About Stephen Box

Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at: Stephen@thirdeyecreative.net.

LAPD Chalks Its Rubber Bullet Behavior Up to Vandalism

chalk walk

Stephen Box: As the debate over how a nonviolent pastel chalk protest turned into a violent melee continues, a petition is circulating calling for an investigation into the LAPD’s heavy-handed handling of the incident.

Can LA’s Neighborhood Councils Keep Up?

neighborhood council

Stephen Box: Yes, if the City Council is willing to partner with Neighborhood Councils in communication, organization, and respect.

Are LA’s Neighborhood Council Elections Worth the Price?

neighborhood council elections

Stephen Box: Neighborhood Council elections matter most to City Hall because, without them, City Hall’s commitment to involving the people in an open and participatory government is broken.

Los Angeles City Hall: Everybody’s Talking, Nobody’s Listening

casino la city hall

Stephen Box: Veterans of the bureaucratic jungle typically develop tracker instincts that allow them to monitor the subtle signs of City Hall activity and stay informed of impending actions on behalf of the people.

Los Angeles City Hall: Too Many Departments, Not Enough Light Bulbs

streetlamps

Stephen Box: If there is a budget crisis in Los Angeles, it is because too many departments are protecting their siloed turf while the residents of LA wonder why it takes so many departments to change so few light bulbs.

Let My People Vote!

let my people vote

Stephen Box: LA’s City Council voted unanimously to authorize and direct the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to conduct Neighborhood Council board member elections on a temporary basis during the 2012 Neighborhood Council Election cycle.

Is This “The Year of the Neighborhood” for LA?

thai town

Stephen Box: City Hall stands tall as if a neighborhood unto itself, requiring communities to trek downtown to participate while other cities take their municipal show on the road.

Bike Share King: LA’s Antonio 4,000 … Chicago’s Rahm 3,000

antonio villaraigosa

Stephen Box: Los Angeles is in an enviable position where it can select from the best yet it acted rashly and without public participation from the advocates who have been involved all along.

LA’s Guilt Trip: Naming Crosswalks After Our Dead Children

emely

Stephen Box: The City of LA has a charming tradition of honoring dead pedestrians, those who have lost their lives in the simple attempt to cross the street. Sometimes the honor comes with a traffic signal.

Lies and Cover-up Only Part of LA’s Firegate Scandal

firefirghter

Stephen Box: LA’s Fire Department has been turned upside down and placed in the hot seat, not for the actions of its rank and file, but for the creative accounting habits of its leadership.

LA ‘s Mayor Race: Campaign in Search of a Front-Runner

los angeles city hall

Stephen Box: Eight of the twelve registered candidates for Mayor of LA participated in a candidate forum at the Holman United Methodist Church, giving powerful testimony to the claim of some that politics is theatre.

Wendy Greuel Charms Audience, Eludes Questions

wendy-greuel

Stephen Box: Greuel navigated the hot topics of land use and urban design without hitting any potholes or committing to any controversial positions on topics that ranged from Farmers Field to affordable housing to corruption within City Hall.

Five LA Mayoral Candidates on one Stage

la mayor candidates

Stephen Box: Warren Olney was joined by Jan Perry, Eric Garcetti, Kevin James, Wendy Greuel, and Austin Beutner for the mayoral campaign’s equivalent of speed dating, a one-hour forum that was fast and furious, introducing leaders from LA’s nonprofit world to their prospective civic partner-in-chief.

“Mr. Brown” Takes His Act to City Hall

city-hall-entrance

Stephen Box: It has been 59 years since the Ralph M. Brown Act was passed by the California State Legislature and it guarantees the public’s right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies.

No One In Los Angeles Ever Takes the Blame

fence-wide

Stephen Box: General Managers, also appointed by the Mayor, find themselves caught between a term-limit restricted Mayor and a Civil Service hard place. Critics claim that they often serve as simple cannon fodder and Mayoral expeditors.

LA City Hall: The Great Pabulum and Placebo Dispenser

los angeles city hall

Stephen Box: From medical marijuana to fast food to code harassment, LA is the Capital of Moratoriums, demonstrating that there is nothing as attractive as the opportunity to kick an issue down the road and to leave it for the next round of elected officials.

LA’s Secret Meeting Habit: Contempt and Arrogance or Just Bureaucratic Malpractice?

la county supervisors

Stephen Box: The open and transparent attempt to violate the Brown Act can only be attributed to contempt of the public, arrogant hubris, or complete and thorough ignorance of the law.

Dealing with City of LA: Get It in Writing

parking ticket

Stephen Box: The City of LA is fast to find fault with its residents and slow to accept responsibility for its mistakes, a pattern that is demonstrated by its reluctance to put things in writing when it puts the City of LA in an unfavorable position.

Walking Works for LA

students walking

Stephen Box: One of the simplest ways to reduce the traffic congestion that surrounds LA’s schools in the morning and in the afternoon is to support children as they walk and bicycle to school, yet the City of LA continues to engage in a charade that’s all talk and no walk (or ride!)

Most Vulnerable Angelenos at Risk

city of los angeles

Stephen Box: Dying young is a tragedy, but it pales in comparison to the real tragedy which is growing old in a city that takes you for granted and doesn’t have a plan for you in case of an emergency.

LA Crime Stats: Can You Trust the Spin Doctors?

charlie beck anthony villaraigosa

Stephen Box: The City of Los Angeles deserves better than a mind-boggled Mayor in charge of a team that continues to collect data without being held responsible for determining cause and effect.

LA’s City Hall: Mired in the Moment … Missing a Vision for the Future

los angeles city council

The City of LA’s ongoing budget crisis has allowed a triage mentality to permeate throughout City Hall, framing the ongoing debate over our future in the negative and conditioning the public to focus on what they can give up rather than what they want. Each year the Mayor’s office gathers with neighborhood council representatives to [...]

Optimism, It’s Our Only Choice!

father and infant

Stephen Box: As I traded “new father” anecdotes with one of the most powerful men in Los Angeles, I realized that our experiences contained within them the lessons that could move LA forward.

The Fix Is In: A Tale of Two Bans

plastic bags

Stephen Box: As community activists continue to fight for a ban on city park advertising, the Mayor is pursuing an overhaul of LA’s sign ordinance that will create “innovative revenue sources” such as wilderness advertising.

LA’s Scandalous Housing Authority: For Better or For Worse

corruption

Stephen Box: The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) is the latest department to fall victim to the oversight and accountability scrum that starts when the media shines a spotlight and concludes when the public gets bored.

Occupy LA: A Salt Lick for Bullies

occupy arrest

Stephen Box: The bullies embedded within the LAPD found freedom to exercise their demons, to act on the rage they felt when they were denied the opportunity to unleash their skills on a violent enemy.

Occupy LA: The Death of Mainstream Media

occupy la media tent

Stephen Box: As the LAPD shed its hard core reputation and as the Occupy LA movement held to its nonviolent principles, it was the media who caved in and who were left behind as casualties on the battlefield.

Los Angeles: Occupy Gridlock

occupy la eviction

Stephen Box: The Occupy LA movement will wither on the dusty and dead lawn of LA’s City Hall if it does not return its focus to establishing common ground by returning its focus to the systemic issues that resonate through the City of Los Angeles, the State of California and the United States as a whole

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