Social Connectedness / 2013

The County Resident from District 3

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by E.N.G.A.G.E stands for Educating Neighbors Gaining Awareness Growing Engaged

Los Angeles county is famously apathetic. Twenty-one percent of eligible voters cast ballots in our recent mayoral election. It was even less when Villaraigosa was elected. Filling halls with engaged county residents and constituents will be the overarching goal of this organization.

The County Resident from District 3 is a public advocate fighting for civic engagement across numerous county platforms.

Paying attention to the county government and its 24 billion dollar budget is critically important but also fun and funny. Imagine a "Daily show" for Los Angeles County with its own website, documentary, how-to-be-more-civically-engaged amazon kindle book.

The county board of supervisors meeting that takes place every Tuesday is videotaped, transcribed and broadcast the following night on KCLS.

The content is in the public domain. As a TV professional who has worked extensively in all forms of television including serialized drama [Santa Barbara, Poor Nastya], comedy [Reba, Popular, Head Case], and late night [The Tonight Show with Jay Leno], the weekly board meeting has all the elements of a weekly tv show, which is why I've cast myself as a quasi-anchorman, charged with translating the confusing weekly agenda for the public while politely holding each of the five county supervisors accountable. Not to mention Sheriff Baca, who was recently named Sheriff of the year for 2013!!! See, it's a comedy!!!

CRD3 is a watchdog, who is very focussed on the flow of information - from the board to the public, but also from the public to the board.

All CRD3 activities are aimed at promoting open government, transparency and the belief that public scrutiny is teachable, fun and effective. Empowering the public to raise it's voice respectfully while fighting for better navigability and clean plain language.

CRD3 advocates for the public because the agenda is so dense that translation is needed to bring understanding. Awareness leads to engagement. The Board has representatives, the unions have representatives, and now the public... has an representative too! And he didn't get elected and owes no favors.

What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

-Attended the last two years of Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meetings

-Identified as the "Target" of a failed effort to limit public comment. -Fought successfully to get Citizens Commission on Jail Violence Transcripts.

-Pressed for Jail reform meetings on Tuesdays, despite Supervisorial resistance.

-Brought KCET's Socal Connected the "Family Ties" story about undue Lobbying influence.

-Exposed Sheriff Baca as out-of-town during jail crisis, in LA Weekly.

-Heightened awareness about Board of Supervisors tooling around DC in limos.

-Exposed conflict-of-interest for fundraiser, Erin Pak, to serve as City Ethics Commissioner.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

Colleagues: Karen Foshay, Senior Producer, Socal Connected Jim Newton, Editor at large, Los Angeles Times Robert Faturechi & Jack Leonard, Los Angeles Times Xian Bordal, KCRW, Which Way LA? Peter Eliasberg of the ACLU of Southern California. Celeste Fremont of Samantha Azulay, AIDS Healthcare FOUNDATION Lynn Plembeck, SCOPE Jon Nahhas, The Boating Coalition

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

The goal is to build a loyal following and thus success will be measured by site traffic and other metrics that measure the consumption of CRD3 content. “Likes” and recommendations will build the site into a respect-based community forum, where records and reports can be accessed and shared widely across social media.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles?

The internet and 24/7 access to media and better information than ever will allow for a better informed citizenry, better suited to monitor its precious government resources. Corruption can never thrive in an environment where the sun is shining and the 'fresh-eyes' of the public are asking questions and getting answers.

Scrutiny is teachable.

Inspiring young and old to be more civically engaged through comedy and straight talk.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

In 2050 engaged, informed citizens will be ‘liking’ their favorite commenters and elected representatives will be forced to take notice. The power of an informed individual, will cause friends and neighbors to educate friends and neighbors about how to be better informed. 80% of the electorate will vote in the Los Angeles election in 2050.