When someone makes broad, generalized statements like I've made with the title of this blog what does that exactly mean? Leadership is something Los Angeles is as desperate for as a deer panting for water.
Quality of life is the single biggest issue I heard in my years of community service on the Studio City Residents Association and Studio City Neighborhood Council boards but it was the exact opposite of the elected officials.
That means our neighborhoods are more developed without their being a plan for schools, police, fire, basic infrastructure and something each of us can agree upon -- traffic which eats up our time and pulls at our wallets needlessly.
Let me share a story about Los Angeles' Controller, Wendy Greuel who I've seen speak many times and admire for her dedication to her husband and family. A few years ago I heard her speak at a conference called, "Mobility 21." Basically her speech was how to get Los Angeles from being the most congested city in the nation, but here's the rub from her point of view. When Prop 13 was put in place by voters it starved government of the resources to effectively address big issues such as traffic, schools, infrastructure and balanced budgets.
Again let me add I personally like the Controller but it was then I knew Los Angeles is leaving the people business, and getting into the lack of leadership business.
One could ask as I often was during my tenure on the two boards what do you mean exactly, Todd? I'd answer it means less time with your loved ones because what once was a 6 unit apartment building became a 22 unit luxury townhouse complex without any thought to quality of life because more units mean more tax revenue.
That practically means more cars on the road, smog in the air, further erosion of already strained infrastructure and a simple chore like going to the grocery story for baby food has to be planned for when traffic is at its lightest.
It further means police helicopters and first-responder sirens all hours of the day and night unceasingly because with more people in a tight space means more problems when issues such as "quality of life" have been replaced with "we need more taxes."
Los Angeles will always be near and dear to my heart because it is where I found my wife, my faith, and made a life for myself. I weep for Los Angeles and beg its citizens to become more involved since only 3-8% of all registered voters EVEN vote in local elections. My favorite saying the last few years is, "your local CityCouncilman or Woman has more power and control over your life than President Obama."
Thank you La Cañada for being what my wife and I can tell is a planned community with a heart for families and livable neighborhoods. I hope to be involved in local government, the chamber of commerce and any other organizations I have the time for while running a business and being a husband and father.
I sincerely wish the best to the Mayor, City Council and La Cañada city staff to continue to make what a good friend of mine said recently to me when I told him we were leaving Studio City for our new home..."I love La Cañada, it's one of the hidden secrets of LA County."
For myself, my wife and one year old thank you for welcoming us into your wonderful city.