Thu, Jun

Fight City Hall And Win: The Saturday September 24 Neighborhood Congress Will Be Online


GELFAND’S WORLD - Each year there is a citywide event for all neighborhood council participants and for members of the public who have an interest in our many topics.

This year we will discuss ways for neighborhood councils to defend themselves against an increasingly oppressive city government, you will have a chance to meet your CityWatch writers, and you will have a chance to hear from members of the City Council and various of our city agencies. As previously, everything will be online. 

You can register here. Note that the registration form is a little complex, in that after you type in your first and last name, you will have to scroll down to fill in additional information -- your email address, your neighborhood council if you are a member of one -- and then the Register button will light up and you can click on it. 

You can look at the schedule by clicking here.  Note that there will be an opening session at 9 AM but there is no requirement that you attend. 

The main sessions begin at 10:05 AM, including Meet the CityWatch Writers. And if you don't want to hear from me and my colleagues, you can hear about public encampments, facing your biases, land use policy, or native plant usage. For the CityWatch writers’ session, we have invited Dennis Zine, Tony Butka, Sara Corcoran, Jack Humphreville, Liz Amsden, and myself. Editor Jim Hampton has been invited to give a brief introduction and tribute to the late Ken Draper. It should make for some rousing discussion. 

At 11 AM, I will be hosting a session titled Defending Neighborhood Council Independence and Freedom. We need this session so that we can organize people to defend our rights against the authoritarians who sit on government panels and agencies, doing their best to figure out ways to waste our time and abuse us. It should make for an interesting session. Longtime activist and leader Doug Epperhart has been invited to join us. At the same time, LA Watchdog Jack Humphreville will be running his own session on Hidden Costs in the City Budget. That same hour will feature the second half of the land use breakout session and a session on Preserving the Public Trust in City Government and Elections. 

 There are also sessions designed to assist newcomers who may still feel uneasy or unprepared over how to function under the Ralph M. Brown Act, what the new digital communications policy says, and a potentially fascinating discussion on getting to carbon neutrality, to be held during the 12:40 PM session. 

Also of note: In the 1:35 PM session, Celebrate your neighborhood's history and art. This looks to be a fun session where the special places in different communities will be featured. 


It's interesting that we're not hearing much about the Covid-19 pandemic anymore. There was a whole session of Meet the Press on Sunday with nary a word that I can remember. Perhaps we're getting into the end-phase, even if it's hard to recognize. In case you're not following all the latest graphs and statistics, here is what is going on. The United States is still losing four hundred people a day from the Covid-19. Many of those deaths can be attributed to failure to be vaccinated, particularly among older people. Data from the state of Kentucky, for example, shows that people who have been vaccinated and twice boosted are about 4 times less likely to die from Covid-19, particularly in the aging population. 

At a moment when restaurants are open, the LA Opera has been doing live performances for the past season, and people are attending gyms and supermarkets freely, the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council system continues to lag. We are still doing meetings online due to the commands of the city authorities. We are assuming that the online system will be scrapped around the beginning of the new year. The Los Angeles County Health Dept shows a continuing decline in Covid deaths, now about 4 per day on the average, having fallen from 12-14 just a few months ago. My interpretation continues to be that we are reaching herd immunity due to the high rate of vaccination along with the high rate of infection from the new variants. It will be interesting to see how the latest vaccine against the newer, more aggressive variants will work out.


(Bob Gelfand writes on science, culture, and politics for CityWatch. He can be reached at [email protected] )