CD2 Policy

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Live Blogging the Education and Neighborhoods Committee Meeting


Councilmembers Paul Krekorian (l) and Dennis Zine (r) take questions from neighborhood council members during the Education and Neighborhood Committee meeting, May 26, 2010.

3:30 Hello and welcome to another live blog from the office of Councilmember Paul Krekorian. For information on this website, click here or visit cd2.lacity.org.

3:43 Mayor’s office detailing consolidation proposal and touts “interactive” new website they say are the direct result of collaboration b/n neighborhood councils and city.

3:45 Mayor’s office now describing problems DONE is having. The “perfect storm” consists of: economy; controller’s audit that “spoke to lack of accountability, lack of controls…that didn’t paint NCcs in the light they deserved to be painted.”; DONE is almost entirely made up of work staff not protected by union agreements. i.e., they could be fired.

3:50 Mayor’s office says CDD is doing some of the same things DONE has done. “CDD would be a good partner,” he said, “Because we are  already in the community.”

3:54 As staff continues to sing the praises of consolidation, let us introduce ourselves. This is a live-blog from the staff of Councilmember Paul Krekorian. We do this in an attempt to increase transparency and accountability. Today’s meeting will take up the proposed consolidation of DONE, the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, into CDD. Check the agenda of the meeting here. (.pdf).

3:58 Krekorian asks: What is the anticipated cost savings the mayor expects to realize?  The answer: $1.5 million annually. Krekorian presses for more specificity. “I’ve heard that number, but I have not seen the breakdown,” he said.

4:01 Most of the cost reductions come from the drastic cut in staffing – from 36 to 18 – of DONE.

4:04 Before I can consider supporting something like this, “I wanna have a high level of confidence the budget savings are real,” CM Krekorian said. i.e.: Prove to us we will actually save money.

4:07 Mayor’s office says best use of DONE staff, with consolidation, would not be to attend NC meetings but to “sit in an office and provide answers.” Says that many NC’s are high functioning and don’t need city staff there to watch, “except to observe the amazing projects they are doing.”

4:11 Councilmember Zine, a member of the committee, is skeptical that the city will realize a robust amount of savings. “How much of it is real money, how much of it is fluff money?” he asks. “The $1.5 million doesn’t seem like much. I thought it would be a substantial cost savings.”

4:15 Krekorian calls the proposed consolidation a “roll of the dice” and says it could “endanger” the future of neighborhood councils. “That’s a risk I’m not willing to take,” he said.

4:17 Mayor’s staff says $1.5 m is significant cause the city is in a deep budgetary hole AND the cut would be 10 percent of DONE’s budget.

4:20 Zine also skeptical: “I see us doing a lot of talking…than we’re doing things to support and help them.”

4:24 Getting to the nuts and bolts, Krekorian says under the consolidation he’s concerned that the NCs and city would suffer from a loss: of accountability and transparency. Under this proposal, the head of what would be the Office of Neighborhood Empowerment would be two steps removed from the mayor.

“It seems to be that would have the tendency of minimizing accountability and oversight form the mayor’s office,” Krekorian said, “and sends a signal to the city and NCs that the neighborhood empowerment is less of a priority for the city than it used to be.”

4:28 As the two councilmembers on the committee wax skepticism of the proposal, let us remind you that, according to our poll, 82% of you agree that the current consolidation may not be the best way to go to foment neighborhood empowerment.

4:34 Mayor’s staff answers Krekorian’s question about transparency: “If you’re going to impose new restrictions on NCs that the controller (et al) calls for, the best way to impose those are by the best and the brightest in the city.  That is the CDD. It’s really the only way we can see to have those things that need to happen from a financial standpoint to save taxpayer dollars while continuing to make sure neighborhood empowerment continues to thrive.”

4:35 Krekorian says some of the best and brightest are also on NCs. Says we should take advantage of their expertise.

4:44 Krekorian tells crowd that there will not be a vote today, but that “this is a first opportunity for everyone to provide input.” With that, the committee will now hear public comment from the dozen or so NC members in the room.

4:50 NC members saying that they need to be more engaged in their future. “This is a great opportunity,” one says.

4:54 Judy Price, of Valley Glen, says consolidation “would be a disaster.”
5:13 NC members from throughout the Valley Los Angeles are here, including West Hills, Studio City, Valley Glen, Northeast L.A. and elsewhere.

5:20 Unanimity from NC members here against the proposed consolidation. What do you think?

5:36 More public comment as residents continue to rail against the proposal.

5:42 A total of 22 folks support about the proposal…all of them in opposition.

5:44 Ed Novy, of Sunland-Tujunga, cites dearth of racial and ethnic diversity in audience. Says the committee should “take its show on the road to showcase real L.A.”

6:01 Speakers’ session is over and Krekorian adjourns the meeting, promising that this will be the first step on the path toward greater neighborhood empowerment.

6:02 Thank you for following this discussion and please feel free to continue the conversation in the comments section below. We welcome all opinions.

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May 26, 2010 - Posted by | paul krekorian | , , , , , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. […] office says CDD is doing some of the same things DONE has done. “CDD would author: los-angeles « WordPress.com Tag Feed VN:F [1.8.9_1076]please wait…Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)VN:F [1.8.9_1076]Rating: 0 (from 0 […]

    Pingback by Live Blogging the Education and Neighborhoods Committee Meeting | Rssca.net | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  2. I am opposed to merging DONE with CDD for the following reasons:

    1. NCs need to remain independent.
    2. NCs are advisory to the City and much of our work involves direct contact with City departments (ex: City Planning, Dept. of Building & Safety)
    3. CDD in the City of L.A. does not function like the CDD in the City of Glendale or other Cities.
    4. Please review the NCRC’s recommendations.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Cindy Cleghorn | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  3. Why do Neighborhood Councils need oversight but not the City Council? The negative cost-effectiveness of DONE demonstrates the negative cost-effectiveness of any other useless oversight. An elephant is still an elephant, even if you move him from one room into another room and suddenly start calling him a kitty cat.

    Comment by Marcie | May 28, 2010 | Reply

  4. NCs need DONE as a stand alone dept. for no other reason than city access on our behalf. DONE has been very badly managed over the past few years by attending to the mayor’s wants rather than the NC needs. If we can change the culture and get them to facilitate rather than to regulate, we will have a dept. that works for us rather than against us. We NCs must work closely to see that we get what we need. Using a non-profit to disburse our funds will be a disaster waiting to happen when we need funds immediately, and can’t get them. We need flexibility and a non-profit just means rules of another regulated type, not to mention their taking a portion of our funding that we could use in our communities.

    Comment by Adrienne O'Niell | May 28, 2010 | Reply

  5. From Noel Weiss:

    Unelss the Mayor voluntarily withdraws his proposal, formally submitted to the City Council on May 10th, it must be acted upon by the City Council no later than June 24th; otherwise it automatically goes into effect (as per Section 514 of the Charter). Even if Mr. Krekorian’s committee acts on the proposal between now and then, two things have to happen before the proposal dies: (1) It has to be heard by Herb Wesson’s Committee (HCED – Housing, Community, and Economic Development), and then (2) voted down by the City Council.

    Only after the Mayor’s plan is formally rejected will Mr. Krekorian and the people have the luxury of to entertain a more formal discussion and evaluation of what to do, going forward.

    All Herb Wesson has to do to is ‘nothing’. . . and the Mayor’s proposal passes. So it is up to Mr. Krekorian to (a) promptly move the matter forward through his committee with a ‘no’ recommendation, (b) persuade Mr. Wesson to hold a hearing quickly in his committee (or waive holding a hearing. . . . not a likely prospect because if DONE is merged into CDD then Mr. Krekorian’s committee will lose jurisdiction and Mr. Wesson’s committee will gain jurisdiction, and then (c) persuade his collelagues on the City Council to vote the Mayor’s proposal down, if, for no other reason, than to enable the proposal to be more thoroughly considered.

    On that score, I again urge Mr. Krekorian to get behind the idea of having the City Council appoint a Commission under Section 908 of the Charter to hold Citywide Hearings on this matter and come back to the City Council with one or more alternative proposals on the subject.

    If anyone thinks that by sitting around and doing nothing, the Mayor’s proposal will die, that person had better think again.

    More than anything else, the fate and the future of Neighborhood Councils lies less in the hands of Mr. Krekorian than it does in the hands of Herb Wesson.

    I urge everyone when viewing City Hall matters to always try to hide the ‘head fake’ because 99 times out of 100, it is always there.

    Noel Weiss

    Comment by Noel Weiss | May 29, 2010 | Reply

  6. […] last week’s committee meeting, (a recap of which you can read here), dozens of community activists and neighborhood council members spoke against the proposal. […]

    Pingback by Alert: Special Meeting Tomorrow to Address the Future of Neighborhood Councils « CD2 Policy | June 3, 2010 | Reply

  7. Los Angeles’ Neighborhood Councils are leading the parade. City Hall (Mayor and City Council)is playing catchup. City Hall still has the choice of leading. But they do not seem able to get their act together. The first thing City Hall must do is agree that NCs are here to stay. Once that is accomplished, their leadership lies in establishing the early warning called for in the City Charter. Then NCs can provide the feedback needed to bring Los Angeles together as a city functioning for the good of all.

    Comment by DeDe Audet | June 8, 2010 | Reply

  8. […] of neighborhood councils. Read more about this ongoing debate from our past live-blogs: here, here and […]

    Pingback by Council Nixes DONE Consolidation « CD2 Policy | June 15, 2010 | Reply


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