Neighborhood Councils Boards Flexing Their Muscles Influence: Fight over Street-Repairs Bond Reflects Importance

By Orlov, Rick | Daily News (Los Angeles, CA), January 25, 2013 | Go to article overview

Neighborhood Councils Boards Flexing Their Muscles Influence: Fight over Street-Repairs Bond Reflects Importance


Orlov, Rick, Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)


A recent fight over a proposed $3 billion bond issue for street repairs illustrated the growing influence of neighborhood councils in Los Angeles city government, as they exerted enough influence to keep the measure off the ballot for now.

The success in that case represents an evolution for the councils, which at their inception a dozen years ago were seen as potentially powerless because they held no real voting authority in city matters. But through wider participation and a louder voice, observers say, they are now fulfilling the influential role envisioned for them when voters revised the City Charter in 1999.

"This is what it was meant to be," said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute at California State University, Los Angeles, and who served as the top aide to the appointed Charter Reform Commission.

"They were meant to be a strong community voice and weigh in on major issues. It might be annoying (to the City Council) but the whole idea was to create a different form of review and allow the community to weigh in."

The street bond proposal from Councilmen Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino provided the perfect vehicle for neighborhood councils to weigh in.

Englander and Buscaino proposed on a Friday afternoon to have the council vote the following week to place the bond on the May 21 ballot, without any formal staff reports and only sketchy details on the cost for the public.

Neighborhood council groups, starting with the Los Angeles Alliance of Neighborhood Councils, and supported by the Valley Alliance and others, called for a 60-day delay to allow time for review of the proposal. City Council offices began receiving telephone calls of protest from homeowners. The public outcry forced the council to put off the bond until a future election.

"In truth, that's the way it should work," Sonenshein said. "It's not giving the neighborhood council a veto power, but it is including them in the process."

Englander acknowledged as much.

"Everyone I talk with says there is a need to fix the streets, but they were unhappy with the process," Englander said.

The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners is planning a review of the role of the neighborhood councils in the future. A daylong discussion is scheduled for Saturday to look back at the original intent of neighborhood councils as part as an overall plan for their future.

Greg Nelson, the first general manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, said he foresees a constant struggle between neighborhood councils and the city over early access to information and being heard.

"The City Charter requires an early notification system, but the problem is that regulations were adopted that were weak in this regard, so the City Council regularly ignores this part of the City Charter," Nelson said.

BONC weighed in on the issue earlier this month, voting to send letters to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Council members reminding them of the City Charter provisions and asking that the neighborhood council role be included in future decisions.

The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which oversees the councils, recently had a new general manager, Grayce Liu, confirmed.

Liu said she sees the neighborhood councils at a crossroads.

"They have increased their ability to access City Hall and are demanding to be part of the process," Liu said. "I think we also need to deal with (city) departments to get them more aware of the neighborhood councils.

"Some general managers will call me and say they want the neighborhood councils to weigh in on an issue in a week. With 95, it's just not possible to move that quickly. We tell them they have to do more outreach to make the neighborhood councils part of the process."

Villaraigosa regularly turned to the neighborhood councils for help when he was first elected, winning their support to increase the trash fee with the promise the money would be used to expand the Los Angeles Police Department. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Neighborhood Councils Boards Flexing Their Muscles Influence: Fight over Street-Repairs Bond Reflects Importance
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.