The race for two open seats on the Anaheim city council this year just got a whole hell of a lot more interesting. Donna Acevedo, a mother who lost her 21-year-old son Joel Acevedo to an officer-involved shooting in July 2012, filed papers to run for Anaheim City Council.
"I was already thinking about running before," the lifelong Anaheim resident tells the Weekly, "but the Manuel Diaz verdict yesterday made me want to do it even more."
For Acevedo, the status quo has got to go. "I'm just frustrated with the council we have now," she says. "They don't represent anybody I know or neighborhoods like the one I live in." The candidate currently resides on Anna Drive.
For the past year-and-a-half, Acevedo transformed her bereavement into fierce civic engagement, faithfully attending city council meetings and speaking on numerous hot-button issues and becoming famous around town for driving in a car with "Film the Police" in the back window. She's a proponent of single-member districts that will come before the ballot in November, but will engage on other issues as well.
"I want real police oversight--that's the main thing," Acevedo says. "Besides that, there should be cultural centers to promote community involvement and provide safe spaces for youth throughout Anaheim. I go to city council every week and I think about all the resources they give away. Why can't they put it into the youth instead of their hotel developer friends?"
Acevedo also thinks local government needs to be more transparent. Too many initiatives come up to council for a vote without sufficient outreach to neglected neighborhoods, she says. "The city needs to be more inviting of the community."
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"I want to shake things up. Nothing is really changing. Our communities have a lot of healing to do, but how?" Acevedo concludes. "I worked as a nurse in a wound care. You can't heal a wound by putting the same dirty bandages on!"
Damn right, Donna! Now go give 'em hell!
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz