At its January 16 meeting, the Neighborhood Council Review Commission held a brainstorming session on ideas that might make neighborhood councils more influential.  At the conclusion of the meeting, the Commission directed staff to separate the list of ideas into two categories: 1) those that fit under the topic of ideas that would directly increase the influence of neighborhood councils and 2) those that are likely to be taken up at later meetings, such as on governance or outreach.  The Commission decided that when the list is recast in that way, it would make preliminary decisions at its February 1 meeting on whether any or all of these ideas should become recommendations of the Commission.  The Commission further decided to pull out the issue of “Council Files” as a separate agenda item for the February 1 meeting.

The reader should keep in mind that these are ideas put out by Commissioners, but none have yet been adopted by the Commission. This is a preliminary draft document, unedited.


  1. agenda times should be searchable by topic, area, and be able to continuously follow items by email
  2. simplify process to follow CIS
  3. Way for NCs to electronically list motions they pass on a website that others can view
  4. NC files
  5. Commission meetings should be easier to find; minutes and agendas should be posted sooner
  6. automatic submission of housing/land use issues to NCs
    1. how many times must entities appear before the same bodies?
  7. Officials need to be required to state NC decision they’ve received
  8. Should be easy for NCs to send decisions to officials
  9. Umbrella groups should be supported
  10. DONE needs to educate NCs on political process
  11. City Council, committee, commission meetings should be on camera and people should be able to speak from other parts of the city
  12. City officials should send representatives to NC meetings
  13. Enhance transparency of contact between NCs and city council and agencies.
    1. When NC has piece of advice, there should be way to have record of what city official says about that advice and that response should be available
  14. Each department should be required to identify decisions on which community input would be appropriate and means to notify NCs of opportunity for input
  15. When NC adopts motion and sends formal communication, there should be a requirement of a formal written response within a certain time.
  16. Agenda items should list if NC was contacted and if response was received
  17. If DONE is transformed into more of an empowerment agency, it should be regionalized
  18. The Congress should allow for each NC to have a vote on citywide issue recommendations so that all NCs have a voice
  19. NC group regions (e.g. Teamwork LA) should be re-drawn with NC input to ensure NCs are not forced out of a sphere of influence where they have significant number of stakeholders
  20. Changing DONE’s focus so that it focuses on its mission of empowering NCs
    1. Delegate monitoring of elections to City Clerk
    2. Budget to city controller
  21. DONE should have community asset mapping function to identify churches, non-profits, etc. with database available to all NCs
  22. DONE would reach out to these community asset groups to educate them about NCs
  23. DONE becomes the organizational structure (parameters for voting, other direction) and take over the role of outreach
  24. BONC sets up commission of 7 members who serve to come to consensus on citywide issues
  25. boards and commissions should recognize NCs as representatives of their community above typical public commenters
  26. boards and commissions should acknowledge NC input and state why they do or do not agree with it
  27. Council files
  28. More contact with direct decision maker – NCs should be notified and asked for input before modifications are made
  29. Coalitions around the city should have some recognition as bodies that gather decisions of NCs and report them
  30. Charter has to be strengthened relating to the Congress
  31. Improved and strengthened BONC to “do battle” for NCs
    1. BONC allowed to bring in NCs and hold hearings
    2. Issue reports to city govt on what NCs are looking for
  32. CNC report should get enhanced
  33. DONE training sessions should be done with more NC input and perhaps be the trainers
  34. Quality of survey re: Mayor’s budget needs to be enhanced
  35. Need for NCs to productively engage with other groups that are key members of community
  36. Model of Housing Dept in which skills of commissioners was clearly defined could be adopted for BONC to ensure that commissioners come with the right set of skills
  37. 21st century style of outreach – reach people who are language, time, economically challenged that precludes them from attending many meetings and engage
  38. certain issues that NCs across the board could deal with, but try to identify where there are groups already engaging
  39. address lack of training – make something inevitable to NCs to encourage them to want to learn even more (can we mandate training? Law requires training on some issues, but commission may seek to find ways to alleviate trainings that drive away participants)
  40. inclusive model that would look at what ideal council would be given the community
  41. recommend a common treatment from city council and departments
  42. Look at sub-divisions of NC that would allow for special ad hoc committees
  43. NC meetings held throughout different areas of neighborhood
  44. training for NCs on rights of people who come to present to them and others in their community who don’t participate in NCs
  45. DONE should be primary outreach vehicle, communicating with media and launching campaigns to encourage participation in NCs
  46. DONE taking more of an administrative role so NCs don’t get bogged down in those issues, especially elections
  47. try to think of ways to strengthen BONC’s role as advocate of NCs and express the concerns NCs have to be liaison to city officials
  48. Define clear expectations of what is diversity and what may be appropriate penalties for NCs that don’t meet those guidelines
  49. Citywide Alliance helped accelerate certification process by sharing information
  50. LANCC shouldn’t be to usurp role of NCs, but to bring citywide issues to table, bring in experts, have debates, exchange ideas, exchange best practices
  51. Getting together, having straw votes and presenting that to the Council can bring more influence
  52. Change City Charter as needed to empower NCs
  53. Communicate with all departments for cost-effective techniques to communicate with public to encourage NC participation
  54. DONE should bring training to NC meetings
  55. The city should provide technical assistance to NCs and have staff available on request to attend meetings to provide training/help
  56. Uniform policy on Community Impact Statements for all city agendas
  57. Take policing function out of DONE (put it in BONC?)
  58. Need to say clearly that NCs should be able to weigh in on any decision made at City Hall
  59. Need to define reasonable notice as listed in 907 and create mechanism for overriding it in emergency circumstances
  60. Look inside BONC/DONE to see how their structure and entertain merging them with separate powers
  61. DONE advocates should be moved from inside-out view to zones where NCs function with physical office and hired administrator to do outreach, training, liaison with downtown and other areas, and cheerlead.
  62. Monthly meeting with councilmember required
  63. What are the best models that staff sees about the ability to build capacity of voluntary organizations?
  64. What is the experience in other cities concerning relative influences over decision makers with appointed boards and independently elected boards?
  65. What are the best models for organizing disadvantaged communities?
  66. City needs to use cable and radio spots in multiple languages to alert people to NCs with a real budget
  67. has to be balance struck  - stamp out racism, sexism among board members in the public forums – hold people accountable to base standard of civility
  68. define “outreach”
  69. dispute resolution commissions (one per planning area, selected by NC representatives)
  70. mandatory training should be just after board is elected and city should come to NC
  71. City should provide administrative staff to NC