By Mary A. Allen
The Echo Park neighborhood council met on Tuesday night to consider proposals to improve attendance and conduct in a meeting that was punctuated by heated exchanges between board members and yelling and screaming by members of the public. The meeting began 20 minutes late as a lack of a quorum prevented the council from taking up an agenda that – ironically – included a proposal to make it easier to conduct committee meetings with fewer members present. Once enough voting members showed up, the board of governors approved two new rules regulating speaking time and conduct, the passage of which triggered some tense remarks among the sharply divided board. “This board is a failure,” said member Stephen Stickler.
Public comment ensued, with community members yelling out of turn and prompting a defensive stance from the board leadership.
The governing board of the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council also approved reducing the number of board members required at both the Budget & Finance Committee and the Public Safety, Outreach and Community Concerns committee in order to increase the likelihood of achieving the quorum necessary to conduct business.
Other issues taken up at the meeting:
Encouraging Developers to Give Back
In an effort to encourage developers to use and purchase resources within the community, council passed an item that creates the policy or condition where projects over $5 million dollars are required to hire locally and purchase goods and services from local businesses. To assist with this effort GEPENC will establish a neighborhood job bank to share with developers. Future developers in Echo Park will be able to turn to the neighborhood council when looking for labor and supplies. However, as an advisory group, the neighborhood council has no power to enforce any commitments made by developers.
Senior Lead Officer Lewis Ford from Rampart Division reported a reduction in crime south of Sunset Boulevard and attributed some of the improvement to the closure of Echo Park Lake He cautioned residents that displaced Echo Park Lake denizens may now be lurking in neighborhood alleys.
As part of a current campaign promoted by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, Officer Ford alerted residents that they can “Just say no”, if stopped by police. According to tenants of Constitutional Policing, citizens are not required to respond to police officer questioning. That is unless, police have probably cause or reasonable suspicion. Then you may as well just put your hands up.
Budget Items Approved
- $500 retroactive approval for support of Rampart Division’s National Night Out on August 2, 2011.
- $350 for four pop-up tents to be used for GEPENC outreach events
- $500 to defray annual GEPENC printing costs
- $300 for participation in Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) annual congress on September 24
- $500 to support Foreclosure Town Hall event on September 17
Dates to Note
- September 17 Free Northeast LA Home Rescue Fair Assembly Member Gilbert Cedillo’s Forclosure Prevention Town Hall 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Goodwill Industries 342 N. San Fernando Road
- September 24, DONE sponsored Annual Congress of Neighborhood Councils
Opportunitites for Participation
- Help staff Assembly Member Gilbert Cedillo’s Northeast Home Rescue Fair on Saturday, September 17. Morning and afternoon shifts available. Call Communications Director Conrado Terrazas for more information (323) 225-4545.
- Represent your neighborhood as a GEPENC Stakeholder. Vacancy open for District 2.
The board approved the appointment of community member Kwazi Nkrumah as Stakeholder in GEPENC District 1.