Los Angeles City Council member Mitch Englander went to prison for taking gifts from casino interests. Jose Huizar turned his city council office into a criminal enterprise, an indictment contends. Mark Ridley-Thomas faces charges of taking bribes from USC. And three more councilmembers conspired with a top labor official to influence redistricting—spewing racism and hatred on tape and disgracing themselves. Often, such scandals seem like the only times Angelenos hear about their councilmembers. Is the L.A. City Council—overshadowed as it is by the mayor, five county supervisors, and powerful state and national politicians—still worth the trouble and embarrassment? Can the body be saved by reforms, or by making it bigger? Or should L.A. replace its council altogether and turn instead to innovative methods of government decision-making—from lottery-selected citizens’ panels to the online environments used to govern cities from Madrid to Montevideo?
Public Access Democracy director Leonora Camner, California 100 executive director Karthick Ramakrishnan, L.A. city councilmember Nithya Raman, and Weingart Foundation president and CEO Miguel Santana visit Zócalo to discuss where things went wrong, and imagine new futures for L.A.’s city council.
Zócalo and KCRW invite our in-person audience to continue the conversation with our speakers and each other at a post-event reception with complimentary drinks from Oaxacalifornia and small bites from Guelaguetza.
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How Do You Solve a Problem Like L.A.’s City Council?
In This Moment of Pain and Division, There’s Opportunity to Demand Real Change for Our Democracy
“Do we even need a city council?” That was the provocative title question posed at last night’s Zócalo/KCRW event at the Herald Examiner Building in downtown Los Angeles. To get …