Quick Hit- What LA Could Learn from San Francisco OR “Wild Night At City Hall!”

Now that our semi-acrimonious campaigns in Los Angeles are over, and now that the sniping at St. Tony has begun (can you even count how many people at the LA Times Blog are proclaiming Tony a “hopeless liberal” or the “Brown Menace” and he hasn’t even taken office yet???) it might be worth taking a look at what kinds of fun happen in a City Hall not dominated by “pay to play” or other nonsense.
This evening I was in San Francisco and stopped off at City Hall. Here’s what I found:
– County Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, continuing a precdedent set by his predecessor, hosted an art show at his Supervisorial offices in City Hall.
This month, the art was the artwork of the militant 60’s Black Panther Party, founded in Oakland, CA by Huey Newton. Regardless of your personal politics, the poster and newspaper art created by the party’s “Ministry of Information” was rather unique, and, in light of what we know now about all involved, quite interesting to look at.
The showing itself was a lively affair, with Supervisor Mirkarimi’s offices packed full of San Francisco’s political elite, and average citizens. They had free drinks, free food, and it was a relaxed way for people to socialize and talk about whatever was on their mind. No speeches, no pompous BS, just a fun Friday for people in the District, and in the City.
Politicians could learn from Supervisor Mirkarimi (and his predecessor Matt Gonzalez) about the value of such an event. Rather than emphasize the holder of the office, it emphasized people in the district the office is supposed to represent. More importantly, no one was there lobbying or networking. People were just there talking to each other, which, in an acrimonious setting, can really help knock down some of the walls we like to build around each other with labels, name calling and p.r. innuendo.
I’m looking around and wondering what politicos in L.A. might emulate this and adapt it for the good of their district and their city…Councilmember-elect Bill Rosendahl? Maybe you’d be willing to give something like this a shot?
-Mayor Gavin Newsom was hosting some Big Press Deal at City Hall as well. Now, I have to admit I dropped the ball on finding out exactly what this was, because just as I was walking up to talk to the Mayor’s staff, I got a call I had to take (darn work intruding on blogging! D’oh!) but the news cameras were there, and you could hear all the talking and laughing from Mirkarimi’s event echoing through the marble-lined halls.
(In fact, my colleague on the phone assumed I was at a bar, not at City Hall, due to the noise).
Still, given how famous this guy has become, and due to the job he’s doing as Mayor (a million times better that Jimi Hahn, that’s for sure!) it was kinda fun to see the guy in action. All on a Friday Night.
-Finally, there was a DJ and a disco ball being set up in the City Hall Main Lobby. I had to ask WHAT was going on, and it turns out Burlinagme High School (just 20 minutes south on the Peninsula) was having their prom…at City Hall.
Now, most of you probably do not know I grew up in Burlingame, so I got a laugh out of this. However, I did not attend Burlingame High (which is where 1/2 of Burlingame and all of Hillsborough’s kids went) – I went to Mills High School in Millbrae instead (and it was cooler anyway).
And, not to brag, but our Senior Prom was at the War Memorial Opera House (across from City Hall) in 1986, and even cooler, at Bimbo’s 365 Club, one of SF’s institutions, in 1985! In your FACE, BHS!
Ok, enough parochial vulgarities. Back to my point. Think about this, readers: Can you imagine an art show (with free drinks), a natiaonlly known Mayor doing Something Importnat, and a high school prom being held at LA City Hall?
More importantly, why aren’t they?
Why can’t we all lighten up a little and put aside the barbs and heavy handed BS once in a while and reminds ourselves…it’s OK to like each other, and OK to just relax and enjoy a Friday, regardless of labels?
I leave this to the Powers That Be. Meanwhile, I plan on going back out in a bit to hang out with some friends, have a cocktail and enjoy what I like best about my home town. When I return to LA, I sure would like it if someone in civic life by then had figured out how to do this without a gun to their head. Bob Hertzberg hosts some fun parties, I bet.
Anyone listening?
UPDATE: Here’s a link to a story that details how busy City Hall is getting these days.
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com

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