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 LA'S UPSET NEIGHBORHOODS

People are Pissed! Can a Revolution be Far Behind

Dick Platkin and George Abrahams
LA IN MOTION-Throughout LA’s vast 500 square miles are many self-identified neighborhoods. Ninety-six of them have formed official Certified Neighborhood Councils (CNCs), as established by the Los Angeles City Charter. But, the real number of neighborhood groups is much larger, and they reflect tremendous differences in concerns, demographics,…

Exposed: Guess Who’s Leading the LAUSD Witch Hunt Against Teachers

Leonard Isenberg
CONSIDER THIS-How is it that the LAUSD's go-to outside law firm Sedgwick L.L.P. (that was embroiled in the Miramonte scandal and sanctioned for covering up evidence) is running teacher investigations, teacher jail, and the current witch hunt against nationally acclaimed teacher Rafe Esquith? As CityWatch has previously reported, LAUSD's latest…

DWP Ratepayers Facing Billions of $$$ in ‘Taxes’ Over the Next Five Years

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Over the next five years, the Ratepayers of our Department of Water and Power will be hit up for over $3.7 billion in taxes by City Hall as a result of the combined 20% levy on the power portion of our DWP bimonthly bill. And this does not include the billion dollar-plus price tag associated with the IBEW Labor Premium and its overly…

Politics: Let's Say Goodbye to the Snark

Ken Alpern
POLITICS FOR GROWN-UPS--It's been so long since the terms "liberal" and "conservative" were considered decent and honorable that probably most readers don't even know that they once were perfectly fine labels to bear with pride and respect. Ditto with respect to "Democrat" or "Republican". Yet after not one but two presidential eras where the…

Gang Wars: Don’t Just Send Cops to South LA

Ken Stone
URBAN PERSPECTIVE--With stepped-up police patrols continuing in South Los Angeles, community groups and clergy called on city and county officials Friday to bolster resources for gang-intervention programs and services for at-risk youth and adults. Twitter meme about Los Angeles gang violence.The groups spoke out in response to a wave of violence…

They Love Us This Much

Rick Risemberg
LA’S NEIGHBORHOODS--Yes, the photo is of a hole. Specifically, an incipient sinkhole on Hauser Boulevard where it runs through Park La Brea. It is about eight inches deep. It has been guarded for over a year by its faithful traffic cone. A companion pit behind it suffered the usual indignity of a half-baked cold-patch repair, and is now itself…

Latinos: More Concerned about the Environment than Average Americans

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-Yes it’s true, according to recent polls, Americans of Latino descent are more worried about the quality of our air, water and the alarming effects of climate change already impacting our country, than the average American. Anyone who says that Latinos are only concerned with immigration doesn’t understand the complexity of…

Hey, Councilman Koretz … Westwood is for Bikes Too!

Joel Epstein
DEAR PAUL--LA City Councilman Paul Koretz that is. Say it ain't so! How sobering to read in the LA Times and The Daily Bruin that you now not only oppose bike lanes on Westwood Blvd but also want to strike the planned lanes from the City's Mobility Plan. Such a move would be totally unprecedented and would reverse nearly a decade of bicycle…

Could Molly Knight Be Vin Scully’s Successor?

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA-For almost four decades, my summers have been passed listening to Vin Scully religiously, bemoaning the cutback in his announcing schedule and, I suppose, unconsciously preparing myself for that day when Vinny calls it a career. I am also one of those baseball fans who wears headphones and listens to Scully call a game on the…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Korea Was Made in China.





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

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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