Eighteen students in from across all three graduate programs traveled to Los Angeles City Hall on Feb. 19 to examine whether privatizing the Los Angeles Zoo would be beneficial to public constituents and save the city money as it faces unprecedented budget shortfalls.
Assigned into six teams of three participants, students met for several weeks prior to the event, led in discussion and research preparation by professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and executive director of external programs, VC Powe. Each team prepared questions to understand the positions of various stakeholders on the Zoo issue, ranging from the Zoo director, John Lewis, to representatives in the Mayor's Office, to unionized labor. During City Hall Day itself, each team met individually with three stakeholders to interview them, and then regrouped with the other students to discuss their overall findings and recommendations.
City Controller Wendy Greuel, who co-founded this event six years ago with UCLA, remarked that this year produced "some of the best and most useful information" that the city needs in order to address the Zoo issue. Based on the research and collected interviews, the students will prepare a policy memo—outlining their finding and recommendations—and formally submit it to Greuel's office.
City Hall Day is organized in conjunction with the UCLA Office of Government and Community Relations.
Read more about the event from The Daily Bruin.