Shane Murphy Goldsmith is the President and CEO of the unique and much-admired Liberty Hill Foundation, an important engine behind local organizations and small nonprofits that are reshaping Los Angeles through myriad battles for social justice and community empowerment. Shane also sits on the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, and she is the co-chair of the California Executive Alliance for Boys and Men of Color SoCal Region. Shane is a Durfee Foundation Stanton Fellow focusing on youth justice issues, particularly on ending youth incarceration as we know it in Los Angeles. She served as a senior advisor to then-City Council President Eric Garcetti, overseeing housing, economic development, the city budget, public safety and LGBTQ issues. Shane has also worked as a community organizer focusing on economic justice in low-income communities of color in LA.
A graduate of Kenyon College, Shane spent a year as a National Hunger Fellow managing a homeless shelter in Indiana and then conducting federal policy research on welfare reform in Washington, D.C. Shane has a Master's degree in Public Policy and Administration. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife Monica Granados and their two children.
Shane sat down with our founder, Donna Bojarsky, in the wake of Los Angeles Police Chief Charles Beck’s retirement announcement. Beck’s news sounded like a good place to start their conversation.
LAPD AND BLM
Donna Bojarsky: Shane Goldsmith, you’ve been on the Los Angeles Police Commission for a year and a half, and now you are faced with Chief Beck’s retirement. How did you react to the news?
Shane Goldsmith: Well, it’s an exciting opportunity to bring in a new leader who can build on the tremendous success that the department and Chief Beck have had so far - particularly around community policing, issues of implicit bias, use of force - as well as to invest in building public trust and ensuring public safety. I look forward to a robust process that engages Angelenos far and wide as well as to considering what type of police chief we want, and who’s the best person for the job.
Donna Bojarsky: What do you believe the main focus should be?
Shane Goldsmith: One thing we have prioritized over the last couple of years has been, as you know, the effort to pass the new policy around the use of force. This will be an ongoing concern.
There are certain sorts of discipline and accountability in the cases of use of force. But our policy interest extends to de-escalation, which is really about training. So the next phase is about implementation. Police departments around the country were able to make tremendous gains in the recent past thanks to the Black Lives Matter Movement, thanks to President Obama, and a number of other factors. This an incredible window of opportunity to make police reform. We have been doing that, the policy is there on the books, and now it’s really a matter of implementing it and making sure that that training is department-wide, that it is internalized, that it’s passed along to every next graduating class at the academy. That’s just hard, diligent work, all the while continuing to fight for and to protect our immigrant communities. Expanding community policing is critical to building public trust, which really is critical to making us all safe.
Donna Bojarsky: You are letting the public in on the Chief Beck decision? Is that unusual?
Shane Goldsmith: This is a normal practice. The input has been diverse, insightful, and passionate. People have told us they want a Police Chief who has examined their own implicit bias and changed their policing practices as a result. They want a Police Chief who works with other civic leaders to address homelessness because we cannot arrest our way out of homelessness. They want a Police Chief who continues the LAPD’s cutting edge de-escalation training to reduce uses of force. They have told us they want a Police Chief who cares about and understands all the diverse communities in Los Angeles and works to make all communities feel safe. One woman who came to the West LA meeting said she wants a Police Chief who works to make sure she and her black friends feel as safe when they encounter the police as her white friends do. Many people said they want a Police Chief who expands community policing practices department wide through training, incentives, and accountability. These meetings have made me proud of Los Angeles.
Donna Bojarsky: How would you characterize what Black Lives Matter has done so far?
Shane Goldsmith: BLM has created this incredible conversation that shined a light on terrible abuses across the country, the shooting of unarmed black men. A light on that has helped. This was part of a large effort to create the political will to finally do something about it.
I’m really proud to be on the Police Commission and to seize the opportunities to make changes, in partnership with a mayor and a police chief who believe strongly in these reforms.
Donna Bojarsky: What worries you most about the body cam dilemma?
Shane Goldsmith: The release of these videos is vital for transparency, and transparency is a critical building block of public trust. Often, the footage is very helpful to the Commission in determining whether a shooting was “in policy” or not. However, these videos do not tell the whole story. It is not like watching an episode of Law and Order. You don’t get a professionally directed 360-degree perspective along with a narrative of exactly what’s going on in the minds of everyone involved. The incomplete stories the videos tell may be frustrating to the public and may not always provide the illumination the public seeks. Still, the public has a right to see the videos. As one of two members of the video release subcommittee, I am very proud to have helped draft a policy that strikes a careful balance between transparency, public safety, and privacy rights.
Donna Bojarsky: You sit on the Police Commission with a bunch of different identities. How do you manage them, or whom do you feel like your primary constituency is? Because you sit there as an Angeleno, as a lesbian, as an activist, as a progressive.
Shane Goldsmith: Well, it’s funny to get asked the question that way because on one hand, I am a person, and all those things are in me every day, and I don’t actually think about them as separate parts of myself. But there is a weird way in which the Police Commission kind of slices you into pieces and does separate out those identities.
For me, the greatest thing I can do is make sure the people who are directly impacted are part of the process, and that is much harder than I ever would have dreamed. I mean, anyone who works in government or serves on the Commission will say that it’s way harder to engage the public than it should be.
Donna Bojarsky: In a meaningful way.
Shane Goldsmith: With the Police Commission, it’s harder than anywhere else. But we have done some different things. For example, we’ve had a whole special hearing that I helped organize on racial bias, a whole hearing on homelessness, and another one on immigrants. Those were historic for us to do. It brought in leaders from the community. They were on the agenda. It wasn’t just two minutes of public comment. We had this amazing, really the best meeting ever, organized largely by a community coalition in south LA. It was more sort of raw, cathartic venting of experiences of difficult interactions with the police.
And then the other ones were hearings, and so they were more solution-oriented. The best thing we can do is open the space so that those people and those ideas and those experiences have a light shined on them, and the press covers it all very well. It all helps with the process.
ENDING INCARCERATION AS WE KNOW IT
Donna Bojarsky: What made it so hard? You mentioned it was harder than you thought. What has made it so much harder?
Shane Goldsmith: We all know that real change happens in Los Angeles because people who are directly affected organize and fight for it. That is a key ingredient. The Police Commission does not work unless the people in the communities are organized and recognize the opportunity to work with us, have clear demands, a clear analysis and a clear vision for the change they want to make. And when they do, magic can happen.
The most exciting part of being on the Police Commission is our work around what we’re calling “ending incarceration as we know it.” I had asked the Department to share their current youth programs with us. They shared basketball, and candy, and, it was all very good. And then in the midst of all that, they said, “And we have this pre-arrest diversion program. The program allows us, just as we’re about to arrest a young person, to divert them to this nonprofit that puts them through a six-month restorative justice program. And if they succeed, they never get arrested. It’s much more effective.”
Donna Bojarsky: It’s expunged from their record?
Shane Goldsmith: No, they never get arrested in the first place! It’s much more effective in terms of much lower recidivism rates, and these officers are voluntarily sending them to these diversion program. They’re sending about 13% of the kids that they’re arresting in these certain divisions. And I said, “Well, why aren’t you sending more?” And they said, “Well, because this nonprofit cannot absorb them.” And I said, “Of all the problems we face, that one should be able to be solved.” So I became completely obsessed with it, in both my Liberty Hill and my Police Commission roles. It’s now become a top priority for Liberty Hill. It’s amazing to see that from rank and file to leadership of the LAPD are excited about diverting as many young people from being arrested as possible. They really believe these kids shouldn’t be arrested. The head of the Juvenile Division of the Probation Department truly believes there are kids incarcerated every single day who should not be if there were alternatives. And so it’s exciting that there is so much alignment on that. There isn’t alignment on every problem that relates to criminal justice. But keeping young people out of the system, there’s actually a tremendous amount of alignment from the Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor, the County Board of Supervisors, the head of the Probation Department, the head of the LAPD. A ton of community organizations care about it. I mean, that’s incredible. Being able of find that sweet spot where there is alignment on an issue that’s really important, is exciting.
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND PHILANTHROPY IN LOS ANGELES
Donna Bojarsky: What do you love about LA?
Shane Goldsmith: What’s not to love?
Donna Bojarsky: Well, I’m going to ask you what you don’t, so believe me. I’m a second generation. My son is a third generation Angeleno. I can give you a long list. So… But go ahead.
Shane Goldsmith: I love all the things everyone loves about Los Angeles. But truthfully, what I love most is that there are a lot of people who care deeply about social justice and who are really willing to work and to fight for Los Angeles to be what we all envision. We all envision a better Los Angeles, a Los Angeles that’s more just and more equal. But even that vision is so LA. You know, and so many people really do care deeply about it. And not enough people do, as you just said. I mean, there’s lots of frustration…
Donna Bojarsky: As you know, we’re one of the lowest performing philanthropic cities. We are in every sector, but it’s essentially a problem of Los Angeles. Why do you think we’re so philanthropically underperforming?
Shane Goldsmith: You can trace that back to the history of LA versus New York, and old money and new money, and Hollywood. In my experience here most people who aren’t engaged really haven’t been asked. When we talk to people and invite them to be part of Liberty Hill, as philanthropists in particular, generally there’s great excitement. Like, “Oh my God, I didn’t know. Really, there’s a thing like that? You can do that?” Maybe people’s imagination is limited in terms of the value of their wealth and how to share that through philanthropy.
This moment in time is an opportunity for many people to discover the great injustices around us, and beautifully wanting to take action and feeling a lot of obligation to take action, but not knowing what to do and undervaluing the role of philanthropy. Philanthropy can serve as the fuel for the work that’s already being done on the frontlines by the people who are directly impacted, who have skin in the game, who have a lot more at stake, and so they are going to fight harder. For those with resources to fuel that - that’s where the great opportunity lies. But it’s incumbent on upon people like us to go out and make that case and get them engaged.
Donna Bojarsky: It’s work, isn’t it?
Shane Goldsmith: It is work, yeah.
Donna Bojarsky: Also, other cities self-organize in a way that LA doesn’t. If you go to San Francisco, even now in San Diego, you can more easily organize. We’ve seen many an organization come out here, ready to put their roots down like, “We’re in LA, and we’re going to go get all their money.” And when they see how daunting this city can be, they’re like…
Shane Goldsmith: [Laughs] It happens all the time.
Shane Goldsmith: I remember people would come to me, and they’d say, “I’d like to talk to you about how to get some of your donors to be our donors.” I’m ready with, “Okay. [Laughs] Happy to help.” And then they’re gone.
THE FOUNDING OF LIBERTY HILL
Donna Bojarsky: Liberty Hill is obviously a key institution of social justice now in Los Angeles, which, again, is not easy to do. I’ve been involved in the founding of two organizations that are over 20 years old, New Leaders Project and LA Works. And that, in LA, that’s a big deal! Who is your donor base now, and how do you want to grow it?
Shane Goldsmith: I mean, it’s definitely evolving. It started out as a small group of very wealthy, white people of inherited wealth. Actually the four co-founders came together in the late 70’s, and they had all inherited a lot of money. They were all in their early 20’s. And they had grown up in this time of social movement.
Donna Bojarsky: Who are those people?
Shane Goldsmith: Sarah Pillsbury, Win McCormack, who now owns New Republic in Oregon, but it still one of our biggest donors and very close to us, Larry Janss who still lives in Los Angeles, and Anne Mendel. They had been very moved by the social injustice around them.
Donna Bojarsky: I wanted you to say the names, by the way, because in LA I think we need to know who all our civic pioneers have been! Particularly those who have been examples of civic leadership, who were able to do something as significant as create an institution like Liberty Hill.
Shane Goldsmith: Well, it’s funny. When you talk to them, especially Win McCormack and Larry Janss to some degree, they’re continually blown away by what Liberty Hill has become. When the four of them sat down and talked about this idea, it was really just that they had all this money that they had not earned and didn’t feel entitled to or comfortable with. They figured that the people who were leading these social movements were in a much better position to figure out what to do with it, and so they turned it over to them. It was revolutionary then, and it’s revolutionary now still.
TAMING THE MILLENIAL PHILANTHROPIST
Donna Bojarsky: The question is how are we going to activate people to care, particularly about local things. California Community Foundation did a study that said three things. Since the recession, almost a billion dollars of real money has been lost to philanthropy and has not come back. It also showed Los Angeles-focused organizations addressing civic & social advocacy, the environment, and health & medicine were at the bottom, receiving the lowest proportions of donor contributions in those areas. Thirdly, CCF found that younger generations are not giving at the same rate. You know, I don’t know whether it’s ‘cause they wanna buy an island before they really focus on their charity. So how do you change these trends?
Shane Goldsmith: Even their charity is different. Like you said, they often are less interested in local issues. And especially now, there’s a sense that we’ve got it covered here. But also there’s an instinct to want to do their own thing.
Donna Bojarsky: The idea of umbrella giving (giving money to a single organization, which then has a process for deciding where it will go) has really been challenged, particularly by younger generations, who are more interested in DIY giving.
Shane Goldsmith: Yes, for many, it’s like they’d rather feel 100% responsible for creating some little teeny tiny widget than feel part of a collective that made possible a game-changing, major victory. Also they want it to be very be tangible and immediate. Social change takes a long time, and, you have to find joy and celebration in incremental change.
Donna Bojarsky: Not the easiest sell.
Shane Goldsmith: What Liberty Hill has done well all these years is working with people of inherited wealth to do their philanthropy as part of a collective, which directly supports people who are on the front lines. That strategy continues to be critically important and we need to convey it to that next generation of young people of inherited wealth. Liberty Hill has done well in really democratizing philanthropy. We have giving circles, we have funds that focus on particular issues, such as African Americans who are engaged in philanthropy or want to be, and also one that focuses on younger people. We want to engage a broader base of people in philanthropy and show them the power of collective support, and the idea that you don’t have to give $50,000 to make a difference.
THE THREE BIG IDEAS
Donna Bojarsky: What levers do you find are working with people? What are their sweet spots to try to convince people to be engaged and giving?
Shane Goldsmith: A starting place for Liberty Hill is progressive values. I’m not going to convince anyone to be progressive. Also, I have found it easiest with people that come with an analysis of structural issues and some understanding of movements. For example, if they really don’t see structural injustice or, or are not interested in the collective movement kind of change making, it’s very rare to get a large gift from them. But if they sort of get that, they can be moved slowly over time. We have just launched an agenda which lays out three very specific concrete tangible big wins that we’re going to help drive over the next few years. We’ve never done anything like this before.
Donna Bojarsky: What are they?
Shane Goldsmith: One, we’re fighting to ensure a roof over every head. Two, we’re going to eliminate oil drilling near homes and schools. Three, we’re going to end youth incarceration as we know it. Liberty Hill has always held true to the value that social change work on the front lines can address quite varied needs, can take a very, very long time, and is full of risk, full of failure and success. However, with the new donor base, we’ve found that that story is just not as compelling. We’re going to keep doing that, but we’re also going to raise new and additional money to focus on these three things; both because we think we can win and make a huge difference in the lives of the people we care most about, and also because it makes it tangible and immediate to people for whom that is key.
LEADERSHIP IN LOS ANGELES
Donna Bojarsky: How do we deal with the challenge of how siloed this city is? The progressive movement wanted to avoid concentrations of power, but their legacy today is a dispersal of power among overlapping agencies with rules that tend to thwart any concerted action to address social change in a purposeful way.
Shane Goldsmith: Obviously power in Los Angeles is very dispersed. Everything about Los Angeles is dispersed. We all are very aware of the downsides of that. But, on the other hand, Los Angeles's lack of concentration of power creates opportunities for more leaders to emerge throughout the city. And to the extent that we’ve been able to build coalitions of those communities and leaders across Los Angeles, that’s where the power comes from. So, for better and worse, we can build a tremendous amount of power through those types of coalitions. Unlikely allies have been key to some of the greatest victories that have made Los Angeles the progressive region that is. It’s our work to figure out how to unite somebody from the valley with somebody from south LA. Just how to get them in the same place at the same time is an effort.
Donna Bojarsky: How do you define leadership?
Shane Goldsmith: I’m old school this way. I really believe that the fundamental definition of a leader is somebody who has a following.
Donna Bojarsky: I was just laughing because, there are many people who think they’re leaders except if they look around, there’s no one behind them.
Shane Goldsmith: [Laughs] Right.
Shane Goldsmith: We see leadership all over the place; you see leaders in schools and in apartment buildings. Leaders pop up everywhere they are needed. Liberty Hill certainly has been good at identifying and recognizing those leaders. Liberty Hill’s bread and butter is finding the people who are otherwise ignored and giving them the support, and training, and resources they need to become the leaders that they can be.
What’s really important to Liberty Hill and to me is to find the leaders who are on the front lines, who have skin in the game, and are fighting for their lives and the lives of their communities, and to invest in them to become the leaders that we need, whatever qualities they may bring to the table. It’s the person who can manage to get somebody from every single apartment in their building to a tenant meeting, who may not say a single word at that meeting, who may not have a single sound byte to offer and who may not have any idea what the solution is. That leader who can get those tenants to show up to the meeting is the most powerful one of all. And those are the people that we want to invest it.
Donna Bojarsky: The political world in the 80’s was very dynamic. Okay, the 80’s also had the worst fashion in the world, but in LA, it was characterized about civic endeavors that crossed sectors. There was a vibrancy.
Shane Goldsmith: That was a very controversial statement. I hope you didn’t record that. [Laughs]
Donna Bojarsky: About the coalitions?
Shane Goldsmith: About the fashion.
Donna Bojarsky: Oh, no. No, it’s not. I don’t think there’s anyone including fashion designers from the 80’s that offer high praise.
Shane Goldsmith: Perms and shoulder pads?
Donna Bojarsky: Oh, I had shoulder pads, I had big earrings, I had it all. Tasteful OF COURSE, but definitely 80’s. It was really a little bit of a golden era because being an LA civic leader was very prized. So, the best and the brightest were civic leaders. How do you think civic leadership and esprit de corps can be reinvigorated? Even though there are many who have dug in, we still need to grow the pool of people who will commit their resources, money, time and advocacy. We may be Future of Cities: LA, but we stipulate that almost every national problem can be found right here in Los Angeles. And if we could figure out how to make this city work, we can export it to new cities that will be diverse, both in terms of population as well as economically.
Shane Goldsmith: Right.
Donna Bojarsky: How do we cultivate people who want – who would even compete -- to be civic leaders?
Shane Goldsmith: That was beautifully said right there. That was very Liberty Hill statement. Everyone who cares about social justice in a leadership role in Los Angeles sees that opportunity to be a leader for the nation. We have often been that. And certainly now, we are called upon. Everywhere I go when I speak to people from other parts of the country, they are desperate for Los Angeles to lead and make it possible for others.
One of the main reasons we chose the agenda, these three issues, is because we lead the nations on these problems. Right? We have the most unsheltered people in Los Angeles, the most unaffordable housing. We have the largest urban oil field, and we have the most young people being arrested, incarcerated and under county supervision than anyplace in the country. So, those are three really big problems. If we can solve them here, we’ve been told many, many times that those solutions will have a ripple effect elsewhere. And we can’t just win them, you know, it’s just one battle in the long war. So if we can build that power to take on the next battle, that’s really the goal. These victories always involve black churches, immigrant organizations, other kinds of resident organizations. All the victories that have been won in Los Angeles (and that make us the progressive region that we are) have been won through exactly these kinds of coalitions that bring together people who have diverse interests and who are from diverse parts of Los Angeles. My sense is that the synergy ebbs and flows, and that there is a need to build autonomous power for certain types of communities, or around certain issues. Particularly after the civil unrest, we saw a lot of institution building in south LA. It was vitally important to have a center of power that could both withstand and take on, forces against them. And when each entity has a certain amount of power, then you can come together in a powerful coalition. It can’t really be done without that.
Donna Bojarsky: And…and your donors.
Shane Goldsmith: Our donors, elected officials. Every big victory in Los Angeles is a partnership between elected officials and grass roots. And, you know, that’s just what it is here. You can’t win big without a champion.
Donna Bojarsky: Well frustrating or not, we know you can’t really take anything to scale without bringing in government. You can’t just philanthropy your way out of homelessness.
Shane Goldsmith: Right. That coalition even just at the top, at the highest level, big-picture sense, between government, philanthropy, and community is an incredible thing about LA. But what I can say is that all the biggest victories were fueled by philanthropy. People should really understand that about the real role, optimum role for philanthropy.
Donna Bojarsky: One of the hardest things in this work is to compel someone to see the other side or to be in someone else’s shoes to understand where the other person is coming from. I have had a chance to learn from the Middle East work with the County Human Relations Commission that it takes stretching your comfort zone.
Shane Goldsmith: That is so hard, and it doesn’t seem like it should be. With liberals who share our values, however, Liberty Hill has done a good job. We have people who come in as big LGBTQ donors. Over a long period of time through a tremendous amount of exposure to other issues, they begin to see the intersections. One of the biggest donors in the world for LGBTQ issues is a long time Liberty Hill donor. He now views issues entirely through a lens of racial justice. A couple decades ago, it was just gays and lesbians. And really honestly, it was just gays. Now he’s one of the fiercest leaders for LGBTQ people of color in a radical racial justice lens. But that came after many, many years of engagement and exposure. When I joined the Police Commission, I thought that would be one of my best contributions, to bring people together and build those bridges. I have to admit; it’s been so much harder than I ever could have dreamed. Particularly on policing issues, people are just so polarized. Even getting people to sit down together and to listen to each other is a huge victory, and it is the key. Then just doing that over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. And I do see that it works. I see that as one of the great things about community policing. And as we all know, we all have implicit bias. Overcoming an implicit bias is a real process.
Bringing people together and giving them experiences of different and diverse people is what begins to interrupt the relationship between implicit bias and discriminatory behavior.
HOMELESSNESS: A TEST FOR LOS ANGELES
Donna Bojarsky: Homelessness is one of LA’s tragedies. Which hat do you feel is making more progress? Obviously homelessness greatly impacts police as well as the community.
Shane Goldsmith: Yes. One of the painful parts of being on the Police Commission is seeing how the police are pulled into solve all of society’s problems.
Donna Bojarsky: Like teachers.
Shane Goldsmith: Yeah, except, you know…
Donna Bojarsky: With guns.
Shane Goldsmith: …with guns.
Donna Bojarsky: Good point.
Shane Goldsmith: Here’s the truth. Homelessness is not a law enforcement issue. Mental illness is not a law enforcement problem, nor can it be solved through law enforcement. It’s not the right instrument. Yet there’s a tremendous amount of pressure to use law enforcement because of the feeling that nothing else works or that the police intervention is immediate. They show up. They will be there, but really dealing with the symptoms of the problem, not getting to the root cause of it.
Homelessness is no different. We’ve seen a tremendous amount of political will and collective compassion, and demand to solve this problem. But I also think there’s a growing recognition that not as easy as it may have once been or at least once seemed. It’s going to take all of us and all types of creativity. A lot of it is underway and led by powerful interests that have something to gain aside from a better Los Angeles, whether it’s developers streamlining the process so we can build more housing at every level, or the implementation of H and HHH, which is mostly government driven.
Donna Bojarsky: The homelessness issue needs everyone because right now every proposed building site is getting great opposition.
Shane Goldsmith: Exactly, yes.
Donna Bojarsky: …then we all are going to have a problem.
Shane Goldsmith: Exactly.
Donna Bojarsky: So, I wonder if we need to do more education and engagement. I certainly have a feeling that many, if not most of the YES votes were, “I’ll give you my money, just make it go away!” As opposed to shared responsibility.
Shane Goldsmith: Right. It’s a double-edged sword. What worries me is the pressure in the short run that it creates for elected officials to use the police. It takes five years to build affordable housing in a community that doesn’t want it. What does not get enough attention in this whole arena is where gentrification results in displacement. Then all the people that are sort of invisible, struggling to make it, as rents skyrocket, struggling to hold on to their apartments, really can’t afford to move.
And when rent does go up or when they’re pushed out of their apartment, they really have no place else to turn. It’s fueling the increase in homelessness and housing instability. Part of what makes Los Angeles amazing is that we are so diverse, yet we live too segregated. You’re not going to maximize this diversity if we can’t be a place where the people who work here can afford to live here, where communities can be more integrated. How are our kids going to have any type of exposure?
What kind of Los Angeles are we going to be? Protecting tenants, keeping them in their apartments and helping to make rents affordable are really critical parts of this. It’s a beautiful thing see the revitalization of parts of Los Angeles but we need to make sure that people aren’t left behind and that the investment in making Los Angeles better is the fruit of that is shared by all of us.
CODA: A FAVORITE L.A. MOMENT
Donna Bojarsky: Give me a favorite moment in LA.
Shane Goldsmith: My favorite moment in LA was when I was stood on the steps of City Hall to become the very first gay couple to get married in the city of Los Angeles. She was already my wife - we had gotten married before when it was illegal. What was cool about it was not only that I got to marry my wife again on the steps of City Hall but because Eric Garcetti presided. He was acting mayor because Antonio Villaraigosa was out of town.
We still had to go through major bureaucracy. There were no shortcuts around that. But we had to somehow get around all the bureaucracy enough to get to the front of the line because Eric Garcetti wanted to be the one to marry the first gay couple in Los Angeles! It mattered that deeply to him. That was not going to get him any votes! He had married us the first time illegally. But to see him and our entire community clamoring, it’s so LA. Being the first gay couple to get married is the coolest thing ever.
Donna Bojarsky: That is a good LA moment.
Shane Goldsmith: Thank you.