Why Me? Why Now?
My family and I have lived in Westchester for almost 12 years. I still remember when our realtor suggested we consider the neighborhood. Despite years of business travel and taking taxis between the Marina and LAX, I had no idea the neighborhood even existed, hidden as it was behind all those big, beautiful mature trees along Sepulveda Boulevard.
At first, we were reluctant to look at anything so “far” south. I’d always worked in Westwood and Century City, and my idea of “south” was Mar Vista. Comparing Mar Vista to Westchester, we quickly learned that the houses and lots are considerably larger for the same money, so Westchester it was.
We found ourselves a beautiful little updated bungalow in South Kentwood that we had all of 20 minutes to consider before writing our offer in the real estate frenzy of 2002.
It was a crazy time. Our closing kept getting pushed out and the NICU release date of uber-preemie baby kept creeping up (we definitely had no complaints on the latter event). We finally got our keys with one week to outfit the house before our very tiny bundle of joy came home.
We’ve loved Westchester and have been so happy that we landed here. Watching families walk the neighborhood with small children and dogs still brings a smile to my face.
In 2008-ish, I used my newfound web skills to start a community website – Living90045.com – with a vision for giving our community a web-based hub for connecting and sharing news and events. Wearing my reporter’s hat, that’s when I first started following local news and politics in earnest, including becoming a daily reader of the two Yahoo Groups that serve our community (one of them being the Neighborhood Council’s group).
I also discovered school board politics as my daughter started grade school. It was all a happy coincidence, but I started traveling the charter school path in a major way (as in President of a non-profit putting a charter in front of LAUSD).
Fast forward a few years and my daughter is in middle school and very independent and self-sufficient. and I’ve gone “back” to work as a realtor with Coldwell Banker, although the phrase “back to work” makes me chuckle. I never stopped working. I just stopped getting paid.
With my daughter needing much less of my attention and my real estate business starting to gain traction, I’ve had even more time to look around my community for ways to be of service. Recently, I’ve been more active with the Kentwood homeowners association, including leading the charge to update the association’s website. I was also privileged to lend a hand to the team organizing the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase this weekend.
When the Neighborhood Council elections kept popping up on my radar, I knew it was time to dive in and get busy on a bigger stage, so I threw my hat in the ring.
Based on my observations over the last dozen years, I’m campaigning on a couple of key points:
- The biggest issue in my mind is that I’ve seen the neighborhood change as older residents passed on and younger families started moving in. Looking around, I see lots of community representation for community members who count their time here in decades, but I don’t see as much representation for the newer, younger families. I want to be that voice.
- Schools have been a major disappointment for my family in Westchester. I’d like to see that change. Our NC hasn’t given much attention to local schools from what I’ve observed. Why not? Maybe the NC is where we start making noise about our schools and why families hold so little sway with LAUSD.
- There’s been a lot of buzz lately about safety in the neighborhood. Statistically, crime is not up in our area, according to LAPD. What’s up is our ability with new media to share about the incidents that are happening. Why can’t we use that same new media to create a community culture that has us looking out for our neighbors and supporting LAPD with the information it needs to keep us even safer?
- Development – it’s a four letter word in two of the three communities that comprise our Neighborhood Council. I believe the purpose of the NC is to act as a voice for the community. If a particular project doesn’t fit the neighborhood and the community adamantly opposes it, I’m going to work to oppose the project on behalf of stakeholders.
I believe that my early career as an attorney (15+ years) will help me ask tough questions and drill down to the lowest common denominator on the issues that face our community. It will be my goal to educate the community on the issues that come before the NC, so that our community can make its wishes known, and I can carry out those wishes.
More recently, my real estate business covers the area increasingly known as “Silicon Beach,” which includes the communities of Playa Vista and Playa del Rey, as well as Westchester as a Silicon Beach-adjacent community. There are few people, and possibly no other NC candidate, who can claim that their stake in our community covers all three of the diverse communities comprising our Neighborhood Council.
For all of these reasons, I’m pleased to throw my hat in the ring and step up to serve my community, if my community will have me. 🙂
Tracy Thrower Conyers