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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Neighborhood Councils Shafted. (first run, repeat)

'Sleeping', 'walking around', and the ever-popular 'texting your honey’ during Public Comment aren’t enough demonstrated apathy for the City Clowncil any longer. The Clowncil has come up with yet another way to shun the unwashed masses in full public view – boilerplate Community Impact Statements.

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.

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Anonymous Anonymous said:

So Alarcon, with Cardenas' help, is now raiding an Environmental Program funded by taxpayers for a Dam or some such (details not given), for his pro-illegal immigrant pandering schemes. To "fund truck driver education" for illegals who couldn't manage it themselves, despite all the programs already out there, by taking away scarce funds to preserve our shared water and natural resources.

That's the real issue here, not NC's per se -- although good for this NC, catching this.

This is a general issue with the Mexican politicians who pander to their illegals: they have NO regard for environmental issues other than to see those programs as piggy banks they can raid, claiming racial and class discriminations.

They want to build huge, subsidized projects for people who trash their own neighborhoods because they literally throw trash in the streets even when trashcans are a few feet away, so paper and plastic end up in the sewers and oceans, and now we ALL have to pay 25c for bags that many of us re-use for trash and will now have to pay for.

These projects Reyes wants to build next to parks and open spaces in the Hollywood Hills, Westside near any and all parks "so our kids can live where they should...and they have the space to absorb all that energy."

This is Crazy Speak: Open Space is NOT an invitation to a slum waiting to happen. These people need to teach their own people not to have more than 2 kids and then complain they're overcrowded, not to throw garbage away, and to keep their own spaces and districts clean. When they can't do that, of course they have no respect for some dam or park they can't "use" as they want.

These politicians think just like they do in Mexico, or in the slums of Latin America or Calcutta: they're in direct conflict with First-World thinking and values.

THIS is the kind of thing Sierra Club should be dealing with: Go ahead, contact them to take a stand. They DO talk about over- population and turning all open space into crowded living space as an environmental issue but are to PC to be any use.

April 30, 2008 2:31 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Great fact checking as always Zuma.
Council members get hard copies of all CISes now. Before it was hit or miss. AS Councilman Alarcon mentioned at E+N Committee meeting, most members don't read the full agenda, they read staff summaries and reports that they find most interesting. Placing copies of CISes in their folders is the best way to make sure they see them before vote. Clerk also sends out copies of CISes when they receive them.

April 30, 2008 2:41 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Alarcon may not read the agendas, but how does he know what the other Councilmembers do? I remember Janice Hahn standing up in Council and telling everyone how important is it for NC's to provide CIS statements so that the Councilmembers can read them on the agenda.

April 30, 2008 3:51 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


... And yet, the majority of NCs have never once submitted a CIS, after being up and running for an average of four years each, and costing the city hundred$ of thousand$ per council.

Two or three NCs (mostly those run by former 911 commissioners like Jason Lyons), have put in dozens each, and maybe a dozen NCs average 1 or 2 CIS statements a year.

But more than HALF have never once weighed in, on anything -- even on actions regarding their own local areas and districts. In fact, this was one of the arguments used by opponents of letting NCs open council files, basically "they don't even begin to use the advisory power they now have," (with the CISs).

And -- like it or not -- that part's true. Most NCs hold 10-12 meetings a year, nearly all have held 40-50 meetings since being certified. If each meeting averages 2-3 hours, then that's 100 or more hours of yakking and kvetching per council.

And in 100-150 hours of sit-down meetings, most couldn't come up with ONE single thing to offer an opinion on (pro or con) in those thousands of City Council motions passed every year?

April 30, 2008 4:55 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Yep, Sierra Club was ALMOST angry enough about the heaps of trash strewn across the Southwest deserts by illegal border-crossers to take a stand against illegal immigration.

But, in the end they caved.

Lesson: Only when well-to-do whites pollute is it a big deal.

April 30, 2008 6:46 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

If Alarcon is right, and the Councilmembers don't read the agendas, then how important is it for NCs to file CIS's? Besides, by the time issues get to the agenda, the Councilmembers have already made up their minds because the lobbyists have gotten to them.

April 30, 2008 6:58 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Community Impact Statements are on equal footing with other Impact Statements.

They should be spelled out in the agenda same as everything else. It might be in counclmembers packages but anyone picking up the agenda doesn't have the text.

April 30, 2008 7:55 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Community Impact Statements WERE on equal footing with Fiscal Impact Statements, but no more.

April 30, 2008 11:27 PM  

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