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Thoroughly Modern Bob – Coming to a Legislature Near You!

Paul Hatfield
PERSPECTIVE-Thoroughly Modern Millie was a Tony Award winner. State Senator Bob Hertzberg is rolling out his own sequel. The only problem is the production cost. Actually, the real problem is we will be the ones bankrolling it if Bob gets the green light. It is the most expensive tax scam concocted, more than California HSR. I’m talking…

Elite Girls School Has Brentwood Up in Arms … Over Traffic

John Schwada
INSIDE LA-Hairdresser Mikell Powell is walking her two dogs in Brentwood along Sunset Boulevard just across the street from the Archer School for Girls (photo left). “I’m opposed to anything that would make driving on Sunset here anymore hellish than it already is,” Powell says as her dogs tug on their leashes. No question: there’s a 1.2 mile…

Homeless LA: Safe Havens, Not Sidewalks

Mike Bonin
WHO WE ARE-In recent years, Los Angeles has seen more progress in combating homelessness than it ever has – yet the problem is still getting worse. Since 2011, the region has housed more than 23,000 people – a record number even by national standards. Yet homelessness is on the rise. Encampments are proliferating in our neighborhoods throughout…

Can LA Afford Another Olympics?

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Boston bailed on hosting the 2024 Olympics when Mayor Martin Walsh refused to sign a host city contract with the United States Olympic Committee (“USOC”) that would have put Beantown (and possibly the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) on the hook for any cost overruns associated with this 17 day extravaganza. But Walsh’s refusal to…

The Petty Hypocrisy of Mandatory Ethics Training

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-As a member of a neighborhood council board, I am required by state law to do 2 hours of ethics training every 2 years. Elected officials such as members of the City Council are also required to take this training. The curious thing about our California ethics rules is that they prohibit the small stuff while looking the other way…

Los Angeles: Brown lives Matter!

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-According to the Los Angeles Times, over the last five years in LA County, coroner's data show that Latinos, who make up about half of the county's population, also represent about half the people killed by police. Of the 23 people fatally shot by law enforcement in the county this year, 14 were Latino. The Times raises an…

Grading the LA Times: Mike Feuer’s B+ Leaves Something Out

Noel Weiss
OTHER VOICES-Reading the LA Times’ Report Card grade of B+ for City Attorney Mike Feuer, it was good to see at least a 'hat-tip' to the issue of whether the City Attorney really is the “attorney for the people.” But their conclusion seems to be that he is not, and I believe that is wrong. Exactly who does the City Attorney represent? Certainly, he…

Beverly Hills Pounds Final Nail in Bike Lanes Coffin

Mark Elliot
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-If you expected that Beverly Hills might install bicycle lanes on our segment of Santa Monica Boulevard when reconstructing it next year, you will be sorely disappointed to know that City Council just pounded the final nail into the bike lanes coffin. City Council split on the Blue Ribbon Committee recommendation to expand…

Helter Skelter, Murder and the Looming Race War

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA-In one of our last conversations before his death earlier this year, author and prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lamented that while he had successfully imprisoned Charles Manson, he feared he had only made a dent in the threat of an apocalyptic race war that the mass murderer had hoped to ignite. “Madness and mad men,” said Bugliosi,…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.





You’re gonna cry! Kids sing to teacher with cancer

Scarrrry! The Flying Gun

Kid Stuff! Full of chuckles


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

Can LA’s Neighborhood Councils Keep Up?

RETHINKING LA - Neighborhood Councils face an uphill battle as they attempt to fulfill their City Charter mandate to engage the public and advise City Hall, after all, they typically meet once a month while the City Council meets three times a week, making it tough to keep track of the issues and resulting legislation. Even the members of City Council, complete with dedicated staff and departmental liaisons, find it tough to keep up with the logjam of legislation, resulting in cries of “What are we voting on?” in a process that allows inaction to count as an affirmative vote.

Through it all, Neighborhood Councils are expected to monitor the delivery of city services and keep the public engaged in the process, a Sisyphean responsibility that challenges the capacity of the volunteer-driven Neighborhood Council system.

This prompts the question: “Can Neighborhood Councils keep up with the City of LA?”

If the City is serious about encouraging feedback from Neighborhood Councils, here are three things they can do to facilitate participation.

1. Plan ahead. Motions that have been simmering for years suddenly spring on to an agenda, leaving Neighborhood Councils 72 hours to wade through 15 pages of agenda to find the item and then mobilize and communicate with City Hall.

Councils can file Community Impact Statements on the general topic (“We like sidewalks!”) well in advance of the agendized legislation but the final action will typically have specificity (“Homeowners will pay for repairs by deferring costs until the property is sold.”) that defies official Neighborhood Council Board action. Volunteers that meet every month can’t respond to 72 hour notice with a Community Impact Statement that addresses the most recent iteration of long-simmering legislation.

Neighborhood Councils must get better notice when agenda items such as the Hollywood Community Plan are going to appear on the City Council agenda, especially if they have been in the process for years, so that community members can be involved in the journey all the way to the finish line.

2. Stick to the schedule. City Council agenda items are typically a moving target on agendas that are jammed with the full range of legislation, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. On some days, arriving a few minutes late means a wasted trip downtown. On others days, arriving on time means sitting for hours, never sure when a specific item will come up for comment and action.

The business of the people is important enough to schedule so that the public can participate without having to give up a day’s work for a minute’s commentary. The public’s ability to participate depends on the City Council treating the public with respect and the public’s time is a valuable asset that should not be squandered through sloppy management or underhanded machination.

3. Set a good example. Neighborhood Council leaders learn from the City Council, the Committees and the Commission. When members of the public are interrupted during public comment, it sets a bad example. When the public is required to sign in, a violation of the Brown Act, it sets a bad example. When the public is treated to agendas that are impossible to read, it sets a bad example.

If the City Council is serious about supporting Neighborhood Councils and engaging the public in the process, they will set an example by communicating well in advance, welcoming people to council chambers, offering informative agendas, and by listening during public comment, not interrupting or, even worse, simply ignoring.

As for the question, “Can Neighborhood Councils keep up?” the answer is yes, if the City Council is willing to partner with Neighborhood Councils in communication, organization, and respect.

(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, City Council







CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 48
Pub: June 15, 2012

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