Government / Philanthropy - (California)

Carolyn Ramsay is a Consultant for Los Angeles Parks Foundation and was a Candidate for City Council in the Fourth District of Los Angeles.

"I’ve raised my children in the Fourth District. I’ve written articles about the Fourth District as a reporter.  I’ve been a community activist advocating to protect my own neighborhood within the Fourth District.  I’ve raised money to install new city parks as a non-profit administrator and I’ve been a council deputy who rose through the ranks to become Chief of Staff to Councilmember Tom LaBonge. All of these experiences have made me the person I am and guide me as I travel the Fourth District as a candidate for the city council; I love the neighborhoods of the Fourth District as my own and will work hard to protect and enhance them.

My sense of community grew directly from the values my parents taught my four brothers and sisters and me:  diligence, teamwork, perseverance and respect for all people. My family moved around the country following the career of my father, NBA Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsay.  When my husband Andy Goodman and I moved to Los Angeles with our baby son in 1991, California was the eighth state I had lived in. No one loves Los Angeles more than someone who has shoveled snow in Buffalo in May.

Andy and I bought a run-down craftsman style home in the Wilshire Area shortly after the riots in 1992. I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else since.  We spent a dozen years restoring our home while raising our children Dan, 24, and Olivia, 15.  We joined Temple Israel of Hollywood, our spiritual home, where I’m proud to serve on the Board of Trustees.

Many years ago I was writing an article and then-Council Deputy Tom LaBonge drove me around the district and told me the stories of neighborhood development and change. Being Tom LaBonge, he also stopped several times to pick up litter and asked people to turn off their hoses to comply with water conservation restrictions. Reporters are shy by nature – I was, anyway – and his forthright actions caught my attention. It was clear that he felt each neighborhood in this huge city was in some part his own.

Organizing block parties and neighborhood watch meetings led to tree plantings and soon I became very involved in my own community. I became president of our neighborhood’s homeowners association.  The board of dedicated volunteers worked with the city to establish a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone to protect the historic character and scale of the 1,100 homes in our community. We did not think it would take six years to do something so simple as protect the basic character of the neighborhood. The painstaking work of creating a strategy and building the consensus to implement it had a powerful effect on me. When it was time to take back some of our main street and build a landscaped median on Larchmont Boulevard, I led the fundraising for that successful project. These two small-scale (but certainly not easy) projects have stuck with me far longer than I could have realized at the time.

The creative and collaborative problem-solving I learned on the Windsor Square board came in handy when Councilmember LaBonge’s hired me as his Wilshire field deputy in 2006.  Nothing gets done in City Hall without bringing the Councilmember, city staff (lawyers, engineers, planners, and many others) and the community to the table to find feasible solutions that work.  Councilmember LaBonge is a master at this and I have spent nearly eight years in his office working and learning at his side.

I am campaigning for the Fourth District seat on the Los Angeles City Council to protect and enhance neighborhoods and innovate effective new ways of delivering city services.

The combination of my life experiences—living in many cities, learning to ask the right questions as a reporter, building consensus as a neighborhood activist, and breaking through bureaucratic inertia to deliver results for those who live and work in Council District Four—has brought me to this new adventure.

With your guidance and support, I look forward to making the neighborhoods and communities of Council District Four even more special than they already are."

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