Echo Park council to throw itself a $1,000 celebration but some are not ready to party

Photo by Uriel1998/Flickr

It’s been about decade since the Echo Park neighborhood council was formed, and some council members say it’s time to celebrate the milestone.  “It’s a good opportunity to reach out … and  celebrate 10 years,” said President Jose Sigala during Tuesday night’s council meeting. But that party proposal and $1,000 budget met with a mixed response from members of the public as well as the councils’ Board of Governors.

“I really think you should …  support things in the community that will last instead of  a party or some damn thing that you might  dream up for $1,000,” said resident and frequent council critic Isa Kae Meksin. “That’s a hell of a lot of taxpayer money. You don’t deserve it.”

The party would not only celebrate the 10th anniversary but also honor the memory of some council members who have passed away and involve the other community organizations in the festivities.

However, some board members of the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council were not thrilled with the idea of a restaurant reception and no host bar even though they supported the idea of honoring the occasion. One board member suggested cutting $1,000 approved for another project to pay for the party. Another spoke about reducing the scope of the event into a smaller and cheaper affair.

Spending $1,000 would “be  inappropriate and in bad taste, especially now in these times,” said one board member. “I could not attend such a thing.”

But, in the end, the governing board voted in support of the $1,000 party budget, with seven members voting in favor, two in opposition and two abstaining from the vote.



  2. Terrible idea…another example of why NC’s fail to impress with self-serving agendists or naive volunteers who don’t know the rules. If you are throwing a party and represent the community, RAISE MONEY for a local cause or party at home and invite your friends. Public money should not be spent on entertainment and self-congratulation.

  3. Are you F***ing kidding me? Why can’t they just have a potluck house party?

  4. seriously. what a joke.

  5. The “Jose Sigala for Councilmember” taxpayer funded party!

  6. I would love to know which members voted for it, that way we would know who not to support in the next election. Slimy doesn’t even begin to describe this $1000.00 party.

    • Seems very suspicious that whoever will be hosting this event does not donate to the City instead of taking taxpayer money. Don’t support every single business taking this money as well.

  7. Not a single stakeholder in the neighborhood offered to host this party? Come on local restaurants/bars–throw a party for the residents in the EP area and promote your business. No brainer.

  8. If you click on the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council link above you can go to CONTACT US and tell them how you feel about this nonsense.
    Shame on them.

  9. To D. Davis and others who might want to know how the vote went, try waiting
    about two to three months down the road for the tardy Minutes of the Board.
    By then the Party will be over. However, all might be interested to note that
    the Party was proposed by the NC’s Event Planner and Outreach Chair and CIO
    (Lisa Baca Sigala) who provided no documentation to either the Treasurer or the Board( no budget break-out or invoice from the caterers or what the public
    would sip and eat or even why “THE PARTY” would serve only 80 in the community). Both the President and the CIO voted for THE PARTY.
    This is an Election year so anticipate a continuing reign and Outreach …..
    Taxpayers might want to note that the Department of Empowerment(DONE)
    has asked the City for $650,000.00 to operate the elections for 94 NCs.
    If you think THE PARTY is a waste, think that many NCs cannot find candidates to run for Board positions, while many find that within three or so months about a third of those elected fail to fulfill their role, or like GEPENC find that a quoram of 11 or 50.5 of Board is a struggle to meet and meetings
    delayed/recessed for an hour or more are not unheard of. Waste abounds here
    and THE PARTY an electioneering tactic in disguise.

  10. I went to my first meeting last night. Very disheartening. Much bickering. The members don’t appear to like each other. And from what I could gather, Taix will get much of the $1000 for the party for 80. A colossal waste of money. Too bad. Most members seemed to want it unfortunately.

  11. Another possible GEPENC project: a banner. Cost: approximately $1,00o.oo.

  12. Yeah strippers!

  13. GEPENC Board consists of 21 members. If seven voted that indicates that
    support for this party and operation is feeble or forced. Furthermore, expenditure
    should be of concern to the City and DONE if the Yearly Budget Allocation has been taken over by the Board President and appropriations set by himself alone.
    Since when is such action seen as transparent or wanted by the community?
    If the Party and the vote seems problematic, consider the fact that the President
    handed over his chairing responsibility of the whole meeting to the VP who, according to DONE records had taken the Ethics training in January of 2009 and had not complied with City requirements to train every two years. Does this invalidate the whole meeting or just the votes made by the VP?
    Perhaps the Party is off?

  14. $1000? who cares? People on here get worked up about the stupidest things, hipsters, crappy murals from the 90’s, or a cheap vinyl sign getting taken down at a gas station… maybe take all this rage and direct it towards something that matters… the environment, human rights, wars across the world, thugs shooting each other every night… the stupid Echo Park council can have a $1000 party every 10 years if it wants.

    • How about taking that money and applying it towards the trash cans on EP ave and Sunset, ergo helping the environment from the epic tons of garbage that winds up in our street/drains/oceans. That money is meant for community projects, not the Sigalas city council campaign kickoff.
      Or how about taking that 1k and donating it to the schools in their district? Lisa bemoans their state every chance she gets. Just seems like these aren’t the days for $1000 parties…
      Every member of the neighborhood has a right to be pissed and vocal about this…

  15. Congrats to the GEPENC, I guess, lol.

    The East Hollywood Neighborhood Council will celebrate the 5th anniversary of its City certification on Sunday, April 15 during CicLAvia with an outreach canopy bearing a display of our achievements from the past 5 years, trying to get even more people involved in our NC. We’ll be giving out free bumper stickers, bicycle spoke cards and High-Fives to everyone who passes/stops on by. We have a $300 budget for this, and we probably won’t even spend half of it. So if you’re on CicLAvia on 4/15, stop on by! We’ll be at Heliotrope Drive and Clinton Street, right by the 101 Freeway Overpass.

  16. The Echo Park N.C. is throwing itself a party???????????? In these TIMES???????

  17. the council is a massive waster of time. i could care less what they do with the $1K. why do they continue to exist???

  18. SLIMY SLIMY SLIMY vote these two out of office!

  19. J: The WHY ? is one that only DONE(Dept. of Neighborhood Empowerment- 213-978- 1551) can take action on and the unfortunate
    point is that it will not and does not despite having ample evidence that this
    is a dysfunctional NC that deserves to have its funding frozen and the
    operation DECERTIFIED for a period of two election cycles to allow the
    community the opportunity to examine the concept of NCs as the NC system has evolved and changed considerably at both the monitoring and compliance
    levels…with these changes hardly made know publically at the community
    level. A flawed aspect of the NC funding system is that ALL NCs get the same amount of City funding whether dysfunctional or not! Furthermore, during the
    last cycle at least 30 NCs , according to DONE did not make the deadline date
    for the Annual Budget Allocation and most likely received their full funding.
    It is time for GEPENC to leave the neigthborhood as the upcoming NC
    elections that DONE anticipates to occur sometime August through November ( 2012) and other City elections later provide unlimited electioneering,events and parties that having limited value to community.
    Decertification is appropriate at this time.
    DONE what is holding you up to take appropriate measures?

  20. $1000 is not that much money to spend on cultivating and celebrating a milestone and honoring the people who’ve worked on the Council… It only builds good will for the future and encourages others to participate. This ain’t the city government, it’s neighborhood thing…

    If no member can afford to host this, I don’t see a problem in using some of the money for that, and opening up the party to the community, too. Say, a neighbors meeting neighbors type-thing or something…

  21. What’s next? Will Mayor Tony proclaim “Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council Day” in the city of Los Angeles?

  22. The corruption in this organization is so obvious and appalling. I would not be shocked if there is an arrest made for misappropriation at some point.

  23. Troy: What only a single proclamation? This NC ,most likely, has arranged for a string of proclamations from community groups that have received funding and other agencies/offices plus open mike for testimony and photo opportunities useful for future professional advancement. Otherwise what purpose would the PARTY serve?

    Henry: Misappropriation…consider that a vendor was paid the full sum (over $1,000.00) requested for an item to be rented without forwarding an invoice. It was paid in full using the GEPENC NC Credit Card. The Board approved the payment and accepted the monthly Credit Card Report. How many of such payments with limited documentation before DONE takes action?

    I guess DONE wants to be photographed, surrounded by certificates like others
    at the PARTY perhaps?

  24. SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: In a democracy everyone is entitled to their opinion. I would like to clarify a misrepresentation for the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council, (GEPENC) Tenth Anniversary. This is a FREE community celebration to be held April 16, 2012 6pm – 8pm (Program 7pm) at the beautiful and historic Taix Restaurant, 1911 West Sunset Blvd., LA CA 90026.

    There has been a lot of discussion on the blogs about GEPENC’s Board of Governor’s approved $1,000 budget being spent for a PARTY or that it is a “Sigala for Council” event. It is true that six year GEPENC President, Jose Sigala, (who is also my husband) is one of seven candidates running for City Council District 13 in the 2013 elections. However, the Sigala CD13 council campaign efforts have not once been interjected into our service with GEPENC.

    Taix Restaurant has been most generous in helping GEPENC host our 10th Anniversary at such a nice venue. Bringing people together with a total $1,000 budget to provide reception food, prepare multiple photo exhibits and honor those founding leaders is not a misuse of taxpayer funds nor is it excessive.

    Since GEPENC’s founding in 2002, there have been 210 volunteers elected by the community serve as members of GEPENC Board of Governors. Others have served as community stakeholders on various committees and given of their time, energy and countless volunteer hours. Thousands of lives have been made better over the last ten years by our service and community investment of tax payer funds provided by GEPENC.

    EVERYONE IS INVITED AND WELCOMED to share our pride in making a difference in the community and honoring the trust the City of Los Angeles has placed in GEPENC for the last ten years.

    We look forward to the next ten years working as volunteers to improve the community and quality of life in our neighborhoods. Hope to see you there!
    Lisa Baca, CIO GEPENC 323 660-7234

    • @ Lisa Baca,

      If this truly is the real Lisa Baca, let me first say major props for coming on here and speaking up and defending yourself against what amounts to little more than a group of talking heads who know all about locally run government yet have no experience in or current solutions ACTUALLY RUNNING local government.

      Secondly, the idea that there’s such an outrage on this blog over $1000 for a party celebrating a decade of service by the council and it being an open, community celebration as opposed to a private party being held somewhere is genuinely ridiculous when you take in to account that a night out for dinner and a movie on a Friday for a couple is well over $100. In reality even moreso when you take in to account what you’re paying at all the little, local trendy eateries the hipster sheep frequent around the area.

      And no, you’re not going to see any of these people there. At least not where they’ll make it known to you who they are. Hipster sheep and internet tough guys who love to through snarky accusations around the interwebz dont often find the courage to do the same when they’re actually in front of they’re writing about.

      • Hahahahah —

        DJ Bento Box is finally revealed as…. a Neighborhood Council Apologist?

        And I’d betcha that the anonymous commenters will actually be there, Bento, only wearing their “nice faces.”

        Everyone knows it’s just a big joke. It’d just be rude to point that out.

    • Oh my god I agree with DJ Bento Box I want to shoot myself.
      Aaaanyway I don’t know much about this particular councils ethics but in principle I have no problem whatsoever spending $12 per person celebrating 10 years of service. Doing something a little special once in a while builds good will and attracts better people who could benefit the community far in excess of $1000. I’m surprised people are so short sighted you can take all the money from every “non essential” program and give it to social programs, ultimately that costs money to important services. Recognition and goodwill drive revenue as well

  25. Not once does Ms. Baca state that she didn’t place a scrap about the date, details
    related to cost or the committee assisting GEPENC’s walk down memory lane….
    the others don’t matter… how community is this? Not one word that the Finance
    and Budget Committee went from 9 members to 7 and now 5 and the details
    of this party were never reviewed by the Budget and Finance Committee…….
    Photo and story board? Whose ?
    This Party will serve a purpose in that it exposes an aspect of NC operations that
    has long been hidden.
    Oh, by the way Ms. Baca obtained $1,000.00 about a year ago to publish a
    GEPENC Newsletter contents of which are unknown and something that has yet to materialize. Also, perhaps a year and a half before that she was also awarded a similar sum for a Newsletter that has never been seen either. Perhaps this can be called…reserving for a rainy day . Perhaps the video tapes of some 3 1/2 years of GEPENC Board and Committee Meetings taken by a community stakeholder might better serve the community to recall GEPENC as it really operates. It will not be a she said/ he said/they said/they lied. So why are the tapes not a part of the PARTY? Alas, if they were shown in real time one would
    be left waiting for over an hour after the scheduled time. No action at a PARTY looks bad…….

  26. Am I missing something here? The event is “free and open to the community” of how many people? What if 15 or 20% of the community showed up. How would they fit into a restaurant? And how would $1,000. cover it?

  27. The PARTY as described in the Press Release is a typical GEPENC Format…
    blah–blah…blah… any deeper scrutiny exposes gaps that beg for answers..
    that are never answered… DONE does not want answers so GEPENC continues….

    I believe that the February 2012 GEPENC Finance & Budget Committee
    Meeting that was not held but entertained discussion as it lacked quorum is
    on You Tube already. The February and March Meetings, if posted, should be

  28. Echo Silver Resident

    What a bunch of hooooey! A party for 80 people for a NC that is supposed to serve about 35,000! Why can’t you get a local business to open up it’s parking lot and get a bunch of local restaurants to donate dishes and get the word out and flyer everywhere and let people know and make it a real celebration! Look at the amazing turn out “Night Out” had last year… probably 3,000 people filtered through throughout the afternoon/evening…. that is close to a 10% return versus 1/4 of 1% of the population you are supposed to serve.
    I think maybe we should flyer the heck out of the area and also pass flyers out to all the businesses along Sunset Blvd and get a really big party going. Not to overwhelm TAXI but to truly get the neighborhood involved!

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