Foothills Relay for Life Brings Awareness of Those in Need, and How We Can Help

Few community events are more powerful to experience than the Foothills Relay for Life, an annual event held at Clark Magnet High School to raise money for the American Cancer Society and bring heightened awareness of the more than 4,500 people diagnosed with cancer every day in the United States. The Relay for Life happens in many different cities, including several others in the communities I represent, but something about the towering mountains, the quiet of La Crescenta, and the incredible view from Clark Magnet High School makes the Foothills Relay for Life especially moving.

Sure, there are hiccups along the way, like last year’s hilariously unexpected sprinkler showers, but even with a few unexpected circumstances the Foothills Relay for Life has successfully raised over $1,000,000 for cancer research. Each year, I’ve been proud to present certificates to Relay for Life volunteers and recognize the incredible amount of work they put into making the event a success. But this year, I decided to go a step further to help those with cancer.

People trying to survive cancer, or any other life-threatening ailment, have enough to worry about. The last thing they need is the hassle and frustration of trying to navigate various government services and benefits. So in an effort to help, I sent my district director to this year’s Foothills Relay for Life to speak with attendees about different services, programs, and opportunities offered by the state government, including constituent services, public services and legislative services. In case you weren’t able to stop by my info table, I’d like to summarize some of the services offered if you contact my office.

Constituent services include assistance with navigating state programs such as mortgage assistance programs, consumer complaints, veterans’ benefits, unemployment and disability insurance, state taxes, driver’s licensing and car registration, worker’s compensation insurance, and professional conduct or licensing complaints.

Public services include educational programs for students, seniors and small-business owners, like the Senior Scam Stoppers event in Glendale last month.  Other public services might include information on the state budget; contact information for state agencies; reports, forms, and publications issued by the legislature or other government entities; information on state capitol tours; and recognition for community members who help make our neighborhoods safer, stronger and better places to live and work.

Finally, legislative services include sharing your perspective on current legislation or proposing ideas for future legislation; asking to learn more about legislation by requesting copies, summaries, and information about specific bills; answering questions about the legislative process, hearings, or committees; or lettimg us know when you’re having problems with an agency and believe it should be audited.

I encourage you to contact my office for any of these services by emailing or calling my district office at (818) 558-3043. If my staff and I are unable to help, we’ll be happy to help connect you with someone who can. It is my honor and privilege to serve you, and I look forward to the many other community events that make the Crescenta Valley such a special place.

Mike Gatto is the chairman of the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee, and the longest-serving current member of the State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake. Follow him on Twitter @MikeGatto or visit