Below is an excerpt from an article written by staff writer Melissah Yang of the USC Annenberg News' Intersections South LA blog. The blog was published on February 26, 2013, and covered the Emanuel's platform on education and technology, as well as a community event called the South LA Backyard Hack-A-Thon.
"Computers and coding was the theme of Sunday’s campaign event for mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez.
In an effort to bring technology to underserved communities like South L.A., the hack-a-thon – dubbed “Silicon-Alley” – brought together tech experts and local students to build a website that maps out the area’s resources and programs.
Several laptop stations were set up in the backyard of a couple of apartments where Pleitez’s campaign team lives and works. Post-it notes on each laptop, all personal devices belonging to Pleitez’s campaign team members, signaled which topics would be covered in relation to South L.A.
Half a dozen students, who had little to no experience with web producing, typed quick blurbs, ranging from the history of South L.A. to local parks and after-school programs, and coded webpages with the help of a mentor.
Alejandro Bernal, a junior at 32nd Street/USC MaST High School, heard about the event through URBAN TxT, an organization teaching teens from South L.A. and Watts how to become leaders in technology. He said the website will be important for people who want to learn a little more about the history of South L.A.
“There’s enough about South L.A. on the Internet, but we want to incorporate more information including programs that will help people in this community,” Bernal said.
The hack-a-thon was one of many unconventional campaign events that Pleitez has hosted in preparing for the final days before the mayoral election. Pleitez, a former tech executive for social network aggregator Spokeo, said the event fit his campaign’s overall theme of community outreach.
“It’s youth-driven, it’s technology and it’s innovative,” Pleitez said. “And at the end of the day, it’s helping everyday people especially in the most underserved communities like South L.A.”
Juan Vasquez, Pleitez’s director of digital outreach, said the hack-a-thon and many of Pleitez’s campaign events defied the idea that “extravagant” events, backed with money and support from key sponsors, win elections.
“This type of event challenges the way traditional politics run in Los Angeles,” 24-year-old Vasquez said. “That’s something our campaign has been doing for months now, and we’re proud of it.”
For students like Bernal, who wants to study computer engineering or software programming, the website is a project of pride that he hopes will help with his college applications.
“Now that I know more about technology…I’m actually excited because I didn’t know how to code before, but now I do,” Bernal said.
The website is set to go live later this week."
To read the original blog article, visit http://www.intersectionssouthla.org/index.php/site_new_update/story/pleitez_hosts_a_hack-a-thon_as_latest_effort_to_win_voters.