LA 32 Neighborhood Council response to Councilman Huizar's eviction notice
Los Angeles, California, August 29, 2011
In a Notice from the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, delivered via email to the LA-32 Neighborhood Council President, Anthony Manzano, on August 5, 2011, Councilman Jose Huizar issued an order to vacate the 200 square foot office space the Neighborhood Council has occupied since March 2008 at the CD14 Constituent Center located at 4927 Huntington Drive in El Sereno.
The notice arrived just two days following the LA-32 NC General Board Meeting on August 3, 2011, where representatives from Councilmember Huizar’s office delivered their monthly update to the NC and stakeholders. Although they had knowledge of the impending news, both Arturo Gonzalez and Daniel Andelon kept this “secret” from the Board during their address.
Without any dialogue with the LA-32 Neighborhood Council, Councilmember Jose Huizar is demanding that the LA-32 NC vacate the meager 200 square foot office space that the NC has occupied since March 2008 in the El Sereno Constituent Center, located at 4927 Huntington Drive in El Sereno. Further, the NC is ordered to vacate and remove all their belongings by Sunday, September 4th during the Labor Day Holiday weekend.
The timing of both the Eviction Notice (August 3) and the “Vacate-by” date (September 4) fit perfectly between the LA-32 NC’s General Board Meeting schedule of August 3 and September 7, so that the Board will have no opportunity to discuss, consider, or take action on this matter. This also leaves the Board no opportunity to enter into discussions to procure alternative space.
The Councilmember has cited the following as the reason for the eviction, “The Council District is in the process of reallocating this space to an existing non-profit so that it may expand its service offerings to the over 2,000 community members it currently serves.”
Yet, the LA-32 Neighborhood Council represents a population of over 48,000 stakeholders in the 90032 zip code. In fact, LA-32 NC has spent many of its budgeted LA City dollars supporting various projects within the community, including: library books for Wilson High School, sports equipment for El Sereno and Rose Hill Parks, graffiti removal, wildflower beautification, emergency preparedness equipment for CERT, playground equipment for El Sereno Middle School, electrical lighting for El Sereno Community Garden, and the highly successful Candidate Forum attended by over 250 stakeholders.
The LA-32 NC is also a sponsor of many community events, including: Ascot Hills Kite Flying Festival, Healthy Start Fair, Kimball Street Neighborhood Watch Party, Guardia Park Community BBQ, F.A.S.T. Spay & Neuter Program, and Lummis Day Festival, to name a few.
The Councilmember also states in the Eviction Notice that, “Though the Council district appreciates the sharing of resources with the Neighborhood Councils, the Council District at this time is in need of full utilization of the space currently occupied by the LA-32 NC.” This office space is the core location where Board Members and Committees can regularly meet, draft and type minutes and other documents, perform research, hold meetings; and where the official records of the LA-32 Neighborhood Council are kept. It is not only “fully utilized”, but central to the LA-32 NC’s operations and well known to the stakeholders as the LA-32 office location since 2008.
The Office Sharing Agreement between Councilmember Huizar and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, on behalf of LA-32 Neighborhood Council, dated February 29, 2008, lists only two situations whereby the Council Office can revoke the space, as indicated in the Agreement, “…Councilmember Jose Huizar’s Office, has the authority to revoke the space sharing arrangement with the Los Angeles 32 Neighborhood Council (providing 30 days written notice), under the following conditions:
a) The Mayor’s Office and Council Office requires the use of the space.
b) The Neighborhood Council does not adhere to the rules and guidelines, as set forth.”
Neither the Council Office nor the Mayor’s Office intends to use the space, rather it is being provided to a non-City entity; nor has the Neighborhood Council violated the terms of the agreement, so neither of these conditions have been validated in Huizar’s demand to vacate.
Why is it that in these times of City Budget deficits, the Councilmember decides to evict the LA-32 Neighborhood Council, leaving them no alternative but to use City funds to rent or lease an alternative space? Why would Councilmember Huizar grant this space to a non-City entity who serves only 2,000 people, while LA-32 NC represents 48,000?
Perhaps the LA-32 NC would know these answers if there had been a dialogue on the issue beforehand; or if Councilmember Huizar hadn’t ignored the emails and phone calls by members of the Board’s Executive Committee wishing to discuss this matter.
LA-32 Neighborhood Council