Updated: Oct 12, 2019
Everyone knows the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Even if you didn’t follow it, you know that Donald Trump has been president since the election in 2016. The presidential election had so much publicity that everyone is aware of who’s participating in the big presidential show. But a branch of government that is equally or arguably more important than the executive branch is your local government. The city council will directly affect how you live out your day to day life, and you will most likely have already noticed some of the changes the City Council has brought to your neighborhood.
You know those bike lanes that no one uses? Our city councilor Jose Huizar helped usher bike lanes into our community, which has been a model for all of the City of Los Angeles. What took me by surprise is that a lot of younger people haven’t heard of Huizar. 3 out of 10 people in Eagle Rock High School are aware of the City Council election and 2 out of 10 people are aware of who Jose Huizar is. Huizar can’t be our City Councilor again because you can only run for City Council three times. But in his time, he has done a lot for our neighborhood.
Huizar has been our city councilor for the past 15 years, and the things that he has done have directly impacted Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and Downtown. He represents City Council District 14, which is where Eagle Rock and Highland Park are. During his time as City Councilor, Huizar has worked to protect our environment, combat homelessness, and fight the housing crisis in LA, not to mention bike lanes. A lot of you have probably been to the 4th of July fireworks show at the Eagle Rock park. Huizar was actually the one who started that annual event, and has participated in it for almost every year.
Politics always comes with its mistrustful side as well, and last year in november Huizar’s office was raided by the FBI. Although no charges were placed after the search through Huizar’s office and home, this did destroy his wife Richelle Huizar’s chance at running for the seat he was giving up. Around this time Huizar was also under legal pressure from two former staffers. Both filed lawsuits claiming that Huizar was involved in an affair with an aide and other possibly illegal activities.
In March, the seat for Council District 14 will be voted on, and three people as of now have put in their hats for the running. Monica Garcia, president of the LAUSD board who can’t run for board president again because of term limits. In her time as LAUSD board president Garcia has pushed for 100 percent graduation rates throughout LAUSD. Garcia supports charter schools and believes she can make schools better for CD14 if she’s elected City Councilor.
Kevin De Leon, who is the former president of the California State Assembly said in an interview, “Local government is very important. I think that’s where the rubber hits the road in terms of getting things done.” De Leon pushed renewable energy, clean air, the high speed rail project, health care, and gun control bills in his time on the California State Assembly.
Finally Jaime Tijerina, who is a scientist at CalTech is running for the Council. Tijerina believes that student debt is a big issue and is preventing people from moving back to places like Highland Park and Boyle Heights. As a Latina scientist, Tijerina wants to represent Latino research more. Her claim is that issues that affect Latinos are not getting researched and more representation will help this.
Our country’s presidency is important, but you will most definitely feel the direct effects of a good city councilor and a bad one. Your city councilor, is in charge of your neighborhood. When they make a policy, it usually will directly affect your life, like how you shop at the grocery store, how clean the parks in your neighborhood, and fun events you probably have gone to but have no idea who’s behind them.Your City Councilor might choose to act on places like that and plan community activities. Banning plastic bags, park clean up days, festivals with music food and dancing are all things that our City Councilor are involved in. So the next time you walk down Colorado Blvd. and see those empty bike lanes, remember that’s your City Councilor hard at work.