City: Los Angeles
Position Seeking: City Council – District 13
Question 1: Please share a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts) while growing up and its impact on you.
I was always enamored by the talented street musicians I used to encounter on the train platforms and retail intersections of cities like Chicago, New York and around the world. It was one of the best expressions of art affecting the daily environment and making a mundane commute something more to be remembered. Art, music and culture should never remain as something seen or experienced at a distance, but incorporated into the everyday. These musicians really gave more than they could have ever made from what they collected during their efforts. They filled sometimes utilitarian spaces with a kind of ephemeral beauty that makes for a lasting experience.
Question 2: What do you believe the role of City Council should be in developing and supporting the region’s arts and cultural infrastructure?
Since the City Council makes many of the decisions that affect development, transportation and infrastructure; it becomes only logical that the arts and cultural infrastructure would become inevitably entwined with that. This should include the understanding of meaningful architecture as a part of that and the necessary incorporation of public and performance spaces that support and provide for this infrastructure. Most notably not segregating the majority of such projects to the city centers or the more affluent areas, but making a conscious decision perhaps to create a policy that focuses many of the efforts and funding for arts and culture to the more economically challenged communities. The Council needs to take the lead on this and create a dynamic policy that incorporates this concern into all of its decisions. Art and culture don't live apart from the infrastructure of the City, rather they are the part that enhances it at their best.
Question 3: What’s your vision for the city? What role, if any, does art and culture play in advancing that vision?
CD13 and Los Angeles are probably the most diverse communities in the world at this point, and this is our strength. We have been an economic and cultural center which adapts new influences and sets new trends. We have a history steeped in film, architecture, music, literature, painting and performance. But to make this sustainable for the creative community and anyone who lives here, the city has to remain affordable and livable. Over-development fueled by speculation and a lack of viable honest planning threatens CD13 and Los Angeles as a whole. LA must grow, but it can only do so successfully if we maintain the neighborhoods and institutions that are what make the city what it is. Community Responsible development which respects architecture, cultural institutions, neighborhoods and physical infrastructure; is the only model that supports a sustainable future. My vision includes maintaining affordable housing and building new housing that truly reflects the income levels of those who live here and create the culture of the city. A city cannot stagnate, but once you lose the fabric of the culture and fail to support the creativity that defines you, than you have passed the point of no return.
Questions 4: A recent report by the Otis College of Design found that 1 in every 6 jobs in LA County supports the creative sector and economy in Los Angeles County. If elected, how will you aim to ensure the continued vitality and growth of the creative economy and the artistic community that it supports?
Following on what I said above, this is about making Los Angeles sustainable and affordable. We are losing the affordable housing/rental stock due to speculative development that aims towards building luxury housing at the expense of the middle class. It does not address the needs of the creative community or most of the neighborhoods in CD13. So as a city and City Council we must commit to an updated plan that incorporates the realities of those working in the creative economy and makes sure they can remain here and grow. That comes down to concrete issues--like housing, support of the arts and a commitment to reasonable growth that does not abandon the people who are an essential part of the city. If elected I would weigh all my decisions with this key understanding in mind and make every effort to apply these concerns wherever possible. CD13 has possibly one of the largest sections of the creative community and it would be my job to do everything to make sure it could remain healthy and vibrant in the district.