Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Militant Does The Neighborhood Council Scene

This normally-prolific Militant hasn't been clicking on the the big orange "Publish Post" button for a few days, and it's not just because of the All-Star Break, which, by the way, this NL-leaning Militant has been rooting for a win by the Batting Pitchers League for a loooong time and was thusly crushed by Tuesday's results (what do you expect, it's Frisco...). Nor, on a related note, will I let the knee-jerk booing of the words "Los Angeles" being echoed in the PA system of Pacific Be, er, SB, er, AT&, er, Telecommunications Company Park by them Frisco Fans get to me (I swear, they would even boo at hearing "Los Angeles was destroyed by a 9.7 earthquake" just because it mentioned the name of The Greater California City).

No, see, the Militant is a living paradox. He likes to call attention to himself, yet is ever-so-cautious about revealing his identity. He rails against the slavery of East Coast Colonialism, yet is a virtual slave to his own community commitments. And worse yet, he likes to refer to himself in the third person.

But without saying too much, the Militant would like to note down, from an observant militant eye peeking under this sweaty Dodger camo cap, some of his recent activities...

Monday, 6:30 p.m.: Congress of Neighborhoods Planning Group Session
DWP Building, Downtown Los Angeles.

For those not aware, the Congress of Neighborhoods is a bi-annual event put on by the city of Los Angeles' Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (a.k.a. DONE) which is basically a pow-wow of sorts for the city's 89 neighborhood councils, but open to anyone and everyone who is concerned about neighborhoods. This militant has attended most of these events in the past, including the last one at the Westin Bonaventure in April. Since then, the new folks now at the helm of DONE (who replaced a woefully unpopular and incompetent interim general manager last Spring) have opened up the planning of the event to the councils as well as concerned community people in general, a welcome sign from what I have sensed from the NC people.
The next Congress event is slated to take place on Saturday, October 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the aqua-and-blue colored wonder that is the Convention Center. This particular meeting polled the participants on what sort of topics and themes the event would have. Ever the diversity watchdog, this Militant would rate the representation of the group (on a scale of 1-5) a 3.5...definitely not a snowfield, but still not a full bag of Skittles. It was interesting, though to see what topics the participants felt was important to them: Those representing whiter, more well-to-do neighborhoods were concerned about planning/land use management, budgetary and procedural issues while the interpretation headphone-wearing Spanish speaking contingent were more concerned about the essentials: safe streets, quality schools, places for their kids to play, some even bought up the issue of racism in neighborhood council boards. Evidence The Great Divide definitely exists, but at least everyone in the group is pulling together to make a great event this Fall.

Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.: Neighborhood Council Review Commission Workshop
Salesian High School, Boyle Heights, The Real Eastside.

It's been said that the Los Angeles' Neighborhood Council system is a "great experiment in participatory democracy" when approved by voters in 1999 as part of an update to the city's charter. But like any killer app, it was prone to have various bugs. So the Neighborhood Council Review Commission (a.k.a. The 912 Commission - yep, that's a charter reference), made up of L337 community leaders and neighborhood council folk, would re-write the neighborhood council code and roll out "Version 2.0," as they like to say. Again, many NC-folk, both current and former, along with other concerned community peeps , attended this workshop, which was designed to gauge the community's opinions on the 912 Commission's recommendations, and voice their input on the NC system in general. But at the end of the meeting, a number of concerned Real Eastsiders voiced their disappointment at, in their own experience, a system that failed them due to infighting, backdoor deals, Brown Act violations and conflicts of interest. In other words, they were pwn3d by teh h4xx0rz. There's great concern that experiences like these turn off and turn away people who should be involved in the NC system, not to mention sour the reputation of a largely unknown entity to most Angelenos. Some voiced their opinions at the workshop that the City take upon itself to publicize, market or outreach the whole NC to the general public, rather than the NCs themselves relaying to the people 89 different versions of what the NCs are.

Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.: An Unspecified Neighborhood Council Meeting
An Unspecified Location, An Unspecified Part of Town.

So yes, this Militant attended a certain neighborhood council of a certain community of which he is a stakeholder in. This militant may or may not have been involved in the planning and outreach process of such a meeting. But needless to say, at the end, it was a good meeting, with the deputy of an unspecified city councilmember in attendance talking about a relatively successful unspecified program from their office that deals with an unspecified urban issue. There were also senior lead officers from two unspecified LAPD divisions present, who gave community members present an update on crime (both of which reported fairly low levels of crime as of late). The people seemed glad to be there, there were much information and resources shared and in all it was a very productive meeting for this unspecified neighborhood council. Even the Board Meeting section was swift and to the point and even put at the tail end of the entire meeting so as not to bore/alienate community people who preferred to put their community concerns into motion, instead of hearing board members move motions. The board wasn't just civil, but they even lightheartedly joked around. Way to go, unspecified neighborhood council! I'm glad, and proud, to be involved.


Anonymous said...

The two members on the far right of the table the board was sitting on just wanted to go home. Great meeting nontheless. GO UNSPECIFIED NC!

Actual dialogue from those two members.

Hey unspecified board member.


Can you please stop yawning, its really fucking contagi(yaaaaaawn.

(Both loling)

Silent Android said...'re crazy, dude.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Militant, please tell me you're not the guy who sat in the front row wearing the light blue dress shirt.