Every year that I’ve been on the Los Angeles City Council, I’ve had a summer program called the, “Ready for Women Fellowship.” This program brings together several woman for a paid summer fellowship that gives an immersive experience inside City Hall. I believe that we must build a pipeline for future women leaders, and it’s my responsibility as a woman holding elective office to help build this pipeline. While working in this fellowship, these young women join high level meetings, develop and execute short-term projects, and have access to see the inner workings of City Hall. We also hold weekly seminars for the participants to hear and ask questions of key players that can help shape their careers. This year’s fellows join us from varied backgrounds. Angelina Finau is a recent graduate from CSUN with a BA in Political Science. She was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. Audrey Nicole Soriano is a recent graduate with a BA in Healthcare Policy from Mount Saint Mary’s University. She’s previously interned with the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles. Elizabeth Garcia is a junior at UCLA, majoring in Political Science. She has previously interned in the Mayor’s office, and is a volunteer with Reading Partners as a tutor for under-resourced students in Downtown Los Angeles. Photo L-R: Lindsay Bubar from Emerge California, Danielle Cendejas from The Strategy Group, and Ready for Women Fellows Audrey Soriano, Elizabeth Garcia, and Angelina Finau
Our HOPE Teams are working every single day to help our homeless residents in the Valley, and every time I hear one of their success stories I want to share it with you. I often hear from people complaining about the homeless issue – from the encampments to the lack of housing. It’s a huge problem in our city and region, but by having our HOPE Teams building relationships with the homeless communities and identifying their specific needs, we are seeing concrete results. Recently, Sgt. Padilla with the LAPD Operations-Valley Bureau HOPE Team wrote me, “With some much appreciated help from Michael's Furniture Store, Gobethe 1, LAHSA and HOPE of the Valley the OVB HOPE Team and LAHSA were able to obtain and deliver food, clothing, gift cards, new beds, welcome home kits and misc household items to a newly housed Veteran Patrick and a mother/daughter Rachel and Rebecca. We still have some work to do but this was a great start.” I agree, there’s a lot more work to do, but this is certainly a good start. I hope nothing but the best for Patrick, Rachel and Rebecca with their new start!
During these uncertain times in our country, many families are living in fear. As a mom, I can’t even imagine the horror of going to the grocery store, and being detained leaving my daughter alone. I understand why so many of our immigrant families are turning to anyone who offers to help protect them. That’s why, as a City, we must protect our most vulnerable residents from being victims of predatory “notarios.” Far too often people who have no legal training will represent themselves as qualified to provide immigration help – and take large sums of money from vulnerable immigrants, but leave these folks no better protected. More
We celebrated Women’s History Month throughout March in the City of Los Angeles. I was pleased to lead the City Council in many of those efforts where we highlighted the incredible talents and contributions of women in the City of Los Angeles. On International Women’s Day, the organizers of the mid-January Women’s March called for a day of protest and action called, “A Day Without A Woman.” As the only woman on the City Council, and a fierce advocate for the people of Council District 6, I wasn’t going to step away from the City Council and let the men run things without me for the day, so I decided instead to bring the women who work for the City of Los Angeles into Council Chambers to have our own demonstration. For nearly an hour we shut down the work of the City Council and demonstrated to employees throughout the City what a day without women would look like. I led the City’s women employees as we, one-by-one, stepped to the microphone and announced our name and role within the City. This demonstration showed how every department in the City is dependent on the contributions of a talented, smart, and dedicated female workforce. Well over two hundred women participated, and though that’s a fraction of the female workforce of the City, it filled the Council Chambers to capacity, and made a clear impact. More
When you see Galaxy of Comics on Saticoy in Lake Balboa, you might be tempted to think it is just another comic book store. You’d be mistaken. Galaxy of Comics has become a bit of a hang-out location for a wide variety of people from throughout the San Fernando Valley. Owner Warren Jaycox explains, “We want this to be a place that serves the avid comic book reader, while also being comfortable and welcoming to someone who has never picked up a comic book before.” More
Latina History Day celebrates the many accomplishments of Latinas in the United States. For the past 15 years, Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) has worked with the City Council to declare a day in March as Latina History Day. This year’s resolution coincided with HOPE’s Latina History Day Conference. The Latina History Day conference, for which Latina History Day in California was created, draws over 900 women to celebrate the historic accomplishments of Latinas and gives them the opportunity to partake in forums on corporate advancement, the state of public education and financial empowerment. This is the 26th year that HOPE has been putting this conference together. This year’s theme is “Embrace the Journey.” I was honored to present HOPE with this year’s Latina History Day resolution at the City Council last Friday.
February was Black History Month, and to celebrate my colleagues Council President Herb Wesson, Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, and Councilmember Curren Price joined me in bringing together hundreds of girls from throughout Los Angeles to a special private screening of Hidden Figures. The movie was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It depicts the real-life story of three African American women who were instrumental in the early days of the United States’ space exploration program. More
Sun Valley Area Neighborhood Council (S.V.A.N.C) was one of several project leaders citywide to be recognized by the Board of Public Works on Saturday Jan. 14, 2017, as one of the top place finishers in the Clean Streets LA Challenge! The city launched the Clean Streets LA Challenge last Summer/Fall 2016 in efforts to promote more civic engagement in getting some of our toughest city streets clean. Along with focusing on specific problematic corridors that fall victim to illegal dumping, the Clean Streets LA Challenge also emphasized for project leaders and groups to promote the increase use of the MyLA311 app in their respective communities. This app allows Angelinos and the public to accurately report illegal dumping through submission of pictures and exact pin pointed locations of a request. SVANC chose to tackle the Peoria-Tujunga-Bradley Corridor, an area known for some of the city's heaviest illegal dumping activity. The Sun Valley community along with SVANC's leadership were successful in accomplishing their goal of cleaning up the entire corridor as Vice President Cindy Sower put it: More
On the eve of the Presidential Inauguration, I was proud to join the National Council of Jewish Women, Los Angeles, at a “Rally to Save Roe.” We gathered to send a clear message to the incoming administration that women “Won’t go back” to the days when we didn’t have the choice to make our own reproductive and healthcare decisions. Many women in Council District 6 rely on the services of Planned Parenthood for their healthcare. Women need to have all the accurate and honest information available to them to make healthy decisions for their own bodies, and Planned Parenthood provides this. Additionally, many of these clinics provide cancer screenings, various forms of birth control, and other health services. When the incoming leadership in Washington D.C. declared their first priority was to defund Planned Parenthood, it made me angry, as it will hurt many residents of my district. Ultimately, it is important to me that we send a clear message, that a woman in Los Angeles should make her own healthcare decisions, and men in Washington D.C. shouldn’t dictate those decisions to her!
Every year, Adrienne Alpert from ABC7 hosts the leadership of the Los Angeles City Council on her show, “Newsmakers.” This year-end episode allows us to report on the work the Council did throughout the year, and set our sights on the year ahead of us. For the second year in a row, as the Assistant President Pro Tem of the City Council, I was pleased to join my colleagues, Council President Herb Wesson and Council President Pro-Tem Mitch Englander on Adrienne’s show. You can watch the whole episode online, and see what we’ve been up to in 2016, and what our priorities are in 2017.