More than three decades ago, in my mid-20s, I took my first oath of office as a member of the Los Angeles City Council. Today, I’m 61, and one of our county’s longest-serving elected officials. I’d like to think that constituents have given me the privilege of serving them on the council and the Board of Supervisors because they know I’ve consistently put their needs first.
No doubt, many of you find the world of government—particularly L.A. County government— forbidding and complicated, a place where the rich can pay lobbyists to push the levers of power while the poor are forced to rely on the integrity of a system that, to them, seems unremittingly rigged against them.
Yes, Los Angeles County government is sometimes frustratingly flawed, with consequences that can mean life or death for those who rely on its safety-net services. But it also can be powerfully effective, even transformative, in the lives of those it serves, from vulnerable children to the frail elderly. From my vantage point in the arena, I know that the real story of Los Angeles County government is more layered than the image that often emerges in the news accounts that shape public perceptions.
In recent times, that picture has become even more one-dimensional as the rise of the Internet has delivered a serious financial blow to the mainstream media, forcing them to thin the ranks of reporters, including those who cover our local political institutions. For the most part, the coverage they continue to offer is important but is simply too spare to provide a true understanding of the breadth of issues that confront us or of the people who take to heart their role as public servants.
This new website represents my commitment to share with you more of the story of Los Angeles County—what works and what doesn’t. Along the way, I hope to inform, inspire, entertain and motivate you to become active in the issues you and I care about so we can become even better partners. My name, of course, is at the top of this website and, now and again, you may see a picture of me cutting a ribbon or shoveling some dirt at a groundbreaking. But our goal is to promote the issues, not me.
The reality is that this website, reported and written by my staff, is an experiment, representing a new kind of online outreach. There is no time-tested model to follow, just my instinct that you want and need more than you’ve been getting from traditional political websites or from the media.
Let me be clear, we’re not purporting to be a journalistic organization or to end-run traditional news outlets with propagandistic content. We are simply offering you another stop on your daily journey through the web for deeper coverage in areas we’ve long considered priorities: health, transportation, the environment, arts and culture, public safety, social services and the economy.
Finally, I want to encourage you to let me know what you like about the site and what you’d like to see improved. Like most websites, this one will continue to be a work in progress. What you see today is just the beginning as we try to figure out ways we can be more useful. And for that, I need your help. Please drop me a note with your thoughts at email@example.com.
Thanks for stopping by.
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