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 'A PROMISE IS A PROMISE'

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


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

Are Neighborhood Councils Ready for Facebook?

RETHINKING LA - The great thing about participating in a Neighborhood Council is the fact that it provides a crash course in the Brown Act and in the Public Records Act. Unfortunately it's typically a literal crash, one that brings meetings to a screeching halt as members share anecdotal experiences, second hand information, and collective fears of legal action. Neighborhood Councils are currently debating the use of Facebook in the public arena, urged on by those who embrace the social media revolution and held back by those who fear Brown Act violations and Public Record Liabilities.

The irony of this Facebook debate is that it takes place in a city that is led by Social Media fans, including Mayor @Trutanich, City Attorney @Trutanich and LA's Facebook pioneer, former City Council President @Garcetti who was one of the first to max out his Facebook page with friends.

LA's City Leadership is so fond of social media that LA's Ethics Commission recently addressed the antiquated application of analog legal restrictions in a digital world. Politicians with active Facebook and Twitter accounts may soon be required to set up separate accounts for their political candidacy campaigns, a requirement that acknowledges the legitimacy of social media activity within City Hall and the need to address appropriate use.

Individuals with social media accounts have an obligation to keep their political work separate from their government work, a standard that applies to all they do, not just social media.

Groups with social media accounts, such as Neighborhood Councils, have an obligation to conduct themselves in accordance with Open Meeting Laws, a standard that applies to all public arenas and digital communications, not just social media.

The idea of a Neighborhood Council using Facebook to tell their story, engage their community, and invite stakeholders to events should result in a hearty round of yawns, after all, Facebook accounts are so common, they're almost passé.

But in some cases, simply suggesting that a Neighborhood Council operate a Facebook account as part of their outreach strategy results in shrill cries of "What about the Brown Act?"

Terry Francke, the Executive Director of CalAware and the lawyer who succeeded in his Brown Act case against the LA County Supervisors, reports that there is nothing unique about social media when it comes to the Brown Act.

Neighborhood Councils have much to contend with and threats of Brown Act and Public Records Act abuse simply has a chilling effect on the spirit of volunteerism.

LA's Mayor, City Attorney, and former City Council President have all utilized social media in their governmental work and have all demonstrated an ability to differentiate between appropriate governmental use and distinctly separate personal or political use.

Neighborhood Councils are definitely ready to follow City Hall down the same digital road.

LA's Ethics Commission stands prepared to grapple with need to address digital technologies and analog laws, removing the mystery from the discussion.

Again, Neighborhood Councils are definitely ready to follow City Ethics down that digital legal road.

The tools for communication will continue to evolve and if Neighborhood Councils are firmly grounded on their commitment to open and transparent governance, then they are ready for Facebook.

(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, Facebook, Ethics, City Hall, City Attorney








CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 49
Pub: June 19, 2012

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