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Friday, July 21, 2006

Understanding Section 907

Since it is Friday, and the presentations shall run long in City Council it is easy to understand how some can forget or misunderstand the laws that govern them. So, as a public service today I have decided to provide a refresher course to our esteemed residents of the 4th floor of Section 907 of the Los Angeles City Charter.

Sec. 907. Early Warning System.

The Regulations shall establish procedures for receiving input from neighborhood councils prior to decisions by the City Council, City Council Committees and boards and commissions. The procedures shall include, but need not be limited to, notice to neighborhood councils as soon as practical, and a reasonable opportunity to provide input before decisions are made. Notices to be provided include matters to be considered by the City Council, City Council Committees, and City boards or commissions.

For those of you who seem to have difficulty with this, this does not mean you come up with a hair brained motion on Friday for Tuesdays council meeting and then wonder why Neighborhood Councils are honked off. Since the City has ruled that Neighborhood Councils are covered under the Brown Act (an act the City Council has had difficulty in following) that means that there is no legal mechanism for a Neighborhood Council to respond to a short noticed motion, and absolutely no way to respond to a "Special Meeting" notice.

So is it a coincidence that so many motions before City Council are "time limit files" where they are heard on the last day to act? And how would the City Council allow time for every item before it to have input from Neighborhood Councils as the Charter states? Remember, the Charter makes no exceptions.

The bigger question is, what part of open government does this City Council not understand and what, if anything, are the Neighborhood Councils and/or the NC Congress going to do about it?


Your thoughts?

25 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

You mean like trying to ram through the extension of City Council terms without barely a glance at neighborhood Councils?

They were merely an afterthought after a few of them showed up to complain.

These same folks are afraid of hiring police officers because they may have broken the law in the past... these stuffed shirts thumb their nose at the law whenever they damn well please.

I think it is high time something is done about it.

July 21, 2006 2:07 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The City Council is to busy raising their pay to give a damn about NC's. Want to get their attention? get the NC's to start passing resolutions to cap the pay of City Council members... betchya they wont want to extend their terms then.

July 21, 2006 2:45 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

It will be interesting to see how the new congress meets this and other challenges.

Better get the popcorn, gonna be a heck of a show when the rubber meets the road.

July 21, 2006 4:10 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The suggestions to the LANC Congress are great fodder but I wonder exactly what those "suggesters" are DOING -- it seems to be just talking. Take your vitamins, dum dums. Roll up your sleeves. Close down the computer. And do some work. If you are so darn clever and wise, then contribute your time. Participate -- then we will listen.

July 21, 2006 4:36 AM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

Excellent, excellent point, C.J.
Query whether a neighborhood council could file a lawsuit to invalidate the term limit proposal on this ground. After all, what's the rush? Why not get some input, as the law requires?

July 21, 2006 7:21 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Lisa Sarno held some NC elections because SHE said they didn't follow ALL the rules. In fact these same city council clowns jumped all over her because they said it was ridiculous to not allow them to move forward because of something minor.

My point is NC's should definitely start organizing to protest the extended term limits and the PAY RAISE council members are getting in Jan. They don't deserve it. Does anyone know when does the term limit agenda item go back to full council floor for vote after the city attorney drafts ballot measure???

July 21, 2006 7:55 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Daily News
Term limits
Regarding extending term limits - what a sham. If the members of the City Council are unable to learn the responsibilities and duties of the job within the first year, then perhaps they are incompetent and should never have been elected.
The council members and the League of Women Voters say the council doesn't have enough time (eight years) to learn the job and effectively do the job. In private business, there is usually a 90-day probation period and by the end of the first year, an employee is expected to have learned most of the details of the job, even a very complex one, and to be performing effectively. What we need are new council members, not extended term limits.
- Norma Kennedy
West Hills

The public trough
The City Council doesn't want to stop feeding at the public trough when its time is up. That is what term limits are for. It allows new blood to run city government for a while. It tries to keep the city semi-clean of the slime of special interests, but it will never be completely clean as long as there are lobbyists......And the City Council wants four more years? Vote them all out at election time.
- Maxine Flam
North Hollywood

Give them life
I don't agree with term limits for the L.A. City Council. With the leadership they have shown in the decline of Los Angeles, I say give them life sentences.
- Craig Crippen
West Hills

July 21, 2006 8:52 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Given this blog's enormous amount of attention for Neighborhood Councils, maybe you can put out the call for NC members to make public comment at Council meetings.

Many of us at City Hall are so sick and tired of hearing the crazed, self promotional and hate filled nonsense from Sylvia Hawkins, Matt Doud, Mike Hunt, and Zuma Dogg day after day after day after day...

Besides the people talking about South Central Farm, it is extremely rarea to see NC members, or anyone for that matter, giving coherent, relevant public comment on business before the Councilmembers.

July 21, 2006 9:24 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

So, I gather y'all don't trust our Council members. While legislation extending term limits appears to be a self-interested maneuver (and very well may be for some), it's probably good policy. For one, having institutional members of the legislative body allows the public more opportunity to hold officials accountable for their jobs. Secondly, longer terms allows council members to become more legislatively savvy when dealing with special interests (e.g. teachers union, developers, etc.).

And I'm sorry, but the example of the private sector probation period isn't entirely accurate. First, the last time I checked, there are no term limits in the private sector. Second, turnover is costly be it in the public or private sector. Of course, if someone isn't serving a corporation's or the citizenry's best interest than they should be foisted on their petards - and a three term limit does not prevent the public from doing this. But if someone has proven their capability for civic leadership, why do we have such tight tenure restrictions?

The answer seems to lie in the rampant cynicism about elected officials. If we are cynical about the motives and wherewithal of the characters we elect, perhaps we should be looking at the way in which candidates are chosen and campaigns are funded, not how long they are allowed to serve.

Just a thought.

John R

July 21, 2006 9:34 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

So where were you guys when this issue was heard before the council? It's not enough to be pissed off about government; you have to take soem action to change it. I think there were only two people who spoke about term limits, other than the people who proposed the change.

July 21, 2006 11:17 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

oooooh.....neighborhood councils passing resolutions.....scaaaaary.....and oh so effective....

July 21, 2006 12:19 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

12:19 pm -- is that you Mitch?

July 21, 2006 2:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

2:15 pm -- is that you Alger?

July 21, 2006 2:38 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

To show what a bunch of slimy snakes city council members are NO ONE KNEW term limits was on the council agenda. Weiss sent an e-mail last Friday to NC's and people need more time to schedule time off. I guarantee though that everyone I've spoken to is against this and will make sure they speak out against it through e-mails, media, community meetings etc.

July 21, 2006 2:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

of course it was Midget Bitch Mitch

July 21, 2006 2:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

2:40 pm -- Is that you again Alger? I thought you did not have a problem with Mitch.

July 21, 2006 2:42 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

If the City Council really wants to hear from real people, it needs to hold meetings at night and on weekends. Everyone else is out there working, working, working to earn the tax dollars they so freely spend.

July 21, 2006 10:28 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Why do you presume an anonymous poster to be Alger? Many people don't like Mini Mitch.

July 21, 2006 10:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

10:35 -- That is how Mr. Alger and his team of bloggers operate.

July 22, 2006 11:14 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Oh please. Alger and Mitch (or your friends), could you take this to another forum?

July 22, 2006 1:45 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

It does get annoying.

Some Alger-hater assumes they know how some anonymous blogger "operates", assumes their connection to Jim Alger and then attempts to smear him by claiming to "out" that person as a member of his "team".

All bullshit of course but for some reason a few of you guys just can't let it go. You have to attack a guy who hasn't even posted in here, hasn't attacked anyone and actually come to think of it hasn't done much lately that has been reported. I wonder why... oh yea THE ELECTION IS OVER so we stopped reporting Alger's every move...

Maybe you idiots should figure out the election is over and leave the guy the hell alone.

July 23, 2006 1:52 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

AMEN

July 23, 2006 1:53 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

1:52 Am -- Sure Alger. It is not you...

July 23, 2006 5:45 AM  

Anonymous Twilight Zone said:

I feel as though I've entered into a private conversation between Jim Alger and an anonymous poster.

I am lost on this story?

July 23, 2006 2:39 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Help me with this. I read the Charter language on NCs. Here is what I found:

Sec. 900. Purpose.
To promote more citizen participation in government and make government more responsive to local needs, a citywide system of neighborhood councils, and a Department of Neighborhood Empowerment is created. Neighborhood councils shall include representatives of the many diverse interests in communities and shall have an advisory role on issues of concern to the neighborhood.

Then it goes on to say:
Sec. 908. Powers of Neighborhood Councils.
Subject to applicable law, the City Council may delegate its authority to neighborhood councils to hold public hearings prior to the City Council making a decision on a matter of local concern.

Sec. 909. Annual City Budget Priorities.
Each neighborhood council may present to the Mayor and Council an annual list of priorities for the City budget. The Mayor shall inform certified neighborhood councils of the deadline for submission so that the input may be considered in a timely fashion.

Sec. 910. Monitoring of City Services.
Neighborhood councils shall monitor the delivery of City services in their respective areas and have periodic meetings with responsible officials of City departments, subject to their reasonable availability.

Pretty clear on what NCs are expected and empowered to do.

The way I read the newspapers, staff reports, etc., having a functioning housing market is a Citywide issue, not a "neighborhood" issue, and helping the homeless off the streets is to everyone's benefit (altho the folk downtown may feel they will benefit more, since more homeless live on the streets there). And it is pretty clear that there is a severe housing problem, which has caused housing prices to balloon skyhigh.

So, the Council has not delegated the hearing authority over Citywide issues (or any issues that I have read about), and this doesn't have anything to do with preparing the annual Budget or monitoring City services. So where do NCs fit in this or any other matter heard by City Council, other than to participate in the public debate. And the way I see it, there have been efforts to inform the NCs about this and opportunities for NCs to comment at public hearings.

Wasn't there a table at the Congress of NCs?? Did anyone who has posted to this stop to ask the folk who were there what this was about?

And didn't this issue appear on the City Council HCED Committee agenda on June 27 (http://lacity.org/clk/committeeagend/clkcommitteeagend2338740_06272006.pdf), and again on the City Council Agenda July 5 (http://lacity.org/clk/councilagendas/clkcouncilagendas338914_07052006.pdf)?
Both on the Regular Agendas, which I think are sent to all NCs.

So, there were two notices, and opportunities to speak, with a couple of weeks for interested people to ask their Councilor about it, or to get involved.

What's the beef?? There is clearly a crisis in LA's housing market -- it just doesn't work for most people and it clearly doesn't work for low-paid workers who either have to commute forever, double up or live in slums. LA is the homeless capitol of America. And anyone who was paying attention should have known about it. (I am discounting the fact that there were articles in the Times and Daily News, TV and radio covered it and other blogs carried items about it.)

Nobody wins when people are misled, and this posting is just plain misleading.

July 26, 2006 7:31 PM  

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