What You Need To Know About Neighborhood Councils

It occurred to me that many of you may not have a strong familiarity with our system of Neighborhood Councils, and that’s what I want to tackle this time around. 

June18NCwebThe neighborhood council system was started in the early 2000s after being approved by voters in 1999 as a response to the overwhelming disconnect that existed between most communities and their city council representatives. The establishment of these neighborhood councils would create a conduit in which the concerns of the average citizen such as issues of crime, beautification, infrastructure, and even activist platforms could be funneled easily from the neighborhood to the council office, police, or any other appropriate government department or bureau. 

Your neighborhood council board is made up of UNPAID members like you and me who give their time and skill to serving the neighborhood. It is necessary to note that even though your neighborhood council board is unpaid, they are considered city elected officials and are therefore held to a specific set of rules and procedures which protects the system from corruption and allows them to handle your taxpayer dollars. 

Let’s say you have an issue with an empty lot in your neighborhood. Let’s say that same empty lot is unkempt, an area used for dumping, and a place where questionable people are congregating. In the old days, this meant having to figure out ALL of the departments and offices you need to call to get this situation remedied. For those of us who are not familiar with the machinations of government, it can be frustrating and time consuming. This same issue, however, could be brought to the attention of your area neighborhood council. In fact, a problem like this might even have a specific committee that would handle it such as PLUM (Planning & Land Use Management) and/or the Public Safety Committee. In many cases, your issue(s) can be heard and dealt with in one forum. The neighborhood council has direct access to all of the departments and personnel you need. The best part is that any problem, large or small, can be brought to the attention of the council district office where they can give it their personal attention based on a board recommendation. 

Did you know that, in most cases, you have an Area Representative sitting on the board of your NC, someone from your community (maybe even you someday)who represents either your immediate neighborhood or local businesses? The area rep is similar to the Council District Deputy. Someone assigned by your council office, in this case District 10,  who is the liaison between your NC, neighborhood and the council office. Like the council deputy, your area representative is obligated to address your concern and report back to you until the matter is settled. You have area representatives who stand for residents AND area businesses as well. So you can see Neighborhood Councils and assigned CD10 Deputies provide many opportunities to have your concerns addressed, if they are functioning properly. 

Over the past five years, I have been a part of Neighborhood Councils as a Public Safety Liaison and as a member of the Community Emergency Response Team. This is not an appointed or elected position, which means I don't have voting rights for issues placed in front of the board. The upside is that I do get to serve my community in a role that I enjoy, fits my skill set, and conforms with my time. In fact, any member of the community may serve as an unelected  liaison (can weigh in on issues but not vote) on a committee such as PLUM or Outreach. All you have to do is ask. 

All meetings conducted by your neighborhood councils are open to the general public and that includes all committee meetings as well. Because neighborhood councils fall under the Brown Act (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Act), agendas are set and posted in advance of the actual meetings. Subjects that have NOT been posted on the agenda are generally NOT discussed, as that would be a violation. Many first-time attendees to neighborhood council meetings make this mistake and sometimes feel that they are being snubbed, which is not the case. The most popular meeting for the public is the Stakeholder meeting. A stakeholder is anyone who lives, works or owns property in the Neighborhood Council boundaries. If you do have an issue you want address, make sure to reach out and ask that it be put on the agenda. Each Council has different procedures for doing so.  All meetings can be found on your appropriate neighborhood council calendar. Here is a short list of neighborhood councils that exist within the Council District 10 boundaries. To find out which NC you belong to, go to :

www.empowerla.com - click on Neighborhood Councils and scroll down to find your community. 

Here are the NC's in CD10:

- Empowerment Congress West Area: www.ecwandc.org

-  P.I.C.O. Neighborhood Council:  www.piconc.com

- South Robertson Neighborhoods Council: www.soronc.org

West Adams Neighborhood Council: sites.google.com/site/westadamsnc/home

-  United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council    www.unnc.org

-  Mid City Neighborhood Council:   www.mincla.org

-  Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council:  www.wcknc.org

-  Olympic Park Neighborhood Council:  www.opnc.org



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Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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