Lundquist has a long and accomplished history as an organizer and leader in the district on a broad range of progressive issues.
Since Mitch Englander’s shock resignation prompted a special election in Los Angeles’ 12th council district, an opportunity has opened up for the district to elect a candidate who is directly accountable to the needs of the community. Over the past few weeks, writers from KNOCK.LA and organizers from Ground Game LA have connected with community members and voters across the district to find out what issues matter most for this election. Our engagement in the district spans the past few years, from members canvassing about community issues, to a direct action protest and arrest at the Aliso Canyon Gas storage facility. Council District 12 is rapidly outgrowing its reputation as a conservative monolith. Through canvassing, phone banks, grassroots communities, and a recent CD12 candidate forum, we consistently hear from residents about environmental sustainability, implementing a solution to the housing and homelessness crisis, and the closing of the Aliso Canyon Gas Facility.
Ground Game’s vision for local governance is rooted in the idea that those who are most connected to the issues facing Angelenos are the experts on how those issues can be solved. We believe that extravagant corporate and private interest funding of candidacies, combined with the Los Angeles political machine, has created a long history of City Councilmembers who have little interest in advocating for Angelenos and protecting communities who lack the resources to buy political influence. For us, the solution to this is a co-governing framework, wherein a grassroots candidate accountable to their district governs in partnership with grassroots advocacy groups and direct-service providers who have the pulse of the needs residents face. This model of local governance empowers the sort of meaningful, informed policymaking, with direct guidance from resident experience that we believe will have the transformative impact that Los Angeles so desperately needs at this time.
With these considerations, we endorse Loraine Lundquist for City Council District 12.
Lundquist is an expert on Aliso Canyon and understands the technical, political, social, and economic issues that must be negotiated in order to close this dangerous facility, and to transition Los Angeles to a 100% renewable energy portfolio. She has a long and accomplished history as an organizer and leader in the district on a broad series of progressive issues, including fighting for housing justice for the most vulnerable members in the community.
After the Aliso Canyon Gas Facility blew out in 2015, Lundquist worked alongside her community for the next four years, fighting for her family and her neighbors who were being poisoned. She was recognized by State Senator Henry Stern as an expert on the issue, and was invited to Sacramento to testify on behalf of the community. She has proposed a concrete timeline for shutting down the gas facility, and has pledged to advance science-based environmental legislation that will transition Los Angeles to clean, renewable energy.
In addition to her environmental leadership, she is also a community leader on the homelessness and affordable housing crisis in Los Angeles. Lundquist is a founding member of the West Valley Neighborhood Alliance on Homelessness, whose goal is to educate area residents on the benefits of housing-first policies, and help the district site affordable housing.
Also important to her campaign is ending the cycle of conservative patronage that has dictated politics in this part of Los Angeles. Given that her leadership was forged through the crises that have impacted District 12, we believe that Lundquist has demonstrated deep accountability to her communities and will be an effective and crucial break in the chain of establishment politicians CD 12 has endured.
This decision was not an easy one. There are multiple candidates running for this position who have a history of leadership, activism, and a genuine connection to communities who are most deeply impacted by current city policies, as well as a clear vision of how to change the way we run both elections and our city government.
We want to acknowledge and thank Carlos Amador for his thoughtful answers to our candidate questionnaire, as well as his unceasing commitment to vulnerable communities in Los Angeles. We know his impact on the welfare of Angelenos has been immense and we are grateful for his presence in this race. The work to surface progressive voices in this historically conservative district requires bravery and resolve, and Amador has shown exactly that. And we know that he, like us and like Lundquist, is concerned foremost with advancing a progressive agenda that puts people and planet over profit in District 12 and in the city as a whole.
Council District 12 has an unexpected opportunity to lead Los Angeles in new, progressive local leadership. We hope to see that possibility realized and to pave the way for bolder campaigns and candidates in other LA districts. The governing power of residents has been impeded by institutional gatekeepers for too long. Lundquist’s campaign has surpassed the requirement for matching funds from small dollar donations in the district. The size and high-level of commitment of her volunteer team speaks for itself. Through her campaign we hope to see her build a team that fosters long-term engagement in civic participation and demonstrates the power of people organized to advocate for their needs and the future of their city. We expect her to be an effective manager, to put the health and dignity of the community and planet first, in stride with the community that supports her.
Ground Game will be out every weekend, canvassing for a Loraine Lundquist candidacy until the June 4th election.
KNOCK is a journalism and commentary project by Ground Game LA, a community organization that fosters civic empowerment and political engagement. Endorsements are made by a collective of Ground Game members and KNOCK writers and editors.