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The Miracle Mile Democratic Club (MMDC) is only seven months old, but the Mile’s first-ever democratic club is aspiring to become one of Southern California’s most influential.
Last Sunday, the organization held its inaugural Miracle Mile Awards and honored former Assemblyman and current Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price, 9th District, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the Hollywood chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and one of the MMDC’s founding members, Michael Kapp.
The event was held at 3Twenty Wine Lounge, and was attended by several other local elected officials, some of whom served as award presenters.
“It’s huge,” club President Ilissa Gold said. “We’ve only been around for seven months now. Events like this — it’s huge to increase our visibility in the neighborhood, increase our visibility among elected officials, so we ensure they will be responsive to the neighborhood’s concerns.”
The club was chartered by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party in February, when the organization also held its first meeting, instituted its bylaws and elected a new board.
“This is a perfect place for a democratic club, for progressive organizing,” Gold told the audience. “This is a democratic neighborhood that involves some of the most pressing, progressive issues both at the city and the state [level]. …This is ground zero for some of the biggest issues in the city.”
She said the organization is very supportive of public transit, walkable developments and small business, such as 3Twenty. Gold said the organization is pleased that the Purple Line is coming and that more mixed-use developments continue to be built.
“This is a progressive neighborhood, and it’s only going to get more so,” she added.
Eric Bauman, chair of Los Angeles County Democratic Party and vice chair of the California Democratic Party, said the club chose an interesting week to have its initial fundraiser. He referenced the anniversary of the March on Washington and remembered the call to action that was driven by Martin Luther King’s speech.
“We thought we made progress. We passed the Voting Rights Act. We passed laws ending discrimination all across America,” he said, mentioning the election of President Barack Obama and the belief that the dream had been achieved. “We must not have been awake. We must not have realized what was really going on. Because we were complacent, not paying attention. While we were busy celebrating, they were busy figuring out how they were going to beat us everyday.”
Bauman mentioned the “restrictive” voting laws passed in Texas and North and South Carolina. He also denounced sentiments that the Affordable Care Act is not a good thing, and that Social Security and food stamps are yet another entitlement for the poor.
“These things do not mean a dream achieved,” Bauman added. “These things are a call to action. These things are the reason we need a Miracle Mile Democratic Club. …These things are the reason we cannot let up for one minute.”
He introduced Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), who is running for the vacant Senate District 26 seat and has been endorsed by the club. She presented Price, who previously occupied the vacant Senate seat, with the Elected Official of the Year Award.
“Count me as your councilman also as things move forward,” he said, also advocating on behalf of Mitchell. Price also praised the club and said he was honored to receive the award. “Please continue to set the pace [and] set the tone.”
Kapp, the MMDC operations vice president, said the club has a lot of work ahead of it — namely helping Mitchell get elected to the Senate and supporting a replacement for Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge, 4th District, when he is termed out.
“The Miracle Mile Democratic Club has accomplished a lot in our first seven months of existence, but there’s a lot more work to be done,” he said.
Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) presented the Organization of the Year Award to Hollywood NOW.
“We’re very grateful to the Miracle Mile Democratic Club to receive this award. …To receive an organization award from [the MMDC] is quite a distinction,” Lindsey Horvath, of Hollywood NOW, said. “It does not escape us. Of course, we are so grateful that this organization is also represented by a phenomenal female president, who we hope will run for office some day.”
Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education member Steve Zimmer, 4th District, presented the Union of the Year Award to UTLA. UTLA President Warren Fletcher praised the club for their efforts, saying, “We’re fighting the same fight.”
“We need to work together,” he said. “I’m so proud on behalf of my organization”
Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) congratulated the organization for honoring “exemplary” leaders in the community. She presented the Resident of the Year Award to Feuer, who said the club does not have a long history but is already distinguishing itself.
“It’s a special treat to be able to receive an honor at this early stage in the evolution of what is going to be one of the most powerful democratic clubs in our region,” he said.
The Miracle Mile Democratic Club hopes to make the event an annual occurrence. For information, visit miraclemiledemocrats.org.
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