CityWatch, June 12, 2012
Vol 10 Issue 47
RETHINKING LA - It’s Neighborhood Council election season, a period of
time that is marked by the perennial debate within City Hall over the
high cost of representative government and the challenge “Do
Neighborhood Council elections matter?”
Elections are a Neighborhood Council’s most significant outreach
opportunity, one that allows them to tell their story to their
stakeholders, their potential candidates, the city as a whole, their
neighborhood partners, and to City Hall. Most of all, it offers an
opportunity to evaluate the past and to set a vision for the future.
City Charter calls on Neighborhood Councils to “Promote more citizen
participation in government and make government more responsive to local
needs,” a mandate that is best fulfilled with robust elections.
positioning Neighborhood Council elections as an outreach event results
in a firm “Yes, Neighborhood Council Elections matter!”
The Education and Neighborhoods Committee will hear the CLA and CAO
report on Tuesday on “the appropriate dollar amount for each
Neighborhood Council to contribute toward conducting the 2012” NC
elections. These funds would come out of individual Neighborhood Council
budgets for 2012-13. Make sure your Neighborhood Council voice is heard
on this issue. Info: Education and Neighborhoods Committee meeting,
Tuesday, June 12, 2 pm. City Hall Room 1050)
also offer Neighborhood Councils an opportunity to “check their
attitude,” a phrase used by airline pilots during landing who refer to
their relationship to the ground as “attitude.” Pilots who want to avoid
crashes will repeatedly “check their attitude.”
Councils who embrace robust and contested elections have an opportunity
to revisit their story, their mission, and their relationship with the
Again, if Neighborhood Council Elections were
evaluated simply on their ability to “check a council’s attitude,” the
result would be “Yes, Neighborhood Council elections matter!”
are a Neighborhood Council’s opportunity to connect with City Hall by
engaging the community in a dialogue on the issues that matter to the
people, whether they are voters or candidates.
commitment to responding to local needs is contingent on participation
from the community. Candidates who can clearly address the issues that
motivate them to run will give stakeholders a clear opportunity to
communicate their priorities and their values.
This alone makes
Neighborhood Council elections a worthwhile endeavor and the result is a
clear “Yes, Neighborhood Council elections matter.”
Councils were created in response to local dissatisfaction with the
delivery of city services and they came as part of a commitment to
engage the people of LA with City Hall.
To that end, Neighborhood
Council elections matter most to City Hall because, without them, City
Hall’s commitment to involving the people in an open and participatory
government is broken.
City Hall’s commitment to the people, as
codified in the City Charter, is priceless. As a result, Neighborhood
Council elections matter and they are worth the price.