Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ron Deaton And The Neighborhood Councils

My piece on Ron Deaton in CITYWATCH -

Few people have been as important to the credibility of neighborhood councils at City Hall than Ron Deaton. After the original group of NC activists was finishing the final touches on the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the DWP and the neighborhood councils, Jerry Gewe retired and Ron Deaton was chosen to replace him. The NC contingent soon discovered, Ron Deaton never signs anything that commits the city to anything without carefully reading it and understanding it; particularly when it binds the city – for the very first time in the city's history - to very specific obligations such as keeping the NCs informed of the actions of a city agency. Then a medical emergency further delayed his participation in final negotiations.

But, in the end, Deaton after a few very minor changes (some of which were in our favor, at his suggestion), signed the agreement and he has since made certain the NCs are kept informed and that they have access to anyone in the department they need to communicate with.

That includes making himself available to meet with councils when the need arose. Deaton, and his management at his direction, have spent endless hours rolling out the DWP budgets to neighborhoods across the city. His attempt to fulfill the MOU and to make sure that neighborhood councils were a part of the budget process.

He has always been blunt, honest and… funny on occasion. Deaton style. He has long been known as the type of man who never takes himself seriously – but who always takes his obligation to protect the interests of the citizens of Los Angeles very seriously. And he has now proven to us that he also takes his obligations to Neighborhood Councils just as seriously. –Brady Westwater

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