By Peter Lasky
• Why are there Neighborhood Councils?
• What does a Neighborhood Council (NC) do?
• Where does its budget originate?
• How do I make my NC aware of my ideas?
• How do I get on an NC Board or one of their committees?
These are just some of the questions I’ve overheard from community members.
Why are there Neighborhood Councils?
Neighborhood Councils were created by the revised City of Los Angeles charter of 1999 to be an “inclusive and open forum for public discussion of community issues and to advise the City on issues concerning City governance, the needs of this neighborhood, the delivery of City services and matters of a citywide nature as they relate to the Stakeholders of [a particular community]” in this case NWNC.
What Does a Neighborhood Council (NC) Do?
NC’s were charged to “initiate, execute, and support projects for the physical, social and cultural improvement of the [community].”
Where Does Its Budget Originate?
Each year the L.A. City Council determines how much money the Neighborhood Councils will receive. The money over the last five years has ranged from $37,000 to $50,000.
Each NC decides how to spend their allocated funds. Many NC’s have typical organization expenses such as rent, advertising, storage of NC equipment, food expenses for meetings and NC-sponsored events, and outside contractors like a minute taker for meetings and webmaster for their website. The remaining funds go toward projects and grants that are beneficial to the community.
This year the Northridge West Neighborhood Council (NWNC) council has spent $9800 for the installation of a drip system to save the trees on the Tampa Median.
Also, funding in the form of grants was given to support feeding hungry families here in Northridge West and a contribution was made toward the new flagpole at the intersection of Parthenia Avenue and Reseda Boulevard. We also donated funds to cover CPR/First Aid Training for Northridge West stakeholders and teachers in our local schools.
Presently the board is considering grants to support a dinner and dance for seniors; the Northridge Library; the Disaster Preparedness Fair, Calahan Elementary School, special events at Northridge Park, and the creation of Neighborhood Watch programs in the Northridge West neighborhood.
How do I make my NC aware of my ideas?
We often find out about community issues from the stakeholders themselves. You can contact us online, via email or attend one of our monthly meetings. Make us aware of your concerns. Stakeholders can speak to both agenda and non-agenda items at our meetings. For example, the recent sober living meeting came about because stakeholders brought the issue to our attention and asked if we would hold a meeting to discuss it further.
NWNC together with We Advocate Regulation Now (WARN) and other local NC’s, including Northridge East, South, and North Hills West, recently held an informational meeting at Northridge Park regarding community concerns about the sober living home, which is 600 feet from Beckford Elementary School, and is being managed by a released murderer. Councilmember Mitch Englander of Los Angeles City Council District 12 was the keynote speaker. His remarks were compelling and informative.
I encourage you to reach out to the NWNC Board or me and let us know your thoughts about NWNC. If you like what we are doing, we would like to hear about it. If you think we are going the wrong way, let us know.
How do I get on an NC Board or one of their committees?
You can help us determine what we do by joining a committee, coming to a meeting, or submitting your name to our waiting list of individuals who would like to become part of our board.
Join NWNC, Tuesday, April 19 at Calahan Elementary School, 18722 Knapp St. Meet & Greet starts at 6:00 p.m. and meeting 6:30 p.m.