Organizers Launch New Online Portal to Allow Angelenos to Participate in Dialogue
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti will take the stage at Los Angeles Trade Technical College on March 29 to discuss a range of issues as part of the first “Talking About Los Angeles” (TALA) conversation. This event kicks off a series of events with candidates who are seeking to be the next Mayor of the City of Los Angeles. Between now and Feb. 2013, these conversations will educate voters about issues of local importance and the mayoral candidates’ views.
Cerrell Associates and the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project created the TALA series in 2011 to help voters prepare for the upcoming mayoral election. The series of mayoral candidate conversations is being presented by Microsoft, as part of the company’s commitment to promoting civic engagement and the exchange of information to better inform and involve voters.
“We want to thank the candidates for participating in these important conversations and for making a commitment to educate voters about the issues,” said Antonio Gonzalez, president of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project. “Raising voter awareness and increasing engagement is essential to the future growth of our city. ‘Talking About Los Angeles’ promises to be a linchpin in that work.”
TALA events will feature a series of moderator, audience and online questions, which are intended to provide an in-depth understanding of each of the mayoral candidate’s views on specific issues. In order to qualify to participate, candidates must meet the city’s matching funds threshold of $150,000. In addition to Councilman Garcetti, other mayoral candidates expected to participate are:
♦ Austin Beutner, businessman and former Los Angeles first deputy mayor
♦ Jan Perry, Los Angeles city councilmember
♦ Kevin James, radio show host and attorney
♦ Wendy Greuel, Los Angeles city controller
Anthony Salcito, vice president of education for Microsoft, will moderate the first event. A recognized leader in the field of education, Salcito has been instrumental in creating Microsoft programs that connect students with technology platforms that enrich and promote lifelong learning. Among his projects are Microsoft’s Connected Learning Community initiative and the Microsoft Technology Friends Network, which links IT professionals and developers to schools and nonprofits to donate their technical expertise to aid with technology support.
“Anthony Salcito is the perfect person to host the first ‘Talking About Los Angeles’ event,” said Hal Dash, CEO and chairman of Cerrell Associates. “Anthony recognizes the significant roles that education and innovation play in the economy and in Los Angeles’ future.”
As part of the first event, TALA organizers also launched a new interactive online community www.talkingaboutla.com. This online community will provide Angelenos with the opportunity to watch the conversations live, voice their opinions, share personal stories and videos to inspire action and keep the conversation alive on and off the stage.
“With the persistent challenges facing the Los Angeles community, the 2013 mayoral race is the most important in recent memory,” said Lisa Gritzner, president of Cerrell Associates. “We think that by providing interactive tools and ways for Angelenos to discuss the issues is critical to bolstering civic engagement and improving Los Angeles’ future. We are delighted that ‘Talking About Los Angeles’ will provide this opportunity.”
In addition to its sponsors, TALA is being supported by a broad and diverse group of prominent business, labor, education, environmental, religious and community leaders. The TALA advisory board includes:
♦ Alejandro Menchaca, President, Latino Professional Network
♦ Celeste Alleyne, Citizenship and Public Affairs Director, Microsoft
♦ Pastor Charles Blake, West Angeles Church of God in Christ
♦ Arturo Carmona, Executive Director, Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas en Norteamérica (COFEM)
♦ Richard Core, Greater Los Angeles Regional Editor, Patch
♦ Erin Glenn, Executive Director, The Asociación de Loncheros L.A. Familia Unida de California
♦ Ruben Keoseyan, Editor, La Opinión
♦ Stewart Kwoh, Executive Director, The Asian Pacific American Legal Center
♦ Marvin Martinez, President, Los Angeles Harbor College
♦ Lewis MacAdams, President, Friends of the Los Angeles River
♦ Cheryl Parisi, Executive Director, AFSCME District 36
♦ Tracy Rafter, CEO, Los Angeles County Business Federation
♦ Thomas Saenz, President and General Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
♦ Bruce Saito, Executive Director, Los Angeles Conservation Corps
♦ Carol Schatz, President and CEO, Central City Association of Los Angeles
♦ Dan Schnur, Director, Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California
♦ Gary Toebben, President and CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
♦ Helen Torres, President, Hispanas Organized for Political Equality
♦ Stuart Waldman, President, Valley Industry and Commerce Association
All events are open to the public. The March 29 event begins at 3:30 p.m. at LATTC. To RSVP, visit www.talkingaboutla.com/site/rsvp-event-registration.
For more information, please visit www.talkingaboutla.com.
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