This spring, Los Angeles and its neighborhoods face a peculiar challenge. A distinguished citizen, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is about to be made homeless, and very publicly so. When he leaves office at the end of June, he’ll lose his current residence, the Getty House, the official mayoral home in Windsor Square. And he can’t go back to his house in Mount Washington, because his ex-wife got that one in the divorce.
So our mayor has no obvious place to go. This is at once a personal concern (he needs an apartment or a condo or a house in which to stay) and a municipal quandary—the mayor needs a neighborhood that he can make his own. By his own admission, he has yet to give the subject much thought, telling The New York Times only that he is considering a place near the airport. So to help our mayor figure out where to put a roof over his head, we at Zócalo pose the following question:
Can your Los Angeles community give Antonio Villaraigosa a home?
Today, Zócalo launches its Adopt-a-Mayor program, an open invitation to people in the City of Los Angeles to make a case for why their neighborhood would be a good place for the soon-to-be-ex-mayor—or, for that matter, anyone else facing a difficult transition—to make a new home.
Using between 100 and 500 words, please make your best case for your neighborhood as the mayor’s next home. Is there one moment or anecdote that sums up why you live on L.A.’s finest block? How has the greatness of your corner of the city remained secret for so long? What incredible facts about your commute, your dry cleaner, or your landlord prompt uncontrollable envy in other Angelenos? How do your neighbors welcome newcomers? What could your neighborhood do for an ex-mayor? And what could an ex-mayor—and his clout, connections, and charisma—do to make your neighborhood an even cooler, possibly better place to live?
We will publish the most compelling responses well before Mayor Villaraigosa has to start getting quotes from moving companies. And we’ll reward the reader who in our judgment provides the most compelling response of all with our 10 favorite books on community from the past year—the Zócalo Book Prize longlist.
Please submit your argument via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, your neighborhood, how long you’ve lived there, and a phone number at which Zócalo can reach you. The deadline for submissions is Monday, April 29 before 5 p.m.