The groups come together to discuss issues and solutions that impact all of them.
Jeanie Heller of the Radisson Hotel told California Forward she supports giving more responsibility to local governments. “They know better what their communities need.”
Information was also a key theme. Kavita Dorai used to work as a food safety inspector and she said she used to routinely meet people who did not have the right information to ensure a safe environment.
Mariano Jauco of Ampegy said he wants government to listen to its people. He was involved in the Sacramento City Council redistricting process and felt the council “completely ignored citizen input,” weakening the Latino voice in the resulting maps.
Some people were skeptical of reform efforts but willing to listen to California Forward’s ideas. Without significant culture change, “it falls through the cracks and goes away,” said John Gouveia, a consultant to various government agencies.
There was also a sense of growing frustration with the status quo. “We’re ready for change,” said Richard Brent. “Government takes our money. They put in water meters, but they don’t fix our street. Grassroots campaigns – that’s what it takes. That’s how we do it.”
The Alliance Mixer gives city and ethnic leaders and opportunity to network, hear from each other, and ensure the lines of communication remain open.