I’m sure many of you have overlooked the recent local elections, but these local government officials will affect your life more than any presidential election will. Members of the local government represent your community and often have more of an impact on your daily life. In recent years, homelessness, gentrification, affordable housing, and public versus charter education have been major issues for LA. If you believe we need urgent action on these issues, then you may look to your government for help. Despite the big ideas of many progressive candidates, most of them will not affect Los Angeles let alone Eagle Rock. This support must come from our local government. In recent years, our city council’s response to these issues has been delayed if not slow. Not many candidates have been calling for a structural change inside City Council.
Having lived in Eagle Rock my entire life I have always thought of the city government as distant, not truly affecting my neighborhood. Like any resident, I’ve noticed that homelessness and gentrification are getting worse. It seems like the government doesn’t care about our community. When doing research for who I would vote for the city council, no candidate really stuck out to me. With Kevin De Leon not being a local to Eagle Rock and his support by many businesses, I didn’t truly feel he held my beliefs. Another candidate, Monica Garcia, who fought harshly against the teachers during the teachers’ strike didn’t appeal to me what so ever. Only one candidate stuck out to me. I initially heard of her because she is running a grassroots campaign without the influence of private corporations, promising real change in our city. I immediately wanted to get more involved and decided to write this article.
Cyndi Otteson is an Eagle Rock native, was the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council Vice President, and worked for a non-profit responsible for helping Syrian refugees. I was lucky enough to be able to interview Cyndi, and throughout this interview, she was extremely passionate, not only about changing city hall but through grassroots means as well.
“We can start a movement right here and hold our elected officials accountable; That means being noisy!” Cyndi exclaimed.
Cyndi Otteson is calling for many changes in the way our city government works by working more for the people and investing in their futures. Remarking, “Only when we invest in people can they thrive.” She is also calling for various reforms like a decentralizing skid row and other areas of high homeless activity, reducing restrictions people face inside homeless shelters by creating a Safe Haven approve, changing the way we think about public transport to a “quality of life issue,” and many other Angelino focused policies made to improve lives in our city.
In a democracy, you may expect elected officials to completely represent our needs, but in reality, oftentimes companies and interest groups work against people. Many of the other candidates are influenced by these interest groups. This could stop major reforms, initiatives, supporting rent control, and homeless support.
“Money talks. We must be active to create change.”
Cyndi Otteson has a completely crowdfunded campaign, which means Cyndi answers to the people and the people alone, unlike her competitors. Also, unlike her competitors, she goes personally goes house to house canvassing and making connections with people in Eagle Rock. This is reflected greatly through the support she has within Eagle Rock, and District 14. It seems like it will be a tough race for her, as her competitors, mainly Kevin De Leon littered District 14 with ads. An interview with a Cyndi supporter revealed the extent of many of these ads.
“I have seen ads for him [Kevin De Leon] on Facebook, Instagram, and all over Eagle Rock, but Cyndi has interested me the most.”
Kevin De Leon has raised around 570,000 dollars, outspending any other candidate. Some believe he plans to use the city council as a jumping-off point to run for mayor. This is in stark contrast to why Cyndi is running. Cyndi is running because of her genuine belief in Los Angeles, and for the betterment of Angelinos.
Although these hurdles might have hurt many other candidates, Cyndi Otteson remains a popular choice for hopeful residents of District 14 who desire change and a better future for the people of LA. This has been my first real experience with the city government, and it has inspired me to become more involved. Political change comes from us, and no one better exemplifies that than Cydni Otteson. That’s why if you are a resident of District 14, I implore you to vote for Cyndi.
"Change never takes place from the top down. It always takes place from the bottom up."