Participating in local government has never been on my list of things to do, but here I am running for President of the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council.
My name is Cathi Milligan and I've been Economic Development Chair for over a year and I think this is my next step. Participating in my community began with the York vision meetings put together by Councilman José Huizar. I have a small business located on York and I felt that this impacted my store as well as the community. It was exciting to participate in this project and see the hard work we were doing actually make a difference. We're getting one of Los Angeles' first parklets, also known as street porches, here on York between Avenues 50 and 51, and a small park at the corner of York and Ave 50. Through this participation I was recruited to join the neighborhood council.
Before I move onto my experience on the council I want to give a bit of background on myself. I've lived in Southern California all of my life, having arrived here at 2 months old from Sweden. I've lived in Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, Mid Wilshire, Hollywood, Silverlake, Atwater and now for 10 years Highland Park. I love Highland Park! I've never felt such a strong sense of community. Just over 2 years ago I opened my glass business on York, called The Glass Studio, and the community participation began.
Not only am I on the neighborhood council but last year I became Executive Director of NELAart. We have Second Saturday Gallery Night as well as other events and programs to help artists in our community. Highland Park has such a rich history in the arts, and NELAart really wants to keep this alive as well as grow opportunities for artists, and educate the community on the arts.
Back to the neighborhood council. One of the reasons I'd like to be President of the HHPNC is to help bring it up to its fullest potential. Part of the duties of the Council is to distribute City funding to worthy causes in Highland Park that
help people and their projects. The other part is to work together to create community projects that improve the quality of the lives of our neighbors in Highland Park. But what does that really mean? It means listening to people about what they want, not just thoughtlessly funding the same pet projects year after year. It's about creating situations that assist more people and fulfill their needs more effectively: arts and education, programs to give kids greater opportunities. It’s about creating cooperative projects that get people working together, not pulling them apart.
I've seen in-fighting on the council about funding and at times felt an us against them kind of atmosphere that wastes time and energy and keeps the council from really getting things done. This is about working together, for the benefit of the community.
So come on out on October 13 and vote for who will be on the board of the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council. This is where you vote and actually impact your very own community. And then come to meetings and tell us what you'd like to do.