Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Hollywood delegate complains about lack of child care at the DNC, enlists Villaraigosa's help

Kitty Felde/KPCC

DNC delegate Susie Shannon with her daughter Grace. Susie is protesting the lack of childcare at the DNC.

The ladies were highlighted at Tuesday morning’s California delegation breakfast, with Sen. Barbara Boxer and Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke talking about women’s health issues and what they call the "GOP war on women." But one California Democratic delegate has a problem with her own party.

Susie Shannon is a delegate from Hollywood. She came to the Democratic National Convention with her 4-year-old daughter Gracie. Shannon’s beef: The DNC didn’t provide child care on-site at the convention arena.

According to Shannon, there are at least half a dozen small children in Charlotte with the California delegation alone. Last week's Republican National Convention TV coverage included lots of close-up shots of cute children on the convention floor. But delegates aren’t allowed to bring those babies or toddlers with them unless the child also has a floor pass. 

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Top LA mayoral candidates Garcetti, Greuel work the rooms at the Democratic National Convention

Democratic National Convention: Day 1

Alex Wong/Getty Images

A front view of the podium and stage before the start of day one of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 4, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC will run through Sept. 7, nominating President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate.

Democratic delegates are in Charlotte for the Democratic National Conention this week to try to help re-electing Barack Obama in November. But there’s another election on the horizon for Angelenos: the 2013 race for Los Angeles mayor. Two of the top candidates for the job are in Charlotte, with one eye on the White House, the other on City Hall.

Former L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti has a busy week at the DNC, speaking on a number of panels and addressing some of the caucuses, including the Hispanic Caucus, doing a panel on technlology in urban centers. He is also the vice chair of the rules committee.

Garcetti is also chair of the Democratic Municipal Officials — what he describes as the “farm team” for future Democratic leaders. He’d like to be mayor of Los Angeles.  

So would L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel, who also came to the convention. She said it's a good place "to be able to see everyone and talk to them about the issues."

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California Assembly Speaker Perez talks Gov. Brown's bill-signing process from the DNC

Democratic National Convention

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Assembly Speaker John Perez poses for a picture at the 2012 Democratic National Convention on Sept. 4, 2012.

Four years ago, California Democrats in the state Legislature didn’t get to their party's national convention in Denver — they were locked in a budget battle. This year, many have made it to Charlotte, including State Assembly Speaker John Perez.  

Perez said that before he left Sacramento, lawmakers dropped off a tall stack of bills on the governor's desk, awaiting his signature. He added that you can never assume what the governor's going to sign or not going to sign, "so he and I are going to have a lot of conversations about just about every bill," Perez said.  

Perez described Gov. Jerry Brown's deliberations as "a very exhaustive process." 

"He’s very hands-on," Perez said. "He’ll read the bills, he’ll read even works of literature to help him structure his thinking about it. So this is a very engaged and involved governor." 

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Crenshaw High student's quest for a White House visit also leads to the DNC

Mia Henry

Ashley Myers-Turner/KPCC

Mia Henry prepares to go to the Democratic National Convention.

A recent Crenshaw High grad is one of the youngest delegates representing California at this week’s Democratic National Convention.

Mia Henry, 18, of Los Angeles, was among a group of Crenshaw freshmen students asking each other in Jan. 2009 why their high school was not among those represented at President Barack Obama’s inauguration. She and eight other students were part of teacher Daphne Bradford's digital media program. 

Their discussion, with Bradford's guidance, turned into a quest for an invitation to the White House. It took more than a year and lots of unanswered letters and calls, but finally the group made it to Washington in 2010.

"We had a tour of the White House and we also met Sam Kass, the White House chef, and Reggie Love, who at the time was President Obama’s right-hand man," Henry said. The group also met with the White House Web team and Jenny Kaplan, head of the White House Council on Women and Girls.
  
"My favorite part of the time was being in Mrs. Michelle Obama’s garden. We saw everything they were growing, their own beehive and their own honey,” Henry said.

They didn’t meet the Obamas, which was disappointing. But they co-wrote a book, “Journey to the White House.” 

Henry and another student, Trestan Fairweather, parlayed that project — and the contacts they made performing multimedia tasks for the political group Organize For America — into another invitation.  

Fairweather and Henry are attending the Democratic National Convention as two of the youngest delegates from California. They, and teacher Bradford, who is accompanying them, will tweet their adventure using hashtag #Crenshaw2DNC.

She doesn’t consider herself a political person, but something about seeing Barack Obama run for president four years ago made her want to be part of that world, Hery said.

“I knew he could win. I had faith in him," Henry said. “It was just ... an eye-opener. Because I guess they have the stereotype of black people wanting to be like sports, basketball and football players. When I saw him, I thought, that’s not what we’re all about — we can be something totally higher.” 

Henry described herself as quiet, but said she’s got a take-charge demeanor.

She joined the Crenshaw High School digital media class with the idea of becoming a crime scene photographer. But now, as a freshman studying criminal justice at Cal State University Dominguez Hills, she has set her sights higher:

"I wanted to do something, not just take pictures, but solve the crime," she added. Henry said the message she takes from President Obama is to work through the barriers and be tenacious.

"If you have a dream, go towards your dream, don’t give up," she said. "If you have a goal and you hit a road block, you don’t have to stop. Just keep going.”

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3 steps to chairing a convention: Mayor Villaraigosa on being DNC chairman

Ashley Myers-Turner/KPCC

File photo of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in Los Angeles this past April.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was elected to chair the Democratic National Convention in February.

The chairman of the Democratic National Convention holds a lot of responsibility, but he said the job description is simple. The three steps, according to Villaraigosa:

1. Bang the gavel

2. Preside over the business of the convention

3. Oversee the nomination of the president and the vice president

Taking charge of the event and the people involved is one matter, but taming Mother Nature is another. Charlotte's been hit by a series of thunderstorms, with more rain and storms predicted for the rest of the week. That might affect President Obama's Thursday night speech at an outdoor stadium.

Villaraigosa said if it rains, the show must go on. "We’ll just have to make do," he said.

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