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connect / 2018

LOLA: Demystifying local politics for young, busy residents in LA

LOLA: Demystifying local politics for young, busy residents in LA

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Activation Challenge by LOLA

LA politics is dry, boring, and confusing AF, but it doesn’t have to be. LOLA empowers young residents by explaining local issues and elections in a concise, nonpartisan way.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

Many young Los Angelenos are disengaged in local elections, and they’re not alone. In LA’s 2017 mayoral race, only 12 percent of registered voters cast a ballot.

In the midst of an important midterm election year, LOLA will create a nonpartisan digital platform where young, busy people can learn, discuss ideas, and help tackle some of LA’s stickiest issues. Our goal is to support community projects and double the number of young voters participating in local elections by 2020.

Which of the connect metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Voting rates

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the best place to CREATE

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Digital organizing or activism
  • Create new tools or technologies for greater civic/political engagement
  • Increase participation in political processes
  • Influence individual behavior
  • Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to connect?

Would the average Los Angeles resident be able to explain the role of an LA superior court judge or county assessor? Unfortunately, the answer is probably not. It’s not surprising that civic participation and voter turnout is low. Local politics is designed for insiders. LOLA’s mission is to change that.

LOLA is a website where young, busy Los Angelenos can quickly and easily learn how their city works. In a midterm election year, we’ll demystify everything from LA city councils to ballot initiatives. So if residents are voting on who should be the next county assessor, LOLA will explain what they do and why they matter. LOLA is the first step for residents to engage in local politics. As they become more familiar with local issues, we’ll have a moderated community forum for people to discuss ideas, candidates, and propositions. We want to replace comment sections with conversations. We believe this is how we start to build momentum for connecting Los Angelenos and empowering them to contribute to civic life.

Beyond local election coverage, LOLA will have ways for residents to discover people and organizations tackling important issues like homelessness, housing, and public transit. There are hundreds of incredible local initiatives seeking support and volunteers. LOLA will be the place where people can learn about their work and sign up to help. We believe collaborations create communities. Similar to our local political information, we’ll apply human-centered design to design a place that makes it easy for people to trust, discover, and get involved in local projects.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to connect

A 2015 Knight Foundation study found that 88% of millennials consume news through Facebook. Today, that number has only grown as more young people rely on social media platforms as their primary source of news. This is a massive challenge when it comes to local politics and election information. While down-ballot resources are available, local politics isn’t optimized for mobile consumption and social media sharing. Instead, election coverage is often boring and riddled with political jargon and biased opinions.

By creating concise, easy-to-understand, nonpartisan summaries of candidates, elected offices, and local issues, LOLA will activate young Los Angelenos so they can re-engage in local issues and their communities. Our goal is to reach young, busy Los Angelenos of all socioeconomic backgrounds, and we plan to translate LOLA into other languages like Spanish and Mandarin.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

At LOLA, our definition of success is to make residents feel empowered and engaged in their local communities. We’ll measure success in three ways:

How many voters between the ages of 18-34 participate in local elections and how does that compare to previous midterm election years

How many people return to LOLA to learn about local issues

How many local projects successfully find collaborators and volunteers

Rather than track the number of impressions or social media shares, it’s important for us to build a lasting relationship with Los Angelenos. Measuring impact, trust, and loyalty, respectively, are essential benchmarks for LOLA.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

By 2023, we hope LOLA will be the go-to digital platform where LA residents, organizations, and businesses learn about local issues, discuss new ideas, and collaborate on community projects.