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Local Government & Community Engagement: Where to Start?

We are seeing an unprecedented (at least in my professional life) level of public engagement in local government processes, largely inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and what I hope is a real reckoning with our country's racist history and persistent racist systems and structures. Those of us who have spent our entire careers in City Council chambers, waiting to provide our 2-minute public comment, writing well-researched and strongly-worded advocacy letters to decisionmakers, calling our City Councilmembers' offices to lodge our support or opposition to an issue about to come before them, can easily forget how and when we first learned how this side of local government operates. It's not accessible to the everyday person. It's not intuitive to anyone not brainwashed to think this is how public processes should work. It's not part of standardized curriculum in our education systems. So it's no surprise that even some of the most highly educated, intelligent people I know have been asking me lately to explain who the County Board of Supervisors are and what they do.

In response, here's some basics for those of you in Los Angeles County. I'm hoping to break down more of the in's and out's over the coming weeks to help all of us continue to be engaged. We can't let up!

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