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|Los Angeles County, CA||March 8, 2011 Election|
Introduction to Mito and His Vision for WeHo
By Mito AvilesCandidate for Council Member; City of West Hollywood
This information is provided by the candidate
Hello, my name is Mito (meet-with-an-O)!...
My decision to run for City Council was driven by my desire to bring accountable and transparent governance to the City of West Hollywood. Unlike many candidates, I have not accepted a single dollar from developers. Therefore, I owe no favors, and my allegiance lies solely with the residents and businesses of the City.
My determination, empathy, and genuine concern for my community make me an ideal candidate for creating policy that represents the interests of the residents of West Hollywood and preserves the character of "The Creative City."
My political activism/career began over a decade ago as a grass roots campaigner for prominent candidates in the Labor movement, including former Northeast Los Angeles City Councilor Victor Griego. While pursuing my B.A. in Political Science and International Affairs at the University of California, Riverside, I interned for SEIU local 399 to fight for hospital workers who, despite the hospital's explicit policy of accepting everyone, were forced to turn away indigent patients that needed medical attention.
Upon graduating, I worked for Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis, the current Labor Secretary under the Obama Administration. While working with Congresswoman Solis, I had the opportunity to work on important community issues, such as worker's rights and renter's rights. I was also able to embrace my love for art and policy by overseeing the successful 2nd Annual Congressional Arts Competition in the 32nd Congressional District.
Until my formal announcement to run for City Council, I wrote as a political columnist for the West Hollywood Patch on important topics, such as development, the West Hollywood General Plan, the Russian community, and gay rights.
As a member of the West Hollywood Smoking Ban Task Force, I represented the interests and concerns of residents' pertaining to the proposed smoking ban. The Task Force included business leaders, government officials, and other intelligent individuals. Our predominant concern was that no one could interpret the language of the proposed ban nor understand how it would be enforced. Despite our concerns, the Smoking Ban legislation remains unchanged and our civic participation was in vain. Sadly, this is a frequent theme in West Hollywood Government.
To my knowledge, I am the only vegan candidate running for West Hollywood City Council. I am an environmentalist and animal rights advocate, and I try my best to live cruelty-free. However, I believe that, at this time, any discussion of the proposed Fur Ban detracts from pressing issues facing the City.
I am currently a renter in the East Side of West Hollywood, and I am the President of a Visual Design Firm that operates in West Hollywood. As a renter and small business owner in the City, and as an active participant in West Hollywood politics, I have personally experienced the problems that plague the City.
Taking West Hollywood Back
Many community activists and City Council Candidates are united by a common goal: to defeat the incumbents and take back our city. City Councilor's Abbe Land and John Heilman are doing everything possible to keep the appointed Lindsey Horvath on the City Council. Yes, appointed. After Sal Guarriello passed away Lindsey was appointed by the incumbents, not elected by the residents, because the incumbents felt it was too costly to have a special election (with estimates at 150,000 dollars). Yet, they approved a 64 million dollar public library, 54 million dollars of which came from city funds.
The incumbents are running as a slate because Lindsey Horvath will continue to help them represent the interests of developers, rather than the interests of the residents and businesses of West Hollywood. This culture of corruption, this blatant attempt to promote ignorance and apathy in West Hollywood is why I am running, and why many candidates are running. (See Steve Martin's candidate statement and LA Weekly's West Follywood article for more details about corruption in West Hollywood.)
However, I must emphasize an important point: we vote for three City Councilors this election. There are many qualified candidates, and we need more than one candidate to defeat the incumbents. John D'Amico has explicitly told members of his campaign that they cannot help any other candidate, and has told voters that they should not vote for other candidates. This message is counterproductive. We need three winners to change the city. Please, vote for three candidates.
We must take back our city!
Development should be evaluated by its aesthetic beauty, the perceived and actual value to our residents, and the environmental impact on West Hollywood communities. Development should also only be approved if there are sufficient transportation and parking infrastructures, so that we do not compound our already pervasive traffic and parking problems. We must make development represent the interests of our community and preserve the character of West Hollywood.
If height restrictions continue to be modified and the perverse development incentives persist, our renters and unique small businesses are threatened. We must prevent unwanted development from pushing our residents and businesses out of West Hollywood.
Abbe Land, John Heilman, and Lindsey Horvath feign concern for our interests with public hearings and task forces, but consistently our voices fall on deaf ears. There is no mystery as to why apathetic constituents continue to question the value of participating in the political process. We must have a City Council that encourages public participation so that community interests and concerns are addressed in the development of city policy.
Abbe land and John Heilman have been City Councilors for over 20 years. West Hollywood does not have term limits. The incumbents say that elections are term limits. But with only 16 percent of the population voting in elections, West Hollywood does not have a functioning democracy. We must have term limits to avoid the corruption of entrenched candidates and revive democracy in West Hollywood.
As a City Councilor, I will cultivate civic participation and encourage honest dialogue. I will fight to, once again, make West Hollywood a leader in progressive movements, promoting tolerance, green technology, and, most of all, effective democratic governance.
For more information about my campaign, please visit my website: http://www.mitoaviles.com. You could also follow me on Twitter @meetwithanO and become a fan on Facebook: Mito Aviles for West Hollywood City Council 2011. Remember, change is on its way for the City of West Hollywood! VOTE MITO on MARCH 8, 2011!
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