1:47: Councilmember Paul Krekorian, head of the Education and Neighborhoods committee, kicks-off the meeting, apologizing for the late start due to the conclusion of today’s City Council meeting. There is one item on the agenda, and on everyone’s mind today: Whether the council should adopt the mayor’s proposal to consolidate the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) and the Community Development Department (CDD). First up is mayoral aide Aaron Gross.
1:51 Gross: “I think we established the need to look at the future of neighborhood councils (NCs)…we need to figure out the next steps to best serve NCs.” [During last week's committee meeting, about two-dozen NC members spoke against the proposal. No one spoke in favor of it.]
1:56: Gross and, by extension the mayor, signal a willingness to go back to the drawing board. “We will put a halt on the 45-day clock and discuss with the community when is the appropriated place to start a new process.” Per the city charter, the council has 45 days to act on the consolidation. If no action is taken, the consolidation would go into effect.
2:00: Krekorian, who has been driving the debate, agrees and says he wants to develop a “consensus vision…for how we can move forward, more effectively.” He goes on to say he wants to work with the mayor’s office to develop a broader vision with NCs and wants to set up a dialog across the city “in the coming weeks and months…before we have a complete architecture on the larger policy.”
2:03 Committee member Councilmember Janice Hahn speaks of her trepidation about the proposed consolidation. “I feel like we’re doing this backwards,” she said. “We should have been getting the input of NCs…to focus on the future of NCs. I think we’ve wasted a lot of time and money working on a proposal that was not well thought out.”
2:09 Hahn said, “If we don’t have a positive, good thought-out plan, NC funding will run out.” Krekorian clarifies that NC funding is not part of the discussion and will not be affected by this proposal.
2:13 Mayor isn’t rescinding the consolidation idea, Gross says, but it’s one proposal and there are a number of other ideas out there. What are yours?
2:15 Krekorian proposes disapproval of mayor’s proposal. “That will be the end of that,” he says. Going forward, he vows to work with the mayor on a new proposal, but will start with input from NCs, other council offices, etc. “We will drive the policy making, but will do so with the mayor.”
2:18 Gross vows mayoral participation with the council, in general, and with this committee, specifically.
2:25 It’s public comment with those in attendance hoping NCs remain part of the discussion to shape their future and one resident calling for outgoing DONE GM, BH Kim, to stay on to oversee whatever transition takes place.
2:36 Krekorian officially recommends the committee deny the mayor’s proposal and, going forward, “draw input from the 91 NCs.”
2:48 Committee continues to hear public comment…
2:53 Meeting is adjourned. Stay tuned for how the committee intends to work with NCs throughout L.A. to ensure they remain viable, efficient and important stewards of local democracy. Thanks for following this live-blog and, as always, we welcome your comments.