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DLANC Candidates: David Robinson

By Eric Richardson
Published: Saturday, September 02, 2006, at 05:38PM

In my post on the DLANC candidates I offered to run statements from any candidates who sent them to me. This one is from David Robinson, a candidate for the Bunker Hill Resident seat.

If elected to DLANC, I will bring two decades' experience in education, community organizing, political activism, and the arts (as well as the business insight of my partner, a Wells Fargo executive) to my work for our neighborhood. I will listen to and learn from other members of DLANC, and other Downtown LA stakeholders. But I will be action-oriented: in civic work, my goal is to get things done.

I believe the overarching issue facing downtown is whether it can successfully -- and humanely -- transition to a vibrant, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly, round-the-clock neighborhood. With the Grand Avenue Project poised to begin, Bunker Hill and nearby areas are about to be transformed by a momentous experiment in urban renewal.

Click the "Read More" link to see more of David's statement.

The success of that experiment will depend on planners' ability to understand, balance, and integrate the needs and rights of our neighborhood's extremely diverse populations and constituencies: longtime residents and newcomers; those who live here, those who work here, those who play here; Angelenos and tourists; the wealthy, the middle-class, the working-class, the poor, and the destitute.

We residents and stakeholders on Bunker Hill will need to stay informed and vocal to help steer this experiment to an outcome that all of us in Downtown LA can celebrate. As a member of DLANC, I will work hard to keep us in close contact with the Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority, the Grand Avenue Committee, the City Council, the Mayor's Office, and other relevant agencies and bodies.

At the same time, I will join the many people working to ensure that the benefits of Downtown's rebirth extend beyond Bunker Hill. In our neighborhood, LA's contradictions are as stark as can be: to walk from Disney Hall to Skid Row is to move from the most exciting and hopeful success to the most daunting, heartbreaking failure. As maverick urban-planner Jane Jacobs taught, and as residents of Bunker Hill have long known, a successful urban neighborhood needs much more than beautiful buildings, promenades, and parks (as desirable as those are) to thrive and grow. Contributing my skills and experience as an organizer, educator, and activist, I will join with those working to make Downtown a true urban success, a place where we can all thrive in our different ways.

As for my background:

My partner Gary and I live in Bunker Hill Towers Condominiums, where I'm the Board Treasurer.

I'm a tenured professor of English Literature at the University of Arizona.

I moved here from New York City, where I learned firsthand just how exciting and rewarding life in a downtown urban core can be.

I'm a longtime community activist, having worked on a number of causes, above all the fight against AIDS, in New York, San Francisco, and now Los Angeles.

My experience in the arts (another key aspect of Bunker Hill life) includes having performed with a modern-dance company in New York City and having earned a master's degree in dance.

In sum, over the past twenty years, as an activist, teacher, scholar, writer, and dancer, I've worked with people of all ages and many backgrounds. I've taken front-seat as well as back-seat roles (from leading marches to stuffing envelopes). I've worked in single-issue groups, identity-based groups, small collectives, and broad-based coalitions, on issues that affect me directly and issues I simply believe in. I'm intensely curious, and well-informed on a wide range of topics. I'm independent-minded, but a consensus builder, able to work with people on different sides of contentious issues. And I'm immersed in LA's nonprofit & political worlds (most recently as part of the Jewish Federation's New Leaders Project 2006), allied with many others working to make our city, and our world, a better place.

With your support, I'd like to bring the benefit of these experiences, and more, to DLANC.

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