Mid City Neighborhood Council

Done News Update

N C Accomplishment

Subj: DONE: News 12-3-03
Date: 12/3/03 11:22:57 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: gnelson@mailbox.lacity.org (Greg Nelson)
To: gnelson.CWGWPO1.CWMAIL@mailbox.lacity.org (Greg Nelson)

Date: December 3, 2003

To: Neighborhood Council Leaders

From: Greg Nelson, General Manager, Department of Neighborhood Empowerment

Re: Office Space Procedures Report Approved. Conflict of Interest Code and Filing Status Report. Contact Information for Members Needed. Two New NCs Certified. Accomplishments Needed. Status of Donations Ordinance.


Good news! The process through which Neighborhood Councils will be able to lease or occupy office space was approved unanimously by the City Council yesterday, Tuesday.

The report is on our home page. In short, the City Council approved a motion that would remove the Municipal Facilities Committee (don’t ask) from the process of approving leases for Neighborhood Councils. That will cut about a month off the normal office space approval process.

Most importantly, the City Council instructed the City Attorney to draft an ordinance that removes the Department of General Services from having to deal with all leases. A “standard” is being developed, and if the landlord agrees with it, the General Manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and the City Attorney will have the ability to approve the leases. The City Charter required the City Council to ultimately approve all leases.

Therefore, the process which normally takes at least 4-6 months will be trimmed to 30-45 days. As you can probably surmise, having the support of your city council member can help.

The report makes it easy to understand why it is not legally possible for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to approve leases or occupancy agreements right now. It’s flattering in a way that so many people think that we have so much power, but in fact we don’t. What we have been doing is working with the Neighborhood Councils to develop streamlined ways for them to get done what they have to get done.


Yesterday, the Rules and Elections Committee approved an amendment to our department’s Conflict of Interest Code that defines Neighborhood Council board members, only for the purpose of filing the Form 700 financial disclosure statements, as employees of our department.

With this change, Neighborhood Councils would have had to design and adopt their own Conflict of Interest Codes or be forced to disclose possible financial conflicts following the same rules as the Governor. They would also have be burdened with all the state-required record keeping. The new plan limits which information a board member must disclose, and our department will do the paperwork, which will be significant. Throughout all of City government, employees and officers generate about 5,000 Form 700s a year. Neighborhood Councils will generate about half that much on their own.

The recommendation was sent to the Education and Neighborhoods Committee for their review. After it is approved by the City Council (expect January), we will send everyone the forms and the instructions. Board members will have 30 days to fill out and return the forms to us. Over the last year, there have been 11 training sessions throughout the city for board members. The rules and this new proposal have been on our home page for the last six months. More information to come.


As you can understand, it becomes very important for us to know the names of each board member and some way of contacting them. Failure to file these forms could result in fines. The official Roster of Neighborhood Councils can be found on our home page. If you are a board member, and your name isn’t on this list, we’ve got a problem. Please contact Taneda Jordan at tjordan@mailbox.lacity.org and give her your name as you wish it to appear on the roster, where you would like us to postal and e-mail communications to you (it could be through your NC’s secretary, its post office box, etc.), and which contact information you would like to appear on the official roster which is not only a public document, but appears on the Internet.


A separate issue that has not been officially publicly discussed is to what extent Neighborhood Council leaders should have to comply with the financial disclosure rules of the state’s Political Reform Act. Some Neighborhood Councils have strong feelings about this. Similar feelings were expressed by Councilman Dennis Zine at yesterday’s meeting of the Rules and Elections Committee. He asked us to begin working with him to find out what could be done to treat Neighborhood Council board members differently than traditional city officials and officers even if that might involve pursuing a change in state law. As usual, your input is most welcomed.


Last night, the Board of Neighborhood Commissioner certified two new Neighborhood Councils – the Olympic Park Neighborhood Council and the neighboring Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. That brings us to 81.


In a past newsletter, it was mentioned that the Information Technology Agency has budgeted money to produce nine half-hour shows about Neighborhood Councils. A request was made for your suggestions. The “early returns” are that Neighborhood Councils prefer using the air time to both promote their own Neighborhood Council and trying to attract new people into the Neighborhood Council system. This, some have suggested, could be done by using the programs to highlight the accomplishments of Neighborhood Councils as long as those accomplishments have appeal to others.

Also on our home page is a list of Neighborhood Council accomplishments that we try to keep updated. The problem is that it hasn’t been updated in quite some time although Neighborhood Councils are achieving remarkable things. Please send us your accomplishments so we can add them to the list, perhaps identify them as achievements that would possibly be featured in the programs.


The ordinance that would allow our department and Neighborhood Councils to accept donations under a certain amount of money without having to get City Council approval is working its way through the approval system within the City Attorney’s office. Look for that one to become public in January. The ordinance would also prescribe how the monetary donations would be handled by the Neighborhood Councils.

www.lacityneighborhoods.com 1-800-LA HELPS done@mailbox.lacity.org

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Posted by minc on 12/03/2003
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