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The Freshman Six: Meet First Time City Councilman Bob Blumenfield
Now that our newly elected city councilmen have had a chance to settle in to their new routines, we asked them to reflect upon their first days in office. Here, District Three’s Bob Blumenfield talks city services, office attire, and one long commute
The campaign is over but your job has just begun. Which is harder: taking office, or beating your opponent in the primary?
Campaigns are never easy. This was a hard-won campaign where we faced five dedicated candidates. But the real work starts now. After the confetti has been cleared the governing begins.
While the campaign provided a great avenue to hone my vision and aspirations for the San Fernando Valley and the City of Los Angeles, the real work is to transform those goals and that vision in to a manageable and achievable game plan.
My focus is on the quarter-million people from Winnetka to Woodland Hills who depend on me and my staff to be their champions at City Hall and to deliver high quality city services and work every day to make life better for all Angelenos.
What did you wear on your first day as councilman?
On Inauguration Day I wore a suit I had been saving for the occasion and a special tie my wife and kids had picked out for me. As it turned out, my first full day as a councilmember was less about casting votes than it was about moving boxes—so after a while I ditched the suit and tie.
As you get to know your route to your new office, have you found a place to stop for coffee along the way?
With the longest commute of any Councilmember, I have many options for multiple coffee stops along the way.
Did you bring anything to the office to help make your new desk feel like home?
I brought along pictures of my family, but the “#1 Dad” pencil cup my daughter made for me in Arts and Crafts really makes my desk feel like home.
Have you scoped out the area for spots to grab a bite?
When I manage to get away from my desk for lunch, I like to try new places. Being an effective representative is not only about good policy, it’s also important to build relationships, and there’s no better way to do that than over a meal. There are some fantastic restaurants in my district such as Mort’s Deli in Tarzana, Las Fuentes in Reseda and others near City Hall. Each contributes to the incredible cultural richness that is part of what makes this city so great.
What are you most looking forward to in your term?
I’m looking forward to creating jobs and economic vitality to bring the City back from the downturn, especially in my district.
What are you least looking forward to?
While we encourage investment and technological innovations, I don’t look forward to the growing pains associated with helping to transform Los Angeles into the city it can, should, and deserves to be. Just as when you start using a new mobile phone, learning the functions and adjusting to the new system can cause a lot of headaches. Ultimately the initial frustration pays off in long-term benefits and upgrades.
What issue are you tackling first?
My top priority is getting the city moving again. I am looking forward to helping achieve for the City what I did as Budget Chair during my time in the California State Assembly: to put our house in order in a way that is fiscally sound and reflective of our values. I will also continue to prioritize the first-class constituent service I was known for in the state. To that end, my first order of business as chair of the Innovation, Technology and General Services Committee was to begin the process of making the MyLA311 an even more useful tool to connect Angelenos to City Hall, to make our city government more effective, accessible and transparent.
Sum up your feelings about your first few days at work in three words.
Ready to work.