VOTE: LAUSD District 1 Special Election to Be Held August 12

VOTE: LAUSD District 1 Special Election to Be Held August 12

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 8:40am

VoteCandidates Alex Johnson and George McKenna are vying for election to the District 1 seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education.  The seat, formerly held by the late Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, has been vacant since her sudden death last December.

Spring 2014 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles Unified School District, District 1

Spring 2014 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles Unified School District, District 1

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As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

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 or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Charlie Jensen at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

The Actors Fund, KCET Artbound, LA2050, and the Social & Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Voting for LAUSD District 1 will be held on Tuesday, November 4.

1 seat is available in this election. Elections are by district, meaning only residents of LAUSD’s District 1 may vote in this race.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up? (Approximately 75-100 words)

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As a child I was a violinist and played in several orchestras including the Xavier University concert orchestra while I was still in elementary school. I also attended numerous classical operas and plays presented by the University. I have enjoyed all forms of music and was exposed to various musical genres in the New Orleans cultural community. As a high school student, I participated in the drama club and performed in several productions as a primary character. I am a self-taught piano player who currently enjoys playing for myself. My appreciation for the arts has been lifelong.

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the drop out rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers? (Approximately 75-100 words)

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Many students who struggle with academic achievement come to school for the arts and sports. It is the art teachers’ and coaches’ classes where they find ways to participate successfully. I remember as a principal kids that would ditch other classes but show up for their art class. We know how the arts enrich the lives of our children and practicing the arts builds talent, confidence and cultural enrichment. The arts strengthen our children’s academic achievement and they gain not only an appreciation of arts but for learning as well.

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Question 3: Los Angeles USD district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and the weaknesses of the plan? (Approximately 75-100 words)

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The District needs to be applauded for embarking on an initiative to restore the arts. In the global workforce, creativity, innovation and competitiveness will be abilities that are greatly sought after. Including visual and performing arts as part of our P-12 core curriculum will ensure our students have the knowledge and experience that an art essential component brings to teaching and learning. It will help our students think unconventionally and use their imaginations in life and the workforce.

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Question 4: How can your district make the Los Angeles USD arts education plan, and its progress on the plan, more visible to parents and leaders in your community? (Approximately 75-100 words)

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Collaborating with parents and the community will be essential. It takes a village means that the museums, performing arts venues, the music and motion picture industry and civil and other leaders should all be part of the planning. There are many opportunities for communities to come together and share in the development and the experiences that the arts bring to a school, neighborhood, and city.

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas? (Approximately 75-100)

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There is a direct connection between art education and the priority areas for funding. Art education inclusion can enhance the quality of the LCAP plan with the expectation that the programs and services provided under the new funding include curriculums that increase students’ engagement and achievement.

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Spring 2013 Candidate Surveys: L.A. City Council Dist. 1 Archive

Spring 2013 Candidate Surveys: L.A. City Council Dist. 1 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: Gilbert Cedillo, Jose Gardea, Jesse Rosas

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

The most meaningful arts and cultural experience I had growing up was being introduced to ethnic theater as a young person. I was in a summer program for three years where I lived on campus at UCLA, and was exposed to all sorts of social critical theater, film, ethnic dance, and I realized the impact that the arts could have on a person. I want to make those types of experiences available to every kid in my district, to show them that the arts can be for them as well.

I grew up in the MacArthur Park and Echo Park neighborhoods where exposure to the arts and culture included historic architecture, community murals, and music. The diversity of the neighborhoods I grew up in reflects in my public service, culture and community.

When I was growing up in Mexico City, I went to the art museum there. They had a Picasso exhibit up at the time, and I found it fascinating. In seeing the world through Picasso's eyes, I realized how the world can be viewed so differently by others, and that it's important to keep an open mind about perception and perspective. Everyone sees things differently, and it's necessary to realize the before we can agree on anything.

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

Cultural infrastructure can shape a community just as profoundly as physical infrastructure. One needs only look at the Inner Harbor District of Baltimore’s concerted efforts to fill its blocks with museums, sculptures, and memorials. Residents of District One have been underserved in this regard – both public and philanthropic dollars often neglect us in favor of richer environs, and it will be a goal of mine on the City Council to provide meaningful opportunities for cultural enrichment to the young people of my district – both through public money and through creating partnerships between civic leaders, local schools, and non-profits. As a part of these partnerships, I want to see our district be filled with sculptures, murals, and other visual art pieces that represent our unique community’s unique character.

The role of the City Council in support of the region’s cultural infrastructure should be aggressive, proactive and creative. The role of the City Council, especially during lean budget years, must be to aggressively highlight arts and culture. As a council, we can proactively create opportunities within the arts and culture community to create jobs that will benefit the city’s taxpayers. I believe creative powers can be unleashed by looking at art and culture as a prime partner in economy.

I believe their role is to facilitate the creation or alteration of public or unused spaces in order to provide studio and gallery space, as well as help coordinate events, such as the Art Walk and Second Saturday, that both display and support the work of local artists here in the community.

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

I have long been a major supporter of the arts – both through public funding in the Assembly, as well as through raising private funds for the arts as Chair of the Latino Caucus. I have long been a major supporter and fundraiser of ethnic theater groups like Culture Clash, and as a City Councilman, I will continue to use my platform as a public official to raise private funds while fighting for more public funds. Many residents of the community I represent often think of arts as something that only goes to other parts of the city. I want to change that. As a City Councilman, I want to combat inequalities in where arts funding goes. I want kids in the neighborhoods I represent to empower themselves by picking up a musical instrument, or a paintbrush, or a typewriter (i.e. a laptop).

I would address this challenge by incorporating the limited arts resources into our more traditional community development structure, whereby we can leverage outside resources to enhance exposure of arts and culture to our families.

I will take the initiative to work with local non-profit artistic organizations so we can begin a dialogue surrounding the development of policies that are both feasible for the city and helpful to the artists. I will also approach the Council with data showing the financial and cultural benefits artists and their art have on a community.

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)?

First, when I talk about job-training, I don’t only want to train at-risk youth in the building trades. Some can write, some have a story to tell, some can paint, some can build sets for plays. There are a lot of jobs in the arts, and I want to bring them to the 1st Council District. Second, I want to weave USC, CSULA, and Occidental into the cultural fabric of this district. I want to create programs for young people in our district to visit the theater, arts, dance, music, and film departments at those Universities, and to bring arts students from those universities into the schools in our district to mentor our young people. Third, we have great cultural centers in the district that ought to be expanded, from Plaza de La Raza to the Chinese American Museum, Southwest Museum, and I want to make these into hubs of rich cultural exchange, to attract new events and acts to venues throughout our district. In addition, I will bring acts into underutilized venues in the first Council District like the band shell and the hall in Arroyo Seco.

-Create an LA City Cultural Diversity Policy for economic growth and tourism. -Aggressively pursue outside funding sources to support such policy. -Work with community infrastructure to Create art incubators in every neighborhood.

As mentioned in the previous answer, I would devise a fact-based presentation for the council detailing the tangible financial and cultural benefits artists and art have on any given community. I would also encourage the expansion of current artistic events to strengthen their positive impact, as well as encouraging the council to provide new events and art projects that help both artists and their community, such as the painting of electrical boxes, poles, and encouraging street art to take the place of gang graffiti.