In their selection of the five top leaders of Downtown for the next year, the Downtown News selected three members of the DLANC board of directors:
Leaders of the Pack
by Kathryn Maese
There are scores of politicians, developers, business leaders and community activists with a stake in Downtown's development. Some wield power and votes, others are influential in more subtle ways. From a blogger to a neighborhood prosecutor, take a look at who will be shaking things up on the local scene.
Carol Schatz: The president and chief executive of the Central City Association and the Downtown Center Business Improvement District is one of the area's biggest advocates. Whether it's the popular housing tours, the outreach to potential developers and investors, or simply fighting for local issues at City Hall, Schatz and her organizations will be active on a number of fronts this year.
Brady Westwater: As president of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC), there are few things Westwater isn't involved in. He religiously attends nearly every city meeting that involves Downtown, often swaying planners and decision makers to his point of view. He's been an effective advocate for luring business to empty storefronts, is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to local history and past policy, and is tenacious when it comes to holding elected officials accountable. As scores of issues relating to homelessness, urban planning, development and residents crop up this year, expect Westwater to have a say.
Eric Richardson: Via his blogdowntown.com forum, this resident and DLANC member has carved out a high-profile niche in Downtown. His blog is read not only by Central City denizens but also City Hall insiders, business groups and media. When he blogs about a Downtown issue, people read.
J. Russell Brown: He founded the Residents' Association of Downtown Los Angeles, was elected to the Area Wide Resident seat of DLANC, and helped found the gay social group Out in Downtown L.A. and the nonprofit Selah Artistic Giving Center in the Arts District. Expect the project-oriented Brown to be just as active in the coming months, whether it's representing residents' rights when it comes to filming or spearheading a new neighborhood improvement initiative.
Dena Sohn: Downtown's tough and savvy neighborhood prosecutor has tackled some of the area's most challenging quality of life issues - slum conditions, theft, graffiti, drugs and prostitution. In many ways, Sohn has become the link between various agencies and the public. She's been a regular presence at community events and often speaks to new homeowner groups. She even hands out her business card to each resident. Look for Sohn to be a point person as Downtown works through its growing pains in the coming year.
page 7, 1/2/2006
And two of us are bloggers. But when it comes to who has done the most good for our community in the past year, I would like to yield my spot to Captain Andy Smith, even though he is honored elsewhere in the paper.