see the 912 Commission’s “Vision and Values” as a simple and somewhat
flexible guide for what the perfect Neighborhood Council / NC system would look
like, rather than as an involved and complicated document. Details will come
later, after reviewing research findings, listening to public comment and
engaging in an intense debate. I think the Commission should agree (if possible)
upon the basics, then move on to the more substantive issues.
perfect Neighborhood Council would…
Be open and inclusive.
Keep the community apprised of meetings and issues. Meeting notices should be
posted on the NC website and at one location within the community
Be a voice for the constituency, not withstanding that this voice may not be in
accord with current opinions of city councilmembers, the mayor and city
department heads. It is a prime function of NC boardmembers to keep the city
apprised of constituency views and be able to explain divergent insights.
Have access to boardmember education.
Make a sincere effort to let all members of the public who want to speak on
issues, do so, even when it might become necessary to extend time beyond that
which is normally reserved for public comment.
Encourage stakeholders to join committees
Whenever possible, let stakeholders head committees on issues they are
Meet at least once a month.
Behave in a civil, respectful and organized manner.
Have information available on issues before them.
Be accessible to the public. Boardmembers should provide their email address,
and the council should provide a contact phone number.
Have an easy-to-use website that allows for ENS-type announcements / mailing
list sign up.
Spend their money wisely after input from the community.
Communicate and sometimes partner with other neighborhood councils.
Join umbrella organizations, i.e. LANCC, Alliance, DAW.
Act as a centralized force for community organizations and individuals in the
Agree to have conflicts resolved by a Dispute Resolution Commission. There
should be one commission per planning area to hear and rule on disputes. A City
Attorney representative should be present at meetings to advise about
legalities. The Commissioners would be chosen by the NCs.
Have somewhat standardized bylaws and election procedures and only alter these
documents when absolutely necessary. (i.e. to change election dates, etc.) This
is important so stakeholders and boardmembers do not become confused about
“the rules,” so DONE does not waste valuable time pouring over changes &
reviewing vastly different documents, and so meeting time is not consumed with
disputes over procedures.
19. Always be ethical, adhere to the Brown Act and fill out Form 700 (or a less stringent disclosure form that will keep potential conflicts of interest at bay).
All areas of the city should have representation by a Neighborhood Council. A
group of people may vote to “opt out,” but this is not say that everyone in
that community would want to be excluded from the Neighborhood Council system.
There should be a Congress once a year to allow for education and the coming
together of people from different areas.
There should be extensive training available to Neighborhood Councils. Classes
should include: a) parliamentary procedure & how to run a meeting, b)
accounting/treasurer duties, c) ethics & conflict of interest, d) the Brown
Act, e) the Executive Board (how it works), f) the election process, g)
political efficacy & how the city works, h) outreach, I) how DONE & BONC
work, j) the Grievance Process & the Dispute Resolution Commission.
Boardmember education should be available online, by videotape and in classroom
The City should provide administrative and outreach support for Neighborhood
Councils. They city should handle bookkeeping, provide updated websites for NCs,
and advertise the NCs in periodic mailings.
DONE should be an advocate for the NCs and always ready to assist them.
The NCs across the city should have somewhat standardized bylaws and election
procedures. This allows stakeholders to know where they stand (i.e. whether they
qualify to vote or to run for the board) without embarking upon a detailed
investigation. A stakeholder should not have to guess whether he or she is a
stakeholder in a particular community. A stakeholder should not have to guess
whether he or she needs identification for an election or what the election
The NCS should hold their elections on the same day (or on one particular day
for all councils within a planning area) and allow absentee ballots. This will
lead to increased NC publicity and greater stakeholder participation.
The NCs should be permitted to submit council file numbers when an issue has
been approved by three or more neighborhood councils.
The Neighborhood Councils should be notified well in advance of motions made by
Procedures should be put in place to assure that Neighborhood Council decisions
are properly acknowledged by the City Council, the Mayor and City Departments.
Major land use projects should automatically be sent to the impacted NC(s) for
review and consideration before going to the Area Planning Commission and the
12. In 7 years, a commission should be selected to evaluate implementation of the current commission’s findings. (This should in no way detract from the hard work of the current commission or from their effort to get the details right.)