At the CA Fwd regional roundtable in South LA on Monday, attendees were open to the ideas outlined in the Smart Government Framework, but skeptical when it came to how to share resources and execute the plan.
“In concept, it is right, but it will take a lot of work,” said Scott Pickwith, La Verne Chief of police.
Many people in attendance – including social equity advocates – focused on how to get people and agencies to change their thinking from “me” to “our.” They expressed concern about what “local” means.
Nathan J. Sessoms, Ph.D., director of the Brotherhood Crusade, asked, “How do you define local in a city as vast as Los Angeles?”
Sessoms also expressed concern about getting agencies to work together.
“This process is more difficult than we think,” he said. “When you talk to local community organizations, they only focus on their mission/what they do. For the framework to work, organizations and agencies will have to broaden their focus from what they do day-to-day to what we’re trying to accomplish and bigger goals.”
Torie Osborn with California Calls warned that agencies will not play ball if they perceive a threat to their funding.
“Collaboration doesn’t save money, at least not at first,” she said. “If you starve bureaucracies of necessary funding, then the turf wars become insane. If you have fewer resources, people will protect their funds. We need a simultaneous plan to increase funding while you are streamlining and silo-busting.”
Daniel Tabor with Higher Ground Enterprises said it is also critical for average Californians to get involved. “The lack of community engagement means that the community isn’t represented by the local governments.”
Many attendees also hoped to find a way to ensure public education prepares people for the jobs that are available. Overall, they supported the “Smart Government Framework,” but want to ensure that communities have equal resources and abilities to ensure success.
”This community feels the impact of broken government in a material way,” said Marqueece Harris-Dawson with the CA Coalition for Civil Rights. “We are very invested in seeing that something gets done to produce better results.”