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 IF IT'S BROKEN...FIX IT

Getting Serious about LA’s Sidewalk Repairs: A Five-Point ‘Let’s-Get-On-with-It’ Plan

Ken Alpern
FIXING LA-Last Tuesday night's City Council Board of Public Works and Budget Committees met and allowed a lot of good public input to a series of concerned and available Councilmembers and City officials. The attendance and input were both outstanding--I want to thank Councilmember Mike Bonin, in particular, for allowing the outreach and advice to…

Latino Politicians Putting Climate Change Ahead of Constituents

Joel Kotkin
POLITICS-Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward…

Worlds Apart on Kathryn Steinle: When Political Opportunism Reigns Supreme

John Mirisch
MUSING WITH MIRISCH-The small Swedish Jewish Museum in Stockholm is tucked away on a side street. Discreet signage instructs would-be visitors to push a button which activates a camera, so they can be screened before they are granted entry. The museum's permanent exhibition fills one fairly small room. Most of the objects on display are Jewish…

Garcetti Passes, Wesson Fails

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Our Los Angeles Times has issued midterm letter grades for Controller Ron Galperin (B-) and City Attorney Mike Feuer (B+) and will be posting grades for City Council President Herb Wesson this Sunday and Mayor Eric Garcetti the following Sunday. Our City is facing many difficult issues, ranging from a lagging economy, relatively high…

What LA Really Needs: A Part-time City Council and a Part-time Mayor!

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-There are so many serious and pressing problems facing the City of Los Angeles and few if any real solutions are being proposed or implemented by our elected and appointed leaders at City Hall. I will start with the current city budget. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had a $7.7 billion total budget in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.…

Why Don’t the City’s Women Managers Hire More Women?

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN-Perusing the web is a little like the soap operas of yesteryear. You get suckered in! One link leads to another link and then one is exposed to a barrage both facts and idiocy. The reason for this discussion was my attending a July Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC) meeting with the Department of Water and Power. General…

Cleaning Up LA City Hall: ‘It’s What’s Legal That’s the Problem’

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-Everyone understands that developers own our city government. Sure, there are some officials here and there who are upright and independent, but recent history shows that the developers typically get their way in spite of public opposition. Whether it is a zoning change for an office tower or the required permits for a new mall,…

Not So Fast LA! Let’s Consider the Real Costs of Hosting the Olympics before We Jump In

Greg Nelson
SPORTS POLITICS-On Monday, Boston withdrew from its offer to be the nation’s bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. In January, Los Angeles finished second to Boston when the U.S. Olympic Committee made its decision. After Boston was selected to polish up its bid before submitting it to the International Olympic Committee for a final decision,…

Party Crashing for Political Access: Schwarzenegger and My Pantsuit

Charlotte Laws
CALIFORNIA ACCESS POLITICS-Party crashing—or gate-crashing, as it is sometimes called—is an art form that I stumbled upon as a teen. I taught myself how to finagle into any event, anywhere, anytime. It required being part private eye, part actress and part chutzpah machine. I had to think outside of the box, throw myself into the role, and whip my…





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

 

 

  

 

 

 

Is this “The Year of the Neighborhood" for LA?

RETHINKINGLA - Writer Dorothy Parker once described Los Angeles as 72 suburbs in search of a city. Since then the number has grown to almost 100, reflecting LA’s robust diversity and the fact that Angelenos tend to identify more with their neighborhood than with their city.

Some of the most heated battles in recent history have taken place over neighborhood boundaries as communities seek to claim unique identities that reflect their cultural, economic, and political personality and character.
The boundary between Hollywood and East Hollywood continues to stir debate just as the formation of Lake Balboa and Valley Glen did when portions of Van Nuys were renamed, giving real estate agents a shot at a better commission.

In some cities, this rich diversity of neighborhoods is celebrated in a municipal demonstration of the fact that the whole is greater than the parts. In other cities, such as Los Angeles, City Hall seems to struggle with this vibrant cast of community voices, urging community members to homogenize their message.

Sydney, Australia is a city of 4.6 million people, divided into 649 neighborhoods and 40 local government areas. Sydney identifies itself as a “City of Villages,” not just in words but in behavior. The Lord Mayor uses public transportation to take the business of City Hall to local communities, demonstrating that a large Alpha+ World City can be an international power at the same time that it establishes a connection with local politics.

Nagoya, Japan is one of LA’s Sister Cities, a relationship that is working better for Nagoya than it is for Los Angeles. The Mayor of Nagoya celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Sister City relationship by conducting a special seminar that featured LA’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and demonstrated his commitment to the concept of participatory democracy at the local level.

EmpowerLA’s General Manager BongHwan “BH” Kim and Russell Brown, then President of Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, were guests of Mayor Kawamura who embraced the concept of local governance so much, he has since moved to devolve the City Council in favor of empowering local neighborhoods. He was recently reelected by a landslide, demonstrating that this is “The Year of the Neighborhood” in Nagoya!

A delegation from Venezuela recently toured the United States as guests of the Department of State, stopping by EmpowerLA’s office for a lesson on “Grassroots Democracy and Citizen Participation in the Political Process.”  America’s International Visitor Leadership Program recognizes the power to be found in the neighborhoods of Los Angeles and the value of sharing that power with other countries.

Meanwhile, City Hall stands tall as if a neighborhood unto itself, requiring communities to trek downtown to participate while other cities take their municipal show on the road.

With citywide elections on the horizon, Los Angeles is at a crossroads.

Will the candidates for Mayor, City Controller and City Attorney celebrate local politics and declare this “The Year of the Neighborhood!” or will they simply continue in the centralized silo approach with Neighborhood Councils lined up as spectators?

Will the candidates for the eight City Council seats commit to empowering the many neighborhoods that make up their districts or will they tender the usual promises of city services in an effort to quell any hint of discontent?

Most importantly, will the members of LA’s Neighborhood Councils declare this “The Year of the Neighborhood!” by supporting the candidates who have risen from the EmpowerLA community and answered the call?

(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at: Stephen@thirdeyecreative.net. You can also find him on Twitter and on Facebook.)
–cw

Tags: Stephen Box, Rethinking LA, neighborhoods, Year of the Neighborhood, Sister Cities, Neighborhood Councils, Los Angeles, City Hall









CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 37
Pub: May 8, 2012

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