even today. I credit my lifelong appreciation for arts and culture to this experience.

Growing up my family didn’t have a lot of money. I will always remember our school sponsored trips to local museums, which gave me a great appreciation for the arts. I believe that art is the root of curiosity and creativity in our children, and that we must preserve our art community and continue to expand it for future generations.

I have been a musician my whole life. I have a degree in Art with an emphasis on video production, worked for Bill Viola and recording artist Seal. Art has been a constant throughout my life, but I remember one meaningful experience. One day arriving at work I found theater director Peter Sellars at our office. I admired his work since my early days at the Los Angeles Festival. Upon entering the room, despite the fact that I was surrounded by many prominent artists, of whom I was certainly not one, he walked straight up, focusing all his attention on me and made me feel I was the most important person there. I realized then, that part of Peter’s art was making those he came in contact with feel great about having met him.

This candidate has not yet responded.

I was raised in Central Los Angeles in a low to mid income neighborhood plagued by gangs. When I was about 6 years old I began taking piano lessons at the USC Preparatory School of Music. This began my love for music and experiencing the arts. I was lifted from my surroundings and exposed to the world beyond my neighborhood.

This candidate has not yet responded.

Art classes all through my public education experience every year in grade school. Elective art classes through Junior High School. I later became a professional dancer, actor, and singer.

This candidate has not yet responded.

My most meaningful arts and cultural experience as a child occurred by those around me simply encouraging me to be creative and open minded. As a child I was always creating, whether snowmen out of marshmallows or remaking music videos in costume with my siblings. I took these experiences to adulthood where I still enjoy painting modern art and exploring the fantastic art/culture scene of Los Angeles, especially in District 13. One of my highest priorities as a public servant is to make sure we, as a society, do not cut arts programs for kids. I believe arts, dance, music, and programs that encourage our youths' creativity and imagination are vital to the well being of a child's development.

Meeting Santa Monica artist known for his drawing of big cartoon fish in a tank; meeting Mrs. Jonas Salk in La Jolla, Frances Goulet, who was Picasso's Mistress, touring the Hemitage in St. Petersburg Russia, the El Prado in Madrid Spain. often visiting the Washington DC National Gallery, seeing the Mona Lisa there(on tour) and at her home when I visited, twice, the Louve in Paris. Was in high school with Frank Zappa the RockIcon and he drew cartoons expressing his rage, little monsters banging spoons. Not just one experience, just am supporter and fan. Know Kent Twitchell, shame on you if you don't, he paints tall figures on tall buildings, and (thank God for our local law) when feds took over a bldg.with his artwork on it, and demolished it without notice to him, he sued and recovered over $1,000,000 for government misconduct. Have invited him to pick out a bldg. to paint and I'd buy it and commission him.

This candidate has not yet responded.

This candidate has not yet responded.

Question 2: What do you believe the role of City Council should be in the development and support of the region's cultural infrastructure?

City Council members need to understand that promoting arts and culture is an essential responsibility. My goal is to lead the effort to develop a comprehensive Arts and Culture Tourism policy that promotes and better connects all of our arts and cultural institutions within the city.

Los Angeles is rich with cultural diversity and has many landmarks dedicated to celebrating the traditions of many of our racial, ethnic and religious communities. It is important that the City Council preserve and promote this cultural infrastructure even as new development opportunities arise. Having been born and raised in Council District 13, I have seen how communities can change with new development and economic opportunities. I intend to work with developers to strike a balance to preserve the cultural and historical nature of parts of the district, while also promoting investment in the district.

Throughout history when societies prosper, arts and culture prosper. As we battle the difficulties of budget shortfalls, now more than ever our City Council needs to protect and invest in our cultural growth. The very identity of Los Angeles, our place in the world is as a center for cultural development and creative innovation in the arts. It is crucial to the future of our city that we make more opportunities for that development and stimulate the economic engine that our city is famous for.

This candidate has not yet responded.

The City Council plays a crucial role in three areas: funding, education, and outreach. We must continue funding arts programs and find ways to incentivize small artisans in their development. We must encourage art education. It has shown that art education has an impact on not only one’s educational goals but also promotes a healthier and more civically engaged citizen. We also need to do more outreach to the art community and encourage members of the art community to become part of commissions and serve on boards. We must hear the voices of artists.

This candidate has not yet responded.

If we wish to call ourselves a world class city then we must have a world class arts program in partnership with city government. This city has one of the greatest arts community in the world, yet the culture of art appreciation and support from our government, our public schools, and our civic institutions, is practically nonexistent. The City Council should play a direct role in making the case for economic development, tourism revenue, and quality of life in a city that has a thriving cultural arts community, and that the city should support that community with public arts funding.

This candidate has not yet responded.

The City has a responsibility to support the art community by encouraging development of artistic and/or cultural projects and promoting these projects, and by providing funding opportunities for the arts. The city should also consider increasing the 1% art ordinance to encourage developers to include art in their new developments by providing a tax incentive or potentially finding matching funds through state, federal or non-profit programs. The City should reach out to the community and engage them in their efforts to enhance the art and cultural infrastructure. We must also support arts programs in our schools for our youth. And as a councilmember, I will always support cultural festivals and activities that explore our rich diversity in Los Angeles.

Seek out or support all endowment/grants staff in doing so, funds available from federal state and county sources and the many foundations, trusts, that permit support of artists and art, LA has a nexus to Andy Warhol Foundation/Trust, we must see who in LA has influence in the arts and lend official and unofficial support of our leadership.

This candidate has not yet responded.

This candidate has not yet responded.

Question 3: How would you champion modifications to, or expansion of, the city's current funding stream for local arts and culture?

While it is clear that there must be an increase in the current funding for our local arts and culture, we cannot simply fund arts on the backs of developers. We need to find real solutions to dedicate streams of funding specifically for arts and culture. It is also imperative to build better relationships with major cultural stakeholders that will lead to a re-funding of the Department of Cultural Affairs. Along with a comprehensive tourism policy, this will lead to a more sustainable source of revenue for the arts.

Through my work with the Saban Family Foundation, I have extensive experience managing budgets. In my current role, I manage the foundation's $200 million budget for large-scale nonprofit projects. It is crucial that we find new sources of revenue to fulfill our obligations.

I would allocate a certain percentage of our city’s general fund for arts and culture. I would work with our unions and local businesses to create apprenticeship programs that would offer all citizens an opportunity to learn a craft in our entertainment industry. I would create incentives for local production and partner with other cities to try to attract their business here. I would partner our expat communities with artists from their native and other county’s to bring more cultural inclusion in our arts and industries.

This candidate has not yet responded.

To create a more stable funding stream for art we must work with artists, private agencies, and non-profits to create dedicated funding sources. We must also coordinate with economic development and tourism officials on how best to get more artistic growth to the area. For any effort to be successful we must have an effective coordination effort that involves various disparate groups. I have the experience in coordinating many different groups, including regional governments and agencies, non-profits, and educational institutions, and bring people together. I also believe we need a strong development plan that includes arts and cultural programs. I also want to improve funding for green spaces, parks, and libraries and see art as playing a crucial role in the development of these areas.

This candidate has not yet responded.

For starters, we can require greater funding for arts programs (currently 1% of new development funding) than we currently have. Furthermore, we can develop a scale of arts funding that rises based on the cost of the project. For instance if the AEG development downtown were to proceed, can you imagine what a 2% increase in funding for the arts could do compared to a 1% increase - of a one billion dollar project? We can also prioritize for arts funding. The Cultural Affairs department is woefully underfunded. We can identify funding elsewhere once we get our budget catastrophe under control, and increase it.

This candidate has not yet responded.

The City needs to have a consistent funding source so arts programs will not be affected by poor leadership and personal politics. The City's Cultural Affairs Department should consider setting up an Arts Fund and agreeing to maintain a set amount to sustain a viable cultural and arts community. The program can be funded through public-private partnerships and the City can provide funding through government grants and council discretionary funds. The City should also ensure that at least 25% of the Arts Program funding goes directly to outreach in undeserved and disadvantaged communities to engage a younger population in the arts.

Do not know about the current programs, will be researching that, best I can offer is an open door, open mind, a mature appreciation of the arts(am going on 75, have doctorate in law), was two term City Councilman of San Diego before moving to LA and was associate with the museum and art offerings of San Diego and La Jolla's museum; we must stay competitive with other cities nationally and internationally. Am impressed with Chicago's downtown Art Museum. Probably have more nexus to art that my 11 opponents combined.

This candidate has not yet responded.

This candidate has not yet responded.

Question 4: What three things would you do to deepen the city's investment in its creative economy (cultural tourism, indirect and direct jobs, nonprofit and for profit)?

As mentioned above, an Arts and Cultural Tourism policy will play a huge role in boosting the creative economy here in Los Angeles. First, efforts should be made to better promote and market Los Angeles as an international tourist destination. Second, we need to create long-term plans for our city. These plans should include standardized signage for parking, broader language accessibility, smarter land use decisions, and designated cultural zones like Hollywood. Last but not least, our cultural centers and enclaves (Historic Filipinotown, Little Armenia, Thai Town, etc.) should be included as part of the efforts to promote our city as a world-class destination.

Though it is the backbone of our economy, the entertainment industry is bleeding jobs and City Hall is not doing enough to support this sector. Through my relationships and experience, I will promote the industry and support new areas of growth, such as the incubators of new music and entertainment that are emerging in Silver Lake and Echo Park. We also need to do more to make it easier to film in Los Angeles, which will help drive tourism. Lastly, we need to incentive studio upgrades for production and post-production facilities, which will help preserve jobs in the creative economy.

Although we may not have the birthright to the entertainment industry, it is synonymous with Los Angeles. We need to educate the residents of our city on the importance of arts and culture to our local economy. As a councilperson I would create programs that back up opportunities for local artists and help foster a cottage industry of do-it-yourself programs supported in part by the city and local businesses. Lastly, I would work with our studios to find a mutually beneficial means to reduce the outsourcing of our production services in the entertainment industry.

This candidate has not yet responded.

Strengthening our local creative economy is one of the three planks of my Jobs Plan. I will work with the arts and entertainment industry to bring film jobs back to LA, creating destination tourism, invest in parks and recreation, libraries, and museums to create a culturally vibrant community. Continuing to build a creative economy around the arts will encourage other creative enterprises, including the job-producing medical care community and the burgeoning high-tech and green-tech sectors.

This candidate has not yet responded.

1. Clean up Hollywood so tourists actually want to stay longer and spend money there. 2. Consult our various cultural community leaders, put a plan of action together and work with the city and LA Tourism Inc. on messaging, updating city websites, and promoting cultural tourism in Los Angeles. Some communities have no presence and they should, such as Historic Filipinotown, Thai Town, etc. 3. This will bring jobs and beef up the non-profit and for profit sectors of arts, culture, and tourism.

This candidate has not yet responded.

Encourage a partnership between small businesses, local artist and the city to develop cultural tourism outlets. Make it easier to navigate the city's business permitting process so that artist entrepreneurs can open art galleries to display and sell their wares. Work with local artists, schools, community colleges, universities and small businesses and help them partner with each other and show case art created locally. Create a social media campaign focused on promoting, educating, and engaging tourists and others in the city's creative outlets.

1. Seek advice of your organization as to needs, and what is feasible. 2. Support programs providing employment for local artists in providing art, sculptor in any and all public places, where it is constantly seen and enjoyed rather than locked away. 3. Perhaps a major placement such as the Arc in St. Louis, or Statute of Liberty in NYC. 4. The major and minor foundations, trusts, are obligated by law to divest and spend their earnings and more, per federal law; we must know who these sources are, not just in LA but elsewhere--because $1 invested in Art of any kind in LA is seen by many more people than in smaller communities; perhaps Stephens Media(Arkansas) who has spent millions in Las Vegas and Washington DC(Newseum) would find merit in a media-related art-project in LA. Support strongly our sister-city program and would invite your counsel as to how my visits outside LA could include a pitch for art.

This candidate has not yet responded.

This candidate has not yet responded.