What is a Neighborhood Council?
Neighborhood Councils are a citywide system of local, elected bodies that were officially established when the people of Los Angeles voted to adopt the new city charter in 1999. According to the charter, Neighborhood Councils are advisory bodies to the Los Angeles City Council.
They act as a liaison between the average person and city government, promote public participation in government, make city government more responsive to local needs, and facilitate the delivery of services to the citizens of Los Angeles. Building on the idea that there is strength in numbers, Neighborhood Councils provide a structured way for city officials to assess the public response to proposals. Los Angeles' 3.5 million residents live in geographically, economically, socially, and racially disparate neighborhoods. With such a large, diverse and far-flung group, Neighborhood Councils alleviate some of the problems that the city has faced in recent decades, especially the feeling that, "City Hall doesn't care about me."
What division of the Los Angeles city government oversees Neighborhood Councils?
The charter also created a new Department of Neighborhood Empowerment ("DONE"). This department oversees and assists with the creation and operation of neighborhood councils. DONE web site.
What is DONE?
The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, the Los Angeles City Agency that oversees Neighborhood Councils. To contact DONE please visit www.lacityneighborhoods.com.
Who are the Stakeholders of the WLASNC?
A Stakeholder in the West Los Angeles-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council (WLASNC) is anyone that lives, works, or owns a residential or business property within the WLASNC area. Stakeholders also include houses of worship, schools and community or civic service organizations in the WLASNC area. For the purpose of the elections, each of these organizations may designate and authorize one representative only.
Additionally, per City Ordinance 174006, which established the regulations to implement this Council, the governing body must, to the extent possible, reflect the diversity of the neighborhood's community Stakeholders. No single Stakeholder group may comprise a majority of the neighborhood council's governing body, unless approved by the Department upon a showing of extenuating circumstances.
What are the boundaries of the WLASNC?
The boundaries of the West Los Angeles-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council are defined as:
- Wilshire Boulevard to the North,
- The 10 freeway to the South,
- The 405 freeway to the East, and
- The City of Santa Monica/Centinela Avenue to the West.
The boundaries do not include any and all federal Veterans’ Administration property. Click here for a map.
How can I get involved in the WLASNC?
If you care about the future of West Los Angeles, you are already a "stakeholder" and WLANC needs YOU!! There are many ways to get involved: you can come to any of our meetings (which, by law, are fully open to the public) and share your perspective, seek to be appointed to a standing committee, volunteer or even run for a seat on the WLANC board. For more information on how to get involved, click here. For more information on our committees, click here.
Who can vote in a Neighborhood Council election?
Any "stakeholder" of the neighborhood may vote in the election or run for office. A stakeholder is defined as "any individual who lives, works or owns commercial or residential property in a Neighborhood Council area. In addition, Community Stakeholder status may be identified by participation in, among other things, educational institutions, religious institutions, community organizations or other non-profit organizations. Only one representative of each such organization may vote. This representative has to be officially assigned by the organization. For more information check our Bylaws.
Do WLASNC members get paid?
No, unless you count the deep sense of gratification that comes from public service and the relationships you will build with some wonderfully diverse people. Not to mention the fact that you will be part of a historical movement in "grass roots" democracy.
Why is everything so formal?
Because the WLASNC is an elected body of local government, it must comply with the strict requirements of a state law known as The Brown Act. The Brown Act mandates that all meetings are publicly noticed and open to the public, complete with agendas and minutes. It also states that a quorum (51% of the committee's membership) must be present in order to take official action, and all official actions of the Neighborhood Council must be approved by a majority of the voting members. For more information on the Brown Act, click here. WLASNC meetings must also abide by a code of conduct called "Robert's Rules of Order," which is a traditional set of rules for proposing and passing motions and resolutions, allotting the public and the members time to speak, etc. The WLASNC didn't create these rules, and we don't have any choice but to follow them. They might seem cumbersome, especially for a grass roots, volunteer organization, but they are critical in making certain that the public has an opportunity to weigh-in on issues before the WLASNC take official action. For the full text of the Robert’s Rules of Order, click here.
How often does WLASNC meet?
The WLASNC Board meets the fourth Wednesday of the month. However, occasionally, the date may change in order to accommodate other events, holidays, etc. Most committees also meet about once per month. For more information on individual committee’s upcoming meeting dates, times, locations, and agendas click here.