[Update: 1:00 p.m. The City Council approved the package of neighborhood council motions today. Changes below reflect the vote and a comment from Councilman Paul Krekorian.]
Two months ago, Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian announced a package of motions that sought to reform the evolving neighborhood council system. On Tuesday, those motions were unanimously approved by the City Council. The neighborhood council system currently represents 95 neighborhoods across the city.
"Today’s approval was an important step forward in our continued effort to help strengthen and reform the neighborhood council system," Krekorian said in a statement after Tuesday's vote.
The four motions seek to build a grievance policy, improve training for neighborhood council members, increase autonomy within the system and streamline the funding program that provides resources for neighborhood councils. Krekorian, who chairs the Council’s Education and Neighborhoods Committee, based the proposed policy changes on 18 months of research, town hall meetings and surveys, according to his district’s office.
The committee (of which Krekorian and Councilman Dennis Zine are the only members) approved the motions on July 27. The Budget and Finance Committee approved the recommendations regarding the Neighborhood Funding Program last week. Although only a handful of residents spoke out at the committee meetings, neighborhood council board members told Patch that the dismal showing did not reflect their lack of interest. Some of them said that they previously expressed their views to the councilman; others said they were waiting for the motions to come before council. However, there was no public comment or discussion during Tuesday's City Council meeting.
John Walker, president of the Studio City Neighborhood Council, said last month that he liked the “idea” of the motions, specifically the one that calls for a system-wide training program for new board members.
“We need city training throughout the neighborhood council system,” he said. “The councils represent a lot of people.”
Another local leader said that the motions don’t do enough for their East Valley neighborhood.
It’s a “positive first step” that will bring structure to the process of the neighborhood council system, but the proposed changes don’t reform the system, said Neighborhood Council Valley Village President Tony Braswell.
“It is not reforming the system, it is improving the system,” he said in a phone interview last month.
The challenge of the motions, he said, is accounting for the system as a whole when each neighborhood council has separate, distinct issues.
Braswell called the motions, which ask city officials to report back on plans to enact the policy changes, much-needed “administrative girder” for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, where BongHwan Kim was recently placed in a permanent position of general manager.
The timeline for officials to report back to the City Council on implementing the changes ranges from 90 days to six months.
“I think Krekorian did a smart thing," Braswell said. "It pushed the neighborhood council movement forward and will give it time to grow even further."
“For our neighborhood council, it probably is not enough.”