SCLPC From the Editor

From the Editor

#policymakers and @socialmedia

By: Victor Abalos

social media3“How do I best use social media?”

This is probably one of the most requested topics from our members.

There’s no doubt elected officials should take advantage of social media platforms and it’s equally certain there’s tremendous under- and misuse of these platforms.

It would be really easy – and probably entertaining to many – to point out specific examples of how not to do it, but all you have to do is log on and scroll down and you’ll see what I mean.

In my other job, I provide strategic communications support to a variety of clients – many in the public sector. Here’s what I share with my clients.

socialmedia4The first question I always ask any elected official eager to jump into the social media landscape: “What do you want to accomplish?” It seldom generates the simple or concise answer it should.

Why do you use it?
Are you trying to generate interest in a policy issue or project?
Are you advocating on behalf of a specific measure or project?
Are you trying to raise awareness about something you believe your constituents should know about?

Too many elected officials are using social media just to be “seen.” Selfies of them with kids, firefighters, senior citizens, celebrities, etc. indicate they’re using social media like most everyone else: “Look at me!”

social media1While that may be productive, and on some level even fun, I will argue that it is a wasted opportunity. As elected officials these powerful platforms can be much more productive, particularly when you’ve got a message you need to share.

Need support for a controversial measure you’re going to introduce at the next meeting?
Facebook posts with photos can be an effective way to lay the groundwork.

Is one of your colleagues trying to sneak something past the community?
Social media is a powerful way to expose them.

Are you interested in making sure your community keeps up-to-speed on what you’re working on and why?
A consistent presence on social media can be more effective than community newsletters or Rotary Club speeches.

Like TV and any other medium, social media is filled with as much crap as it is with useful and entertaining information. How to avoid that?

  • With clear, concise and engaging posts. Take advantage of photos and video whenever you can.
  • Be consistent. Don’t log in fifty posts in three days and then disappear for a week.
  • Try to be positive. Voters and your constituents have demonstrated plenty of evidence they’re tired of “mean” or vindictive messages from their elected officials.
  • Offer solutions and hope, that’s always a better message.

And if you must take selfies, please, put the wine glass down first.


Victor Abalos: Editor's Blog

Victor Abalos is Executive Director of the Southern California Latino Policy Center and Editor of the Latino Policy Connection.

From the Editor

Victor Abalos: Editor's BlogVictor Abalos, Executive Director, SoCa Latino Policy Center
May 4, 2016

This month’s issue of our newsletter features interviews with who many of us are calling “The Children of Prop 187” – the generation of young Latinos that came of political age in 1994 when the controversial Prop 187 measure, known as the Save Our Streets initiative sparked a kind of revolution. As high school and college students, these young Latinos stormed the streets of their California cities outraged by the anti-immigrant measure that many believed was a direct attack on their families. California voters would narrowly approve the measure but Prop 187 would eventually be ruled unconstitutional by a federal court.

Many of those young people were transformed by that experience and instead of following whatever job or career path they were on, they created the vanguard of a new political generation that continues to shape California politics and public policy.

The members of that generation include state legislators like Lorena Gonzalez from San Diego (featured in this 2014 KQED report) and Miguel Santiago from LA. And many local policymakers like Maria Machuca from the Coachella Valley. Veteran journalist Abelardo de la Peña, Jr. has their story.

Why explore that period of California political history this month? Thanks to the histrionics of a certain presidential candidate we may be witnessing the birth of another Latino political generation – let’s call them the “Children of Trump.”

This month we will begin featuring two Policymaker Profiles each month – attempting to maintain a gender and political balance. Both of our profiles feature young up-and-comers – elected officials representing a generation of well-educated professionals who bring much needed passion and energy to their policymaking.

Our Ethics Advisor Ruben Duran counsels us on how to manage a crisis – whether natural or man-made. There are clear steps policymakers can take to ensure their constituents are well-informed without “stepping into it.”

We’ve also added a “News” section highlighting key stories gleaned from news media media. In June look for a new Survey feature asking for your opinion about the critical issues you face as policymakers.

Enjoy the start of your summer!

From the Editor

Victor-columnBy Victor Abalos
Executive Director, Southern California Latino Policy Center
November 18, 2015

First, we offer our thanks to our readers – the policymakers and movers and shakers from the region that follow our newsletter. Every month our subscriber list grows as does the number of subscribers who are not only reading our newsletter but also sharing it with others. We pledge to continue to improve this simple education and information tool.

This month Writer Bill Britt examines AB2 – the recently enacted measure that offers new (and not so new) redevelopment tools for local policymakers. Since the demise of the CRAs many local redevelopment projects have died or languished. Is AB2 the Rebirth of Redevelopment? We talked to several regional policymakers and the reviews are mixed – but most admit it’s too early to know.

And continuing with the topic of local economic development, we also feature a short piece about business friendly cities. We’re confident most municipal policymakers believe their city is business friendly but how do you really know? Shirley Aldana interviewed a USC professor who offers some simple suggestions. We’re also working on a project for early next year that will help city policymakers interested in making their cities more attractive to business investment.

For our education policymakers, Writer Erika Maldonado examines what makes parent engagement work. We know getting parents involved in schools always leads to student academic success but how are school districts actually getting parents productively involved with their schools?

Ruben Duran, our Ethics Advisor, uses the recent elections in many cities and school districts as an opportunity to share some tips for newly elected officials. Even if you’re not newly elected, his blog is still a must-read for policymakers.

Early next year (January) we’re starting a new Opinions section and welcome submissions from our readers, especially our policymakers, interested in sharing news about your projects, your challenges or maybe just using the opportunity to vent a little.

On behalf of our writers and our Board of Directors, we wish you a safe and peaceful holiday. We’re taking December off to continue to re-tool our newsletter and our website so look for the next issue of The Latino Policy Connection in 2016.

Victor Abalos


Exciting New Partnership with California Latino Leadership Institute

LOGO CLLI_Final_Color_horizontalThe Southern California Latino Policy Center is excited to announce a new partnership with the California Latino Leadership Institute which provides dynamic transformational leadership and educational programs.

After winning election to office, the learning curve can be very steep. The CLLI Elected Officials Training Academy 2.0 courses help municipal elected and appointed officials gain knowledge and skills to empower local leaders to be the best possible public servants for the communities they serve.


Presented in partnership with the
Southern California Latino Policy Center
Developing Ethical & Transparent Leaders


October 9-11, 2015
Embassy Suites Los Angeles – Downey
8425 Firestone Blvd., Downey, CA 90241

The Elected Officials Training Academy 2.0 program is nonpartisan and open to all local elected municipal officials on a first come first served basis. Presented twice a year and rotating between Northern and Southern California, the two and a half day training makes the transition to political office easier for new officials and includes courses on: building balanced teams, promotes core values based leadership, provides conflict negotiation skills and addresses “best practices” issues in local governance such as AB 1234 ethics certification, transparency in politics, conflict of interest and the Brown Act Open Meeting Law.

Registration fees for the October 9, 2014 One Day AB1234 Ethics certification and dinner is $50.00 per person and the October 9 -11, 2015 a 2.5 day weekend training is $125.00 per person and includes the AB:1234 Ethics certification and all meals.

Registration is online at

If you would like more information on the CLLI Elected Officials Leadership Academy 2.0 Program, please contact CLLI Executive Director, Lisa Baca, at: or cell 213 910-2592.

Why it Matters


Sometime this year in the maternity ward of a California hospital a Latino baby quietly but significantly will change the course of history. That child will tip the demographic scales in this state changing what it means to be a member of a “minority group.” Latinos will surpass whites as the largest “ethnic” group in the state. And while that simple fact has generated significant discussion, anxiety, hope and some hand-wringing, we took that opportunity to ask ourselves a simple question: What kind of future awaits that child?

As parents and family members we share in the concern for that child’s future. One of our board members is a mother who gave birth to her first child last year.

Family3As Californians, we also have come to believe that the success of the Latino community plays a critical role in our state’s success. The emergence of a strong Latino middle-class is vital to our state’s economic recovery and future.

As elected officials representing cities, schools, special districts and community colleges in Southern California we also believe we have a responsibility to all babies – Latino, white, African-American, Asian – to continue to build a successful California, a place that lives up to the ideal behind the so-called California Dream.

And, finally, as Latino policymakers we have chosen to take action to address that question by committing ourselves to a higher standard – to work to become better policymakers, more effective managers of our respective schools and city resources and more ethical leaders.

There is no doubt the Latino community faces critical challenges in California. Those challenges have been repeated so often many have become clichés; high dropout rates from our high schools, low enrollment in higher education, childhood obesity, limited access to quality health care, no jobs or low-paying ones – the list goes on.

As leaders in our respective communities we dedicate ourselves to work together as elected officials and in partnership with community and advocacy organizations to meet those challenges head-on.

That is why we came together to form the Southern California Latino Policy Center.  We are local Latino elected officials coming together to support each other and create better policies for our communities – for all communities – to improve the quality of education for all children – to find ways to create better jobs and stimulate our local economies.

We have committed ourselves to work towards a better future for that child.