After yesterday’s debacle at the Budget and Finance committee where Jose Huizar and David Ryu’s turd1 of a motion funding an online voting pilot in neighborhood council elections next year passed even though all four members present said explicitly and at great length that they hated it2 I guess I wasn’t expecting any kind of sanity to prevail in the fraught arena of neighborhood council politics.
And this morning’s crop of email much more than confirmed that dark prediction. Included there in the usual packet of motions filed in Council, there amongst the usual inconsequential nonsense like attempts to outlaw parking RVs on another two blocks in Venice and whatnot appeared this tyrannical slab of class warfare by formerly sane3 councilmember David Ryu.
This motion is memorialized in CF 12-1681-S3 if you want to follow it, and you should.There’s a complete transcription after the break, and here are a few of the more egregious proposals:
✰ Subdivision elections would be held only every four years starting in 2022.
✰ There would only be three subdivision elections allowed in each cycle.
✰ If more than three apply in a given election year only the three largest by population would have elections. This means that as long as there are three larger every four years, some neighborhoods could never hold an election whether or not they met all the other criteria.
✰ Required mediation with existing neighborhood councils before a subdivision election could proceed.
Oh, and for the record, the reason David Ryu thinks we need this putatively reformist crapola is because the five subdivision elections already held ” have generated unnecessary discord in neighborhoods.” The fact that he thinks this is a bad thing is very revealing. What are we, children who must be kept calm by our parents? Is it ever a bad time to quote Fredrick Douglass?4
It’s no coincidence that any one of the proposals would have killed the Skid Row Neighborhood Council Subdivision in its cradle before it even got to an election. Of course the city’s zillionaires would have greatly preferred this because it would have prevented their exposure as evil puppetmasters. Almost every law we have has been adjusted, tweaked, and refined to give zillionaires full control over everyone else without having to expose themselves.
The SRNC debacle was a rare exception, not in the sense that the zillionaires lost the battle. At least for now they won it. But because they had to expose the ways in which they wield their power and win every battle. If this motion Ryu’s proposing takes effect that’ll never happen again.5 Turn the page for a transcription.
Transcription of David Ryu’s NC subdivision reform motion:
Neighborhood Council Subdivision Reforms
In 2001 the first Plan for a City wide System of Neighborhood Councils (“the Plan”) was established. This document established the rules that effectuated Charter Section IX approved by Los Angeles voters that created the Neighborhood Council system. Primarily, the Plan set forth a process to certify neighborhood councils and draw their boundaries. This process took place over a period of about ten years until almost every inch of the City was covered by a Neighborhood Council.
The plan did not contain a mechanism for Neighborhood Council boundaries to change or split if the boundaries were drawn in such a way as to cover multiple disparate communities or communities that changed over time. Based on requests from neighborhood council members and neighborhood leaders who wanted an avenue to make changes to existing Neighborhood Council boundaries if those boundaries might no longer be serving their communities well.
Therefore, in 2016, City Council approved Ordinance 184,526 creating a subdivision process for Neighborhood Councils. This ordinance established a process for communities to petition to subdivide an existing neighborhood council if they felt the Council was not able to serve all of its disparate communities. If a petition was deemed complete per the requirements of the ordinance, the petition to subdivide would be put to a vote of the people of the existing Neighborhood Council and the proposed subdivided area. If both groups voted in favor of the subdivision a new Neighborhood Council would be created.
The first round of subdivisions occurred in 2017. A second round recently finished in 2018. Over these two rounds of subdivisions, a total of five subdivision elections were held with three affirmative votes for subdivision and two in the negative. This process has demonstrated some clear issues in the subdivision process as currently enacted that have generated unnecessary discord in neighborhoods and used up more city staff time than is beneficial for the overall Neighborhood Council system.
The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners reviewed the subdivision process after the elections in 2017 and developed a series of recommendations for improvements in the process, encapsulated in their letter set out in Council File 12-1681-S1.
Based on this letter, the lessons learned from the subdivision elections held in 2018, and the amount of staff time needed for subdivision elections, some reform to the subdivision process is clearly needed. However, it is clear based on the number of subdivision applications that have been received, that in order to allow communities to have self-determination, a subdivision process is still needed.
I THEREFORE MOVE that the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment be
• Hold subdivision elections no more frequently than once every four years.
• Hold the next subdivision elections in 2022 or later, to give time for the new subdivided Neighborhood Councils to become established and provide the department time to draft and adopt these regulations and other ordinance changes spelled out in Council File 12- 1681-S1.
• Hold no more than three subdivision elections per subdivision election cycle. If more
than three petitions are submitted, the three fully completed petitions with the largest number of residents, based on the latest data available from the American Community Survey of the US Census or related government data set if the American Community Survey is no longer available, shall be accepted.
• Not accept subdivision applications that include boundaries within a Neighborhood Council that has already had a subdivision election, whether successful or unsuccessful, until the third subdivision cycle after any previous subdivision election.
• Not accept subdivision applications that encompass less than 10,000 residents, based on the latest data available from the American Community Survey of the US Census.
• Not accept subdivision applications that encompass more than 50% of the residents of the existing Neighborhood Council (or 50% of the Neighborhood Council which is losing the most residents to the proposed subdivision if more than one Neighborhood Council is being proposed for subdivision), based on the latest data available from the American Community Survey of the US Census.
• Require subdivision petitions to contain at least 500 signatures from stakeholders of the proposed Neighborhood Council boundaries and that no more than 10% of signatures gathered can come from any one building or address.
• Require subdivision formation committees that have submitted a subdivision application to sit down with board representatives from the Neighborhood Council they seek to subdivide in at least one mediation session moderated by the Department. The mediation should include invitations to any Council Offices with overlapping boundaries and the Neighborhood Commissioner for the area. The mediation should endeavor to determine if the existing Neighborhood Council and the Formation Committee can agree to bylaws changes at the existing Neighborhood Council that satisfy enough of the Formation Committee’s concerns in order for the subdivision application to be rescinded. If a mediated agreement cannot be achieved, the application could move towards a public hearing and review by the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners as stipulated in the ordinance.
• Publish a subdivision policy encapsulating these and any other relevant requirements.
Image of David Freaking Ryu is ©2018 MichaelKohlhaas.Org and is more or less somehow kinda sorta related to this David Ryu right here.
- H/T Laura Velkei.
- I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to write about this crapfest of a committee meeting, and right now it’s not looking like I’ll have time. In short, all four of the CMs present spoke for a really long time about why they all hated online voting and then, in the end, they all voted for it except for Mitch Englander, who seems to have dyed his hair and thus looked even more thuggish than usual, but maybe it was just the light. The public comment was dire, with the highlight being North Westwood NC self-proclaimed God-King Michael Skiles explaining how “his generation” doesn’t even know how to use a pencil and has panic attacks when they see stamped envelopes so it wasn’t fair to make them vote using paper instead of their phones. Usually when people speak of their generation they’re talking about an age thing. Michael Skiles was talking about an economic class thing and he didn’t even seem to notice. I did attend, and I did record the whole meeting, and you can watch it here on YouTube or here on Archive.Org as your pleasure tends. In an interesting but inscrutable aside, one of the weensy minions in Michael Skiles’s trailing cloud of sycophantic on-hangers told me I was “sad” for taking pictures of the God-King. I guess I must be!
- It lasted about four months. Maybe that’s longer than average. Don’t know.
- Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.
- And motions usually pass seamlessly into ordinances in Los Angeles, of course. But you know, I have a feeling this one’s going to be a hotter potato than they realize. There are plenty of reasons for people from all over the City to hate this, and it’s possible, just possible, that the outcry will suffice to kill it. In fact, I will extend my … whatever that cliche about vulnerability is … and make a prediction. It’s going down in flames or will be amended beyond recognition. Let’s watch and see!