When meeting someone in Los Angeles people often ask “where did you grow up?”

Well, in my case I was born in Philadelphia, attended F.S. Edmonds Elementary, Leeds Jr. High and Central High. I left Philadelphia for Penn State and then Brown University. I lived for a while in the Poconos in Pennsylvania and then returned to the Philadelphia area where I joined the nascent Subaru Financial Services (the financial services division of the car company). While at Subaru I lived briefly back in New England and then in South Jersey. When I left Subaru I helped form Aon Capital Corporation in Chicago, and moved to California to manage a lending subsidiary of Aon. That subsidiary was eventually sold. I spent a few years consulting, and somehow added a wholesale international travel company to the consulting. When my company’s focus on Asia became a liability during the SARS epidemic I decided to pursue my love of high-tech, and joined Panasonic Avionics Corporation. More recently I left Panasonic to return to my own business. Currently I develop software, and am working on a hardware start-up.

So where did I grow up? I grew up right here in Los Angeles, and I continue to grow up here.

Why re-elect Ken for the SORO Neighborhood Council?
The South Robertson Neighborhoods Council (SORO NC) is part of the Los Angeles city government, and has direct influence on community issues which will, over time, directly impact all of us who have a stake in SORO. What kind of issues come before the council? Some recent examples are: How can we get better management of a local city park, to make it a friendlier, safer place for our kids, families and friends? Should we support a new (eyesore) cell tower installation for the carrier that already claims to have the best coverage in the neighborhood? Should liquor sale hours be extended for a local store? Should the community support the building of a new synagogue or church or a new housing development? How can we support more growth of small businesses in our community (while I advocate for small businesses generally, my interest is seeing a growth over many types of businesses and services, and not just medical marijuana and massage stores). The list of issues goes on and on.

Vote for me because I will approach each vote with core values that reflect my life as a well-educated religious father, husband and businessperson. I want a safe, inclusive and vibrant community for my family and for yours. I want to see our community act as a model for interpersonal decency and responsibility in the way we treat each other – from the poorest to the richest. And my board involvements and actions will always reflect these values. Vote for me.

The text that follows comes from the SORO website –

The eligibility test for voting in the SORO election is much more generous than other city, state and federal elections.

If you are 15 or older, and a SORO stakeholder (even if you are not a US citizen), you can vote.

A stakeholder is someone who can say yes to any of the following:

Do you live within the SORO borders?
Do you work within the SORO borders?
Do you own real property within the SORO borders?
Can you affirm that you have ongoing and substantial participation in a community organization within the SORO borders, whether an educational and/or non-profit organization (like a synagogue church, temple or mosque), or other SORO local organization?
Voting in the SORO election is especially meaningful for teenagers who are 15 or older, but not yet old enough to vote in general elections. What a great way to participate in American democracy in a meaningful way.

What is SORO NC?
The South Robertson Neighborhoods Council (SORO NC) was chartered on August 13, 2002 as 40th Council within the City of Los Angeles’s Neighborhood Council system. The NC system was created in 1999 to allow those who live, work, volunteer, learn, or worship in a particular neighborhood—stakeholders—an opportunity to have a voice in community and city decisions. Each of the 96 neighborhood councils is currently funded with $42,000 yearly by the City.

How does SORO NC run?
The Board of SORO NC has 25 seats, all or part of which are filled at any given time. These seats represent geographical areas [zones], organizations and businesses. Any stakeholder within the SORO NC borders may run as a candidate in ageneral NC election, or submit an application to be appointed to a vacant seat, if he or she meets the criteria for that particular position. The full Board meets once a month, at the General Board Meeting. In addition, the NC operates committees to address a wide cross-section of community issues. These committees meet throughout the month and are attended by both Boardmembers and stakeholders.

What does SORO NC do?
In addition to working closely with City departments, our neighborhood council is very active in the community. We are dedicated to the economic revitalization of our area, and run a number of projects and events. Check out our Programs area and individual Committee pages for more details.

How did SORO NC start?
In December 1996, residents within the South Robertson Blvd. area were asked by Fifth District City Councilmember Mike Feuer if they were interested in participating in the formation of a “livable neighborhood council” to improve the quality of life in their community. Tenth District Councilmember Nate Holden joined the revitalization efforts, and in 1997 the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council (SoRo) was formally established with Susan Bursk as its first President.

This early experiment in community participation was incorporated as a non-profit organization focused on improvements to the southern portion of Robertson Blvd. It quickly won a $400,000 grant for civic improvements and organized the first annual SoRo Community Festival. Indeed, it was successful enough that SoRo became a model used by the 1999 City Charter commission when drafting the framework for a citywide neighborhood council system.

By 2002, voters had approved the new city charter (officially making NCs part of the city government) and a plan for a full NC system was in place. SoRo applied for and received City certification, becoming SORO NC.

Some of the founding members preserved the non-profit as a separate entity, now known as the SoRo Community Foundation, Inc. SoRo CF continues to produce the SoRo Festival each year.

About Luke Ford

Raised a Seventh-Day Adventist at Avondale College in Australia, Luke Ford moved to California in 1977. He graduated from Placer High School in 1984, reported the news at KAHI/KHYL radio for three years, attended Sierra College and UCLA, was largely bedridden by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for six years, and converted to Judaism in 1993. From 1997-2007, Luke made his living from blogging. Living by Beverly Hills (, he now teaches the Alexander Technique (moving the way the body likes to move). Lessons cost $100 each and last about 45 minutes. In 2011, Luke completed a three-year teaching course at the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles. His personal Alexander Technique website is Luke is the author of five books, including: » The Producers: Profiles in Frustration » Yesterday’s News Tomorrow: Inside American Jewish Journalism
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