July 2, 2012 |
When neighborhood councils emerged from the Los Angeles charter reform movement in the late 1990s, they were the subject of that effort's greatest hopes and most serious anxieties. Supporters viewed them as a vehicle to engage participation in government and to make government more effective and representative. Critics worried that the councils would become obstacles to efficiency and growth, prone to NIMBYism and interposing yet another barrier in a system already better at saying no than yes. It's been 10 years since the first of the councils rolled out, and they have yet to prove either as revolutionary as their backers hoped or as obstructionist as their opponents feared.
December 23, 2006
Re "Neighborhood councils' success limited," Dec. 17 Los Angeles neighborhood councils have been criticized for mudslinging and infighting at meetings. But democracy is messy. Conflicts often represent a sincere effort to communicate with each other and build a foundation for the future. Establishing dispute resolution commissions in every planning area to arbitrate neighborhood council-related disputes, however, would reduce the time the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and the city attorney spend sorting out conflicts.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 1, 2010 |
Concerned for the safety of several witnesses, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office obtained a grand jury indictment last month of a former Los Angeles neighborhood council president who had been charged in October with misappropriating city funds. James Harris, who headed the Empowerment Congress Southwest Area Neighborhood Development Council in South Los Angeles, is the fifth neighborhood council leader to face criminal charges involving misuse of taxpayer funds.
February 17, 2002 |
The bland, Progressive-Era mask that has been the face of city government in Los Angeles since the 1920s is cracking, but not fast enough to reveal the comprehending human face that Angelenos seek. Unless the city falls to a revolution of popularity--unless Angelenos soon see more of their complexions and conditions when they look at the apparatus of city government--the only loyalty to Los Angeles left may be nostalgia. Perhaps not at the ballot box, where breaking up Los Angeles can be defeated, but in the hearts of the city, where it actually matters--the idea of secession will have won. It's a hopeful sign that recent opinion polling shows that enough hearts in the city are still undecided.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 28, 2010 |
The push to eliminate 1,003 jobs across Los Angeles city government could carve most deeply into neighborhood councils, arts programs and initiatives aimed at reducing ethnic tensions, according to a report obtained by The Times. To close a nearly $200-million gap, budget officials are looking at a 50% reduction in staff at the agency that oversees neighborhood councils, or 19 out of 38 jobs. Libraries would see a 10% reduction in staff, as would the office of City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, the draft spreadsheet states.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 8, 2009 |
Los Angeles police are investigating a community activist and convicted felon accused of misusing tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars while serving as chairman of his neighborhood council. The case of James Harris is just one of six involving neighborhood council treasurers or chairmen who are believed to have misspent as much as $250,000 in city money. The investigations have raised questions about the city's financial oversight of the volunteer community groups -- for example, none of the treasurers were subject to credit or background checks.