The Voices of 90037 struggle to get a quorum

As the clock counted down to the start time for the Voices of 90037 neighborhood council meeting, board members were left to wonder if they would even have enough people to start discussions.

They needed eight members to reach a quorum, but by 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, only four people had shown up on time for the first meeting since May.

“The person who loses when we don’t have a functioning board is the community. So let’s try to work together,” said Taneda Larios, a project coordinator for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, who had been invited to speak to the council on financial issues.

About 40 minutes later, the last board member finally trickled in.

Larios warned the council about the apparent lack of commitment by both board members and community participants.

“Had you not had quorum tonight, you would be on the path to exhaustive efforts, which would then lead to decertification of your council, which would leave your community without a neighborhood council and no one to speak on their behalf,” said Larios, who encouraged strengthening outreach efforts to fill vacant seats.

Neighborhood councils are charged with bridging the gap between the Los Angeles city government and local communities. Board members are elected or appointed to serve the neighborhood where they live, work or own property.

Voices of 90037 has filled 10 out of 15 seats, which leaves it a small cushion to reach the minimum attendance for a meeting when board members are absent.

If Tuesday’s meeting had not met a quorum, the board would have violated its governing rules. Larios could then file a complaint with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which would then decide whether or not to disband the council.

Faith-based Representative Christine Hicks said some board members are “hanging on” to their seats because of a lack of public support for the council.

No one else is there to take on the seats, Hicks said.

The neighborhood council governs the area roughly between the 110 Freeway and Normandie Avenue, Martin Luther King Boulevard to the north and 62nd Street to the south.

An estimated 67,000 people live in the council’s governing area, said Board Member Kaypers Jackson.

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