Neighborhood Councils Shafted. (first run, repeat)
Impact statements are how the various City advisory bodies give their input to the City Council. When a Council agenda is published, committee recommendations and the various impact statements are included so that the councilmember has a summary of all pertinent communications right in front of them. This includes Community Impact Statements filed by concerned neighborhood councils.
Neighborhood councils are official advisory entities in the City of Los Angeles. Despite this fact, the City Clerk has stopped including the text of the NCs' CISs on agendas. Instead, there is a boilerplate that brings the flow of pertinent information to an abrupt and ugly halt -- “*Please click on the above Council file No. hyperlink to view the whole text of the Community Impact Statement(s). Hard copies are available in the City Clerk's Office.”
Unless a City Clowncilmember is intimately or directly involved in any of the tens of motions that pass through a single Clowncil session, they will not put out any extra effort to get information on a particular item -- especially if it affects a different fiefdom than theirs. Thus the intended voice of the community in official City business is effectively cut off, just-like-that.
This new tactic goes beyond silencing the community to completely misrepresenting them in some cases. Let’s look at yesterday’s April 29th Clowncil agenda for example. In 48 different pieces of legislation up for a hearing or final vote, two of the 48 had a significant enough impact on the public for NCs to have debated them on their time and filed CISs: item 35, a CIS from the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council supporting the motion on a land use issue, and item 44, a CIS from the Foothill Trails District Neighborhood Council opposing this particular item – Council File 08-0481 (CD 7 – Alarcon, Cardenas) “Consideration of motion relative to fund authorizations and transfers in connection with the Training Opportunity Program at Lopez Canyon Landfill.”
CF 08-0481 might sound familiar. The “training opportunity” is the new Truck Driver Training Program at Lopez Canyon Landfill and the action is taking $100,000 from the Hansen Dam Environmental Awareness Fund to pay for this program. Zorro Marxist has pitched this one in Clowncil and in the press as a program to benefit unemployed minorities, mainly in CD 7. The agenda shows that the NC is opposed to this motion, but the text of the CIS is not there. To what is the NC opposed? The program itself, directed at unemployed minorities? The location of the program, a program directed at unemployed minorities? The amount of the payment, going to a program directed at unemployed minorities? The source of the payment, going to a program directed at unemployed minorities? Without the CIS text, the FTDNC looks like a group of NIMBY racists here.
In reality, the actual text of the CIS reveals that the NC is opposed to using Hansen Dam Environmental Awareness Center funds for a truck driver training program and makes no comment one way or the other about the program itself. Adding insult to injury, Alarcon has added recommendations that were not in the original motion but are now in the agenda. They not only instruct the BWP and City Attorney to change the Administrative Code that clearly describes the Hansen Dam Environmental Awareness Center Fund use, but they give Alarcon complete discretionary control of the fund. Q.E.D.
Ready NCs? Bend over. Get shafted. Now say “thank you”. Repeat.