Shortly after I started this blog... my life abruptly changed, a not too uncommon occurrence in my life; hence my recent hiatus.
To my surprise, I found myself elected the president of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC). I also was appointed by the Mayor to DWP Green Ribbon Commission. Additionally, I was already serving on a number of committees that deal with many of the city's agencies.
So, more than just being an observer - I am now, increasingly - more of an active participant in many of the issues facing this city.
To back track - the City of Los Angeles a few years back started an experiment in democracy called Neighborhood Councils. More than eighty of a projected over a hundred councils have already been certified citywide and each council is elected by the stakeholders of each community. Depending on the individual council, seats can be held by business owners, residents, workers, non-profits, the arts, social service agencies - among many other stakeholder groups - and - in our case - even the homeless.
Importantly, this is the first time the city has charter mandated stakeholder groups that directly communicate with the Mayor and the City Council, along with city agencies. It is also, even more importantly - the first time each of the different groups that make up all the communities of LA can sit down and... talk to each other and get to know and, most importantly - understand each other.
It will also be the first time that any one other than the lobbyists and special interest groups will consistently be at the table every time any issue of importance comes before the City Council or before any city agency. But rather than detail the history/current status of the Neighborhood Council - check out the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) website at www.lacityneighborhoods.com/sitemap.htm for further information.
So along with the life, politics and culture of Los Angeles I had planned on essaying about - this blog will, from now on, also report on (and, sometimes, opine on) the birth pains of this new grass roots experience in local, town hall style democracy. Neighborhood Councils.
So - Cowboy Up!
It's going to be an interesting ride.