Venice resident Traci Park was sworn in as the new councilmember for Council District 11 at a ceremony on December 10 at Loyola Marymount University in Westchester.
More than 600 people watched as former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa performed the ceremony.
Rabbi Amy Bernstein from Kehillat Israel was a speaker.
“Bless all gathered here at this wonderful moment in our city’s life,” Bernstein said. “Bless Traci Park, who has taken it upon herself the responsibility of service to our great City of Angels. Strengthen her, that she may partner with You in repairing this miraculous and broken world.”
Park told the audience, “You elected me to change things.
“We can and we will do better. We will fight for urgent and compassionate solutions that get people off the streets and into safe settings, but I will also fight to keep our communities safe,” she said. “I will fight to make sure that kids can safely come and go to school, for seniors to access their local Senior Centers, and for safe parks and libraries for families and their kids.
“We WILL clean this district up no matter what it takes. That is the mandate that I received from all of you and that will be the top priority of my administration.” (The speech in its entirety is printed in a separate post.)
Five individuals tried to disrupt Park when she was speaking. Her supporters shouted them down, and the disrupters were escorted out of the building.
The L.A. Times in a December 10 story (“Protesters removed from incoming L.A. Councilwoman Traci Park’s Swearing in Ceremony”) tried to equate those protestors with Councilmember Kevin de Leon’s problems.
The Times, who endorsed Park’s opponent Erin Darling, pointed out that Park, a municipal law attorney, “ran on a platform of expanding the Los Angeles Police Department and aggressively enforcing anti-camping restrictions against homeless encampments.”
Several Palisadians were at the ceremony. One wrote “Traci delivered a unifying speech but stated policy changes were on the way regarding homeless services and restoration of safety on our sidewalks, parks and libraries.
“Her speech was interrupted five times by individuals (one man and four women) seated throughout the crowd, standing, screaming and holding up their phones to record the reaction.
“Each time uniformed police, undercover security and members of the public circled the individual and peacefully escorted them out the nearest exit door. Traci handled each disturbance with humor but after four times the audience was somewhat on edge.
“It was nice to see and hear the audience vocally drown out each protester with chants of ‘We love Traci’ or similar chants,’” the resident said.
“Unfortunately, after the event as Traci exited there was a man outside who walked up to a planter and pulled out a six-inch knife. A bystander noticed and held the attacker at bay until police arrested the individual.”
The resident reported that law enforcement was not sure who and when the knife was put in the planter by the door that Traci exited. “Nobody knew if the guy who picked up the knife was working by himself or others.
“Crazy and dangerous dark world we are part of these days,” the resident said.
Mar Vista Voice, a progressive group who organized the Park protest, supported Darling and Proposition UAL. In a tweet, the group said Park supported a homelessness policy that had a 99 percent failure rate.
Park in her speech said, “ . . .our District has thousands of fellow human beings
residing in our public spaces without basic services and sanitation. They live in tents and vehicles. They inhabit broken-down RVs and makeshift shelters. They sleep on streets and beaches, in parks and neighborhoods.
“And as these encampments have grown in size and number, the sanitation and public safety toll on their inhabitants – as well as on surrounding communities – has become completely indefensible.
“FOR YEARS, we’ve collected and disbursed hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to solve homelessness, yet FOR YEARS the problems have continued to get worse,” Park said.