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If the Zuma Dogg ran for Mayor...

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Guest Day Editor Zuma Dogg will be joining LAist with a few posts throughout the day. Read his introductory interview here and check out his site as well as Mayor Sam where he contributes. He also wrote an article in the current edition of the LA Weekly


Well, if I were running for mayor, I would continue to speak about the exact same things I have been talking about all year. Because since you only have two minutes for comment, or a few minutes on a radio call, you want to try and talk about the most important issues, affecting the most amount of people, Citywide, that needs the most amount of transformation.

Currently, I would start with LAUSD. You can read exactly what I would start with in my campaign speech, because it is actually included here. And my campaign promise regarding LAUSD (since it seems to be in the mayor’s job description these days), is to set-up community meetings throughout the district, and try to attend many myself, and have my staff, and LAUSD Superintendent, board members, principals, teachers and parents there to take feedback from everyone on how to “fix/improve the system”, and update the community on the current state of the system, what is being done, what has happened, and what parents can do to help the school from their end.

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Then I would promise to take this feedback and make sure everyone from the tree trimmer to the board president had one goal, and one goal only: Your job is to help bring to the Superintendent’s attention, how he can put people to work to make the changes necessary to “fix the system” from an operational standpoint, to help improve the conditions that will allow teachers to be able to do a better job and remove barriers that prevent students from maximizing their achievement.

And something very important regarding any meaningful attempt at LAUSD school reform: I would request as mayor, that the Inspector General be as active and involved in all school board meetings and committee meetings and be an integral part of the "reform team", because the Inspector General is the person in charge of investigating, "fraud, waste and abuse". And if you are trying to pull LAUSD out of its current mess and fix a broken and sinking system...allowing the money to accidentally (or otherwise) fall into the category of "fraud, waste and abuse" only shoots the effort in the foot because it's tough enough to fight for the dollars we need to get the job done. So if there is potential for billions of these dollars to be wasted (through fraud, or abuse), the Inspector General would be the first person I would like a report from each day, as mayor.

So, Zuma Dogg promises as mayor, one of my top priorities (top 2), will be to make sure as representative of the people of Los Angeles, I will make sure City Hall does everything it can to make sure every dollar given to the kids and the schools, is used with the least amount of "fraud, waste and abuse" as any human system can hope to achieve. (Least amount of preventable waste.) And I would request as much communication from the Inspector General and ask the LAUSD school board to please consider him a valuable tool to help accomplish the goal you are trying to achieve. Because if you are trying to "fix" the problem, it doesn't help if the businesses you are awarding contracts to, are allowing the public money earmarked for school construction and improvements , where inappropriate amounts of money
ends up going to corporation managers and their cronies through front-end loaded (padded) management deals.

As a society, we will not have the workers and productive members we need to move forward until we fix our city's education system. By fixing the school system, you help increase student achievement, raise the graduation rates and provide a larger pool of qualified and productive job candidates. This is the best way, and I think only way to effectively reduce street crime and make the communities a safer, more livable place. Less money wasted on the problems associated with the crime associated to kids we lose to the streets because systematic bureaucracy and politicians have allowed the system to stay broken for too long, and now it has failed us. And there can be no optimistic view of the future until we overhaul the school system, and take it out of a 50's industrial era operating framework and make the necessary transformation to accommodate students and parents in today's specialized, fragmented electronic era.

A vote for Zuma Dogg, for Mayor of Los Angeles, means you will be sending a mayor into City Hall who will make sure there is a more efficient process in the way the city plans it's growth and plans it's projects. As mayor, I would break down barriers between all departments and have agencies and committee members and planners be a part of the entire process from start to finish.

I've sat through too many city meetings where reports weren't there, information wasn't ready, the meeting had to be canceled, or the project had to be sent back entirely: Not because each individual wasn't trying to do their best job. But because each department was working "independently" of each other, instead of working "interdependently" at all stages of planning and implementation.

The challenge we face as a city requires the most focused, efficient effort we can strive to achieve. I can promise you, as mayor, Zuma Dogg will be able to walk in the door, the first day, and the first thing I will have to do, and will be the easiest part of my job, as mayor, is to cut back the waste and inefficiency that needlessly and foolishly squanders billions of dollars of public money, that could be going to provide services Citywide that would improve the quality of all of our lives.

And the next issue I would address is the City of Los Angeles' Housing policy. That, along with LAUSD, have been the two issues that I have spent the most time addressing publicly in media this past year. As mayor, I promise to make sure the City enforces its own Charter regarding affordable housing, vacancy rates and tenant's rights. Because the City needs to do a lot of redevelopment and make a lot of improvements, Citywide to stay competitive regionally, nationally and globally. And I want the people to know that I will take measures to ensure that the City treats all these displaced residents with the dignity and compassion, that also happens to be required by law. Many projects are approved in violation of zoning and environmental laws, and done without proper consideration or input from the local residents affected by these project approvals. Again, the city has to balance the job of redeveloping the city so it can continue to be the international attraction that helps us thrive - and transition into a more livable city as the population increases by millions over the next decade.

There are some pretty humongous challenges in any political system. Different sides pulling in different direction with different ideas on how to steer the city. But one thing I'm sure everyone living in the city can agree on...There is so much waste and inefficiency that can be addressed, right off the bat...that would sure make the rest of the job easier.

Photo by r_neches via Flickr