At Downtown LA roundtable, participants concerned about oversimplification

150 150 Kati Koster

At last week’s regional roundtable in Downtown LA, participants expressed support for the Smart Government Framework, but warned that they would need to see more specifics about how areas like education are handled.

The Southern California Leadership Network (SCLN) co-sponsored the May 18 roundtable at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. In attendance were stakeholders from education, water, business, and local and regional politics.

Due to the breadth of topics in the Smart Government Framework, many, especially in education, worried it carried an either/or tone toward large complicated issues.

While not opposed to the framework, many wanted to make sure the issue of education received proper consideration.

“Local control is better than universal control as a topic,” said Tony Tartaglia, member of the Board of Trustees at Glendale Community College. “Forty percent of the Smart Government Framework is education. The educational process needs to be looked at as a separate issue, because local control doesn’t fix the issue.”

Fairness and equity also came up as important issues.

“The kid in Compton deserves the same education as the kid in San Marino,”Tartaglia said.

Hillary Norton, executive director of Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic (FAST), stressed the importance of ensuring people have a reason to do the right thing.

“There should be an incentive model to funding by creating the virtuous cycle,” said Norton. “For example, in gang injunction areas, there should be proactive funding for education and job training, so residents have alternative options.”

The nonprofit sector raised the important question of budgets and accountability.

“Non-profit CEO’s are forced to collaborate together due to lack of funds,” said Carolyn Fowler, Chief Operating Officer of the Smiley Group, Inc. “How do we make budget issues a pragmatic decision versus political? There needs to be accountability for resources.”

Participants agreed that it all comes down to fairness, control, and accountability for budgeted resources.  “People should have a basic standard,” Norton said.

Indifference toward important policy issues was also discussed.

“Make public policy a joy again. Let me highlight when things are working; not just when it doesn’t work,” said Norton. “We need to use positive feedback to create optimism again.”


Kati Koster

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