CityWatch, June 8, 2012
Vol 10 Issue 46
RETHINKING LA - LA’s Neighborhood Councils are finally getting some respect, unfortunately it’s from admirers who live in cities such as London, Toronto, and Nagoya who look to LA and find inspiration.
for hometown love, Neighborhood Councils find themselves struggling to
get attention in a city that threatens their survival each budget cycle,
challenges their purpose when convenient, and ignores them when they
dare to advise City Hall.
As Neighborhood Councils kick off election season, the first
challenge comes in the form of a yawn, first from City Hall and then
from the community, followed by the tough question “Do neighborhood
The answer from fans in Toronto is “Yes!” and a picture of the front door of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment
is part of an exhibit called “The Fourth Wall” which is challenging the
notion that government takes care of the people’s business while the
people play the role of spectator.
In London, activists and
politicians cry “Yes!” and are looking to LA’s Neighborhood Councils for
inspiration as they embark on a mission “to rediscover London as a
collection of villages" and to address the budgetary tug-of-war between
City Hall and the 32 borough councils.
The Mayor of Nagoya yelled
“Yes!” and left his career in national politics to move into the real
source of power, the local level, embracing LA’s Neighborhood Council
concept and making it his own, demonstrating that imitation is the most
sincere form of flattery.
Meanwhile, Neighborhood Councils in the
City of LA find themselves at a fork in the road. If they don’t act
decisively, the answer to the question will be “No, Neighborhood
Councils don’t matter.”
But if the people of LA step up, the answer will be a resounding “Yes, Neighborhood Councils matter!”
Councils are simply people. They are you. They matter if you matter and
they matter if you believe in an engaged community, in transparent
governance, in a direct route to City Hall, and in seizing the
opportunity to hold city government accountable.
Neighborhood Councils matter!” they matter because the people of LA
matter and Neighborhood Councils are a tool for bringing individuals
together so that they can address City Hall with a collective voice, one
that comes with a City Charter mandate to hold City Hall accountable.
the real answer to the question “Do Neighborhood Councils matter?”
comes from you, the individual who must ask yourself the tougher
question “Do you matter?” If the answer is “Yes!” then Neighborhood
Councils matter because they are you and they are your best opportunity
to ensure that City Hall listens to you, treats you with respect and
delivers the City Services that you pay for.
Really, it’s all about you!
NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCILS NOTICE:
Education and Neighborhoods Committee will be hearing two important
issues this Tuesday pertaining to Neighborhood Councils- 1) A CLA
recommendation on how much NCs should be docked toward the cost of NC
elections; and, 2) A detailed DONE report on who’s in and who’s not on
Neighborhood Council Elections.
Councils should be monitoring
and participating in these decisions. E & N Committee Meeting …
Tuesday, June 12 … 2 pm … City Hall (Room 1050). Agenda details here.