Tuesday, February 16, 2010
NC Leaders Fashion DONE Restructure Plan: Head for Collaboration with the E&N and the Mayor
CityWatch, Pub: Feb 16, 2010
Vol 8 Issue 13
Armed with the City Charter in one hand and a plan for the reorganization of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment in the other, Neighborhood Council activists claim they can deliver significant savings, increase efficiency, and improve effectiveness, all in return for a place at the table.
The simple request is that the City Council and Mayor partner with the neighborhood councils in the re-organization of DONE and in the development of the three-year plan for the neighborhood council system.
This past Saturday, 88 people gathered in Hollywood for a BudgetLA meeting that featured a presentation on a grass roots proposal to reorganize DONE and to create a "hybrid" system that would focus on core priorities which include governmental relations, public relations, and training.
The plan is a starting point, one that presents the City Council and the Mayor with an opportunity to partner with the neighborhood councils in restructuring a neighborhood council machine that is cost-effective and user-friendly.
Tuesday’s (2-16-10) Education & Neighborhoods Committee is the first stop for the neighborhood council activists, one that will include a presentation of the DONE re-organization plan and a formal response to the five agendized CAO recommendations.
BudgetLA will meet with the Mayor’s office also this week for a collaborative effort at restructuring the DONE. BudgetLA is advocating a plan that reduces the Department staff to the number needed for basic and core services … and outsourcing funding, elections and training. In the BLA plan, NCs assume volunteer responsibility for some of the election and training programs.
The DONE re-org plan comes with the endorsement of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition on Saturday the 6th and BudgetLA on Saturday the 13th. The E & N Special Meeting response was endorsed by BudgetLA on the 13th.
Neighborhood Council activists have been in emergency meetings every weekend since the beginning of the year to tackle the budget crisis and to ensure that neighborhood councils have a role in the journey.
More than 250 participants … including leaders from 75 different neighborhood councils … have attended meetings featuring speakers such as Alex Rubalcava on pension reform, John Mumma from the Police Protection League, Julie Butcher of the SEIU, and Wendy Greuel, the LA City Controller.
Through it all, the BudgetLA commitment has been to inform the public, to engage the public, to empower the public and to get neighborhood councils a seat at the budget crisis solutions table.
Saturday's BudgetLA meeting featured special guests BongHwan Kim, General Manager of DONE, Jerry Kvasnicka, Independent Election Administrator, and Lupe Solorio from Community Partners. BH expressed his confidence in the re-org plan and his optimism that we could work together on core priorities that are cost effective and efficient.
Jerry Kvasnicka gave his assurance that neighborhood council elections could be conducted at a greatly reduced expense and with an increase in neighborhood council participation. Lupe Solorio offered financial oversight and out-sourcing options that include administration, training and accounting services.
In all three cases, the specifics of the re-org, the elections, and the financial oversight remain to be worked out but the message was that we have choices, if we work together to make them happen.
Ultimately, the neighborhood councils have a plan and it all starts with the Mayor and the City Council embracing neighborhood councils as part of the solution.
The journey starts Tuesday:
• Education & Environment Committee
February 16, 2010
City Hall - Council Chambers
200 Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
To listen by phone: 213-621-2489
To contact the E & N Committee:
Councilmember Paul Krekorian
http://CD2Policy.wordpress.com- leave your comments online!
Councilmember Janice Hahn
Councilmember Dennis Zine
• Collaboration Meeting with the Mayor’s Office this week. Check www.budgetla.org for day, time and location.
(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at Stephen@thirdeyecreative.net)