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Caney Arnold stands for grassroots democracy, transparency and accountability in government, progressive values,and fiscal responsibility. Caney's experience as an Acquisition Program Manager at Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center along with his experience serving on the Harbor City Neighborhood Council as Legislative Liaison and experience in advocating for progressive and fiscally responsible policies makes him ideally suited to represent the residents of Assembly District 66 in our state legislature.
Below are some examples of how these values relate to leadership and management of our State. Following that is a summary of my life experiences that brought me into politics as well as my educational background.
Grassroots Democracy, Government Transparency and Accountability: This campaign will be about listening to citizens, not just during the campaign, but as part of the daily management of our State and advocacy for our District. I want to increase communication with constituents to ensure citizens have more opportunity to have input into the decision-making process. I will ensure that my office actively seeks input from all segments of our community before I introduce and vote on legislation. This is the reverse of how things are usually done now. Currently most elected officials will have an occasional town hall, but there is no outreach to the community for input on legislation. My office will ensure that constituents have a simple way to see what is coming up on the legislative calendar, and I will make myself available to discuss all issues.
Fiscal Conservatism: This is a simple concept: I believe in being conservative with taxpayer's money. For example, while I support the federal government's Housing First approach for the homeless, I was against LA City's Prop HHH because in researching Housing First, I found that when implemented correctly it is actually less expensive than our current approach of pushing people out of encampments. That approach is also unconstitutional and has cost the City millions of dollars in lawsuits. While I understand that an initial investment is required for transitional housing and services, I believe that the LA City Council and the Mayor could have used our existing flow of revenue to invest in helping people who are homeless to become productive again and to find and hold on to jobs that would result in savings to the City in excess of our initial investment. This is just one example of how we can use a creative approach toward helping people while doing so in a fiscally responsible way.
Life and Politics: Having been born in 1956, and living in Woodland Hills, CA from the age of 5, I was fairly isolated from social injustices, but we had the early days of TV to help us see a glimpse into the rest of the world. My father was born and grew up in Itta Bena, Mississippi, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, so I built up many experiences over our 3-5 week summer trips to visit relatives. I'll always remember my dad taking me out in the car down a long dirt road into the middle of a farm field. I don't recall if it was cotton, or what crop, at the time. He stopped at a small rickety shack and atook me with him as he knocked on the door. A tall black man, about 40 years old, just like my dad was. He introduced me to the man and his family. It was the family that my dad lived with 30-40 years earlier in that same shack. I learned that my dad and his family were sharecroppers along with this man's family back then. We all talked briefly, and my dad made sure that I tasted the pure water from the nearby well. At the time I didn't understand the full meaning of that visit though even at that age I was amazed. Only when I got older and learned more about our society did I appreciate the difference in the path my father was able to travel vs. that of the man that we met that day, and how our social system had such a large impact on why each man went along the path that they did. Those vacations were also where I viewed segregation and racism as a young white boy. It was obviously very odd and disheartening to a youngster to see and hear the way society was there at the time. Then of course what were known as the Watts riots happened in 1965 here in Los Angeles, and it was obvious that much of the same culture was right here. I was just isolated from most of it. Other than interacting with a very few minorities in elementary, junior high and high school, most of what shaped my view of the rest of the world came from the TV, and listening to conversations among the adults here and in Mississippi. At least at school I didn't see the divide that obviously existed with the adults, except for one incident when our summer softball team beat another local team, and one of the kids on the other team called one of our teammates the n-word and a fight broke out. None of it made sense at the time, but it was reality. In 1967 one of my heroes, Muhammad Ali, refused to enter the draft which seemed to be the right thing to do, but of course it was illegal. Then 1968 changed everything. MLK and RFK were assassinated. Of course JFK had been assassinated in 1963, but I was 7 years old and just knew it was a terrible and sad thing, but after the riots, Ali being sentenced, and MLK and RFK being assassinated, childhood thinking was over, and anger over the reality of politics was taking over. Then the women's movement and environmental movement started as I was in my early teens. There was no ignoring politics, because it was suddenly right in our faces.
Until around the time of the first Gulf War in 1990 though I hadn't really gotten involved in political activity beyond talking with family and friends. Then I started listening to stations like KPFK and reading more articles and books like Howard Zinn's "People's History of the United States", and I started to better understand just how deep the manipulation of the people was. I volunteered in the campaign against Prop 187 in 1994 and against Prop 209 in 1996. I also volunteered with the Aids Heartline at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, and the Red Cross Disaster Action Team, both in the mid-1990's. I volunteered with United Farm Workers. I helped the Sons of Thunder chapter at Los Angeles Air Force Base to distribute clothing and food to villages south of Tijuana. In 1993 my son had been born, and by 1997 I was also volunteering to coach youth baseball and basketball for my son's teams.
I had sat out the Bush v. Gore election of 2004. Of course 9/11 happened in 2001, then talk of war against Iraq started. My wife, Lori, and I participated along with approximately 100,000 others in the march and rally against the Iraq War in Los Angeles in January 2003. In 2007 I served as a volunteer assisting victims of domestic violence at the Restraining Order Center at LA's Stanley Mosk Courthouse. I retired from civil service in August 2011. In 2013 my step-daughter gave birth to her and her husband's son, and my wife and I became grandparents and we started babysitting him during the days that they were at work.
Then Bernie Sanders announced he was running for President. He had always been one of my heroes in Congress, and it was wonderful to see him announce although most of us felt he had little chance at the time. I had to help though, and started by hosting one of the first campaign house parties for his campaign in July 2015, and helping create a large contingent of Bernie volunteers in the South Bay and Harbor Area. Then we went to his rally at the Sports Arena in September and it was amazing. The line was incredibly long, and people were even left outside. Being Bernie, we heard that he had stopped outside afterward to talk to those that weren't able to see him in person inside. The momentum was underway, and we knew he had a chance. Then we saw how the primaries were being run. Polling hours for precincts outside of New York City were changed just a day or so before the primary -- to start at noon rather than the usual 7am or so start. People that we called to out there from our phonebanks didn't believe us. More and more discrepancies happened along the way. Since then we've seen the leaked information about how the DNC manipulated the primaries, and their statements in court that they aren't obligated to run fair primaries since they are a private organization.
Around the time of Bernie's rally at the Sports Arena, our City Councilperson, Joe Buscaino held a Townhall on Homelessness in San Pedro. My wife and I attended, and afterward I decided to volunteer at Harbor Interfaith Services. While helping another homeless advocate with helping a mother and her two children navigate through the City and County red tape, I saw that the local government was failing our homeless. The paperwork is excessive. The homeless are forced to carry paperwork from office to office in most steps along the way even in this age of the internet. There aren't enough temporary housing facilities, or mental health, drug or alcohol addiction services. At the same time misdemeanor crimes committed upon or by the homeless aren't prosecuted in most cases and diversion programs aren't enforced to help people in need be helped to become stable and productive citizens again. I decided to run for Harbor City Neighborhood Council and succeeded and started in office in July 2016. I looked into our City Council motions and votes, and campaign and officeholder finances. It was appalling. I decided that someone needed to run for City Council in our District 15, then seeing no one else was running, I decided I was someone, and that I would run.
I've participated in many other marches and rallies including a recent rally for Environmental Justice. I currently serve on the Harbor City Neighborhood Council as the Legislative Liaison. I served as a high school basketball referee for the last 5 years with the California Basketball Official's Association South Bay unit. I coached our PeeWee basketball team at Harbor City Park and Recreation Center this past season to the PeeWee championship and assisted in practices for the Minors league.
Career: I worked for 32+ years for the Department of Defense in both logistics management and acquisition management. Twenty eight of those years were at Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center in El Segundo. I retired in 2011 at the civilian rank of GS-14 which is roughly equivalent to the military rank of Lieutenant Colonel. I have extensive experience working large programs and overseeing contractors, and also working in a large bureaucracy to get things done. I've led major projects and the acquisition of logistics support for major acquisition programs such as GPS, satellite tracking stations and launch vehicles, and I ran a major project to upgrade the Center's online document management system. When I retired I was serving as one of two Chiefs of Acquisition Development responsible for supervising staff coordinating the review of acquisition plans for all space system programs, coordinating with all staff organizations such as engineering, logistics, finance, contracts and legal. Our office worked with program offices and staff to improve these plans and for unresolved items provide Senior Executives alternatives along with rationale for each option for their Executive decision.
I've seen the infamous revolving door of government officials leaving their jobs to go into the private sector that they were in charge of overseeing, and I decided not to be a part of that system. Whether at the federal, state or city level, the revolving door has a negative impact on oversight by creating conflicts of interest for public employees. It's my belief that we need much stronger legislation to eliminate these conflicts of interest and to increase public insight into contributions to candidates and elected officials and how those funds are spent.
B.A., Economics, UCLA, 1974
Masters in Public Policy and Administration, CSU, Long Beach, 1994. After completing my Masters I served as a paid project lead on a contract for assessing the customer satisfaction of Redondo Beach City employees with the City's internal services departments, and as a project lead on contract to assess community satisfaction with services provided in the City of San Gabriel.
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June 30, 2017