Ana Gomez has been a Field Deputy for 2 years with the office of Councilmember Cedillo. Her days usually last 12 hours, with special events or dinners about once a week keeping her out until 10 or 11pm. She often works 6 days a week.
On any given day, she drives all over the city to attend various meetings and speak with workers in the Westlake/MacArthur Park, Pico Union, Koreatown, University Park and Temple Beaudry neighborhoods. For example, a day recently involved a site visit to a location that will be the future site of a small beautification project in the Westlake Neighborhood, a stop by City Hall for a small stop sign installation ceremony in Pico Union, a meeting with a non-profit Executive Director about building renovations, picking up permits at the Department of Water and Power, and that was all before she headed back to the office for paperwork. Her office work spans from presentations for Neighborhood Council meetings to running logistics for event planning movie nights, parades and clean ups.
Gomez’s main responsibility is to be an advocate. She is a sounding board for her communities and receives residents, businesses, volunteers, workers, and stakeholders’ complaints and concerns. She has gained the trust of people in her community and often extends her workload to ensure communication. “Some of those issues are easily resolvable so those are generally qualified as casework…I sometimes handle that casework on my own because people know me and they will always refer back to me on their issues.” For one community in particular, MacArthur Park, Gomez is attending to public safety, cleanliness and programming by helping organize multiple departments to work together: Sanitation, Recreation and Parks, and the LAPD.
Gomez says she has an “interesting” relationship to MacArthur Park. “Being an immigrant I have a great passion for the immigrant community. I loved the work that I did in Boyle Heights, but it is nothing like the challenges that people face living in MacArthur Park. The number of people and activity is incomparable.” She has particular drive around the homeless community, and has done extensive work to reach out and provide resources for them. That community in particular, she says, is the source of a lot of chaos in the community. She works at length with Neighborhood Council members, non-profit organizations, city and county agencies that provide services to the homeless, while working with angry business owners who are inherently frustration with the presence of the homeless in the community.
Gomez can name the challenges of MacArthur Park, noting range and variety of the resident as the biggest one . Attributing to this, she says, is the “general understanding that MacArthur Park is a pit stop in Los Angeles. The different needs and points of views and the sheer number of residents are some of the biggest challenges. ” She notes the fast changeover in the population, but also gains pleasure in knowing many long time residents.