Why does it take a guerrilla war by law-abiding citizens to get City Hall to comply with the law, to do what’s right for L.A., to respect the people?
It’s a silly queston. We all know the answer. Special interests own City Hall. None of our leaders have the courage to stand up for the people. We aren’t organized enough to have the power to demand they put the public interest ahead of private interests, to make our elected officials become public servants.
But there are positive signs that change is coming. Discontent runs so deep and so wide that a grassroots movement is being born and growing day by day, inch by inch.
The City Planning Commission approved an ordinance Thursday to impose a six-month moratorium on new billboards in the city while a full audit to identify the estimated 4,000 illegal signs is conducted and a policy to end visual blight, particularly from giant digital billboards, can be formulated.
This morning, the DWP is belatedly and reluctantly providing a dog-and-pony show for Neighborhood Council members on the outrageous solar energy plan approved by the mayor and council for the March 3 ballot. It’s outrageous because it will lead to massive rate hikes on top of hikes already imposed and others that are coming, because it will cost way too much and will achieve way too little, because it is nothing but a boondoggle for the IBEW which pours millions into preserving its power in the DWP and keeping servile politicians in office.
Last week, a second lawsuit was filed over City Hall’s failure for the last decade to conduct legally-required annual reports on the impact of growth on infrastructure.
“The point of filing another
suit was to bring Neighborhood Councils into the mix,” James O’Sullivan, president of the Miracle Mile Residential Association, said in an email today.”There is now an argument that these reports need to be done
so NC’s can effectively monitor City services and participate in the
O’Sullivan makes the point that the City Charter’s requirement to seek the advice of Neighborhood Councils on important city issues is being routinely violated.
Charter section 216 is an integral part of the system of governance created by the City’s Charter. Beginning in July 1, 2000, the Charter created a citywide system of neighborhood councils and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to support it. Specifically, the neighborhood council system was established “[t]o promote more citizen participation in government and to make government more responsive to l ocal needs ….” (Los Angeles City Charter, Article IX, Section 900.1.) The Charter mandates that neighborhood councils “shall have an advisory role on issues of concern to the neighborhood.” (Id., emphasis added.) The City’s Charter also specifies that “Neighborhood councils shall monitor the delivery of City services in their respective areas and have periodic meetings with responsible officials of City departments, subject to their reasonable availability.” (City Charter, Art. IX, Sec. 910.)
The neighborhood councils’ position in this citywide system is no less important than that of other City boards, commissions, councils and committees. In comparison to many other City boards, the neighborhood councils have broader jurisdiction to advise City leaders on a myr iad of issues, including the right to “present to the Mayor and Council an annual list of priorities for the City budget.” (City Charter, Art. IX, Sec. 909.) Article IX of the Charter, applicable regulations, and the Citywide Plan for a System of Neighborhood Councils are designed to give deference to the representative advisory actions of the neighborhood councils and to empower them. Neighborhood councils are entitled to weigh in on City business before decisions are made and are expected to bring issues of community concern to City departments and leaders. However, without the Annual Growth and Infrastructure Reports required by the Framework Element to provide the vital information that Neighborhood Councils need as the basis for their advice to the City’s departments and leaders, the Neighborhood Councils, and the larger public that they represent, are unable to participate in City policy deliberations in a meaningfully informed way. Thus, the City’s failure to perform its mandatory duty of preparing annual growth and infrastructure reports hamstrings the Neighborhood Councils in their vital role in the participatory system carefully orchestrated by the Charter.