City Council’s job is to ensure our public resources are invested wisely and distributed equitably to everyone who needs them. Yet, time and time again, we see certain areas being neglected. For example, South Glendale is never the top destination of dollars to build parks. Why is that?
It’s no secret that Glendale’s City Councilmembers live disproportionately in North Glendale, which is generally more affluent than South Glendale.
One reason for this is that Glendale elects its City Council on an “at large” basis, meaning that everyone chooses from the same pool of candidates. In practice, this pool has come from north of the 134 Freeway and south of Montrose and La Crescenta. Most cities our size are divided into districts so that each part of the city selects someone who lives locally and represents the needs of that particular community. I believe we should move to districts so that the needs of each region of Glendale is given a voice.
Another challenge to fair representation is the way we finance campaigns. Running for office is expensive and time consuming, which means that younger, working people are less likely to be able to raise enough to compete. We could partially close this gap by implementing a matching funds system like the one the City of Los Angeles uses. In Los Angeles, grassroots campaigns that get a large number of small-dollar donations are the first to benefit, helping them compete with large-dollar campaigns.
City Councilmembers are also not currently paid enough to support a family in Glendale, which means that even if someone with limited means were to win an election, they could not easily afford to hold office! We could address this by paying our public servants a living wage. (Note that this should NOT apply to already sitting Councilmembers, which means I would propose to be excluded if this change were made on my watch).
If elected to City Council, I will use my position to push for reforms that help make Glendale City Council more equitable and accessible to ordinary people.