Jul 28, 2014
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Teacher, Blogger Odysseus Bostick Enters City Council Race

The candidate plans to challenge incumbent Bill Rosendahl in the spring.

Teacher, Blogger Odysseus Bostick Enters City Council Race Teacher, Blogger Odysseus Bostick Enters City Council Race

A Westchester resident and former science teacher has joined the Los Angeles City Council race for the District 11 seat on the ballot next spring.

Odysseus Bostick, who is a , quietly launched his Facebook page this month and his campaign website is officially up and running. He plans to challenge incumbent Bill Rosendahl for the seat.

The site has landing pages for the neighborhoods of District 11, and he said that each community needs to feel it has its own identity.

"If I don't catch anything, tell me," Bostick, 35, and a registered Democrat, said in an interview this week. "I think the job of a city councilman is to be open with someone whose feet are on the ground."

He recently resigned from the in Echo Park after two years of teaching mostly at-risk youth. He was laid off in 2008 after three years at in a downsizing of the staff. However, he's kept active in civic causes and has been a regular attendee at public meetings, including those for the Pacific Palisades Community Council. 

Bostick favors public education reform, responsible growth and development and improving public transportation. He lives in Westchester with his wife and three daughters and is active in Westchester, Venice, Mar Vista, Palms and Playa Vista. He is a native of north Florida and moved to Los Angeles in 2003. 

The city's primary election is scheduled for March 5.

'Complacent' Vision For District 11

Bostick voted for incumbent Councilman Bill Rosendahl twice. But he noted that since the recession hit in 2008, "a lot of people" in his immediate neighborhoods feel there's a lack of city services and that Rosendahl has "grown complacent in expressing a vision in a big way" for the district.

In 2008 and 2009, he said his neighborhood banded together, accepting that things in the city "were terrible" and the government didn't have a lot of money.

"Being unemployed is a terrible feeling," he said. "We kind of grew together to have relationships more than what just serves us."

Bostick said he's spoken to people in Venice who say they're paying $6,700 to $7,000 a year in property taxes.

"I just went to someone’s house yesterday and they can’t get their tree trimmed, and you think, 'You’re paying that much in property taxes, and you can get your trees trimmed?'" he said. "It’s such a shortsighted way of doing things."

Take a drive through Mar Vista and Westchester, Bostick said, and there's trash in sewers and water backed up on major thoroughfares. He noted that he doesn't feel safe taking his children to playgrounds or the public library in Westchester.

Fear of LAX expansion lingers

Bostick said Councilman Rosendahl "swooped in" when LAX proposed to expand into Westchester in 2005, and championed the cause to stop the proposal. Now seven years later, expansion talks have resurfaced and Bostick said residents he has talked to are fearful.

"Because nothing in the interim was done to prevent them [LAX] from expanding," he said. "There’s been a constant undercurrent of fear. People are afraid they're going to lose their livelihoods. They don’t really know what’s going to happen."

Improving public transportation

has spurred the creation of a world-class transportation system based on light rail. But Bostick said the move away from cars brings with it more density that might compromise the unique qualities of the district's neighborhoods.

He said new development should cater to specific neighborhoods by increasing walkability and bike-ability, public spaces, parks and urban forest. Developers should also provide housing opportunities to all socio-economic backgrounds and ensure any increase in density is of mixed use, he said.

Bostick said rail service should be provided into LAX as well as connect Santa Monica and Venice into the South Bay.

Rethinking after-school programs

Bostick said he's taught seventh-grade English, fifth-grade English, seventh-grade math, eighth-grade history and eighth-grade science. He said there's a "structural inefficiency" with the number of teachers that middle-school students have during the day, and a lack of effective communication among those teachers, tutors and students' parents.

"When you get a single-subject teacher, you get kids for 50 minutes a day, and with classrooms overcrowding, somewhere in [the] high thirties ... you don’t really have time, but you have to prepare for standardized testing," he said.

Bostick suggests treating after-school programs as an entirely separate educational opportunity from the day’s instruction, targeting cultural awareness, personal responsibility and academic confidence. He also supports the creation of learning gardens on school campuses as well as culinary arts, martial arts and financial literacy programs.

Bostick's oldest daughter attends Mandarin Immersion Program and he serves on the school's growth and transition team. Bostick also serves on the board of the Westchester Neighbors Association.

Bostick graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in English and graduated from Western Governors University with a post-baccalaureate in education.

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