Although mission statements have become a farce over the years we believe that all non profit taxpayer oriented organizations need a clear and concise mission statement so that members and potential members know what the organization supports (and by implication what it is not taking any position on). LAAG membership is not restricted only to Lakewood residents. Although LAAG is primarily concerned with local Lakewood issues, its interests reach beyond the borders of Lakewood as Lakewood residents are affected by issues beyond Lakewood's borders.
Given that preface here is LAAG's mission statement. We tried to make it simple and to the point. These tenets are not ranked in any particular order:
Holding elected officials accountable for their action or inaction and that they hold non elected, non dischargeable governmental employees and their unions accountable, as voters cannot.
Fighting for everyone’s right to peace and quiet and to enjoy their property; this includes preventing unnecessary and excessive noise from all sources, not just fireworks, loud vehicle exhausts and stereos.
Fighting to maintain high property values for homeowners; this includes supporting ordinances encourage aesthetics and fight blight, pollution, over crowding, parking problems, noise and non residential uses of residential property; supporting efforts such as the Lakewood Beautiful Home Awards Program.
Fighting government waste and inefficiency and making sure that government spending really benefits taxpayers and not just government employees looking for perks.
Promoting reasonable and timely spending on core infrastructure such as streets, sidewalks, trees, sewers and lighting. Not all at once but over time to ensure infrastructure does become overly costly to repair. This is the primary role of small cities. Discouraging spending on social programs where private non-profits can do just as good and money for such programs could be better spent on core infrastructure.
We also support infrastructure that is not car based but "all user" based..meaning it supports bicyclists, pedestrians, the handicapped etc. The California Complete Streets Act of 2008 (actual law here) is a good example of the national movement.
Fighting blight due to foreclosures on residential and commercial real estate, graffiti, vacancies in commercial real estate due to poor redevelopment actions by the city, and insuring reasonable infrastructure spending during times of economic downturn.
Promoting rational parking restrictions that make it safe for all including those walking, the handicapped and those on bicycles.
Promoting recycling, reusing and reducing.
Promoting transparency in local government and all efforts to make all public city documents and services readily available on the internet at no charge and in a timely fashion (the so called eGovernment initiative ) as well as encouraging and fighting for an open public forum, meaning keeping meetings open and making public records, ordinances and other information about civic issues freely available. ( see Cal-Aware site )
If you want to read cheerleader "feel good" "puff pieces" about the City, the City Council and government employees in general then read the city's website or those from the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce "throw away" "news"paper that comes out once a month. There are plenty of places to find that kind of news. Not here. We don't report on standard TV news fodder, like car accidents and lost puppies.
We don't think Lakewood is a bad city nor the city council the worst. There are much worse. But there are much better too. We need to strive for improvement. We do NOT accept the status quo but we also don't believe in change just for change sake. We believe in thinking "outside the box" and looking at problems in a new way with new approaches if the old ones don't work or are too costly. We believe it is taxpayers right to question all actions and motives of government employees and entities, especially when the government's action is at the expense of taxpayers. We think this site is one way of encouraging change by trying to make the city more "transparent" or calling foul when everyone else is too afraid to or have given up on dealing with city hall as it is. And who could blame them.
We are a non partisan group. typically at the city and county level political parties have very little or no role. We want to keep it that way. We want to discuss issues, not parties or ideologies.
Last but not least this is NOT a religious or "Christian accountability group". Unfortunately we think a number of visitors find our site looking for that. Sorry. This is simply a group seeking action and to hold local elected officials (and those they appoint or oversee) accountable to the voters and taxpayers. We respect and support the First Amendment to the US Constitution which strives to keep both speech free and keep religion out of politics.
We get gripes by certain users that they don't like a certain story or don't agree with it. That's fine this is America. Our suggestion is if you don't like our stories STOP visiting our site. we also suggest that since most of you have so many opinions and think its so easy to run a blog we suggest you go start your own. Then you will see its not easy to do this and hold down a full time real job.
Our real pet peeve is people that leave comments (in the "post a comment" section at the bottom of each story we post) with no way for us to reach them (via phone or email) as they are made anonymously (and we have the comment section unlocked so that anyone can send in comments) We have asked you "Anonymous" posters at least answer a few basic questions (which come up in the "comment window"). Nothing more than what we disclose to you the reader. That's fair. If you don't agree then you don't get posted. Its that simple.
We reserve the right to amend this mission statement from time to time as we grow and our Mission expands or contracts.
Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA
A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™
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September 6, 2006