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Neighborhood Council Elections Remain in Limbo for Now

FOLLOW UP - Questions on whether neighborhood council elections will be held in 2012 and whether the City Clerk’s Office or the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment should conduct those elections once they are held remained unanswered today despite a briefing and public testimony in the Arts, Parks and Neighborhoods Committee.
During the Los Angeles City Council’s FY 2011-12 budget deliberations, the council took away the City Clerk’s funding to hold neighborhood council elections. The idea was that individual neighborhood councils would pay for their own elections, although their ability to do so is now in question.

The City Attorney’s Office, meanwhile, drafted an ordinance that would postpone elections until 2014 and extend NC board members’ current terms until that year  because of the lack of funding. It would also allow neighborhood councils to “select” rather than “elect” members during the next two years.

Asked about the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment’s ability to take over elections, General Manager BongHwan Kim told the committee, “The fiscal crisis is coloring many things about the city’s ability to provide services and this is just one of them. Should the council request that the department take on elections, we would need some additional resources and I think that would be the challenge.”

The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners voted this month to oppose the recommendation that elections be postponed.

“I think the decision not to fund the City Clerk this year was penny wise and pound foolish because we’re going through months and months of anguish and uncertainty about what’s going to happen,” Neighborhood Commissioner Linda Lucks said.

Councilman Paul Krekorian, chair of the Arts, Parks and Neighborhoods Committee, has previously expressed his disagreement with the city attorney’s ordinance. As he was the only member of the committee in attendance, no action was taken today and the matter will be back in committee next month.

“The idea of a forcible extension of board member terms until 2014 is not going to be acceptable to me,” Krekorian said.

(You can view the draft ordinance and follow City Hall at The City Maven where this report was first posted.) -cw

Tags: neighborhood councils, neighborhood council elections, City Clerk, DONE, Arts, Parks and Neighborhoods Committee, Paul Krekorian, Chairman Krekorian, Councilman Krekorian, City Hall, City Attorney

Vol 9 Issue 96
Pub: Dec 2, 2011