Politics, government and public life for Southern California

#DearMayor from Westchester: What should LA's next mayor work on first?

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This post is part of our #DearMayor series. Join the discussion by tweeting us using the #DearMayor hashtag. We'll be bringing your responses to our continuing political coverage, and to our April 22nd mayoral debate!

1:43 p.m.: French toast and thanks

We're wrapping up our #DearMayor chat for today. We heard quite a lot from area residents, which we'll be reading over in the coming weeks as we approach the April 22nd mayoral debate. 

We'll keep you posted on future cafe town halls. Meanwhile, we want to extend our deep thanks to Westchester's Coffee Company for hosting us. We're now about to finish off the afternoon with one of their famous French Toasts. 

1:20 p.m.: Blight and business in South LA

Fixing potholes, fighting blight and providing jobs are common concerns we've heard this morning. 

Trudy Goodwin of South Central told us she thinks the area needs the next mayor to help plan revitalization efforts. 

"I'm very concerned with revitalizating those impoverished areas, those blighted areas of South Central, she says, "And also bringing in more jobs for young adults and high school children."

Valerie Doby, too, tells us the next mayor should focus on rebuilding parts of South L.A. that are still struggling after the '92 Riots.

"After the [92] Riots, there just hasn't been a lot to do in that part of Los Angeles. There aren't a lot of restaraunts the grocery stores are not great and the people in those areas really need the opportunity to shop and eat in their community."

Ginneh Smith of South L.A. was more specific about where she's seen pothole problems nearby. 

"We have a lot of potholes and streets that need attention, especially the century corridor from Century and Crenshaw all the way down to LAX. We also have a lot of potholes between Florence and Slauson [avenues]."

Full audio:

RELATED: Your #DearMayor responses

1:38 p.m.: Dear Mayor, Airport issues are high on Westchester residents' minds

We heard earlier today from Paul Coony about his concerns with the planned expansion of LAX deeper into Westchester. That issue seems to be on the mind of a number of area residents. 

John Frost came to talk to us about his worries that an expansion would endager residents' health and cramp traffic.

"They can spread these airports out," he says. "Use Ontario and Palmdale and other areas."

Westchester resident Sandra Bray echoed those concerns saying she wants the next mayor to to "take a stand" against LAX's planned expansion: 

Marco Ramos, an LAX employee and 29-year Westchester resident, echoes both of their concerns, along with beautifying the neighborhood.

11:00 a.m.: Dear Mayor, Let's talk about diversity  

Shirley Sher has concerns about the air quality, the local economy and education, but she also brought up an issue we haven't heard a lot about in this election - inter-ethnic and race relations in the city. 

"I know that LA is full of immigrants and people of different backgrounds," she says, "but there still is a lot of hate crimes there's still a lot of intolerance. We'd just like to see L.A. become more  mixed instead of … separate, people living in separate neighborhoods."

Shirley went on to tell us she felt that the mayor could help in that effort by raising awareness of the issue and getting different communities to talk.

What do you think? Are race/ethnic relations something you think the city and its mayor need to address, or has the urgency faded in recent years?

RELATED: #DearMayor: Share your thoughts on what LA's new mayor should focus on first

10:15 a.m.: Education Education Education 

We've heard a lot from parents, students and teachers about their concerns regarding education funding. The mayor doesn't have direct control over the city's schools, though she or he can us their clout to influence the direction of L.A.'s school system. 

Ella Kazemi, current owner of the Coffee Company where we recorded today's #DearMayor discussion, tells us she wants to see the next mayor to continue to focus on funding city schools and after-school programs.  

Cafe-goer Durshawn Dennis and Twitter follower Franklin Burris, below, agree:

9:45 a.m.: Dear Mayor, It's still about jobs

Clarence Scott had a few concerns for L.A.'s incoming mayor including fixing the streets and hiring more LAPD officers, but the most important issue, he feels, is creating jobs. 

"There's a lot of people unemployed," he says. "If we can get more jobs we can boost the economy. and I think we'd be on our way. "

L.A. (and Southern California in general) has lagged behind much of the nation in recovering from the recession. 

9:20 a.m.: Dear Mayor, Guns are in the news and on voters' minds

Deborah Favorite, a self-described progressive liberal activist, tells us she's looking for mayoral leadership on gun control, and assault weapons in particular.

8:45 a.m.: Dear Mayor, What's your plan for LA's water resources? 

Toni, Arinsberg, the former owner of The Coffee Company, came by to share her concerns with the way L.A. currently handles its water resources.

"From what I understand," she says,  "Los Angeles is currently purchasing water from Orange County -- reclaimed water, cleaned water. Whereas water in Los Angeles is just being taken right out to the ocean and dumped."

Toni also brought a few pictures from the Coffee Company's and KPCC!'s past. Free coffee for the first person to get the name of KPCC reporter at the right of this shot

8:20 a.m.: Dear Mayor, Focus on public transportation and education 

Public education and transportation have come up in many of our #DearMayor conversations.

Dominick Martin is one of those we spoke to this morning. He says the candidate with the best education and transportation plans will win his vote.

8:00 a.m.: Dear Mayor, take your own medicine

LAX employee Michael  Quiles says he wants the  next mayor to protect city employee benefits.

He says he wants to see the next mayor commit to sharing in the pain of public employees by taking cuts in salaries alongside public workers.

7:30 a.m.: Dear Mayor, Keep your promises!

Reporter Frank Stoltze kicked off this morning's talk with Paul Coony, an attorney and longtime resident of Westchester. He says it's important to him that candidates honor their campaign promises. 

"For example," he says. "I recently switched allegiance from one candidate to another because one of them had the courage to make a commitment to an issue that's very important to me here in Westchester and that has to do with the expansion of and the removal of the North runway to a place 300 feet north of where it currently exists."

The expansion of the airport is of great concern to residents in Westchester as it will likely affect a number of homes. 

7:00 a.m.: Coffee's on! 

We're here at The Coffee Company in Westchester to hear what you think the next mayor should focus on first. 

If you're in the area, come over and have a coffee with us, or tweet us using the #DearMayor hashtag.

We'll be bringing your responses to our continuing political coverage, and to our April 22nd mayoral debate!



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