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Special to CityWatch: Can Jorge Ramos Save The American Immigrant Dream?

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA- President Barack Obama’s disappointing failure to champion immigration reform, what The Washington Post called his “immigration train wreck,” may be the consummate example of the failure of the Obama presidency on Latino issues. It is also a tell-tale sign of the potential trouble the Democratic Party could find itself in…

Museum Row’s Billion Dollar Block Party

Tim Deegan
EXCLUSIVE TO CITYWATCH--City planners, developers, community members and other stakeholders are having a block party in the Miracle Mile: no champagne but plenty of stress served to order, depending on who you're aligned with. Issues with development: take a seat. Raising hundreds of millions of dollars for development, take several seats. Here…

What Is It About The Homeless That Makes Us So Angry?

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD--It was a long public hearing at my neighborhood council the other night. Outraged, obviously frightened homeowners were pitted against advocates for the homeless. At least that's how it started, but it's not how it ended. It's curious, but in this contentious culture of ours, it turned out to be possible to have a meeting of the…

Kill the Transit Tax, Kill the Olympics

Ken Alpern
ALPERN AT LARGE-You know, it's indeed possible that there will be enough voters who won't remember (or care about) the current shenanigans and budget games in the City of LA--enough to allow a 2/3 vote to pass a new sales tax measure in November 2016. Then again, maybe enough voters will remember, and the initiative will (like its predecessor…

Headlines Don’t Lie – LA Needs Leadership

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-I’m talking to you as a man who policed Los Angeles streets for over 30 years and established policy for another 14 years -- two years as an elected Charter Reform Commissioner and 12 years as an elected Los Angeles City Councilman. Take a look at the latest Los Angeles News and Breaking Headlines. They tell a frightening story…

Airbnb Just Floats by the PLUM Committee

Tony Butka
THE CITY-I was going to do my usual flip and cynical kind of a piece on the Airbnb hearing, but the issue is too important, and just maybe, all is not lost. The Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee hearing was scheduled in the Public Works Hearing Room, but so many people attended that they had to move it to City Council Chambers…

Bikeshare Comes to Los Angeles … Sort Of

Richard Risemberg
WAITING ON LA--Here’s photographic confirmation that bikeshare has arrived in LA: Not the City of Los Angeles, though; not quite yet. That’s a live bikeshare station in Santa Monica, on Main Street, next to one of the two bike corrals that grace the block south of Ashland. (There’s another and very busy bike corral two blocks north.) This is a…

The Summer of My Discontent ... LA Version

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN--I think there is such a thing as the "Dog Days of Summer" since my usual sunny disposition ... glass half full demeanor ... seems to be out of sorts of late. There is a litany of things that are annoying me, aside from the heat. I am disappointed in our local government ... not all of them, but a majority. Like many of you I studied the…

Marilyn Who? Ask Councilman Krekorian or Mayor Garcetti

Richard Lee Abrams
PRESERVATION POLITICS-Who doesn’t like Marilyn Monroe? Councilmember Krekorian, that’s who! Why else would Councilmember Paul Krekorian support the demolition of one of the most significant homes of Marilyn Monroe? With the blessings of Mayor Garcetti, who believes in eradicating as much of Hollywood’s history as possible, and with the support of…





Record Breaking! Josh Groban sings Trump


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Los Angeles: Are Neighborhood Council Elections Worth the Price?

RETHINKING LA - It’s Neighborhood Council election season, a period of time that is marked by the perennial  debate within City Hall over the high cost of representative government and the challenge “Do Neighborhood Council elections matter?” Elections are a Neighborhood Council’s most significant outreach opportunity, one that allows them to tell their story to their stakeholders, their potential candidates, the city as a whole, their neighborhood partners, and to City Hall. Most of all, it offers an opportunity to evaluate the past and to set a vision for the future.

LA’s City Charter calls on Neighborhood Councils to “Promote more citizen participation in government and make government more responsive to local needs,” a mandate that is best fulfilled with robust elections.

Simply positioning Neighborhood Council elections as an outreach event results in a firm “Yes, Neighborhood Council Elections matter!”

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(NOTE: The Education and Neighborhoods Committee will hear the CLA and CAO report on Tuesday on “the appropriate dollar amount for each Neighborhood Council to contribute toward conducting the 2012” NC elections. These funds would come out of individual Neighborhood Council budgets for 2012-13. Make sure your Neighborhood Council voice is heard on this issue. Info: Education and Neighborhoods Committee meeting, Tuesday, June 12, 2 pm. City Hall Room 1050)

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Elections also offer Neighborhood Councils an opportunity to “check their attitude,” a phrase used by airline pilots during landing who refer to their relationship to the ground as “attitude.” Pilots who want to avoid crashes will repeatedly “check their attitude.”

Neighborhood Councils who embrace robust and contested elections have an opportunity to revisit their story, their mission, and their relationship with the community.

Again, if Neighborhood Council Elections were evaluated simply on their ability to “check a council’s attitude,” the result would be “Yes, Neighborhood Council elections matter!”

Elections are a Neighborhood Council’s opportunity to connect with City Hall by engaging the community in a dialogue on the issues that matter to the people, whether they are voters or candidates.

City Hall’s commitment to responding to local needs is contingent on participation from the community. Candidates who can clearly address the issues that motivate them to run will give stakeholders a clear opportunity to communicate their priorities and their values.

This alone makes Neighborhood Council elections a worthwhile endeavor and the result is a clear “Yes, Neighborhood Council elections matter.”

Neighborhood Councils were created in response to local dissatisfaction with the delivery of city services and they came as part of a commitment to engage the people of LA with City Hall.

To that end, Neighborhood Council elections matter most to City Hall because, without them, City Hall’s commitment to involving the people in an open and participatory government is broken.

City Hall’s commitment to the people, as codified in the City Charter, is priceless. As a result, Neighborhood Council elections matter and they are worth the price.

(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, Neighborhood Councils, NCs, NC elections, Neighborhood Council elections







CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 47
Pub: June 12, 2012

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