NEIGHBORHOODS HAVE LOST THEIR VOICE—Over the years I have spoken to a number of neighborhood councils and neighborhood council alliances. I almost always open by asking how many folks have read The Plan for a Citywide System of Neighborhood Councils or Article IX of the LA Charter. I’m always amazed at how few activists know why neighborhood councils were created. Some really do believe their purpose is to distribute funds for causes and projects.
Neighborhood Councils, The Plan will tell you, are here to among other things, “Promote public participation in City governance and decision making processes …” and to “Facilitate the delivery of City services …”. The Department of Water and Power (DWP) and the Mayor have negotiated a new labor agreement and they did it pretty much behind closed doors. Begging the question, where was your neighborhood council in that “decision making process”?
The LA Times editorialized on this a few days ago. They noted the lack of transparency and the fact that neighborhood councils were not involved but … they blamed the Mayor. I’m suggesting their blame was misplaced.