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LAist Interview: LACityNerd, Part I

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Back in February, I got an e-mail with the subject line, "blog tip." With a link to the blog, all the e-mail said was, "just some information - nothing flashy. Glad to know you. LACN." Overtime, the anonymous LACityNerd became an authority to all things, city of Los Angeles. I don't know who the nerd is. I don't even know if the nerd is a male, female, child or beast. All I know is that I've been within a few feet of the nerd at an event and was never the wiser.

1. What makes one a "city nerd?" Any tips for aspiring city nerds?

A City Nerd is more than someone who knows too much about the City and often times bores friends and family with adventures of riding in police cars, directing traffic, installing red curb or spouting trivia. It's more than just reading about City history or council actions until late into the night. It's more than what Tom LaBonge or Eric Garcetti do - it's working all the time to know as much as possible about the way the city works while at the same time trying to share a passion for the city one believes is the best. I am an LA City Nerd, but one could be a Modesto City Nerd, I guess, if they truly felt their City was superior.

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So, yes, in answer to your follow-up question: LA is the best City.

2. What inspired you to just start blogging one day?

A few years ago, I was out with some friends and we were talking about what we knew about the City, and I said, wouldn't it be cool to post all the insider information we know about how the City works. Well, a few months later, the 4th Floor Blogger showed up. No, that wasn't me, but they did what I talked about doing. Then, I figured, after seeing what happened there, that I didn't want to deal with politics. And, by the time i got around to blogging, Mayor Sam was all over that scene. So, I figured I would share the real facts about Los Angeles and portray a City that is true with a real history.

In short: it was something I wanted to do for a while, and decided to start when I finally had the time.

3. Your dream public transit system for LA?

Dream public transit would be a monorail system. It's truly a dream, but it is what would work best. I trust Ray Bradbury, a true Angeleno.

And which leg is really needed most? The 101/405 to LAX - someone get some lightrail/subway/monorail/skybuckets/something into that corridor to & from the Valley!

4. Do you believe in the Neighborhood Council system?

I do believe in the Neighborhood Council System. I believe it has brought new people together in neighborhoods that often lacked a sense of community. Some of my favorite communities have real community voices again because of the NC system: Palms, Reseda, Pico-Union, etc. The one thing that hinders them is that so many try to be mini City Councils instead of unique neighborhood councils that are truly responding and acting to their immediate communities. The most successful are the ones that don't get mired in minutia and really just focus on community issues and how to solve them.

5. Five needed improvements to the City website.

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The City's website needs to be more user friendly (to use the cliche). I think the worst part about it is that it takes 4 clicks just to get to a department - and they're not four easy clicks, either. The navigation bars on the top and side are clunky and not as functional as they should be. Also, the site is not updated as often as it should be. The City doesn't really have a "webmaster" that oversees the site and is actively working to make it better. It has basically been the same site since at least 2001. More current and topical information would be better on the homepage, and the services listed need to be better organized. I don't think I could name 5 specific improvements as much as I would say just go through and keep it clean and up to date. Give me an hour (or few) with a web designer from ITA, and they'd have an amazing City site that ties in the past, present, and future of the City.

6. You wish the citizens of LA would ________.

I wish the Citizens of LA would embrace their community as part of a larger entity of the City. My true wish for the City is that folks in Chatsworth feel the same pride for Silver Lake as the San Pedrans feel for Silver Lake - which is the same feeling a resident of Silver Lake feels. I wish that more people would get involved in their community to make a difference. I wish more people would meet their neighbors. I wish the Citizens would be proactive to improve all neighborhoods of the City.

7. Valley or Beach?

Valley for life; beach for vacation.

Photo by pulpolux via Flickr

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