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Saturday, January 28, 2006

While the cats are away...

Whilst one Mayor pounds the streets of the San Fernando Valley with his new Explorer and the other Mayor checks his cable connection, I thought I might sneak in here and draw some attention to this story that the Daily News posted Saturday:
A North Hollywood neighborhood council has become the first to move formally toward breaking into smaller groups - a development that could encourage similar efforts elsewhere in the city.

That has potentially intriguing ramifications. The idea that an NC can up and divide, amoeba-like, if the new parts find the blessings of DONE commissioners must come as a shock to some of the City's communities that have never been comfortable with its representation, such as the City's east downtown art district. Also, there are a few unchartered community associations floating around town---can such groups petition for secession from their current para-community representation? Can groups potentially even sue the City for better bifurcation, citing this precedent if it comes to fruition? This surprising move at bottom would seem to create more management headaches for Greg Nelson, a man of many headaches already.


Anonymous Anonymous said:

One wonders if this might lead to a renter-led secession of Westside Village from the Mar Vista Community Council. I'm sure George Garrigues is paying attention.

January 28, 2006 11:36 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I just don't want Greg Nelson to have any more headaches.

Greg - you're the best.

Your biggest fan, even when you ignore my very existence.

January 28, 2006 11:42 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 29, 2006 2:40 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

The ability for neighborhood councils to request to split up has always been there.

Actually the process involves going through the Certification process again.

So they would have to do all of the leg work , signature signing , boundary meetings ,etc.

I don't know about taking a vote to split a NC up. But it does sound dangerous.

The Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhod COunicl has the sword of domocles hanging over its head as far as skid row. If the residents here feel that the Downtown NEighborhood Council is not treating this community right and do not allow the stakeholders here to participate , then we can create our own neighborhood council.
That was a part of the requirements for Central City East to be accepted inot into the larger Downtown Los ANgeles NEighborhood Council Boundary.

BUt let's see where this takes us. MOre neighborhood council's more 50,000 dollar gifts to more neighborhood councils.

This month's vote by the Mid-Town North Hollywood Neighborhood Council would shrink its boundaries to allow for a total of three community groups to eventually sprout within its current limits.

The council currently represents almost 69,000 people - significantly more than many of the city's 120 other councils, which get $50,000 each, regardless of size.

Well, Downtown represents over 250,000 Stakeholders , so that is a lame argument.

January 29, 2006 2:54 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Psssst, get a clue, Mailander. Greg Nelson has been touting the "smaller is better" neighborhood council concept for years now. He's been begging for it, in spades. He starting the drumbeat for it when he first entered office, as a Hahn appointee, and even used the "you guys can split and EACH get $50K from the city" net/net $100K -- get larger NCs to reconsider their girth. And this was at a time when the city was trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip to put 3 more cops on the street in some of these same, toughest neighborhoods.

Nelson also wants more certification hearings, hundreds more new NC board members every year, and more fledging councils to manage. Why?

Job security, power, and influence..

His budget and staff is in no way justifiable now that most of the city is carved up and beginning to run their own councils. He stands to have departmental cuts in a major way and be relegated to a minor, minor department - simply processing paperwork for NC invoices, and holding th occasional "here's what YOU should know about the Brown Act" Symposium.

Considering that two years ago, two-thirds of his staff spent most of their time getting NCs certified - without any "new blood" most of them are unneeded.

His main headache now is dealing with the most incompetent asst. GM ever built.

January 29, 2006 8:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Smaller is better and it doesn't all have to do with the measly $50K.

There will always be plenty to do in that Department. DONE may have less to do, but there will always be a lot to do.

Do you really think that the current NC board members are training up new recruits? Nope. And since they'll be term limited out, it will be up to DONE to help everyone out.

Sorry dudes, this concept is mandated by the City Charter. You all should get used to them and work with them and stop bashing them.

January 29, 2006 10:26 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Thank you, Greg. But you'll be on appeal with Stuckey, any day now.

AV's supporters in the Eastside really don't like Mr. Nelson. His heavy handed tactics with LA32, trying to bust up Boyle Heights smaller, and one and on.

Beg AV for severance now, while he still likes you a bit, Greg. When the analysis comes in about how dysfunctional so many of the NCs you've "trained" are, you'll get "Bok-ked", too.

Does New York City have a neighborhood council czar we can steal?

January 30, 2006 12:22 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Has anyone ever been to a N.C. mtg.? Such bunk! The only people who attend are the "councilmembers" and whatever City staff who have been "summoned." The N.C. idea was interesting, but it has failed - miserably.

January 30, 2006 11:02 AM  

Blogger Jim Alger said:

Joe, Joe Joe...

The ability of a community to form its own Neighborhood Council is grass roots democracy at its core.

If an NC determines that it has to many constituents to effectively conduct outreach with the measly $50,000 that they get in funding (one of the lowest in the country by the way) then they SHOULD be broken into smaller groups.

Here is where I begin to agree with you. These councils need to be streamlined into closely even numbers of constituents. Of course once that happens real power could be transferred to these neighborhood bodies and that scares the hell out of certain City Councilmembers who shall remain nameless.

Keep in mind, these groups are volunteer and get not only virtually no help from the "system" but usually are fighting it every step of the way.

Some are up to no good, but a little bit of community involvement will change all of that.


January 30, 2006 11:12 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

No crashes on the orange line.

Gee, I wonder why that hasn't been reported. Wait - that's right, you guys specialize on sniping from the sidelines when things don't work. Progress on good things don't make much of a story, huh?

January 30, 2006 2:14 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 30, 2006 3:18 PM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

JIm ALger I can't beleive I am disagreeing with you for the first time.

I learned early on the real reason we have a government and elected officials; they are there to fight over other peoples money.

Now after saying that , I now see that with 50 ,000 dollars for each neighborhood council being up for grabs and now hearing the excuse that 50 ,000 dollars is not enough for outreach and then to go back to the argument that these are grass roots organizations ; why the problem of not having enough money to do outreach.?

If these are all volunteer entities and do come from different parts of the community, outreach shouldn't be much of a problem.

Just talk to your neighbors , start your own blog site. That doesn't cost money if you already have access to internet services. What is the deal?

I will giva an example.

I recently removed myself from having anything to do with the Arts Committee of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council because they proposed to create a website (paying one of their buddies with DLANC funds )( which oif course DLANC board approved and also the city apporved) to create free website directory for artists , many of them aree businesses. I have a problem with DLANC paying for the advertisement of businesses with City Tax payer money. I don't want anything to do with that at all. To me it doesn't makes sense to advertise businesses , who happen to be artists , for free , while other businesses are not being given the same gift as these artists , to advetise for free on a website paid for by the City Of Los Angeles.

Of course the chair of the committe has his own artist non profit which will benefit through the free advertising he will be getting thrugh the website.

This is why these NC s want to split up , they want more of the money being allocated to them from the city so they can

1. PAy for caterers whom they know; for events.

2. Pay for advertising materials from their friends.

3. MAke parties and pay event planners etc with the DLANC money.

Shall I go on?

If you people think this is about grass roots I have some ocean front real estate I can sell you in Arizona.

It is not about grass roots , Democarcy , whatever , it is about money , money , money. That is what splitting up is about.

Grass roots , don't need money.

I am a town crier. Is our neighborhood council going to pay for an outreach of our elections coming up yes , but they will not make a very big effort to advertise the elections and how to get elected, heak no, but I will be out on my own disemminating info on the election conming up this June all over the place and it will not have cost the NEighborhood Council a dime.

You have to remember there are no board members , having been elected , realy truly want the neighborhood councils to do outreach because that menas others might be intersted in running for those seats or may actually be opposed as a majority to what the NC's are voting on.

Thus we created a fail safe mechanism in our neighborhood council, the Town Crier, they can't fire me for doing my job , I even tell people how to campaign etc , because these board members know they aren't going to invite others to vote for someone else.

As you can see our neighborhood council is not in denial , now if we could get someone other than a paid by the Department of Neighborhood Empowemrment person to oversee the elections we would be doing even better.

But to summarize. Democarcy and grassroots my behind , it is about spending tax payer money . if it is grass roots you don't need money for outreach.

January 30, 2006 3:28 PM  

Blogger Andrew L. said:

Our NCs have alot of problems that need to be dealt with:

1) Lack of Focus - the "let a million flowers bloom" approach has led to scattered results. In DC, the Neighborhood Planning Councils just do Rec and Parks planning, while Adivsory Neighborhood Commissions (both elected on a real ballot on election day) are a REQUIRED stop to get zoning approval.

2) Uneven Bylaws. BONC spends too much time dealing with bylaws because there is no standardized bylaws. The only variable should be the makeup (and number of seats) of the elected body of each NC.

3) Too Little Money. Alger is right that NCs get too little money, but they also try to do too much. DC uses a grant system instead of a budget. If you have something to do, the city will give you the money.

4) Too big. Some are too big, some practice exclusivist policies to discourage participation. Should the city draw the lines instead? Just an idea.

That's just the beginnings of my thoughts on NCs (and I serve on one of the more active ones).

January 30, 2006 5:03 PM  

Blogger ubrayj02 said:

One thing I've seen come up in a few NC's is the issue of membership on a planning or land use committee.

Anyone who's tried to work on one of these committees will tell you that having someone on committee who hasn't done their homework, and doesn't know the vocabulary, is a major road block to getting things done.

So these committees try to invent ways of keeping the ignorant out - meeting quotas, appointment to the committee, etc. BUT! - the whole point of the NCs (I thought) was to bring "democracy" to the people. Or whatever. To let the ignorant people get involved in making decisions about their lives.

So what gives?

The NCs are a perfect example of the rubber hitting the road and skidding out - principles of "democracy" that don't match up with reality. We have elected officials for a reason. Mob rule, and direct democracy, don't lead to problems being solved on the macro level.

On your block, yes, it works. In a 5 mile radius - probably not. NC's are incredibly easy to corrupt and place undue influence over. Imagine a developer simply stacking the council because his construction crew are "stakeholders". And if you bar construction workers - where is the democracy in that?

Noble, if flawed principles, underlie this system.

January 30, 2006 7:04 PM  

Blogger Archie Bunker said:

Ubray, That is why Ben Franklin warned that they should revamp the constitution and it's democratic system every 20 years for these kind of ebbs and flows.

January 31, 2006 10:37 AM  

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