The Fight for Good Government in Los Angeles — Round One


The City of Los Angeles is home to an estimated four million people. They’ve come from places all over the world, but in L.A., they populate 15 Council Districts and more than 90 fairly well-defined neighborhoods.

Some Angelenos speak fluent English; some speak English with a noticeable accent. Others, who may speak little or no English, are fluent in one or more of the 120 different languages/dialects spoken in Los Angeles.

Some Angelenos are wealthy; others are very poor. Some are well-educated; some are virtually unschooled. Some Angelenos enjoy robust health; others are disabled. Some are employed, some are unemployed, and others are retired.

Some Angelenos are employers. They manage business organizations and make goods and/or services available to the public. They create jobs, generate taxes, and strengthen the City’s economy.

Angelenos represent an incredibly diverse slice of humanity. We have widely different views about everything. But occasionally we do find common ground. Take, for example, our views on religion.

Some Angelenos are deeply religious; others are turned off by religious talk. But regardless of our views, most of us would probably agree that the Golden Rule — a religious principle — is a good guide for our secular society.

Or consider what we Angelenos think about politics. Some of us are politically active; others have given up on politics. But it’s a good bet that we all want our government to be effective, efficient, and responsive to the will of the people. It’s an equally good bet that virtually none of us is totally satisfied with the way City government actually operates.

And that, Dear Reader, is a huge part of the problem! Like constituents all over the world, we Angelenos gripe about our government. But that’s all we do — gripe! We don’t do anything! We don’t spend any time or energy trying to fix the problems we complain about.

Listen, Los Angeles! We can’t wait for the Poop Fairy to clean up the mess at City Hall! That’s a job we – you and I — must do for ourselves!

C’mon, Angelenos! That’s our government we’re talking about. We elected our leaders; we trusted them to do what they were elected to do. Then we left them with no effective oversight. And we’re shocked that our trust is being violated — that our leaders are putting their careers ahead of our needs.

We can do better. We can begin now preparing for the next Municipal Election. It’s set for March 5, 2013. That gives us a year to learn everything we can about the candidates for Mayor, City Attorney, and Controller. It gives us a year to learn all that can be learned about candidates who’ll be running for the odd-numbered Council Seats —1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15.

And it gives me time to remind you how the current crop of leaders is making us pay for trusting them — for not holding them accountable to the people!

You can contact Samuel Sperling at

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