LA CITY COUNCIL - The time has long since passed that Neighborhood Councils be given some real authority.
Under the city ethics department, they are treated as de facto city council members with one caveat… They can't just ignore city ethics on a whim. The City Council itself has become so systematically corrupt that has lost credibility with the majority of Angelenos. Everything they say or do is viewed through a cynical lens, and rightfully so. Everything, and I mean virtually everything, has become pay-to-play. Maybe not as outwardly direct as disgraced former Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englanders' scheme of receiving cash in a men's restroom at a Las Vegas casino and then spending that cash on cheap sex workers and expensive alcohol (you read that right, I'm shaking my head too), but at a minimum, it is a "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" situation. The betterment of the district these members claim to represent is an afterthought to their own power and ambitions. If they are thought about at all, it is through the lens of how this will help them achieve the next office they want to go to. How to maximize their pension, or what scenario can be created to collect a pension from the city of Los Angeles while working someplace else, double dipping on the taxpayers’ dime?
City Council should be so wary of scandal that they should now be trying to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, especially while you have multiple city council members going to trial in the upcoming months and two more city council members actively flipping off the people of Los Angeles by refusing to resign a post and instead continue to cash their checks because they know there's nothing in the current charter to force them out of a position they can no longer perform.
So in that light, here is just one proposal that has come from the volunteers who choose to represent their districts: hold a lottery of eligible and willing neighborhood council members in the given District, the individual to be chosen randomly to temporarily early fill the seat pending election.
This will eliminate all the patronage and nonsense that goes on behind the scenes, only some of which we heard on that now infamous disgusting racist tape. Let's not forget that one of the things they were discussing was an open city Council seat and who they preferred to have on it. We have a right to question why they had a preference.
Is this idea dumb? Maybe. It may even solve one problem and cause another, but it is change. Whether this idea is adopted or another one is it should be equally as bereft of scandal or even the appearance of impropriety. After all this city has gone through, the people of Los Angeles deserve nothing less.
(Jim Alger is the Former President NWNC and Former Delegate/Vice Chair LANCC. Contact Jim: [email protected])