When I first joined my local neighborhood council, it was my desire to contribute to my community in the best way available. I have mentioned before that I did not want others to make decisions about my community without my input. I was concerned that others making decisions about land use, tax and utility rates, and public safety would not consider my view or those of my neighbors. In short, I wanted a voice. Once introduced to the concept of neighborhood councils, I knew I wanted to participate.
My first venture into the world of neighborhood councils came as an attendee at monthly council meetings at Peck Recreational Center. I was impressed by the caliber of the council representatives and how business was conducted. There was interaction with community members and stakeholders and a few city departments. Elected officials had representatives giving reports of their activities and LAPD was talking about how to keep the community safe by giving tips as to how to keep residents from being victims of criminal activity. I was hooked. I wanted to be a part of this. Today, with a few years of neighborhood council experience under my belt, I am able to draw a couple of conclusions. First, I don’t feel many of the departments within the city of Los Angeles truly appreciate the resource available to them through local neighborhood councils. I feel some departments find themselves engaging councils at arm’s length. I am not saying all departments exhibit this behavior. However, it appears that, at times, department staff members interact with a neighborhood council board in a manners that conveys they would much rather be someplace else. Here is where I will state my second conclusion: sometimes neighborhood councils make it hard to gain the trust and respect of those departments. Our behavior could be better at times. Here is my point: I believe we, as neighborhood councils, are not given the opportunity to build respectful relationships with city departments because there is a level of distrust shared between the two entities. Further, I don’t believe the various city departments have a full understanding as to how important a role neighborhood councils can play when a respectful relationship is in place. They don’t understand us, so they hold us off at arm’s length. In an attempt to remedy this, I would like to recommend that Los Angeles city leadership, in partnership with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) and the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners (BONC) organize a meeting or a retreat type gathering where effective neighborhood council partnerships can be explored. I would like to suggest that this effort include a representative of all neighborhood councils, perhaps the presidents, department heads along with appropriate staff, and elected city officials and their staff. I believe this effort may pave the path for better city/community relations, build trust, thereby advancing towards more effective working partnerships.
We encourage your attendance at our monthly meetings and at committee meetings where we go into more discussion of issues and formulate positions for consideration by the board. We are here to represent and involve you. Let us know your interests and concerns. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ray Regalado – President
Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council
PRESIDENT’S REPORT ARCHIVES:
PRESIDENT’S REPORT August 2013
PRESIDENT’S REPORT July 2013
PRESIDENT’S REPORT June 2013
PRESIDENT’S REPORT May 2013
PRESIDENT’S REPORT April 2013
PRESIDENT’S REPORT March 2013
PRESIDENT’S REPORT Jan-Feb 2013
PRESIDENT’S REPORT December 2012
PRESIDENT’S REPORT November 2012
PRESIDENT’S REPORT October 2012
PRESIDENT’S REPORT August 2012
PRESIDENT’S REPORT July 2012
PRESIDENT’S REPORT June 2012
PRESIDENT’S REPORT May 2012
PRESIDENT’S REPORT January 2012