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HHPNC Candidate Profile: Monica Alcaraz

Alcaraz hopes to bring her pro-active demeanor and strong community ties to the neighborhood council.

Monica Alcaraz was born in raised in Highland Park. She attended Luther Burbank Middle and Franklin High School, and aside from a summer she spent working at a fish cannery in Alaska, she's lived in the neighborhood her entire life.

She's running for President of the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, she said, because of her lifelong commitment to using her skills as an organizer and communicator to help other in her community.

Alacaraz currently works in the alternative energy field, and is an active member of the Aldama PTA and an At Large member of the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council--a seat she was appointed to after volunteering to build the council a website, free of charge.

In the 1990s, she worked for the State of California's Welfare to Work program, making connections between employers and people who were hoping to get off the public assistance program.

A mother of two, a daughter at Aldama and son at Pasadena City College--Alcaraz said her strongest attribute is her willingness to take action.

"I'm action-oriented," Alcaraz said. "I don't want to be on this council if I'm not going to do anything."

Patch recently interviewed the presidential candidate to ask her thoughts about neighborhood council spending, her qualifications to run the council's often contentious meetings and how she compares to her opponent, Cathi Milligan.

On Neighborhood Council spending:

I think we do need to look at how we're spending money, but we do need to empower the people who come to us and show them a better way. I do think a lot of these kids are disadvantaged and I think experiences like going to competitions or whatever it is does bring a sense of pride. I went to Benjamin Franklin High School, but my son did not go to Franklin. Where we live at, I was very conscious of what could happen to him, because, growing up, there's been times where I had friends who didn't want to get into a gang, but what happens is that these other gangs beat them up, and there forced into it even if that's not what they want. I was very aware of that with my son. He went to Arroyo Seco Museum Science Magnet School and then he went to Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School. We need to show our kids that there are other things out there. To fund [requests] completely is not what we should do. We should empower them.

Speaking about a recent request by Franklin High School cheerleaders seeking $1,500 to help pay for a trip to competition in Las Vegas.

I went to them and I said, right now we're doing a fund-raising for the school through a candy sale. I broke it down for them and said, if you sell one item to every kid in the school, you guys will exceed what your goal is and you wouldn't even need help from the council. I think there should be limits, but we are there to help the community. You can say that "we're just helping cheerleaders." I wasn't so much in favor of the Macy's thing, but it really does bring pride.

On her ability to run HHPNC meetings:

I run the PTA meetings. I've always run meetings, and I've taken courses. I'm not a meeting person, understand. I like meetings to run smoothly, to run on time. I like people to get something out of the meetings. I don't like having meetings for meeting's sake, either. We were having meetings for candidates to show them how to run, and we had difficult people at that meeting, but people said they loved the way I handled it. I think people need to be heard, but there's a easy way or a nice way to kind of let them know you've heard what they said. That's kind of one of the things that bothers me about the board. There has to be a way to represent ourselves where we can say what we need to say without being disrespectful. Because everyone deserves respect.

On how she compares to her opponent:

I don't know her very well. That's not to say she hasn't done anything, I just don't know her. I will say this, I'm the type of person who is action-oriented. I don't want to be on this council If I'm not doing anything. I know the main responsibility of the president is to run the meetings and make sure they're running smoothly. But that's not me. I want to help with outreach. I've been very, very active with the election, putting information out there. I have not promoted myself for anything. My goal was to get people to be part of it. I think we've set a record in terms of candidates that are running and you can talk to any of the people that I've talked to, I've just been encouraging them. I think what I bring to the table is that I have an understanding that we need to work together, and that's what I go back to.

We as board members have a responsibility to make sure we are working as a unit. I noticed, that's not what happens at times. I think everyone has good intentions and they want to help Highland Park, but sometimes things get in the way. I don't really care what happened in the past, I just want to move forward and make things better for Highland Park. Because we have so much here.

Elections will be held on Sat. Oct 13, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Highland Park Adult Recreation Center

The MOG October 05, 2012 at 06:54 AM
doodler, I aint the chillaxin type, when it comes 2 being down w/ inclusiveness & transparency...as opposed 2 the caca de toro that went dwn @ 2nites meeting, bro! That kind of thing doesn't belong on a board that should act as a body, in an advisory capacity. Also, this happens to be Anti-Bully Awareness Month. Mssssss Milligan behaved as a bully 2nite, as I have observed Mr. Smith do, on other occassions. By now, it should be clear, I do not cower to bullies. I am not intimidated by them. Indeed, bullies need to be outed for the miscreatens they are. The rate of suicide is through the roof for gay teens, for example, because someone like you would kill the messenger, rather than rebuke the offender. No, I will not waiver in my resolve to confront, & excise this cancer on our NC. That would be the way of a coward, & my friends & neighbors expect more of me. In case you didn't know, we raise fighters in this town. Not immasculated, sorry excuses, emo pretenders, et al. So, you can go on & load another bowl of mother nature, reflect to Bob Marley, & chill, dude. I'm just gonna kick it, here, on the right side of de road. Cool?
Ethel Beavers October 05, 2012 at 08:01 AM
Seriously? Are you that simple minded to only focus on the photo instead of the words? I really hope this was just an attempt on an unfunny joke. Who allowed you on a computer?
Bernie October 05, 2012 at 08:07 AM
Went to the Neighborhood Council meeting tonight. Been reading about it, checked the website. Few people. A neighbor told me that after 2 years of outreach this was the best they could do. I saw scarey bullys tonight. Monica Alcaraz, new on the board, was aggressive and loud, a pompous know-it-all. It was obvious from the reactions of others on the council she had no idea what she was talking about. I heard Violeta Mendoza, also running, ask if she could bring in illegals to vote. The lead bully running is Paul Bonsell, Shouting interrupting contradicting raging. Couldn’t understand him, something about hot dogs. My helpful neighbor said she knew him back in high school and people always wondered what is wrong with him. The President often threatened to ask him to leave the meeting and ban him if he could not behave. His wife Teri Bonsell, running, also running to be on the Arroyo Seco neighborhood council, was mean and defensive and turns out she is the one in charge of outreach. Nasty vibe. Explains the low turnout. At the end of the meeting Paul Bonsell stalked threateningly to another board member. People tried to stop him. More yelling and shouting. “It’s just beginning,” he threatened. Then I saw Monica Alcaraz spouting off again to a group of candidates, angry horrible look on her face. I ran. If these people get elected to the Highland Park neighborhood council we are all in big trouble. I am looking for other people to vote for October 13.
The MOG October 05, 2012 at 08:37 AM
Bernie, you're a liar. After the meeting, & the minutes are there for anyone who cares to dispute the record to refer to, Paul went directly over to Joan Potter, & began to assits her in getting her things, chart, etc. together. Monica retired to a table where some others were gathered, quietly. Paul had his hand raised, patiently, while Mr. Smith intentionally ignored him. As Mr. Bonsell attempted to call a point of order (&yes, Chris, you can say Paul didn't use those words, but you'd be being a smart ass if you did.) the screetching banshee, Msssssss Milligan, cont. her verbal assault. Again, I refer you to the minutes, don't take my word for it. Thank God Almighty, you effeminate tricksters are too stupid to know when to quit. As if your innane comments are going to convince anyone of anything different than what I maintain to be the accurate discription of the meeting in question. Your kind sticks to high heaven. The nerve of trying to muddy the water,& pull the wool over Highland Park's Collective Eyes! You're new around here, huh? Don't you realize we're too smart for that kind of bare-a** NON-SENSE! Come Oct. 13TH we're going to show you whose boss. btw, as far as the hotdogs are concerned, my gay friend offered to host a LGBT BBQ, but the board shot it down, claiming Hot Dogs @ Gay BBQ's taste like...oh well, YOU know! Seriously though, the idea was to provide food items, sub-way sandwiches etc. on election day, as a display of hospitality. Your gal Cathi choked it!
The MOG October 05, 2012 at 08:41 AM
correction: STINKS to high heaven. :-}'
VDJM October 05, 2012 at 05:12 PM
@ Bernie, I don't know who you are, but please keep my name OUT of your mouth. I NEVER said such a thing (re:"illegals"). If you want to hear what I have to say, come to me personally. If you were at last night's HHPNC meeting, you should of had the decency to confront me then vs. hiding behind your inappropriate comment.
GK October 05, 2012 at 06:53 PM
I attended the meeting and was disheartened to see people's behavior last night. I've sat on UN commissions dealing with human rights atrocities and saw people act with more diplomacy disagreeing about torture and genocide than I witnessed last night watching people debate over hot dogs and quorums. Highland Park deserves a neighborhood council that is diplomatic, respectful and productive. We are neighbors. Let's treat each other as such. It's disappointing that potential great candidates have been dissuaded from running (some even withdrew) because of this unneccesary drama. I'm having second thoughts myself. I hope who ever gets elected that they will raise the bar not only of fiscal responsibility, community impact and common decency. This is a terrible example to set for the youth of HP.
Punk Attitude October 06, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Both of the ladies running for president let us not forget have been on the HHPNC and their work has been strictly volunteer. There is no remuneration. I think it says something about both of them. It's too bad they can't be turned into one person called Millicaraz and run for president.
El Cid October 06, 2012 at 03:44 PM
CBF - I agree with your remarks. This board has been successful. Unfortunately, remnants of the previous board, PUPPETS, and one or two individuals who believe playing Santa serve the HP best. On the other hand, others on the board worked hard to focus on those things that our community needed most. At times, I did not agree, but much was accomplished with this well-intended group. GK - I agree with your assessment too! Sadly, the behavior you describe above frightened many away from serving the HHPNC before. The HHPNC needs to rid itself once and for all of the cancer that is still alive and well on the board. Spend free, self-serving few! For the new candidates who truly want to serve for the betterment of HP, please FIGHT ON! HP wants YOU!!! As for the debate on providing food at the HHPNC Election, food should be provided as a courtesy to the volunteers ONLY! To the HHPNC stakeholders - I am confident that you will AGREE!!!
The MOG October 08, 2012 at 04:46 AM
CBF wrote: " the last board, which was de-certified due to precisely what happened at last night's meeting." Really, CBF? You were at last Thursday's Meeting? Tell me, what did you think of Cathi pointing her threatening finger at a fellow board member, intoning "I'm not talking to you"? Tell me, what is version of events that took place during the discussion concerning Ethics? Why was the topic brought up at all? What did you think of Chris standing up & threatening to have a member of the board ejected, or else he'd unilaterally shut down the meeting? What was Paul doing at that point? I'd like to know CBF, since you were at the meeting, and are concurring with your pal GK, there. But if you truly don't know, than don't cluckin act like you do!
The MOG October 08, 2012 at 04:51 AM
I do not agree. You are raining on our parade, so to speak, El Cid. All the neighborhood councils are providing hospitality for voters, making the event a fiesta all will enjoy, & participate in. We want it to be an honored event, just as in the tradition of Lummis Day, & the Northeast Holiday Parade. We don't want HHPNC to be the fuddy duddy among councils. Come on! Lighten up, & get with the spirit of our Neighborhood Elections!
The MOG October 08, 2012 at 04:52 AM
I like you more & more Punk Attitude...You're very humorous!
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 12:07 AM
CBF< You're a fool, and have lost all creditability with me. You chimed into GK's comment as though you were an eyewitness to the fact, which you were not. I called you on it, & you reply with this further idiocy, "It has caused some bitterness, bullying, and bad behavior as of late..." Really, CBF? Bullying& bad behavior? When was this, & by whom? You can't truthfully say now, can you? BECAUSE YOU DON'T ATTEND HHPNC MEETINGS!!! Isn't that right? So cut the chicken crap! You're being disengenous & you know it! Your being deceptive, in as much you sought to create the preception that you were an eye witness to events being commented on by another poster, when in fact, you were not! The truth is you're just shooting your cluckin beak off, in favor of your fellow newbies, Chris/Cathi et al. Only a newbie would want HHPNC rediculed& stigmatized as the only NC in the City not providing hospitality & their respective neighborhood elections. Regardless of what you "heard", Highland Park people love celebrations & community events, fyi. You can tell the rest of your newbie friends, we treasure & appreciate an atmosphere of fiesta at our public gatherings. It's part of our great Latino Culture, the Slate Of Anglo Newbies comprised of your compadres obviously don't share. That is most unfortunate, & we feel sorry that you are against making our elections enjoyable & memorable. Despite the Griches who would have it otherwise! Que Viva La Raza & On For Franklin! Go Girl's Cheerleaders!
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 12:14 AM
I might also say, CBF, that you support a slate that would deny the Franklin Cheer Leading Squad funding, because they say it is akin to "giving a man a fish, rather than teaching a man to fish!"LOL That's so twisted, it'd be laughable, if it weren't so tragic. Heads Up Newbies, The Franklin Fighting Spirit Lives On Today, Tommorrow & For Always! We reject your group of carpet bagging yuppies, with their prejudice & discrimination. You know damn well that whatever the board doesn't spend on grants will go back to the City. So, someone is going to get them. If not Franklin, who? Your newly arrived Artsy Fartsy Buddies? I say again, Que Viva La Raza & On For Franklin!
Nimby pimp October 09, 2012 at 12:32 AM
MOG - Do you have a job? What felony were you convicted of? You have reportedly intimidated women. Have you hurt children? Do you live on public assistance?
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 12:33 AM
I'll add one more thing, CBF, while I'm at it. I find it odd that Patch Editors decided to do a Candidate Profile on Cathi, in addition to her "Let Me Introduce Myself" Blog, while not extending the same curtesy to her rival, Monica Alcaraz. Some of you might know, I've been Uploading Videos to Patch's Neighborhood Gallery. I have one now PENDING. In it I present a view from Flat Top, for those who are interested in seeing the site of NELA's next proposed big hillside development, & also, to give my response to the growing controversy vis a vis HHPNC shenanigans,& to give my vision for the new board. Why that vid is pending is a mystery to me. I've never experianced any problem like that before. Friends, help me end the subtle racism, & discrimination a hand full of self-appointed elites can purpetuate against a community, by institutional prejudice, whether it be a local news outlet, or a clique of outsiders intent on taking over OUR Neighborhood Council. Help Save Our Neighborhood Grants, from being sacraficed to Chris&Cathi's Slate of Newbies. Vote for me, Margarito Martinez as your next At Large Director on the board of The Historic Neighborhood Council. I'm the ONLY candidate with has called for LGBT inclusiveness & outreach on the HHPNC. So, if Equality is important to you, then I'm your man! So to speak... ;-}'
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Sorry Nimby, I'm off to my sex offenders class right now, & I really don't have time to reply to your ever so serious, & earnest queeries...besides, I have to pick up my EBT Card @ the neighborhood check cashers, ya dig? I want to run by El Superior @ pick up some FruitLoops after I stop by the local collective...first I have to put in a few hours peddling crack to the elementary students just getting out of school. But worry, Nimby, I'm going to give your question front burner status as soon as I get back. K? Bye!
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 01:03 AM
CBF, I got around the "video pending" sanfu on Patch. I UpLoaded my response to you on YouTube @ http://www.youtu.be/UAdlVrsZ5r4.com, or simply search for "A View From Flat Top" on YouTube.
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Chicken Boy Fan, I think this is the correct link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UADlVrsZ5r4&feature=youtu.be If not just search for "A View From Flat Top" on YouTube. You'll find it! Thanks
Cerro Gordo October 09, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Mog, I'll make this as short as I can and then you'll never hear from me again. You clearly disagree with Cathi and others. Fine. This is the USA and people disagree. You then come onto this site and call her a "rhymes with witch" (Once again, if you're gonna call someone that then at least have the balls to actually say it.), you called her "hormonally challenged", and you brought up the fact that she doesn't have any kids. What the hell do any of those things have to do with the"issues"? It's mean and it's below the belt and you know it. Don't even try to defend that. Then, in the same page you complain of bullying and intimidation. Let's forget for a moment that you've been convicted of "criminally threatening" your own sister (talk about intimidation). Just where do you get off throwing every personal assault you can think of on a person and then complain about bullying??? Once again, whether or not Cathi has kids or is "hormonally challenged" has NOTHING to do with the issues you're so worried about. It's bullying, by you, to her. Period. Congratulations on being in and out of jail, on and off the streets, and basically being a complete wreck of a human being. All that crap you listed off is nothing to brag about. If those experiences had led you to any success then I guess it would be worth bringing up, but let's be real here. You're a middle aged man, on parole, living with your parents. There's a word for that. That's it and you'll never hear from me again.
Nimby pimp October 09, 2012 at 03:29 AM
MOG - You are not answering the questions. What is your job? Are you on public assistance? Is your harassment of Cathi part and parcel of your history of intimidating women? Have you hurt children?
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 04:03 AM
I'm trying to answer you Nimby, but I do have a life ya know. I mean what I do besides beating my wife, selling kiddy porn on-line,& kicking my dog. Afterall, I still gotta eat! EBT only goes so far, even after you suppliment it with auto-burgarly& meth dealing. As soon as I get done taking care of business, I'll get down to answering your sincere, and earnest queerie...I promise. Swear to God, & hope to die, with a cheery on top. Really, you can trust me. I wouldn't hold my breath though.
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Alright Cerro, you had your last word, & now if you don't mind, I'll have mind. You 1st popped up on the radar screen after I mistook you for Rob Schraff, @ a HHPNC Meeting. That right so far? You claimed then that you were not "taking sides." Yet, you never once chastened Rob for spreading lies about me being a fraud, ex-con, sexual predator, imposter priest, etc. In fact, you completely fixated on me, personally. Get this,& get it good. YOU DON'T KNOW ME! You don't know what happened surrounding my grandfather's death, or anything about his estate, or his widow, or sons. You don't know if I come from a broken home, survived brutal beatings, homelessness& violence, injustice. You don't know what kind of woman my 1/2 sister is, or what kind of defense I had, Public Defender, or whether I got a fair shake or not. You don't know what my professional trade is, or what I've done in my life, either military, or civilian. You don't attend church with me, & we didn't go to the same schools. We aren't even in the same generation. I am 50, you're 35. I've had much more varied experiance than you. They call that being seasoned, tried, & tested. Adversity builds strengh, when you fight! And never surrender. Some men know this, from experiance. Others will never know it. The wisdom comes when you learn you should never judge a man until you've walk a mile in his moccassins. You never gave me a fair shake. You jumped in with Nimby& Rob! 2 others who do NOTHING BUT ATTACK ME, OVER & OVER!!
Nimby pimp October 09, 2012 at 04:30 AM
MOG - You are not answering the questions, little man. Taking care of business? What business you taking care of? Why don't you share with us? You like bullying women? Tell us about that.
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 04:37 AM
What kind of business? Why Monkey Business! Of course! Tell "us" about that? Who is "us"? You & your buddy, Rob Schraff? Bullying women? You're not a woman. You may act like a woman, Big Man, but you aren't one. Right?
Nimby pimp October 09, 2012 at 04:48 AM
MOG - You got a job little man? Or do you live off the taxpayers? You don't like women do you? You are threatened by strong women, aren't you?
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Yeah, I got a job. Pimping & Slinging, how ya like me now? Got to do something to suppliment the WIC & EBT, ya dig? Do I like women? No, I like cocker spaniels. Am I threatened by strong women? Yes, Amazons scared the bejesus out of me. How'd ya guess? Are you psychic?
ChickenBoyFan October 09, 2012 at 03:26 PM
MikeOfGod Quit shadowboxing. Start pitching in, and you will rise above your circumstances. Stop with the chronic attacks on bloggers. It's not helping you gain any respect. Let's all consider putting down the poison pen, eh? HP has a bright future, wether there is a functioning board, or not. CBF is going dark for a while. God bless us all.
Jay Ramirez October 13, 2012 at 05:54 AM
Monica, I can't wait to vote for you tomorrow! I already know how great you are and if we're lucky the rest of Highland Park will to!
The MOG October 14, 2012 at 06:49 AM
I'm sooooo happy for you, Monica! You are truly what the NC needs, and you have a good group to work with. I hope a new rules committee will be formed, to look into some of the things you tried to point out at the last board meeting,& I hope the new board will consider transfering funds into the emprovement grants from the neighborhood money, in order to concentrate funding for real, long term projects, with wide impact. I hope some of the things Aaron talked about are implimented, creatively, co-operatively, & with little or no money allocated from the NC Budget. This is my preference as a stake holder. I know you will do an excellent job as the presiding chair of the board, balancing all concerns fairly. We can trust you. Please accept my apologies for my negative campaign. It was never my intention to hurt, or insult you in anyway. I hope you believe that. I agonized with some of what I was doing, because of how it might reflect on you. All I could do is pray you could get your people out, and you did that, and then some. If you can believe it, I swear I was actually hoping my negative campaign could hurt your opponent, and thereby actually help you, if I could. I did not want to hurt you. I was hoping you would win. And you did!

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