By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Hugh Manes: Police Watch & Police Misconduct Referral
Started in 1981 by a group of activists and civil rights attorneys including Hugh Manes, Police Watch is an attorney-referral service with an impressive list of victories. The group has taken on cases no one else would touch and demanded accountability. In 1997, a Police Watch attorney represented the family of a man who died after being hog-tied by LAPD officers. That case eventually led to a Police Commission ban on the controversial form of restraint.
Since 1980, Nancy Mintie has worked toward a single goal: forcing slumlords to fix their buildings. A graduate of UCLA Law School, she represents indigent tenants living in squalor. Over the years the center has won millions of dollars in restitution and damages for its clients.
Constance Rice: Civil rights attorney
For the past decade, Connie Rice has been a legal force in Los Angeles. In her last gig, as Western Regional Council for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Rice was at the forefront of civil rights cases. She went to court to force state health officials to provide low-income kids with mandatory blood tests for lead poisoning, and spoke out against failed policies that breed racial and ethnic discontent. Now a private civil rights attorney, Rice continues to demand accountability through her work with groups such as the Multicultural Collaborative, as well as in court. Rice is one of the most candid and articulate legal scholars in the city.
Mark Rosenbaum: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California
Is there more than one Mark Rosenbaum? It sometimes seems as if there must be. The crusading attorney is omnipresent, having turned up at the center of every major civil rights battle of the last two decades. He led the legal charge against Propositions 187 and 209; he fought for fairer redistricting; he battled LAUSD over rights for disabled students. Along with the ACLU's equally tenacious Ramona Ripston, Rosenbaum has tried to ensure that fairness prevails in an era of injustice.
Cynthia Anderson-Barker: National Lawyers Guild
You've probably seen Cynthia Anderson-Barker on the news - holding press conferences, or being arrested for civil disobedience, or getting kicked out of El Salvador. Yet the cameras don't begin to capture the full extent of her commitment. In causes ranging from the rights of welfare moms to corporate misconduct, Anderson-Barker operates behind the scenes, building coalitions (such as CHIRLA) and doing the drudgework that is the grist of political action.
Steve Cancian: Coalition Los Angeles
For a number of years, Steve Cancian, attorney Larry Frank and Coalition Los Angeles have been working to change the face of local politics by educating progressive voters and getting them to the polls. A former tenant organizer, Cancian has led this group of activists toward some of the most cutting-edge political work in town. In 1997 they recruited a progressive, multiethnic slate of candidates in the 15th Council District, which forced incumbent Rudy Svorinich to talk about issues. Watch for the coalition in the 10th Council District, where they will be going door to door getting residents involved in setting the agenda.
Lila Garrett: Americans for Democratic Action
Now half-a-century old (its founders included Eleanor Roosevelt and Walter Reuther), ADA remains America's chief multi-issue liberal organization - and its L.A. chapter remains its most progressive and at times obstreperous local. Headed by screenwriter Lila Garrett (who's also a longtime activist in the Writers Guild), ADA earlier this year convened a "Take Back the Democratic Party" conference at UCLA, featuring progressive Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, whose year-2000 presidential bid the chapter is avidly encouraging. ADA-niks stand for single-payer health insurance, the restoration of welfare rights, and planned full employment - and bristle at the third-way corporate centrism that has washed over so many of their fellow Democrats.
Antonio Gonzalez: Southwest Voter Registration Education Project
The Republican agenda and Proposition 187 certainly served as catalysts for the recent wave of Latino immigrants who have naturalized and registered to vote. But Antonio Gonzalez and the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project also deserve some of the credit for the record 1.3 million Latinos in California who turned out to vote in the 1996 general election. Under the direction of Gonzalez, SVREP has been helping thousands of eligible immigrants through the process of voter registration. While SVREP isn't the only group out there doing this type of work, it has focused on increasing Latino voter participation since 1974.
For more than two decades, Harvey Rosenfield has been the city's chief Nader-style consumer advocate. A public-interest lawyer, Rosenfield authored Proposition 103, the auto-insurance reform measure aimed at creating a fairer rate structure. As executive director of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights - a coalition of consumer organizations - Rosenfield also has been the force behind numerous other campaigns, including the current utilities-reform initiative, a ballot measure aimed at ensuring taxpayers don't end up bailing out the state's utility companies.
RACE, GENDER & HUMAN RELATIONS
Larry Aubry is one of the city's most articulate voices in the ongoing conversation about race. A retired staffer of the county's Human Relations Commission and a former member of the Inglewood School Board, Aubry has never hesitated to speak out about injustice wherever he sees it. He's been involved in numerous cross-cultural coalitions, speaking for African-Americans at the same time he listens carefully to other voices. Today, through his weekly column in the Sentinel, he continues to demand accountability from leaders of every color.