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DLANC: My First Meeting

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, September 15, 2004, at 11:09AM

As I mentioned in advance yesterday, last night was my first Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council meeting (DLANC, from hereafter). The meeting was at the DWP building on Hope, which I hadn't really ever noticed before. To get to the meeting I had to leave my last class at USC early and catch the bus back to my apartment. From there I jumped in my car and headed northwest (it's like 10 blocks or so, maybe, but I was in a hurry). I got to the meeting right on time, re-introduced myself to a few people, and then took my seat in the audience. I hadn't yet been sworn in, so at this point I was still just a commoner attending the meeting.

Second or third on the agenda was the special election I won. They announced the results, introduced me, and then moved into the next item: the swearing in. Three of us read the DLANC pledge from a sheet of paper and then took our seats in the front of the room.

The rest of the meeting was more a chance for me to sit and listen than to contribute anything to the discussion. Items discussed included creating a committee to work through issues related to filming downtown, and trying to get an accurate count of downtown's homeless population.

You have to love the rules of order for meetings such as this. For instance, the filming motion being discussed was simply a yes or no for creating a committee. What inevitably discussion tried to turn into, though, was how to balance the interests of the filming companies, downtown residents, and the creation of jobs for those downtown (particularly the homeless and/or jobless) who really want to be working. That discussion is fine to have, but it's very much a tangent to the motion that was actually on the table. The board recommends the committee, the executive board creates it, and then only once the committee is constituted can this discussion have any meaningful purpose. In fairness I thought procedure was handled well. Some discussion was allowed, but in the end order was steered in the right direction and those who had a lot to say on the issue were shown as good candidates to be involved on the committee.

Several board members have USC connections, including Jason Waters, who I had met before at the Artistsalon.com studio warming party. Another board member / USC grad was taking headshots of everyone for the website, and I'm pretty sure that in like 10 shots we were unable to get one with my eyes open. I don't know why, but the flash on that camera just really got me.

So what now? I guess the next step is to get myself onto a committee or two, since that's where the real action goes on. I know there's one that involves transportation, and that's always been an interest of mine. Also I figure that since I am "Resident Artist" I should probably get involved in helping out the arts community, so we'll see where that goes.

After the meeting a guy from the Downtown News asked me some questions, so there's a chance I'll get my name in the paper. He asked me if I had any aspirations in politics. I said no. Only the future will tell if that's true or not, but at this point I have to believe it is.

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