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VIDEO: Meet Candidates for the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council Elections

Excerpts from presentations by 22 contenders at last week's candidates forum.

Elections to the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council are just four days away. On Saturday, Oct. 13, Highland Park residents and stakeholders will choose among 37 candidates running for 19 seats in the council. As many as 22 of them gathered on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 2, for a "Meet the Candidates" forum at Franklin High School cafeteria, where they expressed their views on a wide variety of issues ranging from youth development to neighborhood pride.

The forum was a lively affair moderated by Independent Election Administrator Terrence Gomes of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and attended by about 50 people.

Click here to see the full list of candidates and to read their personal statements.

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 09, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Ajay, this is very fine video, but why just snippets of a few candidates? In the interests of fairness, at least both candidates for president should have had their statements covered. Patch also did a follow-up Candidate Profile on Cathi Milligan, in addition to her own "Allow Me To Introduce Myself" Blog.Will Monica also be afforded the same curtesy? Excuse me for saying so, but shouldn't a news outlet present more balanced coverage? Isn't it important for Patch to appear imparticial? As it is now, it looks like you have some favorites.Just saying...
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 01:07 PM
And just one another thing, Sir. I UpLoaded Video to Patch's Neighborhood Gallery, of me giving a mini-tour of Flat Top. An area pegged for NELA's next big development. However, for some reason the Video is stuck on "Pending" status. Why is that, sir? It is very frustrating, considering the Neighborhood Gallery is not so user friendly in the 1st Place, in terms of how long takes & complicated it is to UpLoad Video. Could you look into that, please? Whenever it is you've got the time. Thanks. Meanwhile interested readers, who'd appreciate hearing additional voices, & at least one more choice for neighborhood council, can see my short video by searching for "A View From Flat Top" on YouTube, uploaded by Mike Martinez. Thank you again for your kind consideration.
Ajay Singh (Editor) October 09, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Hi, Mr. Martinez—is this the video you're referring to?: http://highlandpark-ca.patch.com/pics#video-11274805 If so, it's alive and well on the site.
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 02:12 PM
No Ajay, that's an old one. I wonder if I UpLoaded the video wrong? If I go to the edit feature, it's there with PENDING superimposed over it. let me take the time to thank you for your prompt replies to Patch readership. I notice that about you. It's appreciated.
Ajay Singh (Editor) October 09, 2012 at 03:38 PM
I don't see any videos in the queue. It looks like you've been successful doing this in the past, so it's probably best to start over and see what happens.
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Yeah, I'll keep trying, but with all due respect, sir, the greater issue is that your presentation/excerpts from a week old event, show only candidates from one slate, the slate sponcered by current pres. Chris Smith. If you took time to edit in Cathi Milligan's words, in fairness & balanced coverage, & as simple curtesy, should have also included the words of the other candidate, Monica Alcaraz. I might add, the slate your slanted coverage seems to favor, have recently advocated ending grants to Franklin High School, in favor of teaching them "how to sell candy bars." The issue is the budget. Community Emprovement Grants vs the regular Neighborhood Grants. If the money's not spent, it goes back to the City. I don't think it's right to haggle about whether to fund the Franklin Cheer Leading Squad, & then give out 1500.00 to The Hags, with little or no debate. Now, I don't know if Cathi is a Hag. She says she "supports the Arts." (Let me make it simple. I support local mural projects, by home grown Artists.) but if Mss Milligan has any connection with The Hags, that would be a conflict of interest & she should not have voted on it. I also would point out that the slate you've show cased in your Forum "Coverage" is made up entirely of new comers, not representative of the greater community. I find that troubling, sir. I can go on, about prejudice, discrimination, and nasty undertones of racism, but that is Blog Material, I think. Thank you for the consideration, Ajay.
Preservation not Gentrification October 09, 2012 at 06:25 PM
MOG: Not true, if I am not mistaken, Brandin was raised in Highland Park and Gloria has lived here for around 10 years. Hardly new comers. And, if living in Highland Park all your life is so important, why is it only recently that Highland Park is making so many positive changes? MOG, where were you 25 years ago when your neighborhood was in decline and overrun by gangs? Why all the civic involvement now all of the sudden? Is it because you are afraid too many decent people are going to move in and hold you accountable for your own crimes? Besides, I don't see why you are so concerned about equal representation of all candidates on this site, because any one who reads Patch can see that you attempt to dominate every article with your hateful, trolling, divisive point of view to the point of delirium. Why don't you just back off and let someone else talk for a change? That would be fair and balanced, sir! They should change the name of this website from "Patch" to "MOG Nation". It is a joke, really. Editor, I hope you are taking note that your decent attempt at journalism is being turned into a mockery by this nincompoop.
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 07:18 PM
LOL! Some more enlightenting comments from the new comers who so arrogant as to believe every single "civic improvement" is the result of THEIR superior wisdom, & know how! Thank you. I couldn't have illustrated my point more clearly than you have. Oh and btw, I see young 23 yr old Brandin's "born & raised" in Highland Park, as well as the token Latina & the Mexican Born "Environmentalist." My point remains, however, that they are part of the same Slate Of Candidates, comprised mostly of newbies (& yes, a decade is still relatively new) overwhelmingly white, which is hardly represntative of the predominately hispanic demographic in Highland Park. To answer your question, Brandin can't answer because he wasn't even born then, but a quarter of a century ago I was right here, in the trenches. The question is, where were all you Yuppified Gentry 25 Yrs Ago? Thinking & Living For Yourselves, Yeah? Kinda exemptifies the arrogant attitude the Chris/Cathi Slate will bring with them to the NC. As they run down our proud Franklin High, in order to grant 1500.00 dollars to The Hags! While I respectfully disagree with you, on who can best represent Highland Park people on OUR Neighborhood Council, I will point out you make no mention of the issues in front of the board, the budget, the subject of grants, or anything else of merit, besides an ad hominen attack on me. That speaks volumes on just how much you care to make an imparticial,fair judgement!
frank robert October 09, 2012 at 08:02 PM
@The Mog: who are "the hags"?
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Oh The Hags are a group of over 40 female artists that recently came before the board for a 1500.00 Neighborhood Grant, to help with a year long print advertisement campaign, promoting their organization. They are formally known as The Haggus Society, as a play on the word "hags." Why anyone thought being known has "Hags" would be good PR is baffling to me. The point is, I felt 1500.00 was way too much money for their stated purpose. Their leader was absolutely livid as she felt I "misrepresented" her group. I wasn't critizing the merits of The Hags, or saying what they do isn't good, & worthy, I'm sure that it is. Their spokesperson was very good. She could ice cubes to eskimos, but I still believe 500.00-600.00 would have been more appropriate. Especially since there was a long discussion just before, debating on whether supporting the Franklin Cheerleading Squad was a good enough cause, while the hags were rewarded with little discussion at all.
The MOG October 09, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Ajay, reUploaded my video, and still got the PENDING on it. Oh well, as I say, readers can see it on YouTube, if they just search A View From Flat Top. It's the 3rd one down on the menu, thanks.
carol van beek October 09, 2012 at 08:40 PM
@ PNG I, for one enjoy MOG's viewpoint. I've never met him, but I find his frank, and sometimes colorful, opinions interesting. That he speaks without being filtered with political correctness is refreshing.
carol van beek October 09, 2012 at 08:50 PM
@ Patch I am planning to vote on Saturday. As I was unable to attend the candidate forum, I was hoping to get some insight as to who they were on the above video. Where are the rest of the candidates? Are you going put up another video with the rest of them? All candidates are supposed to get equal time in a democracy. To show only a few is no more helpful than showing none. Hope there's more to come!
bde323 October 10, 2012 at 01:13 AM
The video represents just a few and I do hope the rest can be represented very soon since they do deserve equal time. @MOG although some of your ideas are indeed interesting and I would love to have a constructive conversation with you on these topics, I must chime in and inform you that I am not on Chris Smith's Slate, and I was "born and raised" in Highland Park as a proud son of both Mexican and Cuban immigrants. Although my last name might beg to differ, I think it is appropriate to say to not judge a book by its cover. I not only hope to represent my Latino neighbors, because i am, indeed a Latino, but I strive to represent all of Highland Park proudly to the best of my ability. Regardless of factions, historical lessons, and race I think everyone running for the HHPNC should not be demonized for their backgrounds, their slates, and the amount of time they resided in HLP. On the contrary, I think everyone running should be praised for their efforts to actually take time off of their busy lives to voluntarily assist HLP in becoming a greater town within the City of LA. I think its important to have constructive debates on certain issues and I am always one for a good debate. Nonetheless, we should not assume on what others have to offer and bring to the table. I may be young, but I am extremely knowledgeable on many issues that have and continue to confront our town.
The MOG October 10, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Oh I'm sorry, Brandin. I apologize for my embarrassing mistake. I'm sure you have much to offer, & I suspect that after the decades your family has lived and dedicated their lives here, that you will win enough votes to have a seat on the board. Promise me when you do win, you will also fight for the right of the stakeholder to be heard, and oppose any faction from silencing dissenting opinion. Besides the budget, that atmosphere of contention is the most important issue. Like you, I hope Patch Editors correct what gives a lop sided impression of candidates. It can even be misconstrued as Patch favoring the candidates featured, over the ones ommitted. Good Luck, and sorry again!
GK October 10, 2012 at 05:14 AM
I just want to echo Brandin. As a matter of fairness, I hope that more video will be released soon featuring all of the candidates. Brandin, I was really impressed with you at the candidates forum. Your earlier comment just reinforced my impression. I hope you win. Highland Park would be lucky to have you serve them on the council. No one should be judged prematurely based on the color of their skin, how long they've resided in a neighborhood, their background or who they happen to know. Assumptions are being made about slates and their future performance based on judgements that aren't grounded in reality. Neighbors are putting themselves out there for a volunteer position to create a positive impact on the community. They need to be appreciated and treated with common decency. MOG, since you call yourself a man of God, it would be great if you could reach deep inside yourself to connect more to that spirit which guides you and love thy neighbor. Treat others as you wish to be treated. And just for the record, in response to an earlier comment in another story you made regarding me, I don't see you as an opponent. I see you as a neighbor who wants the best for his neighborhood. That's what we all want. We need to treat each other with respect and compassion. That is the basis for any community. Our neighborhood council should reflect this spirit of community.
The MOG October 10, 2012 at 06:05 AM
Hold on a second, GK. No one is being judged, or demonized for the color of their skin. Not by me, anyway. FYI, I am the ONLY candidate that specificly call for inclusiveness inregards to LGBT, as well as Blacks & Asians, on the council, or the council reflecting community demographics. The ONLY one. While we all can sympathize with young Brandin's idealism, knowledge & wisdom come from the experiance of knowing that naivite doesn't pay off in the real world. What I am fighting for is harmony, what I'm fighting against is authoritarianism, & self-righteous clique that would exclude others, based on the arrogant assumption that a Slate of Newbies know better than they poor native people they would represent. I don't villify the 1%, nor do I discount the 46%. I'm for equal access to a user friendly NC, that hitherto has been manipulated by the current presiding chair, to favor his particular candidates & issues, to the determent of other stakeholder concerns, & those of his fellow board members. GK, you support the Slate headed by Cathi Milligan, that is supported by the current president, Chris Smith. I don't need to dig deeper than common sense to know that that is most unfortunate. Because it exposes your posturing as insincere hypocracy. Now, you can refute my perspective if you wish, but you aren't entitled to your own facts. Despite Brandin's wish for civility, sometimes this ugly business of right & wrong requires rolling up one's sleeves, & getting dirty, to do the job!
El Cid October 10, 2012 at 06:25 AM
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
David Fonseca (Editor) October 10, 2012 at 06:32 AM
MOG, all candidates have been given the opportunity to blog about their candidacy. The story calling for candidate blogs is here. Monica has blogged about a few other things on Patch, but she hasn't taken her opportunity to blog about her candidacy yet. She is, of course, welcome to: Now, back to my vacation! http://highlandpark-ca.patch.com/articles/are-you-running-for-neighborhood-council-blog-on-patch
GK October 10, 2012 at 06:38 AM
Idealism is the only thing that has ever brought about visionary change. There were several candidates that discussed inclusiveness at the candidate's forum. You continue to state a lot of inaccurate assumptions about our slate. How can you possibly assert that your perception is somehow more valid with my own personal experience of the slate? Chris Smith has nothing to do with our slate. In fact, I was encouraged to run by another candidate who I was working with on the 710. At the time we first spoke, neither of us was aware of a slate. We enjoyed working together on a tough issue facing our community, and thought the neighborhood council might be a good place for us to continue our efforts. The "Slate of Newbies" as you describe has several longtime residents and current board members. It came together organically. One of the key things that brought us together was the desire for more community outreach and engagement on the council. The council shouldn't assume what the community wants, it should engage and ask them then act accordingly. Everyone in the community deserves a voice at the council and representation. Our whole platform rests on the basis of focusing on priorities the community-at-large wants to addressed. How can that be authoritarian? It's called engagement. Civility and good communication are the first steps towards engagement. There isn't a right or wrong. There are a lot of neighbors trying to do something positive for their community.
GK October 10, 2012 at 06:53 AM
MOG, I wish you the best of luck in the election. You certainly have a passion for the community. No matter what happens I hope you and all of us candidates find a way to roll up our sleeves alongside our neighbors, make a difference, and treat one another with kindness and respect, even during moments of disagreement.
The MOG October 10, 2012 at 07:19 AM
My God! That's all it takes, isn't it? You nearly echoed Paul's lament as Chris issued his ultimatum. "Well, Chris, I've been sitting here with my hand up. If you'd call on me, we wouldn't have this problem." or words to that effect. At this point the chair should have interrupted Cathi's wandering off into unfortunate territory, as far as her pointed words, and said quietly,"You know Cathi, let's let Paul speak, then if you still want to, we'll come back to you. Paul, you have the floor, then if Cathi wants, she can have the floor. If you like you can rebute, but she's going to have the last word, because you're going first." That's how it's done, from the Middle School Student Council to the local Toast Masters. That's not how it was done at the controversial meeting in question, and it will be interesting to see the minutes, once they're posted. What happened was Chris allowed Cathi to use combative, & I use that heated word, because she actually pointed her finger at a fellow board member, & said,"I'm not talking to you." She also used a tone that was as unfriendly & uncivil as the action. I was nuetral re: the pres. race up until that point. I went home & thought, My God! Now what? I can't just not say nothing. This has become very serious, indeed. So help me Jesus, that is the truth! See my video, "A View From Flat Top", on YouTube for more on this, & a vision for a new HHPNC. Thanks for your sincerity.
The MOG October 10, 2012 at 07:32 AM
GK, are you seriously asserting that you're part of a slate I know nothing about, because not even you know about it because you first heard about it from a 3rd Party. Is that right, sir? You do know, however, that Chris Smith is not sponcering or endorsing it. Where'd you hear that, through the grape vine. & Now, there really isn't any slate at all, actually. You know the one you say I know nothing about? Well, GK, if you don't mind me asking, who would know? Google? 411? What? Should I use a crystal ball? LOL As far as the other, we'll just let the voters decide who the real home boy is. On For Franklin Ya All! Save Franklin Grant Money! Be True To Your School& REJECT THE CHRIS SMITH/CATHI MILLIGAN SLATE!
The MOG October 10, 2012 at 07:52 AM
& just another thing, please GK, if you don't mind. I want to reiterate once more, I am the ONLY candidate who SPECFICLY called for LGBT inclusiveness, & the inclusiveness of Asians & Blacks. I am the ONLY candidate who used the SPECIFIC WORDS, LGBT, ASIANS, BLACKS. That is a fact. Yeah? So, if the principles of Equality are of concern to any voter, I will be your vocal advocate. My candidacy is did not evolve "organically", it's Home Grown! & finally let me say, I appreciate individuals who immigrate here from elsewhere. Whether they inhabit Apts. on Ave. 50, or a Renovated Craftsman in Garvanza. Of course we welcome professionals, & Artists, that's nothing new. We also foster musicians & some of us, I know I would anyway, would like to recreate The Highland Park Symphony & The Ebell Club. Those lofty sentiments for culture in our area did not originate with you, or your clique. Forgive me for saying so, but it is arrogant, to say the least, to assume that they do. You mention your platform is premised on community wide support? Where is your platform published, & who authored it? How was it approved & by whom? How do you measure this "popular support"? Public Opinion Poll, a Six Sense? One final question, where did you attend High School, & how is it The Hags rate over Franklin's Cheer Leading Squad, in your opinion?

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