Monday, October 24, 2016

City to investigate Echo Park council harassment claims

2010 Echo Park council meeting

ECHO PARK — The city has suspended the operations of the Echo Park Neighborhood Council and frozen its funds after launching an investigation into claims of harassment between council board members.

The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which oversees neighborhood councils, said it has received a “number of complaints of harassment,” according to a letter sent to the Echo Park council this week.  The department, known as DONE,  said the City Attorney and even a third-party investigator may work on the  harassment claims.

The nature of the alleged harassment between board members was not described. But DONE’s action was taken after a particularly contentious Echo Park council meeting last week, according to persons who attended. A video of that meeting was provided to the city.

The Echo Park Neighborhood Council is an elected, advisory body focused on community issues and projects. The Eastsider has contacted the council for a response to DONE’s actions.

The investigation could take months to complete, and, during that time, the Echo Park council board and committee operations will be suspended.  In addition, council funds will be frozen  except for ongoing monthly expenses, according to DONE. Department staff will run board meetings that will be focused on revising rules and regulations and election outreach.

“The goal is to keep the EPNC from falling behind on the 2016 election preparations during the investigation,” according to the DONE letter.

If measures to resolve complaints fail to work, DONE said it could take action to disband the Echo Park council.

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  1. This is hilarious, and notice DONE’s comments
    “The goal is to keep the EPNC from falling behind on the 2016 election preparations during the investigation,” according to the DONE letter.”

    Nothing about cleaning up the problem.

    DONE does nothing, they like to keep their jobs.

    • I totally agree with Mr. Dil-Dough.

      I’ll be waiting for the 2016 Neighborhood Elections.

    • Suspending an NC hardly “cuts off the voice” of the community. Citizens can and do speak their voice in a variety of ways without Neighborhood Councils. While Community Impact Statements have been useful tools for communities to gain political traction in city process, they are often used by obstructionist who do their best to stall development of any kind.

      Elysian Valley’s board under new recent leadership is having some of the same issues as Echo Park. A small, uniformed and aggressive group attacked the board with spurious Public Record Act requests, false claims about procedure, out of order behavior, and various threats to board members and their families. Even worse the same group spread terrible rumors about eminent domain of local houses that played on resident’s fears. These attacks were mostly lead by people who live outside of Elysian Valley.

      Reasonable folks are fleeing the Elysian Valley board because the meetings are intolerable and the harassment not worth the effort. Most are taking the advice of sage old Mr. Twain who said, “don’t get in arguments with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and beat you by experience…”

      Let’s take those $42,000 per Neighborhood Councils and put the money back into local City Council district funds for useful grant-based allocations to community groups, non-profits and community serving enterprises.

  2. Individual agendas have once again ruined the only official advisory body in Echo Park. The NC is the only entity with the ability to write Community Impact Statements and align with other area NC’s to apply political pressure when the citizenry is being side-stepped. Clearly, GEPENC has never evolved into an effective NC (like has happened in other areas of the City), but now its guaranteed that we have lost whatever potential “official voice” we might have had.

    Now we open the flood gates to developers who can legitimately claim they were unable to meet with the neighborhood since the PLUC is now suspended as well. This is great loss to the community. While the Board of Governors may be a hot mess, the Land Use Committee is well seated under the measured and knowledgable guidance of Ms. Holman.

    Yes, its true, the NC is only advisory and that it can only recommend its position to the decision makers. But, I will say after having attended dozens of these hearings, that in many cases the decision makers do take the NC recommendations seriously, especially when well-presented arguments are made to alter or approve a project with certain neighborhood-conscious conditions.

    Yes, there are problems with the Board of Governors, but by suspending all committees of the NC– including those that functioned well and provided a much-needed public forum for neighborhood issues– you have cut off the voice of this community. Please find a way that the Committees can continue to meet and conduct their work so that this neighborhood is not left without representation due to the actions of a few individuals.

    • Well said. The people who ultimately lose here are the stakeholders.

      • Then the stakeholders need to show up, get in involved and then vote the yahoos out of office, the turnout for most of these elections is in the low hundreds, it’s pathetic.
        Most of these people run with good intentions, thinking they are going to do something amazing, then they find out it’s work and make comments like “I am a volunteer” YES you volunteered now do your job. Or you have people the run and don’t care they do nothing, they question nothing and they support the status quo.
        DONE will do nothing, it’s not in their best interest to do anything, job security,

        Don’t rock the boat, keep that paycheck…..

    • There is no I in team.
      You don’t have to love anyone to be civil an do the required job. You have very high gifted persons who have the gift of gab (Tad D4) loves turning a mountain into a war zone. The current prez who is too occupied with occupy L A, and his minions who can’t tell the difference. The KIDS LOL , the former cholo who no longer live here, live in what Downey? Fontana? The young adults who used former addresses to get stakeholder status, if you have to ask where’s E.Edgeware Rd you sure don’t live in Echo Park they created S.T.A.Y, and are the first to be G.O.N.E! IT was all an occupy L.A game, con, call it what you will, they saw opportunity ( the gang injunction) ran with it. NOW WHO’S WHATS NEXT???

      • Alexis Rodriguez

        It is hard to making adjustments when restrictions from the City Council are unwilling to give up the power to the Neighborhood Council to make a change for the people of Echo Park.
        As for you, Anon, it seems like you are with very misinformed or simply ignorant to your facts. It states that you must be a stake holder and that includes anyone who works in that area as well. To follow that statement the man who I think you speak of that you call a “cholo that resides in Fontona” is actually my father. He has been a part of Echo Park his entire life. His aunt, Betty Plasencia, had the school named after her and he went there when it was first named Cortez St School. He was fully involved in the Echo Park Boys & Girls Club on Patton St. for beginning to end. Unfortunately we can afford to live in Echo Park anymore due to the high price of rent. But Echo Park will forever be my families home and he will continue to fight for what’s right in the community he grew up in. So Anon or Anonymous, have the courage to stop hiding behind that name of yours. But most of all get your facts straight before putting things up that make you sound very very uninformed.

      • And there is no integrity in “Anon.” Stay talking your venomous lies and drivel, cowards like you don’t grow.

  3. I have friends that represent various communities on the NC and it is distressing that they have not been able to find a way to work together, which I think is due to a tremendous amount of mistrust left over from the previous NC years. I believe that many of those who think they are on opposite sides are actually fighting the same beast. This neighborhood is changing fast and not necessarily for the better as not everyone is benefiting from the changes. If the NC can’t figure it out and find their common ground then we all lose.

  4. Amazed and glad to see this dysfunctional NC called out.. I encourage anyone to take a look at their past meetings transcripts here:


    You will see numerous fights, many members who NEVER show up to any meetings, thousands of dollars handed out to ‘charities’ associated with current members with little to no debate, and a general disinterest in eco park itself in favor of some sort of ‘social justice’ agenda.

    Ultimately, we the citizens of EP are to blame. The vote turnout in the last election was pitiful, allowing these people to bring in outsiders who claimed a stakehold because they once ‘volunteered’ here to vote them in. Come this spring, I encourage everyone to pay a little more attention.

  5. So GLAD I wasn’t elected to this board. They brought in people from Inglewood, other outsiders who used their gramas address or other relative Echo Park address they got what they wanted monies to fund a non profit An office in downtown L.A. all from NC monies.
    I’m so GLAD, I’m SO GLAD I’M GLAD I’M GLAD I’M GLAD! KARMA AND TRUTH WILL ALWAYS PREVAIL. Bite that Kawazi! Bite That Holman! You went down in flames.

  6. Alive and well is the Echo Park Improvement Association (EPIA) meetings.

    Another community group that has your reps. from council districts 1 and 13 frequently attend. Additionally, lead officers from NorthEast and Rampart are often in attendance too. Not to mention Dodgers reps. and CicLAvia reps. in other words communication and discussion of issues affecting the community of Echo Park.

    • True. EPIA is a much better representative and functioning voice of the community. They have helped to add trees, trashcans and get city services. It’s just frustrating that GEPENC gets tens of thousands annually from taxpayers, This is our limited money they are wasting, which is why we have to be so vigilant of how they operate.

  7. Get rid of NCs all together. Either that or give them real power by getting rid of City Council.
    With City Council having all the power NCs are a joke and a waste of time. Pretend democracy like High School.

    • It’s another way to funnel money to the councilman office, at least that’s what I’ve observed.

    • The Neighborhood Council and City Council both serve vital roles. I think the bigger problem in LA is our City Council is just way too small. We only have 15 districts, and so they represent very broad, abstract swaths of the city. Other large US cities have much better representation at the neighborhood level (NYC and Chicago have like 50 districts.)

      Expand the City Council to represent actual neighborhoods, and there’ll be greater accountability at the neighborhood level.

  8. This particular neighborhood council has a long and well-documented history of having serious issues. Too bad it took DONE years to officially recognize.

  9. Many will jump into the fray and suggest that the election (2016) will solve the issue.
    It will not! The same group that brought this upon their heads can run again! Is this
    what is needed to secure change?
    Only de-certification will allow the community an opportunity to find a new means of
    having a working NC. De-Certification will also allow communities the opportunity to
    learn about the way DONE shields NCs, especially dysfunctional ones for years. This is
    done (pardon the pun) by locking out the complaints and voices of stakeholders at
    every turn. The question is why are the very voices an NC is supposed to serve locked out?
    Power preservation, job security, systems management even when non-compliance, violation
    of the Brown Act, Code of Conduct are violated in plain view of DONE, and the public., this community’s
    stakeholders. DONE’s action was not because of years of failing community/stakeholders. The rational
    was because the NC Board threatened each other. So when and where does the voice of stakeholders
    matter? Likely never if the current system continues.
    De-Certify now is the only possible opportunity for change and an examination of the NC system operated
    by DONE with assistance of C4C’s (Council for Council) system. Communities deserve better. Echo Park
    deserves better. De-Certify and De-mystify a dysfunctional system that does not serve community.
    Enough is enough!

    • Bravo! But will not happen, DONE is in violation of so much, it should be investigated by the FBI, IRS
      totally shut down, it serves as a warehouse to keep former city employees in a job, until they can be placed into city hall. One observation.
      2nd, where has all the money gone?

  10. Nut magnet.

    It would probably be helpful if the story referenced the official GEPENC name.

  11. From Sigala to Nkrumah, the legacy continues….wasn’t there someone in between them? De-certify this NC and end this sham attempt at “democracy”!

  12. The Silver Lake nc should be shut down too. At their last board meeting one boardmember compared other boardmembers to Nazis. Half of the members have missed over half the meetings. They can’t seem to get through a agenada. They are a mess with City play money.

  13. EPNC is the new name… for about three months since DONE approved the change of name; GEPENC was the old brand… Echo Park, Temple Beuadry,Historic Filipinotown & Eliysian Park were never served very well by this NC… because it was too big from its inseption in 2002… no matter how we got here this NC is in EE (Exhaustive Efforts) that is only one level above the long called for Desertification of GEPENC for various reasons and systemic problems that the Department was dealing with one administration at a time… Yes the PLUC committee was doing a great job but as it is an advisory committee to the General Board & the actions of the present Board of Directors had gone over the line that that DONE & the City Attorney had drawn in the sand; all Stakeholder of this NC will suffer till the new 2016 Election gives us a new Board… good or bad here we are and if you all want to affect positive change now. Now is the time to make sure that the all new EPNC has new and better rules to follow so that the Stakeholders are better served! It is up to everyone that lives, works, owns real property or has a community interest to get involved & be a part of the solution now. EPNC needs candidates that will work with the Department to get out of EE or it might just take a few years of infighting, back bighting & DONE running the meetings to resolve this mishagas… Developers will have a feildday & you won’t have anyone to blam but yourselves for not running for a seat… I’ll be running for whatever seat the Independent Election Administrator, IEA & the City Clerk allows me to; I hope you will too; no matter who you are out there in Eastsider land. The more Candidates the Stakeholders have to choose from for the seats available the better it is for the future of this NC & maybe just maybe we can get it right this time for a new begining & a better EPNC.

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