Assemblywoman Mitchell Dialogues with Constituents about Meeting Children's Needs

November 04, 2011

LOS ANGELES – At a public meeting called October 13 to address both urgent and long term needs of children in the 47th District, Assemblymember Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) was quick to respond when a member of the audience shouted out, What are you going to do about the incarceration of so many of our young people? with an equally pointed question, Not me, we!. What are we going to do about it?

So began Thursday's Town Hall at Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles on The State of Our Children in District 47, convened by Assemblywoman Mitchell. She had presided over the Assembly's Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services where, confronted with a $26 billion state deficit a month after being elected, she was forced to acquiesce to billions of dollars in cuts to programs she had run for office to save.

Better that I use a scalpel, she said in April of tough legislative choices about which safety net services to reduce or eliminate in the face of Republicans' refusal to keep tax revenues level, than let them heave an axe.

Now she has come home to warn her community about how grim the prospects have become for state aid to cushion the recession's impacts on their lives and, in particular, on her district's most vulnerable population: children.

California's losing $11 billion in services and education funds, she laments. So we have to have a dialogue about what resources, planning and leadership will be needed to guide our children through this economic calamity uncrippled, if not unscathed.

She promised to try to push the state's legislative and spending priorities for 2012 in the direction of needs and priorities articulated, individually and in clusters, by the more than 100 constituents and children's advocates who attended a June 13th meeting at Holman United Methodist Church in South Los Angeles.

After hearing an analysis of 47th District minors' socio-economic profile prepared by Children Now, expert panelists on child-related issues attending The State of Our Children in District 47 town hall fleshed out the statistics with descriptions of challenges local children live with daily. Then the microphone was opened up for community questions and input. Repeated calls for more targeted resources, less political/professional selfishness and the need for innovative, culture-appropriate interventions were mingled with calls for focus on a broader cross-section of the district's children, organized support for families and sustained community engagement.

I want to read you your rights, said Dr. Tina Robinson, president of the Southern California Foster Care Mentoring Network, who described how her life was turned around by the loving  intervention of a neighborhood senior. Not your Miranda rights – your ‘right' to mentor a child, a parent, an ex-felon – anybody who needs it!

Concluding the forum, community residents, activists and professionals were clustered in small groups, asked to brainstorm collaboratively, and to record specific recommendations for improving children's lives for further action by Mitchell's 47th District Community Cabinet.

A list of panelists, presentations and notes can be viewed in the past events section of Mitchell's site at  http://asmdc.org/members/a47/.

Assemblymember Mitchell Holds State of the Children Town Hall

(Sacramento) -- Children are our most precious resource. Unfortunately, in tough economic times, children are often the ones that suffer most. That's why California State Assemblymember Holly Mitchell (D-Culver City) held a town hall focused on the State of Children. Learn more about Mitchell's resolve to bring communities together to help children and families, in this Assembly Access Video.