You know, Mary Benson kinda took a jab at me yesterday during her opening statement. She admitted that she may have not been down to city hall as much as Zuma Dogg, because some of us (her) have to earn a living and have jobs and not all of us can live in a cardboard box.
So here's my response since when you throw in "living in a cardboard box" and Zuma Dogg is not one of the BIG 3, so why is she opening up her opening statement with that?
Must be feeling it's not going too good for her vs ZD, or why else would she feel the need.
SO HERE IS MY RESPONSE TO ANYONE WHO SAYS THAT:
NO WHERE IS IT WRITTEN WHEN I WAS BORN THAT I AM COMFORTABLE, O.K. WITH, OR ENJOY LIVING ON THE SIDEWALK (not even inside a cardboard box).
So I need to remind voters, I was earning a "living" at Venice Beach, PAYING RENT to stay in the room I was paying rent to stay in.
CITY COUNCIL PASSED A LAW BANNING MY INCOME, EVEN THOUGH:
I was permitted with a signed contact and issued a license with the city (so we are not talking about illegal sidewalk vending)..
AND, a FEDERAL JUDGE ruled that the city WAS in violation of the law, and the city overturned the illegal part that prevented me in the first place.
MEANWHILE, during the time I went to council to "inform them" that the City Attorney bamboozled them with an ordinance that was FEDERALLY-LAW FLAWED, I figured they would fix it because they didn't want to be wrong and in violation of Federal Law. But I quickly found out they did this stuff FULLY KNOWING it's in violation, and the only way to get them to "fix it" is to protest RELENTLESSLY, or SUE.
So since they didn't fix it, I kept going back.
People started approaching me in chambers, telling me they were seeing me and what a good job I was actually doing out there and they asked if I would listen to them about their issue (LAUSD, condo-conversions, Special Event Fee Waiver Abuse, EVERYTHING...)
And I was shocked and honored by the privilege people were giving me and the respect in which they approached me with...and again, it was like Michael Jordan finding out he could dunk basketballs in his mid-40s.
So sure, if you feel like I am pulling off something other people aren't, out there...YEAH, I'll roll with it.
BECAUSE THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STUFF OUT THERE, GOING DOWN IN CHAMBERS ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS.
LIVES ON THE LINE. JOBS ON THE LINE. AND IT'S ALL ILLEGAL, SHADY AND CORRUPT! A DAILY STIFF ARM TO THE PEOPLE.
HOW COULD I LET THEM GET AWAY WITH THAT?
So to Mary Benson for her comments:
When I say that I am the most experienced and qualified of any of the other candidates NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE, because I have a three year history of knowing EXACTLY what has been happening (and it's not ONLY Planning Issues, although I have delved in deep with those issues and I don't think they've blown a curve ball past me on that yet. BUT CM IS ABOUT BEING MUCH MORE THAN A PLANNING DEPUTY. AND MARY IS A GREAT WATCH DOG AND IS PERFECT FOR NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL AND MAYBE EVEN A POSITION WITH A COUNCIL OFFICE.
But when Mary says, "Not all of us can..." she is basically admitting that, "Yes, Zuma Dogg has been down there and knows all the ins and outs and has all the relationships and experience BECAUSE HE DIDN'T HAVE TO WORK BECAUSE HE LIVES IN A "CARDBOARD BOX" as she said:
Mary and anyone else in the city could have done what I did and suffered the consequences that I have. SHE CHOSE NOT TO STAND UP AND FIGHT AT ALL COSTS EVEN IF IT MEAN YOU WERE NOW SLEEPING ON THE SIDEWALK.
I CHOSE TO TAKE THE TIME AND NOW AS A RESULT I HAVE THE EXPERIENCE, KNOWLEDGE AND RELATIONSHIPS WITH CITY WORKERS, CITY HALL INSIDERS, AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS.
I CHOSE TO SPEND ALL MY TIME BECAUSE I FELT IT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT STUFF IN THE WORLD AND I TOOK ON THE LEADERSHIP ROLE AND CHALLENGE AS IT WAS PRESENTED TO ME.
Now sure, it's not for everyone, and I completely understand that Mary was not ready to sacrifice all as I have and end up where I have.
But at the end of it all, I HAVE all that knowledge, experience and historic perspective and it is ALL WORTH IT IN THE END AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED. Because I packed a decade or two into three years and it's a TREMENDOUS VALUE/RESOURCE to have the depth and level of inside knowledge regarding city operations.
So sorry I was willing to do what no one else was willing to. I ADMIT, it's not for most people. It's almost not for ANYONE else in the world.
So you can keep attacking me for that, but what people say to me when they find out my living circumstances throughout this all is usually, "Oh my gosh, I had NO idea? How do you do all that? How do you know all that stuff? How come people don't do more to help?" (In other words, it makes them admire my efforts even more.)
You may notice that although on my blog, which is my own personal blog and not city business, I talk about my circumstances and put out the emergency BatSignal that I need help.
BUT HAVE YOU NOTICED DURING THE COUNCIL MEETINGS ON TV, I show up, hit the podium and start addressing the issue, and rarely have I addressed my living circumstances and NEVER ask for help on TV. I HAVE addressed it on CERTAIN occasions, because it was relevant to the moment...but out of hundreds, if not a thousand public comments, I'm just showing up and doing the work of a guy showing up to alert the public masses and put stuff down "on the record" on as many items as possible, SO THAT IT ALLOWS OTHERS TO SUE IF THEY ARE VIOLATED BY THIS. IF NO ONE SHOWS UP FOR PUBLIC COMMENT, YOU CANNOT TAKE LEGAL ACTION AFTER IF YOU ARE SCREWED.
DO YOU NOW HOW MANY ITEMS I HAVE DONE THAT ON? I remember the day SB 1818 came through and a hundreds of other things just like it.
SO WHY ARE YOU COMMENTING ON WHERE I SLEEP AT NIGHT IN BETWEEN MEETINGS, MARY? I mean SERIOUSLY?
No one besides David Saltsburg do people comment so much on where he sleeps in between meetings. Personally, I would like to see a little more coverage on what I have been doing the other 20 hours a day.
SUMMARY: Yes, I was willing to do what no other seemed to be willing to do. Attend over a year's worth of council meetings (EACH AND EVERY ONE), and have attended MOST of the meetings (except when I flew back to C-land when my dad died to be with my mom). BUT THE DAY I RETURNED TO L.A., IT WAS OVER A ONE YEAR STREAK OF ATTENDING EACH AND EVERY MEETING. AND I HAVEN'T MISSED THAT MANY SINCE I BROKE THE STREAK.
So yeah, you can say you were not willing to make the sacrifice I was, but maybe you would have if people were reacting and responding to you and stopping you on the streets to thank you and were desperate to have a little of your time to hopefully help them.
SO YEAH, I BLEW IT ALRIGHT! MY LIFE IS IN DISREPAIR AND IT HAS COST ME EVERYTHING EXCEPT MY LIFE AND MY ONLY HOPE FOR RESTORATION IN LIFE IS BECOMING COUNCILMEMBER:
BUT I HAVE THE EXPERIENCE AND KNOWELEDGE AND RELATIONSHIPS AND LOVE OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ACROSS THE CITY AND COUNTY: And I am not a real superhero like Superman who is made of steel. I do not have financial backing, and don't get paid to do what I have just done.
I am just one mere mortal concerned citizen who is as human as everyone else. I think I've done a fine job, so far.
I WALK THE STREETS AND ELDERLY AND PASTORS AND FAMILIES AND CITY WORKERS AND CITY FIGHTERS AND GENERAL MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ACROSS THIS GIGANTIC, DIVERSE CITY STOP IN THEIR TRACKS TO THANK ME AND REALLY LAY IT ON HEAVY WITH THE NICEST OF TRIBUTES.
MOST PEOPLE DON'T GET THIS STUFF SAID ABOUT THEM AT THEIR OWN FUNERALS OR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD CEREMONIES.
So maybe you can begin to understand not WHY I have been able to withstand and endure these circumstances, especially over this past year, but HOW I am able to endure it.
And besides the experience of the past three years that I have, and the others don't because I was willing to take on the challenge and end up living the way no one else was willing to; when I represent the voice of the people, it is this spirit that guides me and if you betray it, it goes away.