Spring 2013 Candidate Surveys: L.A. City Council Dist. 7 Archive

Spring 2013 Candidate Surveys: L.A. City Council Dist. 7 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: J. David Barron, Nicole Chase, Krystee Clark, Felipe Fuentes

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

In grade school being the solo singer in recitals. Solo singer at Church of the Assumption choir. As a youngster, I drew caricatures on sweat-shirts for neighborhood friends. Drawing colorful cartoon caricatures on large posters for high school clubs and later on for community events. . I don’t know at what age you stop growing up? But, the most meaningful….a grand love for music and dancing in front of a live orchestra.

I have always had an appreciation for the arts, especially theater arts. My passion for theater began at the University of California at Berkeley 1985 - 1990. I not only performed in several major productions on campus, I also produced, directed and instructed students. During this time I was exposed to a variety of well known playwrights and industry professionals.

Travel has always been an integral part of my life. I am fascinated with ancient cultures and civilizations and was lucky to have International exposure from an early age. When I was seven years old my family spent the summer on a freighter cruising thru the Mediterranean. The Captain of the ship had a daughter about my age, but she only spoke Yugoslavian. I remember creating picture books of various objects and ideas that we could point at in order to communicate with each other. Being thrust into an unusual situation forced us to be creative problem solvers and we instantly became friends.

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

Support the development of simple out door stages with attached dressing rooms and available electrical power at selected city parks. Make traffic control personnel available for special art events. Promote the importance of the “Arts” in our schools. Encourage independent non-profit to support the arts, raise private funds and apply for grants.

The Council should strive to make sure the ARTS remain a vibrant and intricate part of Los Angeles. This includes making sure resources and opportunities are readily available to students and communities. The ARTS allow for a unique form of communication, that often crosses cultural barriers. When these barriers are penetrated people often realize that regardless of ethnic makeup, we as a people seek similar opportunities for our children as well as successful and fulfilling well rounded lives. The ARTS create a telescope into the histories of various cultures, which in return provide for greater respect and appreciation for the trials and tribulations that came out of sacrifice, suffering and human determination to survive. It is for this reason that the ARTs (all of its mediums) must remain an active and viable resource for every community. It is for this reason that the ARTs (all of its mediums) must remain an active and viable resource for every community. This means, City Council should continue to strive to support funding for the ARTS both in the public setting, in our schools and as a therapeutic tool for addressing some mental health issues.

Councilmembers should encourage public art projects in conjunction with all new development projects. Aesthetics are important to the health, happiness and prosperity of our communities. We need to ensure our transportation links our neighborhoods with our cultural centers, theatres and museums. We should continue having our Metro system run late and promote “free nights” to accommodate popular music and art festivals throughout the City. City Council should take an active role in promoting cultural and art events that draw crowds of spectators. The giant Boulder that made it’s way across town to LACMA and the Space Shuttle journey became instant tourist attractions. Just the kind of creative attention Los Angeles needs to encourage an engaged and artistic community.

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

Per our city’s Chief Administrative Officer, this mayor and city council have been over-spending city revenues since this mayor was elected. This has placed the city on the edge of bankruptcy, causing a negative impact to the Arts. To begin a correction in the budget, if elected, I would do all I can to repeal the city’s business tax, which has driven employers out of town. This would encourage new employers and others to return and set up business and hire. This would begin to raise our tax base and increase our revenue even more, and allow for funding for the Arts.

I would strive to make sure that funding is provided to support and enhance the many forms of ART Culture that are represented in the City of Los Angeles.

When budgets are tight, it is necessary to look for solutions that are inexpensive or free for the City to initiate that will draw focus to our artistic and cultural diversity. Choosing a poet laureate for Los Angeles (Eloise Klein Healy) was a great way to focus attention to the written word. The Hollywood Bowl inducted its first Latina (Gloria Estefan) to their Hall of Fame. Citywide art projects paired with charities, clubs and organizations like the Community of Angels Scuptural project brought foot traffic and tourists on a quest to see every last decorated angel. Concerts in the park and songwriting competitions can help promote local talent and the World Music Renaissance that Los Angeles has recently become famous for. Art walks highlight our unique and eclectic neighborhood galleries and can attract private and not for profit attention and grants that can help fund costlier endeavors.

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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)?

Since the city is as safe as it was in the 1950’s, I would motion to abolish the mayor’s unregulated multi-million dollar “anti-gang” program, and use those funds to hire additional police officers to suppress graffiti and gang-crime even more, to the point of eventually being able to abolish all gang injunctions. These funds would now be available to redistribution. I would make a motion to abolish the newly created Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, whose parent CRA, was abolished because it was not doing what it was intended to do…help communities. These funds could now be redistributed for Fire, Police, core services and have enough funding for the Arts. I would make a motion to roll back this mayor’s staff and his office budget that he tripled from the normal $8.6M, with a staff of about 70, to over $26M and increasing his staff to approximately 233 staffers. This $17M could go back to the general fund and some funding for the Arts.

The ARTS are a vital and powerful economic force in the City. I would work with the City in an effort to move it from a reactive mode to a proactive stance in terms of creating incentives that seek to attract more business to the City, especially in regards to the film industry. We need to create and or maintain effective and efficient department(s) that would be supportive and responsive with processing permits. I would work with my colleagues in terms of creating tax incentives and evaluating the option of reducing the cost of permits. We all know that creative ARTS touches just about every industry, it has the potential to generate talent that can compete on a global level. Therefore I would work to assure that resources are available to students allowing them to take advantage of the many structured creative art programs offered in the City. I would leverage my history as a development director with the Boys & Girls Club of San Fernando Valley, to identify funds via grants and private donations to enhance Community Based Organization / Nonprofit programs offered in communities throughout the City.

One out of 6 jobs in Los Angeles are in a creative field. We need to help our student’s transition more seamlessly into the workforce. Pairing young artists with professionals will help open doors and show them first hand how to make a living using their talents. Encouraging internship programs, mentorships, scholarships and technical schools will help keep our creative workforce thriving. I am committed to increasing production incentives to help stimulate the Entertainment Industry so Los Angeles always remains competitive. We need to create affordable living complexes that integrate the needs of our creative community members that include studio space, practice halls and performance venues for artists.

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