We Endorse Candidate GRACE YOO

yoowebAfter attending the Candidates Forum we believe Grace Yoo has the experience, information, passion and vision to be our next Councilmember.  Her experience with community and focus on partnering with diverse communities to address their concerns, her understanding of the needs of small business, her intelligent gathering of facts and grasp of the financial issues lead us to give her a confident and enthusiastic thumbs up.
CLICK HERE to see her responses at the Candidate Forum 

What are the top four responsibilities of a Councilmember and what in your background has prepared you for the job?

The top four responsibilities of a Councilmember are to develop balanced budgets, appoint City administrators, foster community development (economic and social) and pass local ordinances regarding traffic, parking, zoning and more.

My more than 15 years as executive director of both national and local organizations have afforded me the opportunity to oversee budgets, hire staff and appoint members to committees as well as oversee numerous legal matters. These positions have prepared me for the responsibilities and duties of a Councilmember.  Another job duty that is required is listening to and working with Neighborhood Councils, community leaders, community based organizations, residents, businesses and other stakeholders will affect the job that I do as a Councilmember.

As executive director, I have been involved in community development (economic and social).  I have worked with Neighborhood Councils, city departments, various community entities and residents to help advocate their wants and needs to strengthen the community.  I have served as Vice-President of the LA City Department of Transportation Commission and understand City politics. 

There are a variety of different cultures and communities within CD10. Can you identify three or four, the issues that concern them and some of your solutions?

What makes District 10 such a vibrant part of Los Angeles is the fact that it is diverse; in culture, language, and so many other exciting ways. Rather than concentrate on the needs of the individual communities, my goal is to bring them all together as proud Angelenos. 

I will make it a priority to continue the work I started as a community organizer by building bridges between different cultures and communities as Councilmember. I will be responsive to the needs of residents in the District and will be an active listener seeking input from the various communities in the district. I believe the first step in solving any problem begins with providing an opportunity for everyone to be heard.

Giving a voice to the various different communities requires first being able to communicate with them effectively.  I will focus on creating equal access to city services by hiring staff that can cover the numerous different languages that are spoken within the district. This is important because it would foster different points of view.  Thus far, the City has not made it a priority to have residents with limited English skills to give their input. I believe when more residents are able to voice their opinions, we will have a much more engaged community and a better society.

Poverty and homelessness are a serious issue in various communities in CD10 with street people being routed out of their homeless communities only to gather in other communities. How will you address this issue?

The issue of homelessness is an issue that affects the entire community. We need to come up with solutions to alleviate the growing homeless population.  We need to be able to identify those who are down on their luck from those who are suffering from mental illness and in need of additional services. 

As Councilmember, I will work with community leaders and city departments to get the homeless people the help that is available to them and work to grow the number of public/private partnerships providing services. If we are able to identify all the various private, public and public-private organizations, I believe we would be able to more effectively and efficiently provide necessary services to the growing population of homeless in our City.

Poverty lives side by side with an influx of upwardly mobile families looking for affordable housing who bring money and the restoration of communities with them. Crime has increased as a result. What is your awareness of the crime issues in our community and what are some solutions you, as Councilperson, can bring to the table? 

The influx of upwardly mobile families presents many opportunities to the communities as a whole, but crime can increase in those areas if nothing is done. Building a stronger and more responsive police department that focuses on community outreach programs will help reduce crime in the near term by creating a safer environment. Having been a strong proponent and active community member that helped open the LAPD Olympic Station in 2009, I am delighted to share that the LAPD Olympic Station is a showcase of how community policing helped to bring down the crime rates. As Founding Secretary for the Olympic Booster Association, it was a pleasure for me to use my legal skills to do the IRS paperwork to obtain the 501(c)3 TAX ID status.

One of the most effective ways to reduce long-term crime rates is to increase civic participation and have community members get involved. This in turn builds strong networks that help share information and resources which results in better and safer communities. I believe people are willing to share with neighbors if they understood that some folks are really having a difficult time making ends meet. And I hope to make it possible for our district residents to hear and understand so that we can share our resources. I know how generous people are when we make it simple to help others in difficult situations. I believe in the generous spirit of the American people.

Development is coming to CD10.  Although it will provide more housing and greater shopping options it could also have a negative effect on surrounding communities. Can you identify some of the potential problems and what, if anything, you could do as our councilperson to minimize any negative effects of incoming development?

Development and rejuvenation is something that should be welcomed in our community.  Some of the negative effects of new economic development can be increases in traffic and crime and fewer affordable housing units.  Listening to the residents in and around the new development areas is essential in developing a plan to reduce any negative effects of such development. 

First, I would begin with building more affordable housing units in the district, as it seems we focus on building too many luxury apartments, thereby kicking out current residents from the district via gentrification without concern for the less affluent residents. Next, as one of the major duties as a Councilmember, I would enact and enforce common-sense zoning laws that bring aesthetic beauty and opportunity for everyone. Moreover, I will fight against the special interests that attempt to subvert this process in narrowing the self-interest groups by listening to input from the people. There must be a careful balance between growth and any harm that comes from it, and that can only be maintained by listening to the people and not just lobbyists.

Share some of your experience with community outreach.  

Through my efforts in Washington DC and Los Angeles working on civil rights issues, I learned how to effectively navigate bureaucracy to achieve results. My background as a lawyer advocating for children has given me invaluable experience in understanding the needs of the most vulnerable and voiceless.

Community outreach has been essential to my role as executive director for a national and a local non-profit organization.  Without the support of community organizations, my ability to effectuate laws being passed, creating dialogue among different groups and to strengthen the local community would not have been possible. I have also successfully helped increase awareness about the need for greater civic participation by speaking at high school English and government classes over the years. Community outreach is fun for me as I enjoy meeting and interacting with people. During the 2010 Census, we reached out to the community to educate people on the importance of being counted for the Census as it meant dollars to the local community from the federal government.

Federal and State funding are acquired through having community deputies who are experienced with applying for grants.  What is your knowledge of this and your plan for accessing this funding for our community?

As executive director and as a board member for several non-profits, I have applied and received grants for those organizations.  I will continue to use my skills and knowledge to apply for grants to provide our community with as many resources as possible, so that we can strengthen the community. Knowing many of the people at the various foundations and corporations is critical to receiving funding, and as someone who has been working on funding for community organizations for the past 20 years, I have built up a strong network of relationships that will be helpful to CD 10. 

Councilman Wesson is an ambitious politician adept at acquiring power.  Why do you think you can topple him?

I believe that I will defeat Mr. Wesson because his power comes from special interests, and my power comes from the people residing in this district.  It is my passion and commitment to justice, equality and the community that excites voters and the reason I am running for this office.  After the community understands what I represent and what I can do for CD10 and Los Angeles as a whole, I believe that my message will resonate with them.    

We are going to win this fight because we will stand together from the various different cultures and communities within the district. Come March 3rd, together, we will be heard!




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Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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