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  • WHO WE ARE-Earlier this month, I arrived in San Diego following five days of driving across the country from Wisconsin. I pulled into my friend’s driveway, brought my things inside, and went back to my car to park it on the street. Almost immediately, a cop’s siren and flashing lights went off. I’d left my license in my friend’s apartment, so I…
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    Susan Rose
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  • Santa Barbara Spill Underscores Why We Can’t Allow Arctic Oil Drilling

    Ryan Schleeter
    PLANET WATCH-Last week, a major oil spill in Santa Barbara County made headlines after a ruptured pipeline dumped as much as 105,000 gallons of crude oil on the California coastline. The spill stretches across roughly nine miles of state beach with tens of thousands of gallons entering marine protected areas in the Pacific Ocean. The spill took…
  • How Will David Ryu Honor His Campaign Pledges?

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In a race that focused on local issues, outsider David Ryu (photo) outpolled City Hall insider Carolyn Ramsay by almost 10 points (54.8% to 45.2%), representing a margin of over 2,300 votes. Yet, since less than 16% of Council District 4’s 153,000 registered voters bothered to vote, Ryu was supported by less than 9% of those eligible…
  • $15 an Hour: If This Ain't Socialism, Then What SHOULD We Call It?

    Ken Alpern
    CONSIDER THIS-Funny how when you accuse, or even suggest, to a liberal (or is it "progressive"? or is it "reformist"?) that he/she is socialist, they get all bent out of shape. One reason that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is so respected is that he says it like it is--he's a sincere socialist who means what he says and says what he means. One…
  • California Dreaming: Booms to Busts, the Optimists are Still Searching for the Gold

    James Preston Allen
    AT LENGTH-At a meeting I attended recently with the management of the Port of Los Angeles, a civic leader voiced his enduring optimism for a bright and successful future. I gave the unsolicited reply, “an ounce of skepticism is worth a pound of optimism.” Others at the meeting said aghast, “Oh, no. How would anything ever get accomplished?”…
  • LA’s Homeless: Not a lost Cause

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-I was both surprised and rather pleased about the reaction to my recent article. Apparently, many people in Los Angeles are realizing that the Homelessness isn’t just City Hall’s challenge but affects all of our neighborhoods. Even more important, it doesn’t just affect us economically but impacts our sense of humanity and fair play. Yes,…
  • Senate Race: Choosing Kamala or Loretta Comes Down to North vs. South … California

    Joe Mathews
    CONNECTING CALIFORNIA-Are you a Kamala or a Loretta? Attorney General Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez—the two leading candidates for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat next year—confront Californians with a choice. But it’s not a choice about competing policies or political visions. Californians don’t have political arguments about…
  • From Tragedy, Healing

    Mike Newhouse
    GUEST WORDS-In the days after Brendon Glenn was killed, in the heart of Venice, I was starkly reminded of one of our community's biggest challenges. But, my perspective may surprise you. What first came to mind was not how we police. It was not about racism or homelessness. It was not about mental illness, or the insidious nature of drug or…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




Alert! World’s 10 most dangerous animals

Smashing good job. World’s leaders beating each other up

Trevor Noah warming up for takeover of the Daily Show

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

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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