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Budget Survey: Neighborhood Council’s have the Mayor’s Ear

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PERSONAL APPEAL - Have you taken the 2012 Mayor’s Community Budget Survey at www.budgetsurveyla.com?  

If you haven’t, I encourage you to take a few moments right now and take the survey.  All neighborhood council members and community stakeholders are invited to take the survey.
The central purpose of the survey is to facilitate the process outlined in the Los Angeles City Charter which states that “each neighborhood council may present to the Mayor and Council an annual list of priorities for the City budget.”  

I would like to especially encourage neighborhood council board members to take the survey.  Thus far, a fraction of the 95 Neighborhood Councils (NCs) has taken the survey.  The survey was issued over a month ago, and at last count, 383 board members (out of a possible 1600 or so) have taken the survey.  

I’m proud of the 2012 Mayor’s Community Budget Survey and of the process by which it was created.  I’ve worked for the Mayor for nearly a year, and over that time one of my responsibilities has been to serve as the liaison to the Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates (NCBAs).  As a result, I was intimately involved with the Budget Advocates in the creation of this year’s budget survey.  

The whole process started back in December when our Office asked the NC Budget Advocates for feedback on the rough draft of the survey.  Over the following month we reworked the survey numerous times.  There were lots of suggestions and preferences on both sides, and mediating between the two was challenging.  After about a month of back and forth, and just as I was nearing my wits end, we completed the survey.

I was impressed by both of the parties between whom I shuttled the survey.  I very much appreciated the dedication of the NC Budget Advocates.  They devoted countless hours to providing input to create a survey which would best capture the priorities of the respondents.  I also appreciated my coworkers and their receptiveness (and I say this not just because we work for the same boss).  Indeed, once the process was complete, the sense that I got from the NC Budget Advocates was that they felt respected and successful in the development of the survey.  

There were many challenges in creating the survey questions.  One of the biggest challenges was determining the appropriate level of detail.  If the survey was too simplistic, it might not have been very useful.  But we didn’t want to bog down the respondents with questions that were overly technical and consequently overwhelming.    

The survey isn’t perfect, but I think it asks most of the right questions.  For those areas where people don’t find the right question or answer, they can provide their own comments.

The deadline for survey responses is February 22.  The survey responses will be tallied and presented at Regional Budget Day on Saturday, March 10 at 8:30 am at City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street.  Budget Representatives from the City’s 95 Neighborhood Councils and all interested community stakeholders are encouraged to attend.  This Regional Budget Day will give you the opportunity to give your input in person to the Mayor’s staff and the NC Budget Advocates.

After Regional Budget Day, the 14 NC Budget Advocates and 14 Alternates will be meeting with the Mayor.  I believe that a robust response to the survey will help the NCBAs as they articulate the neighborhood councils’ priorities to the Mayor.

I urge you to take the survey so that we will have the clearest view of your priorities.     

Take the survey now at www.budgetsurveyla.com.

(Joseph Hari is West Los Angeles Area Director for the Mayor.) -cw

Tags: Mayor Villaraigosa, Mayor’s Budget Survey, Budget Survey, Neighborhood Councils







CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 14
Pub: Feb 17, 2012

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