Councilman Parks looking to better Neighborhood Councils

imageTen years ago the Neighborhood Council system began to try to make city call more responsive to all parts of the city. Volunteers from all over Los Angeles dedicate their own time to tackling problems in their neighborhoods. They are people like Iona Diggs, who is on Chair of the Voices of 90037. Diggs was recently interviewed by Journalist Melissa Leu.

“The reason I’m on there is because I’m dedicated to improving our neighborhood because I care,” Diggs said. “I care about where I live, I care about the people in the neighborhood.”

The councils were started to increase community participation in political processes, but they have faced problems. That’s why 8th district Councilmember Bernard Parks is hosting a series of five meetings throughout the city. Parks was recently named the chair of the Educations and Neighborhoods committee, which oversees neighborhood councils.

“As long as there are concerns out there about how well they spend money, and are the elections fair and was it truly stakeholders that were voting and elected the board members. If there are those outstanding issues, then that kind of gives an excuse for them to not be taken seriously,” said Dennis Gleason, Park’s Press Deputy. “So he’s really hoping that he’ll be able to strengthen the system to they can really have a stronger role in the LA city government.”

Sometimes neighborhood councils have a hard time simply functioning and getting enough people to the meetings. Linda Lucks is on the Board of Neighborhood Commissions and also President of the neighborhood council. She is hoping the meetings address these issues.

“It’s really hard for grassroots organization like neighborhood councils to function and to grow and to be affective. We need help in that regard and in my opinion, tightening up the rules. There needs to be some standardization and conformity to make it easier for people to function on the same page.”

In Los Angeles, 15 council members represent 4 million citizens, which breaks down to 250,000 people per councilmember. Because of this, 8th district Press Deputy Gleason says these neighborhood councils are essential.

“They really help people zero in on what’s important to the community and what needs to be paid attention to,” Gleason said.

John F. John formerly served on the Griffith Park Neighborhood council and has been active in other councils.

“It’s important for neighborhood activists to attend Councilmember Parks outreach meetings because he’s a new Chairman of this committee and we want to impress upon him the importance of neighborhood council,” John said.

Chair of the Voices Iona Diggs says her dedication keeps her going to the meetings.

“I’m committed to what I started and that’s in helping our neighbors,” Diggs said. “We are having problems getting people committed and out. We’re telling people, don’t you care about your neighborhood, don’t you care about the things in your neighborhood?”

After they get comments from the meetings, Parks says he will come up with motions to bring changes to the neighborhood council system.

Map of South Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils and Meeting Calendar

View South Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils in a larger map


Neighborhood Councils in the South Los Angeles region:

Central Alameda Neighborhood Council
Community and Neighbors for Ninth District Unity Neighborhood Council
Empowerment Congress Central Area Neighborhood Development Council
Empowerment Congress North Area Neighborhood Development Council
Empowerment Congress Southeast Area Neighborhood Development Council
Empowerment Congress Southwest Area Neighborhood Development Council
Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council
Mid City Neighborhood Council
Park Mesa Heights Community Council
South Central Neighborhood Council
United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council
Voices of 90037 Neighborhood Council
West Adams Neighborhood Council


What are Neighborhood Councils? from Empower LA.

For more information on Neighborhood Councils, visit Empower L.A.