It’s only been aabout a week since Tim McOsker was sworn in as Los Angeles’s 15th District councilmember — but it’s been nonstop ever since.
For the San Pedro-to-Watts councilmember, it was a week filled with settling into a new office, reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates for office staff positions, sitting through public disruptions at City Hall, introducing a package of five motions, attending a “winter wonderland” and other holiday festivities throughout the communities he now represents, listening to constituent requests, and speaking at Thursday’s Los Angeles harbor commission meeting.
While the City Council now will be on holiday break until early January, the work for McOsker — along with four other new councilmembers elected in November — will not slow down much.
“There’s still the community work, an office to set up, and all the outreach that has to continue,” McOsker said in a Friday, Dec. 16, telephone interview.
McOsker was sworn into office on Dec. 10 at the Wilmington Waterfront Park.
Among his initiatives at the start was a new branding for CD15 — “The One-Five: Stronger Together.”
It came from his campaign pledge to bring closer together and pay focused attention to all five communities within the 13-mile-long district: San Pedro, Wilmington, Harbor City, Harbor Gateway and Watts.
“We have a unique and wonderful district,” he said Friday. “We have five very distinct communities but it’s important to know we are one district of five communities.”
McOsker appeared before the LA harbor commission on Thursday, Dec. 15, thanking the Port of Los Angeles for pulling an item for further discussion. That item calls for continuing the Public Access Investment Plan, which has paid millions of dollars into waterfront improvements to benefit the community.
The 10-year Port of Los Angeles policy has created parks, fountains and waterfront promenades in San Pedro and Wilmington. With a changing of the policy-setting guard anticipated in the near future, with new Mayor Karen Bass making her own appointments to the harbor commission, there has been a move by those currently on the panel to make the investment — 10% of the port’s operating income — a permanent fixture in POLA’s budget.
McOsker is part of that push and told commissioners on Thursday that “we will work with some haste” to establish a plan that will “continue this forever, indefinitely, having it go past all our tenures.”
The board held the item, McOsker said Friday, “as a courtesy since it was my first opportunity as the councilmember to appear.”
McOsker said he hopes to go over the program’s specifics to see “how much investment we’re talking about and to see if we can make any adjustments and improvements.”
The program, passed in 2015, is set to expire in 2025.
“I think it’s important for the port to redouble its efforts for achieving zero emissions,” McOsker said Friday about what else he’d like to see POLA focus on.
Maintaining the port’s market share and continuing to provide increased public access to the waterfront are other priorities, he said.
Also in his first week, McOsker introduced five motions — impacting all five communities in CD15 — for approval:
- A request to the Department of General Services to remove a billboard on city property at 427 N. Gaffey St., in San Pedro, that has long been seen as an eyesore; the lease expires at the end of this year, according to documents reviewed by McOsker.
- Direct the Department of Recreation and Parks to identify and recommend space for community gardens.
- Rename Grape Street Pocket Park, 10726 Grape St., in Watts, the Betty F. Day Park in memory of the proposed namesake, who dedicated much of her time and efforts to running the Watts Towers Teen Post, serving as president and founder of the Watts Gang Task Force, and working with several other organizations.
- A request that the Department of Transportation report on impacts of traffic-calming measures and safety improvements to Anaheim Street, between Figueroa Street and Henry Ford Avenue, in Wilmington, where some residents have expressed concerns about changes that removed a travel lane; installed a protected bike lane, upgraded sidewalks and pedestrian crossings; and made bicycle intersection improvements.
- Direct the Department of Recreation and Parks to report on the progress of the Rosecrans Recreation Center fence project in north Harbor Gateway. The project is designed to improve safety and security at the park but construction hasn’t yet started.
In his Dec. 10 swearing in speech, McOsker made note of the frustrations many have with LA’s government — but he struck an optimistic note about the future.
Among the comments he heard most on the campaign trail, McOsker said, was “a resignation, a disappointment, even anger, at a city that has let us down.”
“There are legitimate reasons for these feelings,” McOsker said, “and the most troubling is the turmoil and dysfunction of a city hall embroiled in ethical and racist scandals, disrespect and in-fighting.
“But we have a new day,” he added. “With five new councilmembers, a new mayor, controller and city attorney, we have a chance to begin with a clean slate and to reset the way City Hall operates, create a transparent government, place the interests of our residents first, and treat everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve.”