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 REVISIONIST HISTORY

‘The Politics of Race’ …Revising the Legacy of Tom Bradley

Clinton Galloway
CORRUPTION WATCH-I recently saw a documentary titled “Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race" that was shown on PBS. What was supposed to be a documentary was little more than a gratuitous fluff piece distorting the true record of Tom Bradley. While Tom Bradley did very well for Tom Bradley, his effects upon the racial divide…

Special Report: California Saved by Whistleblowers

Ed Coghlan
PERSPECTIVE--“For democracies to work, elected leaders need to be responsive and representative, and voters must be able to hold elected officials accountable for results. Democratic integrity requires an electoral process that empowers voters and gives candidates and incumbents the incentives to listen and lead. It requires transparency…

Can High Density Housing Solve LA’s Housing Crisis? It’s Complicated!

Jason Islas
ANALYSIS-Southern California Public Radio affiliate KPCC, in partnership with the Milken Institute, assembled a panel of experts last Wednesday night to answer the question: can high-density housing solve the housing crisis currently facing L.A. County and California? For those who have been following news about the crippling housing supply crisis…

DWP: No Reform, No Rate Increase!

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG--Our Department of Water and Power is planning to have its proposed $1.4 billion increase in our water and power rates to be effective as of January 1, 2016. But this timing is unlikely because of the many questions involving the Department’s operations and finances and its dysfunctional and financially draining relationship with City…

Memo to City Leadership: Blame Yourselves if Angelenos Reject the Olympics

Ken Alpern
POLITICS-For the record, I would love to see the Olympics return to LA, and I would love to see a successful Measure R-2. That said, I think the Mayor, City Council and Downtown "leadership" have done enough mischief and backdoor wrongdoing that it will prove very difficult for Angelenos (who really are sick of City corruption) to support either…

Action Alert! Amend the Citywide Mansionization Ordinance

Shelley Wagers and Dick Platkin
The problem--Mansionization replaces older homes with oversized structures, often built byspeculators. The problem is not house size. It’s house size relative to lot size and neighborhood context. Mansionization disrupts the scale and character of established neighborhoods. Houses that loom over neighboring homes take away air, sunlight, privacy,…

Trump’s Nonsense: Latinos Shouldn’t ‘Take it Personally’

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump continues in the lead with no end in sight. He recently unveiled his plan to deport by force all 11 million undocumented workers residing in the United States. As George Will said, Trump’s roundup would be about 94 times larger than the wartime internment of 117,000 persons of…

Vision Zero 101: Bike Lanes Are NOT Parking Spaces

Sahra Sulaiman
LA STREET WATCH--Tap-tap-tap. The parking enforcement officer looked up from his phone. When he rolled down his window, I smiled and asked politely about his having parked in the bike lane on Los Angeles Street. There was a long pause. “And?” He raised his eyebrows. Having only expected some, not total, disdain, I stuttered my way through my…

Racial Quagmire in a ‘Post-Racial’ America? The Key is Economic Progress, Not Protest

Joel Kotkin
RACISM AND IDENTITY POLITICS-The election of Barack Obama promised to inaugurate the dawn of a post-racial America. Instead we seem to be stepping ever deeper into a racial quagmire. The past two months saw the violent commemoration of the Ferguson protests, “the celebration” of the 50th anniversary of the Watts riots, new police shootings in…

  • Arsenic in Your Rice?! Here’s Help

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS--Rice has been found to be high in arsenic. Arsenic is a chemical element comes in organic and inorganic, and the highly toxic inorganic is…
  • Campbell’s Soup to Remove MSG … at Long Last!

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-You can’t get more American than Campbell’s soup. This company has been gracing our grocery shelves since 1859. With iconic artists like…
  • Probiotics Instead of Weight Loss Surgery?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-In a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism on August 4, they have proven a link between weight loss surgeries and gut microbes. It…





Dream Team. Sarah Palin interviews the Donald

Downton Abbey. Final season promo


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Maybe They Should Occupy LA’s Neighborhood Councils

RETHINKING LA - The Pico Neighborhood Council came very close to being the first neighborhood council to offer an opinion on the Occupy LA movement but the agendized resolution in support of the “peaceful and vibrant exercise in First Amendment Rights” failed to make it past discussion and was simply tabled for another month.

Around the country, “Occupy” protests have encountered varying levels of resistance and opposition that has, in many cases, galvanized the protesters and given them motivation for refining their organizations and action.

Occupy LA has faced one of the most potent of enemies, an ambivalent audience, one that is most likely to respond with a tired dismissal based on aesthetics or a weary look of disbelief as issues such as unemployment, foreclosures, homelessness, collapsing infrastructure and a collapsing economy are presented as a call to action.

There was a time when neighborhood councils were considered the ones most likely to storm City Hall and to demand accountability and performance, rallying support from around the city and “occupying” City Hall with grassroots power that simply would not be ignored.

But that never happened.

Almost six years ago, neighborhood council leaders gathered at the DWP and formed a citywide congress that prompted Councilwoman Janice Hahn to declare “This is a historic day. You will be leading this city into the future.”

The LA Times, which still covered neighborhood council activities back then, acknowledged the difficulties in rallying a citywide organization by noting that as Hahn wrapped up her keynote address, "bickering broke out among the 25 representatives from the 32 neighborhood councils that had joined the congress."

“This is chaos!” said one man in the audience. “These are the people who are going to lead us?”

Since then, the number of neighborhood councils in the city has grown from 64 to 95. The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which supports the neighborhood councils, has been decimated by budget and staffing cuts.

LA’s City Charter defines the purpose of neighborhood councils as “To promote more citizen participation in government and make government more responsive to local needs.”

As the Occupy LA movement surrounds City Hall and addresses the economic crisis that threatens our fiscal stability and our quality of life, there are many that believe that this is exactly the message that would resonate with neighborhood councils.

It was in this spirit that Scott McNeely prepared the Occupy LA resolution and presented it to the Pico Neighborhood Council.

McNeely is well known for his work in the local community to improve the quality of life. He served as President of the Pico NC for years and as a member of Budget LA in the fight for city services.

In many ways, the Occupy LA resolution represents the substance of what neighborhood councils have been fighting for over the last several years. Pico Neighborhood Council was in position to be the first neighborhood council to simply offer an opinion, a nod, a gesture of support.

But that didn’t happen.

On an agenda that included the City Clerk’s survey on NC elections, the Mayor’s Budget Advocates, and the proposed Sidewalk Ordinance, the Occupy LA resolution came last. The night was long and the board discussions included a lengthy debate over the need for business cards and how to handle spam emails to NC email accounts.

When it came time for the Occupy LA resolution, the first obstacle came from Co-Chair Maryann Yurkonis who objected “I don’t think this is an appropriate action. It’s not that I disagree with the Occupy LA movement, I don’t think we should weigh in on this.”

This prompted a debate hinged on the simple proposition “A discussion of the merits of this Resolution is a valid exercise and it is appropriate to vote on it.”

Proponents of the process argued “To call this an inappropriate action is to rely on a definition of our role that is too narrow.”

After some of the most passionate discussion in an evening that was light on debate, the Pico NC Board voted to claim its authority to entertain a Board Resolution. The presiding Chair then tabled discussion on the Occupy LA Resolution until the December meeting.

The issue of whether or not neighborhood councils should have an opinion on Occupy LA hasn’t come up much over the last six weeks. The City Council motion in support of Occupy LA was passed unanimously four weeks ago, stating clearly “by the adoption of this Resolution, the City of Los Angeles hereby stands in SUPPORT for the continuation of the peaceful and vibrant exercise in First Amendment Rights carried out by "Occupy Los Angeles.”

The Central City Association weighed in, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce had an opinion, VICA contributed comments. As for the neighborhood councils, they were silent.

A month has passed and the only grumblings to be heard typically address the loss of the turf lawn surrounding City Hall and the inappropriateness of camping without a permit.

As for the First Amendment Rights of the Occupy LA movement, neighborhood councils have been silent.

As for the issues that Occupy LA has raised, neighborhood councils have been silent.

As for calling on the City of LA to conduct its elections according to “clean money” principles, neighborhood councils are preoccupied with their own elections.

As for calling on the City of LA to ban lobbyists from the legislative process, neighborhood councils are preoccupied debating their own advisory role.

As for calling on the City of LA to balance its budget honestly and without breaking the backs of the residents who can afford it the least, neighborhood councils are preoccupied with their own funding issues.

Neighborhood Councils throughout LA have an opportunity to take a stand and to take their rightful place in the governance of this city, even if it is limited to offering advice to the Mayor and City Council.

The world is listening and it’s time for neighborhood councils to speak.

(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at: Stephen@thirdeyecreative.net .) –cw

Tags: Neighborhood Councils, PICO Neighborhood Council, Occupy LA, City Council, City Charter, Scott McNeely, Janice Hahn





CityWatch
Vol 9 Issue 90
Pub: Nov 11, 2011

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