Purchasing a home is the American dream we all strive for. Achieving that in Los Angeles can be very tough for some individuals. There are many factors to consider. Some of those factors are public safety, affordability, access to businesses such as grocery stores, and leadership of your local elected officials of said area.
At 29 years old I achieved that dream and purchased a home for my family in the Manchester & Van Ness area of the Los Angeles 8th City Council District. Prior to that purchase I was renting a home not far and helped a young politician get elected, Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
I and many other residents felt he would be a nice breath of fresh air for us millennials. We saw him walk the streets and protest food deserts, crime, and a host of other public issues while he was CEO of the Community Coalition.
As a young husband and father, this brought me hope for my family. Well in the words of Langston Hughes “my dream was deferred”.
It’s not like I wasn’t active in my community. A lot of things I did in the neighborhood I don’t mention, and a lot of things I did for no credit with good intentions. I was the change that I wanted to see. Unfortunately, decades of neglect and voters only voting by name recognition has impaired our community. Individuals are afraid to speak out because of fear of being blackballed has halted our progress as a community. We should hold our elected officials to a higher level of expectations as they work for the people, we don’t work for them.
I had enough and left South LA for greener pastures. I packed up my family and moved to Carson.
Some of you may be asking why did you leave?
Well, what would you do if you couldn’t send your children to the local elementary school because of low ratings? What would you do if you had to fight for decent grocery shopping options? What would you do if you had to beg city officials to get homeless encampments removed from the alley that are hosting illegal activities in your backyard? What would you do?
Many local officials care more about the next seat, personal status, and their own portfolios to care about YOUR livelihood. The sad part is many of these officials supposedly live in their district. I guess it’s ok for them to step over drug needles, pass by crack transactions taking place, the unhoused defecating in the streets and I can keep going. Maybe that’s ok with them. Well, it wasn’t ok for me.
Why are we as people becoming accustomed to the BARE MINIMUM from our elected officials? I challenge you, the readers, to want more. Not just for yourself but for your family and future generations. It starts now!
You may be wondering why the City of Carson.
Well, I have been hearing about Carson for a long time and have family there. What I noticed when I got to Carson was the swift response to basic service requests. City Council Members are always quick to respond to their constituents. You see the Councilmembers at local school events, grocery stores, and church.
I now see why Mayor Lula Davis Holmes always says, “Carson is the Crown Jewel of the South Bay”.
One can argue that the city is smaller than Los Angeles. Here is a thought: why doesn’t the City of Los Angeles break down the council districts more and maybe add a few more seats on the Council because it seems like it’s too much of a coverage area for many of them to handle.
In closing, you might ask what would have kept me in South LA?
It’s simple. I can grant grace to those who are actively making policy changes, in the field getting constituent feedback, and fighting for their residents. All I saw were musical chairs for the next seat and focusing solely on raising money to protect seats. My neighbors and I had a running joke “it’s election time get your asks in now, maybe the alley will get cleaned and the street paved”.
That’s a damn shame.
Former Resident, Los Angeles Council District 8