Last week the Southwest Community Center burnt down, just before their annual giveaway of food, toys and other items for needy families. The Santa Ana community came through and many people went and volunteered their time to this wonderful charity. Although I was unable to make, I heard only a couple of the elected officials in Santa Ana showed up, although the Mayor(who was a no show) did inform volunteers he got a local vending company to donate an unlimited amount of ice, which was sorely needed for the event.
Hearing how few electeds show up made me think, all too often we see local Councilmembers or School Boardmembers who lose sight of just what they were elected to do. They start to think certain events are beneath them, or others are meant for them to go and take a quick photo and leave. To those who have developed that mindset, I would like to turn your attention to an example to follow when it comes to being aÂ local elected. That person is candidate forÂ California Lieutenant Governor andÂ current Los Angeles City Councilmember Janice Hahn.Â (Full disclosure, I worked as an intern and aide to Hahn from January 2002 to September 2003)
One incident sticks out in my mind, was when a non-profit organization adopted a very rough area of Wilmington(nicknamed Ghosttown) to do some neighborhood rehabilitation. One of those projects was to paint several houses on one block in this neighborhood to some of the neediest residents. Councilwoman Hahn requested several of her staffers, myself included, to come down and volunteer our time to paint some of the homes. At the ceremony, Councilwoman Hahn came and gave the citywide proclomation certificate,Â AND proceeded to grab a paint brush, a bucket of paint and assist in painting a home. She stayed for a good 90 minutes helping to actually bring back a formerly neglected neighborhood in Wilmington. While many councilmembers could have left after the photo op, Councilwoman Hahn felt a sense of duty to partake in manual labor to help her constituents. To me, that is leadership.
I hope many local elected officials will look at this example and take it to heart. I know some have grown an ego the size of Los Angeles, and this post will go right over their heads, but it needs to be said. This is not only an example of how local elected officials should serve their constituency, but also an example of why I know she will be the best person to serve as Lieutenant Governor for the next four years. She is one who has not let being a Councilmember on what is arguably the most powerful City Council in the state if not the nation(Some State Legislators consider running for the LA City Council to be running for higher office) go to her head and has maintained that all politics is local ideal that has allowed her to serve her constituents so well. I believe she would take that same mentality with the entire state of California as her constituency.
So to the local elected officials who love to just show up for the photo ops or have come to believe that the peopleÂ Â elected you so they could serve YOU, wake up. This is how you should behave as an elected official. And this is who you should also be supporting for Lieutentant Governor for the State of California.